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Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must and has a pale to medium amber color. Unpasteurized or organic ACV contains mother of vinegar, which has a cobweb-like appearance and can make the vinegar look slightly congealed.
ACV is used in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, food preservatives, and chutneys, among other things. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and Yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.
Vinegar (and other acidic liquids) have long been proposed as agents to enable weight loss; one proposed mechanism is that it prolongs the sensation of satiety after eating. A 2009 study on mice showed that consuming acetic acid (the active component in ACV), upregulates the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes in the liver causing a suppression in body fat accumulation.
In a double-blind experiment, obese Japanese were assigned to three different groups based on similar body weights, body mass indexes (BMI), and waist circumference. Each group drank a 500 ml drink containing either 30 ml, 15 ml, or 0 ml of vinegar daily for 12 weeks. Those in the 30 ml and 15 ml groups had lower BMI, visceral fat area, waist circumference, serum triglyceride, and body weight to the control group of 0 ml. The 12-week weight losses were modest: 1.2 kg in the 15 ml group and 1.7 kg in the 30 ml group. These two groups consumed a similar number of calories to the control group and also performed a similar amount of exercise, so the effect is not likely to have been due to an impact on appetite or other lifestyle changes. It was concluded that consumption of vinegar might reduce obesity.
A report regarding an Austrian patient, who had consumed excessive amounts of apple cider vinegar (up to 250 ml per day) for six years suggests that long-term, high dosage intake of apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels in the body as well as reduce bone density (osteoporosis); it is theorized that excessive intake of vinegar can cause hypokalemia, hyperreninemia, and osteoporosis. Apple cider vinegar contains chromium which can alter insulin levels and it is therefore recommended that people who have diabetes should talk to their doctors before using ACV. ACV is highly acidic; in one recorded instance, a woman experienced esophageal burns after an ACV pill got caught in her throat.
Apple cider vinegar tablets are not well regulated, may vary dramatically in terms of vinegar content from brand to brand, and lack evidence of efficacy.
This article incorporates material from the Citizendium article "Vinegar", which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License but not under the GFDL.