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Apple cider vinegar is marketed as a natural remedy that aids weight loss, reduces cholesterol levels, and lowers blood sugar.
Some say it's also a great hangover remedy.
But is any of this true? Does apple cider vinegar really have any effect on hangover symptoms?
With so many hangover cure myths out there, it can be hard to separate the health fads from the truth.
In this article, we will explore what nutrients are in apple cider vinegar and whether it has any benefits for a hangover.
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
First things first: what is apple cider vinegar, exactly?
As the name suggests, it's vinegar made from apples. The apples are first made into juice, then fermented by adding yeast and bacteria to the liquid.
During the fermentation process, the sugar in the juice is broken down into alcohol. Then, that alcohol is broken down into acetic acid. Acetic acid is essentially vinegar!
What Are the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?
You may have heard about people using apple cider vinegar for a number of health benefits, not just for hangovers.
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Lowering cholesterol
- Weight loss aid
However, take all benefits with a grain of salt. Not much scientific evidence has been found for these health claims. In the small number of studies into apple cider vinegar, it's been found to have very little effect on the perceived benefits mentioned above.(2)(3)
At the end of the day, it’s only vinegar!
Causes of a hangover
Before we look at whether apple cider vinegar is good for hangovers, we first need to go over the causes of a hangover. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just dehydration.
The science of hangovers is complicated and there's no single cause. Scientists agree that the following factors are involved:
- Inflammation: Congeners and by-products of alcohol metabolism such as acetaldehyde react with your cells which fuels cellular inflammation.
- Reduced sleep quality: Alcohol blocks your brain from reaching the REM stage of sleep. This is crucial for waking up fully rested.
- Hormonal imbalances: Alcohol disrupts the normal functioning of hormonal pathways including insulin and cortisol regulation.
- Dehydration: Alcohol is a diuretic and makes your kidneys flush out water.
These are just some of the ways in which alcohol disrupts the normal functioning of your body.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Hangovers?
At the time of writing, there are no studies looking into apple cider vinegar as a hangover remedy specifically.
Unfortunately, it’s just a myth that apple cider vinegar is good for hangovers. The reason is that it’s basically just vinegar. If apple cider vinegar was good for hangovers, then the same would be true for any type of vinegar!
Many consider apple cider vinegar a “superfood”. However, it looks like it's another health fad.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Lots of people experience hangover heartburn and there are lots of reasons why this happens. These include increased stomach acid production and slower gut motility after drinking.(4)
Apple cider vinegar is an acid that will, in theory, increase your stomach acidity which can exacerbate indigestion.
As with any acidic substance, Acetic acid can also weaken the enamel in your teeth. So regular use should be avoided to keep your teeth healthy.
If you're going to drink apple cider vinegar for any reason, it may be a good idea to dilute it in water first instead of drinking it neat.
Can you drink apple cider vinegar after drinking alcohol?
Sure you can! But it’s unlikely to have any particular benefit.
Alcohol is an irritant and so is acetic acid (apple cider vinegar). Therefore, it has the potential to leave you with an upset stomach.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you've had too much alcohol for your liver to handle.
The best way to prevent a hangover is by drinking within your limits, eating before going out, and keeping well hydrated.
You could also consider avoiding darker-colored drinks such as whiskey and red wine. That's because they contain a higher concentration of congeners. These are by-products formed these types of alcohol are produced and later, aged in barrels. Congeners are what give drinks like whiskey and wine their distinctive aroma and taste. But unfortunately, they're known to make hangovers a lot worse.
Apple cider vinegar hangover remedy - The verdict
So is apple cider vinegar good for hangovers?
Well, as you’ve probably guessed by now, it doesn't have any real benefit. In fact, the research suggests that apple cider vinegar may not have any real benefit for anything at all!
Also, if you drink it neat, it may end up irritating your stomach even further because of its acidity. It may be a good idea to dilute apple cider vinegar with water first.
Prevention is key when it comes to hangovers. Drinking within your limits, keeping well hydrated and having a meal before going out will go a long way.
If you’re looking for a remedy to soothe some of your discomforts, try one of these teas!