A Google search for apple cider vinegar will bring up over 17,600,000 results. From diabetes to acid reflux, this humble store cupboard staple has been credited with the power to “cure” all manner of ailments. But is this unassuming condiment really the panacea that many claim it to be? More to the point; is it possible it might also help relieve the symptoms of adrenal fatigue? Let’s take a closer look at the facts.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermenting the sugars from apples. This fermentation process produces acetic acid, the active component which makes it so valuable for health.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Your Digestive System
Apple cider vinegar has an extremely beneficial effect on your digestive system. This is because alongside natural enzymes and probiotics, it contains acetic acid (which has a similar pH to stomach acid,) which helps your body to break down food.
Proper transformation of the food you eat is vital if you have adrenal fatigue. Putting it bluntly, there’s little point in switching to a healthy diet if you’re not absorbing any of the vital vitamins and minerals you need to support an overwrought endocrine system.
There’s another less obvious reason why good digestion is fundamental for recovery from adrenal exhaustion. Improperly digested food leads to a build-up of waste in the gut. This is because partially digested food particles can take longer to pass through the digestive tract giving rise to a number of health issues including candida, lethargy, and even depression (new research continues to shed light on the relationship between a healthy microbiome and mood.) Acetic acid acts a natural antibiotic, killing harmful bacteria and providing the good bacteria in your gut with the opportunity to proliferate and thrive. This is another obvious bonus for people with adrenal fatigue, whose overwhelmed immune system often allows the balance of good and bad bacteria to get out of whack.
Apple Cider Vinegar And Your Weight
It’s well documented that for many folk with adrenal fatigue, weight loss is a common problem. For those of you reading this and silently nodding your head, here’s how ACV may help you:
- ACV may help to improve insulin sensitivity. Elevated cortisol levels make you crave sugar, which when ingested, must then be kept in check by the fat storing hormone insulin. Insulin takes sugar from the blood and stores it as glycogen (in the liver) or fat. As the body produces more insulin in response to rising sugar levels – insulin resistance (the body needs more and more to gain the same effect) becomes a problem. ACV helps to combat this problem by curbing sugar cravings.
- ACV contains large amounts of pectin which is thought to supress the appetite. It’s also thought that it can somehow “interfere” with the body’s ability to digest starch. This has the effect of reducing the amount of calories available from a meal.
As weight gain is a huge stressor for people with adrenal fatigue, taking ACV as an aid to support weight loss may be one way to provide some relief from your symptoms.
How To Take Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s best to take apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning as a cleansing drink. Add a teaspoon to a glass of warm water for a replacement for your morning coffee. You can drink it neat, but make sure to use a straw so that you protect your teeth enamel.ACV also makes a delicious salad dressing when mixed with olive oil and a little lemon juice and salt and pepper. A simple search will bring up a huge number of recipes online including fire cider – one of my particular favourites!
If you’re looking to purchase apple cider vinegar from the store, make sure you buy a raw, organic, unpasteurised product. Pasteurized apple cider vinegar just doesn’t have the same benefits as raw ACV as the heating process destroys all the valuable probiotics and enzymes that give it its health boosting properties.
It’s also important to source a product that contains the ‘mother’. This means it still contains the beneficial bacteria that turn the apples into vinegar. You can usually spot the mother hanging around in the bottom of the bottle looking like a stringy, cloudy mass. It should also be clearly labelled on the bottle. As with all food products, read the label carefully. As there’s no real definition in law as to what apple cider vinegar must contain, the amounts of acetic acid can vary between products as much as ten per cent.
With any supplement there are advantages and pitfalls. If weight gain and regulation of your blood sugar is a particular concern for you, then supplementing with apple cider vinegar may be worth the time and effort. On the other hand, if chronic emotional stress is your main enemy, then supplementing with vinegar is not going to do a great deal to help with that.
You shouldn’t fall into the trap of supplementing for the sake of it. But a healthy, cheap food like ACV can easily be integrated into your diet through salads and other recipes. We use it in many of the adrenal-supportive recipes in our program.
Remember, not all supplements (even natural ones) are suitable for everyone. ACV may cause potassium levels to fall and therefore should be used with caution by people who are taking heart medication. ACV may also act as a blood thinner and so should not be taken in conjunction with anti-coagulant medication such as warfarin. As always, if you’re unsure if a supplement is suitable for you, seek advice from your health professional.
More information about supplements for adrenal fatigue can be found on the blog. The following articles may be of interest: