a bowl of white vinegar

There are many improbable health claims being made online, so it is sensible to be skeptical. We’ve heard from several people who doubt the claims made for apple cider vinegar (or any other variety of acetic acid). We’ve also heard from those who hope that the claims are true and that vinegar can lower cholesterol.

Does Vinegar Lower Cholesterol?

Q. Does vinegar help in reducing cholesterol? I’ve read that one tablespoon in a glass of water daily might help.

A. We have not found convincing clinical trials of this remedy. Animal studies have been inconsistent, though some are encouraging. Chinese scientists reported that black vinegar lowered blood lipids in hamsters that were fed a high-cholesterol diet (Food Chemistry, Feb. 1, 2015).

A summary of vinegar’s effects suggests that it helps against diabetes, infection, obesity and high blood pressure as well as high cholesterol (Journal of Food Science, May, 2014).

Some data suggest that vinegar can help lower blood sugar after a carbohydrate-containing meal (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July, 2010). That could definitely help control triglycerides, a different type of blood lipid.

People who consumed balsamic vinegar in one study had much less oxidation of their LDL cholesterol (Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 2010). They also made fewer foam cells, the cells that invade the lining of the arteries to cause arteriosclerosis.

A study conducted at a chiropractic college found that a supplement containing vinegar (among many other ingredients) along with a weight loss program for 21 days did result in lower cholesterol (Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, March, 2013).

Stories from Readers:

There are plenty of stories. Keith C. commented:

“I read about using 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in two cups of water, right after a meal. Be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after drinking the vinegar solution to protect the enamel on your teeth. I have been doing this once a day right after dinner for about 2 months now and have not yet had my blood sugar or lipid levels checked, so I cannot say if it is effective or not. It is easy and inexpensive so I plan to continue until I see evidence that it does not work for me.”

Wanda reported her experience:

“When my 9/16/11 blood work showed my cholesterol to be 238, the doctor got out his trusty prescription pad and tried to give me Crestor. I said ‘give me a sample.’ I took 1/2 a dose ofor a few days and when my muscles started aching, that was IT! They went into the trash and out came my Best Choices from the Peoples Pharmacy book.

“I wrote down everything I could find about lowering cholesterol. The list is in my kitchen and it reads: Olive Oil, Fish Oil, Oatmeal, Concord Grape Juice & Certo, Niacin (non flush), Magnesium, CoQ10, Pomegranate Juice (2 oz)., Walnuts, Dark Chocolate, Psyllium, Red Yeast Rice. Each day I try to get a little of all these things on the list and don’t sweat it if I don’t. Well, from September 16th to the next blood work on November 20, my cholesterol went from 238 to 205. Yahoo! It works! I’ve never doubted you, but seeing it in black and white feels so good.”

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  1. john

    I have great, proven faith in organic flaxseed oil. I combine 1 desert spoon of O.F.O with organic cottage cheese, mixing with a smart stick mixer at slow speed until the oil can no longer be seen as being separate (The Budwig protocol). Add chopped fresh pineapple and you have a delicious daily aid for a healthy lipid profile. A great addition to a Mediterranean Diet.

  2. Sharon

    My grandmother lived to be 102 years old when she passed away and her cholesterol readings were as high as 280. She didn’t take any medications through out her life.

  3. Barbara

    If you take apple cider vinegar, you will end up with false teeth.
    A friend told me two family members had false teeth in their 50s and she is concerned it might happen to her although she is 40 and has no teeth problems.

    I asked her about the family members’ diets. In discussing this, I also asked if they took apple cider vinegar. She said they did, every morning, to prevent osteoporosis, for about 25 years. It was the fashion to think apple cider vinegar prevented osteoporosis. Now, it is the fashion to think it controls blood sugar. What is does is destroy tooth enamel. I doubt rinsing your mouth with water afterwards will prevent tooth damage. Perhaps careful use of a straw would help.

  4. Berge

    I have coronary artery disease but only take Lipitor 40 mg once a week, because I had side effects.
    Now, I watch my diet also and my all lipids are within normal limits, except my HDL is low for which there is no remedy.

  5. Dianne
    St. Petersburg Fl

    I give blood every 57 days for myself and a concurrent knowledge of my blood pressure reading and cholesterol. I started drinking a tablespoon of the raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a glass of water each day in August 2015 as my reading was 206. This has help lower my cholesterol to 173, (my last reading 12/16). I will keep with this program & have recommended this to my siblings also.

  6. Bruce H

    I have a cholesterol problem: Total 254, LDL 190. I decline to take statins. I DO take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water for other reasons and would be delighted if it helped with my cholesterol. Sorry to say it doesn’t. What DOES help is cutting out dairy, reducing beef consumption and exercising more …… which I will now have to do again after these numbers. If your system can handle it, eating English walnuts will also help.

  7. Luke

    Rice vinegar tastes best. I use it as substitute salt.

  8. dat

    No one is mentioning exercise to control cholesterol. I started exercising regularly at the gym, dropped over 30 pounds and all of my “numbers” came into line. My LDL was at 107 and my doc wanted to put me on statins. I refused and changed my diet a little and continued to exercise and my LDL dropped to 90.

  9. Ann P.

    Would like to stop taking Crestor and need to know if this can be done suddenly or must it be done gradually. Also what foods to be eaten daily to lower cholesterol?

  10. fbl

    With a cholesterol reading of 238, why mess with it? It is good!
    The drug companies and Drs. have done a serious disservice to mankind by creating a fake disease.
    Yes there are a few folks out there with a congenital problem with cholesterol, but most folks only need to adjust their diets. It certainly worked for my hubby!
    Now, can anyone tell me how to RAISE my cholesterol? Mine is too low at 110 and I’ve already had a heart attack, stroke and cancer. I can’t help but think things would have been much different if my cholesterol was normal.
    The only thing that ever raised it was the hydrogenated fats and I refuse to eat the garbage.

  11. bmt

    First of all, total cholesterol is essentially meaningless. We need to know what happened to the LDLs, HDLs, VLDLs, and triglycerides. A total cholesterol reading of 205 could still be associated with a bad LDL number. Also, we need more than one reading to be sure that the lowering is a trend and not just a one-time thing. Also, about the only useful thing I ever learned from a sociology course was that you should not generalize from personal experience, and that’s what the writer is doing. Basically, this personal experience is virtually worthless.

  12. SalW

    My doctor is concerned about my 213 cholesterol level, but I’m not getting back on statins to lower it at age 75 because of too many side effects. It will be interesting to see what new cholesterol guidelines will be released the end of the year when 15 cardiologists set new ones. The present level of 200 was set in 2004 by 8 doctors with conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical companies and thereby monetarialy profited by their decisions.
    This vinegar remedy is worth a try as well as many of the other suggestions from the Peoples Pharmacy to lower cholesterol. Food can be more effective than medicine. By the way, red yeast rice is a statin and the same as lovastatin (mevacor and altocor), the first statin approved by the FDA. It also can have the same potential side effects.

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