And does science support its health efficacy?
Apple cider vinegar is on a tear. Global sales of ACV are projected to grow by 5.6% per year through to 2030, according to Emergen Research.1 This momentum is due in part to consumers turning to ACV as a panacea for all manner of health concerns.
“Apple cider vinegar has always been recommended [for general health],” says Michael Sodaro, executive vice president of sales at Nutralliance (Yorba Linda, CA). “It continues to be a strong ingredient in the market due to its many health benefits.”
Consumers are using apple cider vinegar for weight loss, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and more. As more ACV brands enter the market, there will be pressure for companies to make sure they stand out.
Transparency Helps Brands Stand Out
Apple cider vinegar’s popularity means there’s fierce competition between brands to capture consumer demand. Brands have tried to separate themselves from competitors in a variety of ways, such as competing on price or taste. Mahmud Kara, MD, founder of supplement brand KaraMD, says that not all apple cider vinegar products are created equal, and some brands differentiate themselves by using natural or non-GMO ingredients.
Increasingly, brands are becoming more transparent about their apple cider vinegar products, listing ingredient quantities or offering return or guarantee policies. Kara says that while some brands may stand out by making appealing claims, it doesn’t necessarily mean those claims are supported; thus, brands can elevate themselves by providing supporting evidence for claims. Supply chain transparency, he says, is another way brands can stand out in this space.
Emerging Research Validates ACV’s Promise
Apple cider vinegar has been popular among consumers for several years. It’s arguable, however, that in some cases, hype for the product has run ahead of science. Now, though, emerging studies are demonstrating that apple cider vinegar can and does influence human health.
“Apple cider vinegar can help with our digestive processes because of its antibacterial properties,” Kara says. “Some research suggests it can help break down bad bacteria in the gut, which can lead to an improved balance of good bacteria.”
Kara says there’s also emerging research to indicate that the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar, acetic acid, can reduce appetite and suppress food cravings. Studies are also taking place to investigate whether ACV helps to lower and stabilize blood sugar levels, he says.
For instance, one previous animal study examined the effects of acetic acid on blood pressure in hypertensive rats. The rats were fed a control diet for six days before being separated into three groups. Each group had the same average body weight and average blood pressure. For the following eight weeks, the rats were fed an experimental diet designed to increase body weight and blood pressure. The rats were then assigned to either a control diet, a diet enriched with acetic acid, or a diet enriched with rice vinegar. The rats had their blood pressure and heart rate taken once per week for eight weeks. After eight weeks, the rats receiving acetic acid and rice vinegar had lower blood pressure levels than the rats in the control group.2
The Future of ACV
Apple cider vinegar products are continuing to grow in popularity as consumers look for a panacea that can address an array of health concerns. For blood pressure and cholesterol support to weight management and more, consumers are finding apple cider vinegar a useful supplement.
As apple cider vinegar products continue to gain validation and capture consumer attention, the products themselves are evolving beyond simple liquid-form vinegar. Brands are now developing new delivery formats, like gummies. Kara says there are even some efforts underway to combine apple cider vinegar with other ingredients like medium-chain triglyceride oil.
As product formats diversify and more brands enter the space, backing up claims with robust research and providing consumers with transparency will be essential.