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How to Control Blood Sugar by Sipping Vinegar

Could apple cider vinegar help control blood sugar? Some research and one reader's experience suggests that it might help.

Almost 30 million Americans have diabetes, and another 86 million adults have prediabetes. Elevated blood sugar puts the individual at risk for developing frank diabetes unless something is done to control blood sugar.

Non-Drug Approaches to Control Blood Sugar:

Q. My doctor was so concerned about my rising blood sugar that he had me get a meter and start testing my blood every few days. He thought I’d need diabetes medication.

I decided to try sipping some apple cider vinegar before each meal. It helped bring my blood sugar down so that now it is where it should be when I test it.

I take a full tablespoon in water just before I begin eating. Others might like to know about this, as it can’t hurt and might help.

The BBC’s Demonstration Project:

A. The BBC show, “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor,” did a cute demonstration of the effects of apple cider vinegar. They gave a few healthy people two bagels for breakfast and measured their blood sugar afterwards. On subsequent days, the volunteers drank apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar in water before eating their bagels. Then they tested blood sugar.

Blood sugar was 36 percent lower on the day they had taken apple cider vinegar first. Malt vinegar did not change blood sugar significantly.

Is There Any Science?

This was television, not science. Clinical research has shown, however, that vinegar can lower blood sugar after meals (Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Aug., 2016). This does seem to work better for healthy individuals than for those with diabetes. Even people with type 2 diabetes have lower post-meal blood sugar when they consume vinegar first (Journal of Diabetes Research, online May 6, 2015). Vinegar encourages muscle to take up glucose, and this may explain its benefit.

We discuss blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. If you are interested in using bitter melon, cinnamon, fenugreek or nopal as well as vinegar, you will find details that can help. Following a diet that has relatively little processed food can also be useful.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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