Apple cider vinegar shows promise in weight loss and metabolic health

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In a recent study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health, researchers investigated the effects of apple cider vinegar (ACV) intake on weight, blood glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels among Lebanese individuals.

Study: Apple cider vinegar for weight management in Lebanese adolescents and young adults with overweight and obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Image Credit: mama_mia/Shutterstock.com

Background

Obesity, a growing global health concern, is linked to genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that increase the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, common cancers, and osteoarthritis, as well as significantly increasing healthcare costs during childhood and adolescence.

The increasing obesity burden necessitates the development of innovative weight control strategies.

Given its health advantages, ACV has grown in favor of a potential weight-control tool. Studies on hypercaloric diet-fed rats reveal that regular intake lowers oxidative stress, blood sugar, lipid profile, and obesity risk in male murine animals.

Small-scale human studies have shown lower body fat, weight reduction, and a smaller waist circumference.

ACV slows stomach emptying, increases fullness, and decreases hunger. However, more extensive and long-term research is required to comprehend its impacts on body weight.

About the study

In the present randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial, researchers examined the safety and effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in lowering weight and improving lipid and glycemic profiles among young Lebanon residents with elevated body mass index (BMI) values.

The researchers recruited 120 individuals with excess weight and obesity (74 women and 46 men) for the analysis.

The participants were aged 12 to 25 years with a BMI ranging from 27 to 34 kg/m2, did not suffer from chronic diseases or consume medications, and did not consume apple cider vinegar in the previous eight weeks of study initiation. They filled out questionnaires to provide demographic, clinical, and dietary information.

The team randomized the participants to provide the study intervention (5.0, 10, or 15 mL of apple cider vinegar containing 5.0% acetic acid mixed with 250 mL of water regularly) or water containing lactic acid (250 mg per 100 mL) as a placebo (control group) over 12 weeks.

They measured anthropometric characteristics, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels at baseline, week 4.0, week 8.0, and week 12 using fasting blood samples provided by the participants. They excluded individuals reporting heartburn after ACV intake.

The researchers provided the participants with similar-looking placebo and apple cider vinegar bottles and directed them to sip their allocated drink without knowing which one was it.

They were unaware of participant allocation in the two groups. Throughout the trial, subjects consumed regular meals and received personalized phone messages and emails reminding them to drink the placebo or apple cider vinegar.

Results

The mean participant age was 18, 98% were non-vegetarians, 89% consumed at least five meals daily, 87% had non-obese family members, and 98% were not obese during their childhood.

Most participants did not exercise regularly and experienced negative emotions, such as anxiety. None of the participants consumed alcohol or smoked cigarettes, and only 6.7% followed therapeutic diets.

The study showed that three doses of ACV daily between weeks 4 and 12 significantly reduced anthropometric measures such as body mass index, weight, body fat ratio (BFR), waist and hip circumferences, fasting blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The team detected no major risk indicators after 12 weeks of ACV use.

The decreases in body mass index and weight were dose- and time-dependent, with the most significant changes happening in week 12.

The effect of apple cider vinegar on hip/waist circumferences and BFR was time-dependent, with profound effects 12 weeks after ACV intake. However, at weeks 8 and 12, the three dosages showed comparable effectiveness in lowering hip and waist circumferences and BFR relative to baseline.

A 12-week dosage of 15 mL of ACV was the most efficient in lowering these three blood biochemical markers. The results indicate that consuming 15 mL of ACV for at least eight weeks can reduce blood fasting sugar, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels in overweight or obese individuals.

The lack of significant changes in the cardiometabolic parameters in the placebo group and similar dietary intake and physical activity levels between the study groups indicated that ACV intake likely improved BMI, body weight, BFR, and waist and hip circumferences.

Participants reported no evident detrimental or adverse effects during their 12-week ACV administration.

Conclusion

The study findings showed that consuming apple cider vinegar lowered anthropometric factors while improving blood glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels in overweight or obese adolescents and adults.

The findings may support evidence-based recommendations for using ACV as a dietary intervention in obesity control. Future research with longer follow-ups and larger sample sizes could increase the generalizability of the study findings.

Further research should evaluate the effects of neutralized acetic acid on metabolic and anthropometric parameters and ACV effect alterations with age, particularly in older populations and menopausal women.

Journal reference:
  • Abou-Khalil R., Andary J., and El-Hayek E. (2024) Apple cider vinegar for weight management in Lebanese adolescents and young adults with overweight and obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2024;0:e000823. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2023-000823.

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Written by

Pooja Toshniwal Paharia

Dr. based clinical-radiological diagnosis and management of oral lesions and conditions and associated maxillofacial disorders.

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