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Health Journal

“Exciting new research is now showing that apple cider vinegar may help manage blood glucose in those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes.”


pressFor centuries, apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally, as a natural remedy, as well as a common food ingredient in many cuisines worldwide. Exciting new research is now showing that apple cider vinegar may help manage blood glucose in those at risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Organic apple cider vinegar—a food? A medicine? We talked about this exciting new research with Dr. Carol Johnston, PhD, RD, Professor of Nutrition and Associate Director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University. The following interview is adapted from a radio interview on the Health & Longevity radio show. The entire interview can be listened to at www.HealthAndLongevityRadio.com.

Dr. Westerdahl: Tell us about your study that has just come out in the Journal of Functional Foods with the title: Is Vinegar Ingestion at Mealtime Reduced Fasting Blood Glucose Concentrations in Healthy Adults at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.* But first tell us about the prevalence of diabetes here in the United States today. What are we looking at in the U.S. and worldwide a far as diabetes is concerned—Type 2 Diabetes particularly?

Mom-and-girlDr. Johnston: Presently, 7 to 10% of the population is diagnosed with Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes, but what is really concerning, is that there are many more people at risk for diabetes. Their fasting glucose levels are elevated to the point where they can be diagnosed as pre-diabetic—as many as 50% of adults.

Dr. Westerdahl: I know you are concerned, but how is conventional medicine treating this disease?

Dr. Johnston: There are medicines that work fairly well for the pre-diabetic state and for early diabetes, however, many do not want to get on these drugs. They’re expensive and have side effects, and many people now want a natural remedy. So I turned to what I call “simple dietary strategy”—small changes that can be sustainable. And I remembered an article I read in the 1980s that stated vinegar might be such as agent because of its effect on lowering blood glucose levels. I thought, “Wow, this is great” because it’s a small change people can incorporate into their diets. There has been so little published regarding vinegar as an anti-glycemic agent, so I just took off with it. Every single study I have done, has verified that apple cider vinegar is helpful, and there are research groups around the world showing the exact same results I am.

Dr. Westerdahl: Tell us about your study?

Dr. Johnston: I actually used people who were at high risk for developing diabetes. I thought, if 50% of the adult population is at risk for pre-diabetes, let’s see if apple cider vinegar will be helpful. We recruited individuals with elevated fasting glucose levels, but not at the level of being diabetic. Some were overweight and some were not. We didn’t have them change their diet or level of physical activity. The only change, was half of the people consumed a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar at two different meals during the day. The other half of the subjects were put on apple cider vinegar pills. These vinegar pills only contain 40mg of acetic acid, and I knew from previous work that 40mg wasn’t enough acetic acid to change blood glucose levels. That was my “control” group. The subjects thought they were getting apple cider vinegar, so it was the perfect placebo.

Dr. Westerdahl: You were actually giving the Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar drink, which was sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener?

Cup-of-apple-ciderDr. Johnston: Yes, we used the Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar drink, which is already very tasty and has one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per cup. We had our subjects drink one cup of the Apple Cider Vinegar at the start of the lunch meal and then one cup of the drink at the start of the dinner meal. The study lasted for 12 weeks. We gave the subjects a glucometer, which is a little gadget that records blood glucose levels. When the research period was over, we had 12 weeks of data from the group that consumed Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and the group that took the apple cider vinegar pills. It was just so exciting to see these results, because the effect on the fasting glucose was immediate. We saw an approximately 14% drop in fasting glucose levels, which is amazing, and that reduction in fasting glucose was retained during the entire 12 weeks. The reduction for the vinegar pills—they actually did see a slight reduction—was about 4%, but not significantly different from the beginning of the study. So a little bit of acetic acid does a little bit of good, but does not produce a significant drop in blood glucose levels.

Dr. Westerdahl: Should people realize that apple cider vinegar pills don’t provide much benefit?

Dr. Johnston: Correct. I would be very careful about consuming concentrated acetic acid, because acetic acid is a poison. It should be diluted and not consumed in a concentrate – at least that’s my opinion.

Dr. Westerdahl: So, apple cider vinegar can benefit people with Type 2 Diabetes by becoming part of their lifestyle habits?

ACVD_Stevia_C2Dr. Johnston: Yes, especially because incorporating apple cider vinegar into meals is so easy to do. Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is available as a drink, and it can also be used as a condiment. People can use it as vinaigrette dressing and add it to any type of salad or vegetable.

Dr. Westerdahl: In your previous research work, you suggest one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at mealtime as an effective dose?

Dr. Johnston: Correct—one to two. In the current study just published, we used one tablespoon. In previous work, we used two tablespoons. But one tablespoon is enough to see this benefit.

Dr. Westerdahl: You are seeing a very similar response with the apple cider vinegar as you would see with diabetes medication. Is that correct?

Dr. Johnston: That is absolutely correct. And I think that this needs to be clear to doctors. I have spoken to doctors who have been very, very skeptical about this. And so, of course, as a scientist, I have to do the research to show that you get the same benefit from this dosage of apple cider vinegar as you get from some hypoglycemic agents, these are oral hypoglycemic agents, not insulin. When you look at the studies where the pharmaceutical drug is used for 12 weeks in a high risk population and compare the results with apple cider vinegar use, you see very similar reductions in the fasting glucose. But early in pre-diabetics and early in diabetes, diet and exercise are critical. I think doctors really need to understand this, and I do these comparisons to make it very clear that at this early stage, the results are very similar. To learn more about Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and the ACV drink discussed in this article, visit, www.BraggACV.com.

dr-john-westerdahlDr. John Westerdahl is the Director of the Bragg Health Institute and Director of Health Science for Bragg Live Food Products. His international radio show, Health & Longevity appears on the LifeTalk Radio Network. He is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Board Certified Anti-Aging Health Practitioner.

dr-carol-johnstonCarol Johnston, Ph.D., R.D.– Professor of Nutrition and Associate Director of the School of Nutrition & Health Promotion at Arizona State University.