6 ways apple cider vinegar helps men’s health

People have consumed vinegar for thousands of years. This potent, fermented liquid takes center stage in sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar that has gotten a lot of buzz over the last few years. Many wellness writers and influencers claim numerous apple cider vinegar benefits for men (and women). They say it’s a cure for everything from weight loss to erectile dysfunction. 

So, is apple cider vinegar good for erectile dysfunction? What about other beneficial effects of apple cider vinegar for men? We asked healthcare professionals to weigh in on what ACV can (or can’t) do for men’s health.

What is apple cider vinegar?

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Vinegar is a fermented liquid that includes water, acetic acid, and tiny amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other naturally occurring chemical compounds. According to Harvard T.H. Chan’s School of Public Health, it has been used for more than 7,000 years as a preservative, medicine, and wellness beverage. Vinegar can be made by fermenting a variety of carbohydrates including apples, grapes, cherries, rice, and wheat. 

“Apple cider vinegar comes from crushed apples, yeast, and sugar,” explains Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, a nutrition consultant and writer based in Chicago. The mixture is fermented twice—once into alcohol, then again to convert the alcohol into acid—and tastes pungent and sour after completion.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes in two forms: filtered and unfiltered. The difference is that unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains the “mother,” a sediment of bacteria and yeast. Shanta Retelny adds that the “mother” is said to have gut health benefits because ingesting it may add probiotics to the digestive tract. 

These days, many people keep a bottle of ACV in the kitchen for cooking, pickling, topping on salads, and even disinfecting surfaces. 

6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar for men

There are many potential health benefits for men who want to incorporate ACV into their diets, and anecdotal accounts of its healing properties abound. However, apple cider vinegar should never be taken as a substitute for medication.

“Like any natural remedy, many of the studies about apple cider vinegar are small, and the findings are not significant to support actual health claims for apple cider vinegar,” Shanta Retelny says. However, sometimes natural remedies are simply not given the attention and funding for large-scale clinical trials. People have reported personal health benefits from ACV for many years, and it may not hurt—and might even benefit your health—to add it to a healthy diet.

Here are six ways apple cider vinegar might benefit men.

1. Better weight loss

One of the main claims about apple cider vinegar is that it can aid weight loss or weight management efforts. But what does the research say?

In a small 2018 study, all 39 participants restricted their calorie intake for 12 weeks. Half the group also took two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with lunch and dinner. At the end of the study, the ACV group lost an average of ​​8.8 pounds, while the other participants lost an average of 5 pounds.

Still, research on apple cider vinegar for weight loss and metabolism is limited. “The evidence is not conclusive that it can help with significant and sustainable weight loss,” Shanta Retelny adds. 

Bottom line: When eaten as part of a balanced diet, ACV might help men (or women) reduce body weight and body fat mass more quickly, but there’s no guarantee. Apple cider vinegar is no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. 

2. Managing blood sugar 

People with Type 2 diabetes are often interested in foods and home remedies for better blood sugar control. Apple cider vinegar might positively affect blood glucose levels when ingested regularly for a long time. This is one of the most well-documented apple cider vinegar benefits for men and women.

“Typically, one food is not a cure-all for managing blood sugar,” Shanta Retelny says. “But a recent meta-analysis found that apple cider vinegar, when used without other interventions for longer than eight weeks, showed an improvement in fasting plasma glucose.” 

Still, many factors play into your blood sugar levels. While ACV might play a small role in blood sugar management, you should never rely on it to lower blood sugar quickly or use it as a replacement for a healthy diet, exercise, or diabetes medications.

RELATED: What are normal blood sugar levels?

3. Lowering cholesterol

If you’re among the 86 million American adults with high cholesterol, consuming ACV might be an easy way to help. 

Pointing to the same meta-analysis that found apple cider vinegar helpful for managing blood sugar, Shanta Retelny explains that the research also showed that total cholesterol decreased for people who consume 15 mg (about one tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar daily. 

“This suggests that apple cider vinegar may have a positive effect for people with high total cholesterol levels,” she adds. But as always, ACV is not a “magic bullet” and should never be substituted for your prescription cholesterol medications.

RELATED: How to lower cholesterol | Low cholesterol diet

4. Controlling blood pressure

The American Heart Association states that almost half of American adults have high blood pressure. Many factors contribute to high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes.

ACV may help control blood pressure in a very indirect way. As mentioned, it may benefit weight loss efforts and blood sugar management—both critical factors in getting high blood sugar under control. Limited research indicates a potential link between ACV and high blood pressure, including a study using rats. More research is needed to know if there is an impact on humans.

In the end, blood pressure management would be a long-term benefit of apple cider vinegar (if it is a benefit at all). There is more evidence that other healthy lifestyle changes like exercise and reducing salt intake could positively impact your blood pressure.

5. Killing harmful bacteria

If you want to go the extra mile to ensure your salads and raw vegetables are safe to eat, add apple cider vinegar to your cart. Research suggests that ACV can eliminate harmful bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses. This is one of the most accessible short-term benefits of keeping apple cider vinegar in your pantry.

One 2005 study found that tossing salmonella-contaminated arugula with a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar significantly reduced the bacteria. A 2018 study also suggested that ACV can help eliminate E. coli and Candida albicans, the fungus responsible for yeast infections.

6. Improving skin health

Most benefits of apple cider vinegar for men come from consuming it. However, applying diluted ACV to your skin may also provide benefits.

A review indicates that vinegar has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Applying it to the skin may help with itchiness, stretch marks, fungal infections, and more. 

The evidence for ACV as a cure for specific skin ailments like acne or eczema is limited, and no clinical trials have been completed. ACV’s acidic content could cause irritation, so do a patch test before applying it to breakouts, rashes, or scalp dandruff. 

Apple cider vinegar for erectile dysfunction: Does it work?

If you are one of the 30 million American men experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), you might wonder: Is apple cider vinegar good for erectile dysfunction? The answer is not so straightforward.

There are no randomized, well-executed, or known studies on how apple cider vinegar affects erections, says Kelly Casperson, MD, a urologist at Pacific Northwest Urology in Bellingham, Washington. She adds that there are many more effective natural treatments for ED, such as avoiding alcohol, exercising more, and getting better sleep as sexual health is deeply impacted by overall health.

There is evidence, however, that ACV can improve some of the conditions that cause erectile dysfunction, including obesity and high cholesterol. For best results, add apple cider vinegar to a diet of whole foods, including those also known to promote blood flow, such as berries, fatty fish, and walnuts. For moderate to severe erectile dysfunction, your healthcare provider might also recommend medications, such as Viagra (sildenafil citrate) or Cialis (tadalafil).

How to take apple cider vinegar

There is no set amount of apple cider vinegar a man should drink to get the best health benefits. The weight loss study required participants to take two tablespoons of ACV twice a day, while the salmonella study simply required salad greens to be soaked in vinegar and lemon juice for 15 minutes.

Apple cider vinegar should not be taken straight like a shot. The acid can erode tooth enamel and cause an upset stomach, especially if taken without food. 

Shanta Retelny recommends starting with a diluted mixture of one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. If you find that even diluted ACV upsets your stomach, diminish the amount of vinegar and only drink it after a full meal.

If you’re unable to drink ACV, it can be easily incorporated into salad dressings, marinades, or fermented foods. You could add a couple of tablespoons to a smoothie, juice, or other fruity beverage. Supplements and apple cider vinegar gummies are also available, but it is best to talk to your healthcare professional before trying them.

Apple cider vinegar side effects 

Despite all the hype, ingesting apple cider vinegar can sometimes cause unpleasant symptoms. Possible apple cider vinegar side effects include:

  • Tooth erosion
  • Esophageal damage
  • Low potassium (hypokalemia)
  • Gastrointestinal upset

Always ask your healthcare provider before taking daily doses of apple cider vinegar for any health conditions or potential health benefits for men. This is especially important if you take insulin, diuretics, or other potassium-lowering medications like sodium bicarbonate, albuterol, or Veltassa (patiromer). 



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