How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Be Harmful To Your Health

We've all heard about the wonders of apple cider vinegar, and it's with good merit. Apple cider vinegar is believed to contribute to several health benefits, and the pantry staple has even been thought to aid in managing diseases. According to one study, apple cider vinegar may help improve diabetes by lowering blood sugar after meals. It also is believed to lower bad cholesterol, boost good cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and even blood pressure, as per WebMD.

In addition, apple cider vinegar has been identified as having the ability to improve your gut health and reduce body inflammation which contributes to autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. It has also been shown to promote healthy gut bacteria and alleviate skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis (via Everyday Health).

Yet, like with everything else, too much of a good thing can be bad, and relying on apple cider vinegar too heavily can cause some dangerous side effects.

Too much apple cider vinegar can negatively affect digestion

Though in small quantities, apple cider vinegar can prove beneficial, it can interfere with digestion for some people.

"When you drink too much—more than two tablespoons—it can begin to interact with the absorption of other nutrients," registered dietician nutritionist Juliana Tamayo tells Eat This, Not That. "This causes food to sit in your stomach for hours and delays gastric emptying. In extreme cases, that leads to gastroparesis, which can lead to bloating, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and more." Gastroparesis or delayed stomach emptying can also interfere with absorbing prescription medication properly.

According to Healthline, drinking pure apple cider vinegar without diluting it with water can potentially cause burns in the throat and esophagus and erode tooth enamel due to its high acidity. It may also cause indigestion which, ironically, is one of the reasons why it can also work for weight loss. If you feel queasy, you simply don't feel like eating.

Side effects from long-term use of apple cider vinegar

Prolonged use of apple cider vinegar has the potential to cause serious side effects. Though more research is necessary, one long-term study chronicled a 28-year-old woman who drank eight ounces of apple cider vinegar every day for six years. She was eventually hospitalized for low potassium and other changes in her blood. While in the hospital, she was also diagnosed with osteoporosis — a disease that impacts bone density — which typically affects the elderly. Doctors believe minerals were being extracted from her bones to counter the high acidic levels from the vinegar.

"When you have low potassium, you can also experience muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue," says board-certified internist Dr. Soma Mandal (via Women's Health). "This is even more concerning for people who are taking blood pressure medications such as diuretics."

If you want to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your daily routine, starting slowly with one teaspoon diluted with eight ounces of water is best. However, check in with your doctor before you begin.