If you hang onto your clothes for long enough, eventually they come back into fashion.
It is the same within the nutrition world, we all like shiny new objects to go for, but sometimes the old stuff comes around and suddenly it looks all new and shiny again.
In this case, we are going to look at a classic old school remedy, apple cider vinegar (you can call it ACV).
If you search the wild west of the internet you’ll see it is meant to cure everything from smelly feet to obesity.
Now while I love a bit of research to back up my clinical experience, I am not a slave to it.
To quote the “father” of evidence-based medicine David Sackett “Without clinical expertise, practise risks becoming tyrannised by evidence….”
If I find it clinically useful for some people, then I will use it, I am all about results for each individual patient.
Remember in the world of drugs, they are always going to have some potential downside in side-effects, so medics tend to be very cautious.
In the nutritional world, a trial of apple cider vinegar is pretty low risk and also very cheap.
Let’s call it common sense medicine.
Do you remember a few weeks back we talk about the catastrophic damage proton pump inhibitors can induce by suppressing hydrochloric acid production in the stomach?
If not, here it is https://lessons.
Well, we know that as we get older we all tend to make less of stuff – less energy, less hormones and yes less stomach acid.
And one of the main symptoms of that is bloating, burping and ironically heartburn.
Long story short, low acid (higher pH), leads to delayed gastric emptying from the stomach into the duodenum.
So the food sits in the gut and is fermented, leading to gas production (hence bloating and burping) and the pressure of the gas can open the oesophageal value open to allow the acid you do have into your oesophagus (hence heartburn).
The low acid also means you tend to not trigger the release of pancreatic enzymes which is how we break down our carbohydrate/sugars. This then predisposes very strongly to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines (SIBO) as the bacteria get to ferment more sugars than they ought to and have little bacterial babies (it’s like a roman orgy in your intestines, food and sex everywhere).
It also, of course, helps get absorb minerals like calcium (osteoporosis and fracture), iron (anaemia) and magnesium.
Now in ACV, you have the acetic acid which may help us with digestion, but if you buy good, raw ACV it comes with “the mother” (I like saying this with a thick cockney accent, it really helps cheer me up #smallwins).
The mother is acetic acid bacteria which is used to ferment the vinegar and commercial brands filter it out.
Thus we have two mechanisms by which ACV may help with your digestion – acid and probiotics.
So next time someone mentions bloating, gas, heartburn, maybe persistent anaemia consider a trial of ACV with the mother.
Start with a teaspoon and work up to two tablespoons, ideally in a little water during your meal.
If they get worse with heartburn it may mean the stomach lining is inflamed or the valve is just incompetent and even though they need the extra acid, they can’t tolerate it.
Next time we will talk about ACV and blood sugar balancing because in my course we have a concept called “treatment stacking” (it is core concept 11).
We use one intervention with multiple effects to generate a multilayered treatment. ACV (and stomach acid, in general, is the epitome of this as it has so many far-reaching effects).
ACTION TO TAKE
– Buy some raw ACV with the mother and trial it yourself, Aldi and Lidl both sell very cheap organic ones and health food shops also (note: Bragg’s ACV was the original commercial one and while it is a good brand it is ludicrously overpriced).
– Gents, be careful discussing how “the mother” tastes, it can lead to misunderstandings (and divorces).