Does apple cider vinegar help with diabetes management?

Estée van Lingen, a registered dietitian, explores the potential advantages of apple cider vinegar for diabetes management.

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What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is fermented juice from crushed apple. It has all the nutrients of apple preserved in vinegar liquid.

Raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is usually the best choice. It may be cloudy, but this means it’s higher in beneficial bacteria.

Complementary therapy for diabetes

Apple cider vinegar has various health benefits and one of those benefits is regulation of blood glucose levels. Diabetes, which is characterised by high blood glucose levels, is managed by medication and dietary and lifestyle changes. However, many people with diabetes also incorporate natural remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, to complement their primary treatment and overall management of their diabetes.

Health benefits 

Regulating blood glucose levels – It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels after meals, especially in people with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. It occurs due to its effect of reducing a glucose spike after a meal through acetic acid that helps to inhibit the digestion of refined carbohydrates, slowing down the conversion of starches into sugars.

Enhancing insulin sensitivity – Insulin resistance is a key factor in Type 2 diabetes, where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin’s action. Studies suggest that it may help enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better utilise glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to improved glycaemic control and reduced reliance on insulin.

Weight management – Obesity is a significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes; maintaining a healthy weight is essential for managing the condition. It has been suggested that apple cider vinegar helps with appetite suppression and increased feelings of fullness. This may help to consume less calories and achieve weight loss goals since it only has three calories per tablespoon which is way less than standard salad dressings or marinades.

Supporting heart health – People with diabetes are also at increased risk for cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease and stroke. Apple cider vinegar consumption has been linked to improvements in various cardiovascular risk factors, including lower blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) and improved cholesterol levels. By supporting heart health, it can contribute to overall diabetic management.

Anti-inflammatory effects – Chronic inflammation plays a significant role in development and progression of diabetes and its complications. Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-inflammatory properties attributed to its bioactive compounds like phenols and antioxidants. By reducing inflammation, it may help minimise the complications experienced in diabetes and also improve overall health.

Gut health and digestive benefits – Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota is essential for optimal metabolic function. Apple cider vinegar promotes gut health by acting as a prebiotic (food) for probiotics which is the good bacteria in the gut. Additionally, it may assist in alleviating symptoms such as bloating and indigestion.

Easy and versatile – Apple cider vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be easily incorporated into various foods. From salad dressings and marinades to beverages and condiments, there are numerous creative ways to add it into your diet. However, it’s essential to dilute it properly and not over consume it due to the potential side effects like tooth enamel erosion and throat irritation.

How to take apple cider vinegar effectively:

  1. Dilute it in water (20ml in 40ml of water).
  2. Consider taking it before meals to help control blood glucose.
  3. Make your own salad dressing or marinade by mixing it with olive oil, fresh or dried herbs.
  4. Remember that individual responses vary, so it’s essential to monitor your blood glucose levels closely.

Always consult your healthcare provider

While apple cider vinegar shows promise as a complementary approach to diabetes management, it’s essential to use it cautiously and in conjunction with medical advice and conventional treatment methods.

Incorporating apple cider vinegar (about two teaspoons per day) into a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle may offer several potential benefits. These include improved blood glucose control, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and better overall health for people living with diabetes.

As with any natural remedy, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diabetes management regimen.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

This article is sponsored by Safari Vinegar in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the contributor’s own work and not influenced by Safari Vinegar in any way.

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