Vinegar is popular with those who like to be treated with alternative medicine methods. As usual, they say, vinegar heals everything: cleans blood vessels, lowers blood sugar levels, heals wounds, burns excess weight and even destroys cancer cells. What is vinegar and can it really be beneficial to the body .
What is vinegar?
Vinegar is a liquid that contains at least 3% acetic acid. On an industrial scale, it is produced by distilling completely non-edible raw materials: sawdust, oil, gas. The resulting acid is thoroughly cleaned and the result is acetic essence with an acetic acid concentration of 70-80%.
Natural vinegar is a product of the activity of acetic acid bacteria (Acetobacter aceti), which make acetic acid from ethyl alcohol. To obtain natural vinegar, various juices are used, which must first ferment – this process is provided by the yeast, which actively processes sugars, while producing ethanol. As a result, the resulting vinegar will have a fragrance that includes not only the classic smell of acetic acid, but also smells of various organic compounds that are found in the juice: other acids (malic, citric, etc.), aldehydes, etc.
Depending on which raw material was used to obtain natural vinegar, they talk about its various forms:
- apple and other fruit vinegar: from apples and other relevant fruits;
- alcohol: ethanol. If you add various herbs to it, it will also become flavored. And if you do not add, then it will not have a characteristic odor, and then it can be used to make mayonnaise;
- wine: from wine materials;
- balsamic: obtained from the wine by long-term aging in barrels of wood of different breeds;
- whey: from fermented whey;
- other types of vinegar: from all that can ferment and result in ethyl alcohol, you can get vinegar. Therefore, malt, rice, coconut, cane and other species are also found.
Essence and Natural Vinegar
An important point: in the production of vinegar from food products (apples, wine, serum, etc.), natural vinegar is obtained with an acid concentration of not more than 6% (rarely 9%). It is economically unprofitable to increase the concentration of acid in the resulting product, and no one does it. So the acetic essence with its 70-80% concentration is a purely synthetic product, no apples and wines, but only oil or sawdust.
By the way, in some countries it is believed that synthetic acetic acid (and therefore the essence) is almost impossible to completely remove from toxic traces of production, therefore restrictions are imposed on its use in the food industry.
When buying vinegar should carefully read the label. It may well be that “Apple Cider Vinegar” is actually a diluted synthetic acetic acid with flavors. Synthetic vinegar is cheaper than natural, if, of course, the manufacturer does not pursue marketing goals and does not try to pretend that its vinegar from sawdust actually smells of apples for good reason. Therefore, whatever the price – the text on the label should be studied first.
Natural vinegar has a limited shelf life: after 3-4 years in a bottle you can find brown flakes. Synthetic vinegar can be stored for 10 years or more, remaining transparent as a tear.
How to dilute vinegar is safe for health?
Acetic essence is a 70% solution of acetic acid. To get the vinegar used by housewives, it is necessary to dilute the liquid:
- 9% vinegar – in a ratio of 1: 7 (one part of the essence and seven parts of water);
- 6% vinegar – 1:11;
- 3% vinegar – 1:22.
When breeding, first pour cool boiled water, and then add vinegar to it. If the essence gets on the skin, you should immediately wash it off under running water, and then treat it with a weak solution of ordinary baking soda. Neither drink vinegar essence, nor breathe it can not – it can lead to severe burns of the esophagus and respiratory tract, respectively.
What diseases and conditions are treated with vinegar?
So, it is clear that the essence cannot be drunk, it is also impossible to pour on the skin, and diluted vinegar is one of the popular means of alternative medicine. Relatively cheap (especially if from sawdust), affordable, with an unforgettable smell – what else do you need to begin to be treated with this wonderful substance?
Vinegar, according to citizens, can literally work wonders. It lowers blood sugar (and at the same time treats diabetes), removes toxins and toxins, protects against cancer, relieves the condition during gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD) and, of course, helps to lose weight.
However, if we analyze the scientific research on this topic, it turns out that the healing power of dilute acetic acid has not yet been proved by anyone. It has not yet been possible to reliably confirm the effectiveness of the use of vinegar in all of the above cases.
- Excess weight.
Scientists for 3 months gave 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 155 subjects with obesity. During this time, project participants lost about 2 kg of excess weight, and the group that did not drink vinegar remained “with their own”. In another study, researchers found that adding vinegar to food slows down the process of moving food from the stomach to the small intestine. And the longer the food is in the stomach, the longer a person feels full, which means that he eats less and slightly, but loses weight. That is, in principle, the effect is, but not fat burning and, in general, very modest. It is difficult to call this evidence.
- Elevated blood sugar.
The situation is quite ambiguous with vinegar and changes in blood glucose levels. About a dozen studies confirm that vinegar taken in the process of eating reduces the level of glucose in the blood plasma directly at the time of absorption of food. One of the possible mechanisms is to slow down the process of converting carbohydrates from food into glucose. At the same time, a dozen other studies in which blood glucose level was measured a little later than a meal did not reveal the effect of taking vinegar. In general, at the moment the American Diabetes Association does not recommend diabetics to take vinegar to lower their blood sugar levels.
- Increased cholesterol.
In 2009, it was shown that if vinegar was given to rats, then their cholesterol level would decrease. True, the rats while losing weight, so that cholesterol could fall without depending on the intake of vinegar. In another study, it was shown that vinegar slightly reduces the level of cholesterol in humans, but only 19 patients participated in the study, so scientists do not consider the data obtained to be reliable evidence of the effectiveness of vinegar for lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Today there is no scientific evidence that vinegar is effective with GERD, and in particular, with its manifestation as heartburn. Moreover, taking vinegar, especially in fairly high concentrations, can cause indigestion and irritation of the tissues of the esophagus.
- Headache the pain .
There is an opinion that apple unfiltered vinegar reduces headache. There are also recommendations to breathe vinegar to clear the sinuses and reduce pain during sinusitis (inflammation of the facial sinuses). According to scientists, this is a non-permanent and indirect effect. That is, vinegar contains iron, potassium and calcium – for some types of headaches, these components are useful for the body. Also, with proper use of vinegar can help digestion – and this will reduce the headache, if it is associated with problems of the digestive process. In cases when using vinegar can reduce the level of glucose in the blood – at least during the meal – there is a chance that vinegar will help to cope with a headache caused by jumps in glucose. Finally, another frequent cause of headaches is dehydration, and a glass of any liquid will ease the condition of a person.
Even Hippocrates advised to use vinegar for washing ulcers and wounds to reduce the risk of infection. However, the times of Hippocrates are in the past, and modern doctors recommend using other means to protect against infection. Vinegar does have weak antiseptic properties, but there is a risk of tissue burn.
- Hair loss.
It is believed that vinegar strengthens the hair and stimulates their growth, but scientists from the UK say that this is also a myth. Indeed, ancient Romans used vinegar to add shine to hair and cure dandruff. However, it does not save from hair loss. At the same time, vinegar, as a weak acid, actually supports the desired acid-base balance of hair – for them the ideal pH is 4-5, and shampoos often shift it to the neutral side.
- Erectile dysfunction (ED).
Another example of the possible indirect effect of vinegar on the body. Thus, impairment of potency develops in diabetes, and in cases where vinegar reduces the level of glucose in the blood, it does indirectly reduce the risks of developing ED. Vinegar in some cases reduces the risk of obesity, which, in turn, is one of the causes of ED. Finally, it contains antioxidants polyphenols, and this means that it protects cells from the destructive action of free radicals – which generally heals the body. As we see, in this case we are talking about the indirect effect of vinegar on the body, and not about the direct proven effect.
There are reports, not confirmed by scientific data, that the treatment of vinegar with psoriatic lesions for several weeks improves the condition of the skin. This may be due to the antiseptic properties of vinegar. Evidence of the effectiveness of vinegar in the treatment of psoriasis is not, but doctors warn that you can not use it if there is damage to the skin – cracks, open wounds, bleeding. And of course, we are talking about a weak solution of vinegar.
Vinegar is an acid, so a weak 1% acetic solution can be used for alkali poisoning, this will lead to a neutralization reaction, known from the course of school chemistry. In other cases, poisoning with vinegar is better not to use – acid can cause additional irritation of the walls of the gastrointestinal tract, and the patient’s condition will not improve.
This is the most dangerous use of vinegar, which you can imagine. Vinegar, as has been said, contains polyphenols, which can protect cells from oxidative stress, and thereby reduce the risk of developing cancer. Moreover, in vitro and under certain conditions in rats, vinegar causes the death of cancer cells. But there is no research proving that vinegar is effective against cancer in humans. The danger is that a patient with a malignant tumor, believing in the healing power of vinegar, can refuse chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and lose valuable time on useless vinegar procedures. The next time he meets with the doctor, it may be too late to heal him.
Vinegar and health risks
- If you still decide to drink vinegar, it should be remembered that we are talking about acid. Therefore, you can drink only diluted vinegar, which, however, may also be unsafe for health person It is considered safe to take no more than 2 tablespoons of diluted vinegar per day.
- People suffering from allergies to apple cider vinegar is contraindicated.
- Acetic acid destroys tooth enamel (so if you really really need to drink vinegar, then it is better to do it through a straw).
- Prolonged use of vinegar may damage the oral mucosa and esophagus. Do not drink vinegar to people with existing ulcers and other tissue damage the gastrointestinal tract.
- It is categorically impossible to take vinegar on an empty stomach – this is fraught with damage to the gastric mucosa. Therefore, it is not necessary to follow the recommendations of the adherents of alternative medicine on the acetic daily diet without any other food.
- Caution should be used in food vinegar or drink it to people with gastritis. It should be remembered that we are talking about acid, which when released into the stomach is mixed with hydrochloric acid produced by this organ. Therefore, with gastritis with high acidity, taking vinegar can worsen a person’s condition. In case of gastritis with low acidity, vinegar may be useful, but in certain volumes and concentrations it is better to discuss this issue with your doctor.
- And, of course, it should again be recalled that acetic essence can cause a severe chemical burn. The bottle with it should be in the maximum inaccessibility for children. Use it for self in any form is impossible.