Vinegar for Blood Sugar Control and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Treatment

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Apple cider vinegar may help with ovulatory function in those with PCOS.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The use of vinegar for weight loss dates back to the 1700s. I did a whole chapter about it in my book How Not to Diet entitled “Amping AMPK,” the fat-controller enzyme in the body, which appears to be the mechanism behind the multitude of beneficial metabolic effects. In my 21 tweaks to accelerate weight loss, I recommend two teaspoons with every meal, which is considered safe––though it should be added to food or diluted in water, never consumed straight. And diabetics should make sure the vinegar doesn’t make their blood sugars go too low.

But that’s one of the benefits of vinegar: blunting the blood sugar and insulin spikes after a meal in both healthy individuals and those with blood sugar disorders like diabetes. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional trials on the effects of vinegar consumption on blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes, vinegar improves both short-term and longer-term measures of blood sugar control. And, as a little side bonus, it resulted in a remarkable reduction in cholesterol to boot. And it didn’t seem to matter whether it was apple cider vinegar or not. All vinegar, by definition, has the active ingredient: acetic acid.

So, what are the implications for clinical practice? Well, clinicians could incorporate vinegar consumption as part of their dietary advice for patients with diabetes, with the caution that it can work a little too good. So, you have to monitor closely to make sure diabetic patients aren’t overmedicated and bottom out their sugars.

In my video on water purification, Is it Best to Drink Tap, Filtered, or Bottled Water? I talked about a study showing that the cheapest and best way to disinfect your toothbrush so you don’t have to keep buying new ones may be to soak it for 10 minutes in 50 percent white vinegar in water.

So, what about a vinegar sock soak for athlete’s foot or toenail fungus? Foot soaks in half vinegar/half water can help antifungals work better, but the inconvenience of tub soaks limits compliance. So, how about pouring vinegar and water on the toes of your socks, and then just putting your feet up for a little while? Not sure how that would be any more convenient, but it seemed to work in this clinician’s practice.

Instead of vinegar for just an athlete’s foot, what about vinegar for the whole athlete? “The Eect of Vinegar Supplementation on High-Intensity Cycling Performance within Recreationally Trained Individuals.” They randomized people to do two tablespoons of diluted vinegar, or sugar, or both, or neither, and…the vinegar did nothing. Is there anything else vinegar does help with?

Another study: “Intake of Vinegar Beverage Is Associated with Restoration of Ovulatory Function in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” For those of you not familiar, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a major cause of irregular menstruation. And since insulin resistance has been suggested to be one of the causes of polycystic ovaries, and we know vinegar can improve insulin resistance, researchers decided to study the effect of vinegar by giving seven patients seeking a non-pharmacological treatment for PCOS a beverage containing a tablespoon of apple vinegar daily for a few months. The insulin resistance did improve in most, but did their cycles return?

Yes, in four out of seven. Before the study, they were either only having their periods every 50 days or so, or none at all, or just not ovulating. But most resumed within 40 days on the vinegar. Now, this doesn’t prove anything, but it’s at least sufficient to indicate the possibility that it may help. And what’s the downside? A tablespoon of vinegar would cost less than 10 cents a day. Just remember to never drink vinegar straight, as it can cause second-degree caustic burns down your throat.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avo Media

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The use of vinegar for weight loss dates back to the 1700s. I did a whole chapter about it in my book How Not to Diet entitled “Amping AMPK,” the fat-controller enzyme in the body, which appears to be the mechanism behind the multitude of beneficial metabolic effects. In my 21 tweaks to accelerate weight loss, I recommend two teaspoons with every meal, which is considered safe––though it should be added to food or diluted in water, never consumed straight. And diabetics should make sure the vinegar doesn’t make their blood sugars go too low.

But that’s one of the benefits of vinegar: blunting the blood sugar and insulin spikes after a meal in both healthy individuals and those with blood sugar disorders like diabetes. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional trials on the effects of vinegar consumption on blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes, vinegar improves both short-term and longer-term measures of blood sugar control. And, as a little side bonus, it resulted in a remarkable reduction in cholesterol to boot. And it didn’t seem to matter whether it was apple cider vinegar or not. All vinegar, by definition, has the active ingredient: acetic acid.

So, what are the implications for clinical practice? Well, clinicians could incorporate vinegar consumption as part of their dietary advice for patients with diabetes, with the caution that it can work a little too good. So, you have to monitor closely to make sure diabetic patients aren’t overmedicated and bottom out their sugars.

In my video on water purification, Is it Best to Drink Tap, Filtered, or Bottled Water? I talked about a study showing that the cheapest and best way to disinfect your toothbrush so you don’t have to keep buying new ones may be to soak it for 10 minutes in 50 percent white vinegar in water.

So, what about a vinegar sock soak for athlete’s foot or toenail fungus? Foot soaks in half vinegar/half water can help antifungals work better, but the inconvenience of tub soaks limits compliance. So, how about pouring vinegar and water on the toes of your socks, and then just putting your feet up for a little while? Not sure how that would be any more convenient, but it seemed to work in this clinician’s practice.

Instead of vinegar for just an athlete’s foot, what about vinegar for the whole athlete? “The Eect of Vinegar Supplementation on High-Intensity Cycling Performance within Recreationally Trained Individuals.” They randomized people to do two tablespoons of diluted vinegar, or sugar, or both, or neither, and…the vinegar did nothing. Is there anything else vinegar does help with?

Another study: “Intake of Vinegar Beverage Is Associated with Restoration of Ovulatory Function in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” For those of you not familiar, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a major cause of irregular menstruation. And since insulin resistance has been suggested to be one of the causes of polycystic ovaries, and we know vinegar can improve insulin resistance, researchers decided to study the effect of vinegar by giving seven patients seeking a non-pharmacological treatment for PCOS a beverage containing a tablespoon of apple vinegar daily for a few months. The insulin resistance did improve in most, but did their cycles return?

Yes, in four out of seven. Before the study, they were either only having their periods every 50 days or so, or none at all, or just not ovulating. But most resumed within 40 days on the vinegar. Now, this doesn’t prove anything, but it’s at least sufficient to indicate the possibility that it may help. And what’s the downside? A tablespoon of vinegar would cost less than 10 cents a day. Just remember to never drink vinegar straight, as it can cause second-degree caustic burns down your throat.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avo Media

Doctor's Note

For more on treating PCOS, see:

Want to learn more about vinegar? Check out: 

Here is the video I mentioned on the best water purification: Is It Best to Drink Tap, Filtered, or Bottled Water?.

Find out more about my book, How Not to Diet, here (all proceeds go to charity), or check out my presentation based on the book: Evidence-Based Weight Loss.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here. Read our important information about translations here.

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