If you have been suffering from chronic indigestion but are wary of the side effects of antacids or proton pump inhibitors, we would recommend apple cider vinegar (ACV) for good digestion.
Food travels through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, that is from the food pipe (esophagus) to the large intestine. Along this path, it breaks down into nutrients when acted upon by various nutrient-specific enzymes in the digestive juices secreted by the stomach, pancreas, and liver. Your body absorbs all the nutrients, turns the rest of the food into waste matter in the large intestine, and eventually ejects it as feces.1
A problem at any of these stages would cause a digestive disorder. There can be mechanical problems with swallowing effectively or with the opening of the sphincters in the GI tract. Your digestive disorders may also be caused by your intolerance of certain proteins or sugars in foods. Or they might be caused because your food doesn’t stay long enough in the stomach. It could also be because of an imbalance in the gut bacteria that acts on your food. Here’s how ACV can help you
1. Delays Gastric Emptying And Enhances Digestion
Ideally, food should stay in your stomach long enough for it to be broken down properly by the stomach enzymes before it is passed into the small intestine in a process known as gastric emptying. While proteins are emptied out the fastest, followed by carbs, fats take more time. Intake of dietary fiber helps delay this gastric emptying significantly. Because the modern diet is too focused on proteins and carbs and not enough fiber, indigestion is a common problem.
For indigestion and heartburn, drink 2 tsps of ACV mixed in a glass of water with each meal.
ACV delays gastric emptying so that the stomach acids get more time to break food down. The rate of gastric emptying also depends on receptors in the duodenum in the small intestine, which respond to the physical aspects, like osmotic pressure, and the chemical composition, such as acidity, of the food passed from the stomach.2 If the food is acidic, the receptors send signals to the stomach to slow down gastric emptying. So the stronger the acid content of the meal, the more the delay in emptying.
Acetic acid, being a mild acid, keeps this delay optimum. Too much delay would cause other symptoms like acid reflux, belching, and bloating.
Good News For Diabetics: ACV Reduces Post-Meal Blood Glucose Build-Up
A study found that a couple of teaspoons of vinegar (10 g) during meals can reduce the glucose build-up in your body by 20% after a meal of complex carbs3 by delaying gastric emptying. This is good news for diabetic patients as it will help their body release sugar slowly into the bloodstream. But with diabetic patients who have gastroparesis, a condition where the process of gastric emptying is anyway delayed, it might not be helpful.4
2. Prevents Ulcerative Colitis
For constipation, drink 2 tsps of ACV mixed in a glass of water after waking up in the morning, during the main meal of the day, and just before bedtime.
Sometimes, the microbes in the gut can lead to repeated inflammation of the large intestine lining, a condition known as ulcerative colitis. An animal study on mice with ulcerative colitis has found that diluted vinegar suppressed the inflammation-inducing proteins and also improved the gut’s bacterial makeup by eliminating the bad bacteria with its antibacterial property.5 Apple cider vinegar can also help you fight constipation, a common symptom of ulcerative colitis.
3. Prevents And Treats Diarrhea
For diarrhea, drink 1 tsp of ACV mixed in 275 ml of water 5–6 times a day.
Apple cider vinegar can also help treat diarrhea when taken in the correct dose. However, if you go overboard, the vinegar can give you a runny tummy. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has a strong antibacterial effect, even on food-borne pathogenic bacteria like E.coli, which causes diarrhea. Researchers suggest that acetic acid is effective for the prevention of bacterial food poisoning.6 Moreover, since it is made of apples, skin and flesh, apple cider vinegar contains pectin, a type of fiber found in the apple skin. This can also help bulk up stool and check diarrhea.
So if you are eating out and aren’t entirely sure about the hygienic handling and storing of food, carry with yourself a small vial of apple cider vinegar. Mix and drink up just 2 tsps apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, along with your meal. When a diarrhea attack is underway, drink 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in 275 ml (little more than a cup) 5–6 times a day. This will also help replenish the liquid and electrolytes lost.
|↑1||Your Digestive System and How It Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases|
|↑2||Hunt, J. N., and M. T. Knox. “The slowing of gastric emptying by four strong acids and three weak acids.” The Journal of physiology 222, no. 1 (1972): 187.|
|↑3||Johnston, Carol S., Iwona Steplewska, Cindy A. Long, Lafe N. Harris, and Romina H. Ryals. “Examination of the antiglycemic properties of vinegar in healthy adults.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 56, no. 1 (2010): 74-79.|
|↑4||Hlebowicz, Joanna, Gassan Darwiche, Ola Björgell, and Lars-Olof Almér. “Effect of apple cider vinegar on delayed gastric emptying in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study.” BMC gastroenterology 7, no. 1 (2007): 1.|
|↑5||Shen, Fengge, Jiaxuan Feng, Xinhui Wang, Zhimin Qi, Xiaochen Shi, Yanan An, Qiaoli Zhang et al. “Vinegar treatment prevents the development of murine experimental colitis via inhibition of inflammation and apoptosis.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 64, no. 5 (2016): 1111-1121.|
|↑6||Roe, Andrew J., Conor O’Byrne, Debra McLaggan, and Ian R. Booth. “Inhibition of Escherichia coli growth by acetic acid: a problem with methionine biosynthesis and homocysteine toxicity.” Microbiology 148, no. 7 (2002): 2215-2222.|