Apple Cider Vinegar for IBS

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Given the buzz about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV), it is no surprise that I frequently get asked as to whether it might be helpful for IBS. Unfortunately, home remedies like ACV tend not get research funding like pharmaceutical medications do. This makes it difficult to come to any type of firm conclusion, but let's take a look at the subject:

Purported Health Benefits of ACV:

A search on the web reveals all sorts of claims regarding the health benefits of ACV.

Please note that all of these claims lack scientific backing:

  • Acts as a skin tonic.
  • Detoxifies the body.
  • Eases sore throats.
  • Elevates mood.
  • Eradicates candida.
  • Gets rid of bad breath.
  • Helps with constipation.
  • Helps with diarrhea.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Makes your hair shiny.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Soothes sunburns.
  • Puts the body in an alkaline state.
  • Reduces heartburn.
  • Whitens your teeth.

ACV and Digestion

ACV enjoys a fairly popular reputation for enhancing digestion. The rationale is that ACV enhances the secretion of digestive enzymes and increases stomach acid, both of which would help you to optimally digest the food you have eaten. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of scientific evidence to back this theory.

It has also been purported that ACV is beneficial in reducing both diarrhea and constipation. ACV does contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber, so it is theoretically possible that it may help to absorb liquid from the intestines and help with improved stool formation.

What Does Research Say?

There is very limited research as to the benefits of ACV. Some preliminary studies have looked at the effects of ACV and other types of vinegar on diabetes, but the research is too limited to draw any firm conclusions. I was unable to find any research on the benefits of ACV for IBS.

Should You Try ACV for your IBS?

At this point, I would have to say that it seems highly unlikely that drinking ACV will have any effect on your IBS.

If you do decide to try it anyway, it is generally recommended that you dissolve 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into an 8 ounce glass of water and drink it before your meals. It is too acidic to drink straight, as that may cause problems with your teeth and your esophagus. This high acidity makes the use of ACV in pill form somewhat risky.

It is essential to keep in mind that ACV may interfere with the absorption of any medications you are currently taking, so be sure to check with your physician before including it in your diet. Particular care should be taken if you are on thyroid or blood pressure medication.

If you are looking for natural remedies for your IBS, here are some better ideas:


Zeratsky, K. "Drinking apple cider vinegar for weight loss seems far-fetched. Does it work?" Mayo Clinic April 21, 2012.

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