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Are you hoping to lower your cholesterol levels, and wondering if apple cider vinegar could help you out there? This overview of the available research should help you separate fact from fiction.

Apple cider vinegar is, if you believe enthusiasts, pretty much a cure-all. The health benefits of apple cider vinegar have been said to include weight loss, reduced blood glucose levels in diabetes patients, cancer-fighting properties, and antimicrobial properties. If you think you could be suffering from high cholesterol and are wondering how you can lower your cholesterol levels, you will come across claims that apple cider vinegar can help you out there, too. 

We all know that it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction (or quackery) however, so what's the real deal? Can apple cider vinegar reduce your cholesterol and protect your heart health? 

What Do You Need To Know About Cholesterol Levels?

Cholesterol has a terrible reputation, but your body needs some cholesterol — a waxy substance naturally present throughout the body — to function. We can distinguish between different types of cholesterol:

  • Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol is also called "bad cholesterol" because excess LDL cholesterol in your blood can clog up your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease.
  • High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol is also called "good cholesterol" because it actually protects you against the build-up of LDL cholesterol in your body, thus promoting heart health. 
  • Triglycerides are a kind of fat found in your blood. Again, you need some — but if your triglyceride levels are too high, your risk of coronary artery disease shoots up. 

You might be at risk of higher cholesterol levels if you are older, overweight or obese, eat a fat-rich and unhealthy diet, or if you have a family history of high cholesterol levels. You won't usually experience any symptoms, which is why you should ask your doctor if you need a blood test to check your cholesterol levels.

If you're diagnosed with high cholesterol, you and your doctor will start talking about how to lower your cholesterol. You may be prescribed statins, and will certainly be advised to eat a healthy diet in which fruits and vegetables are a priority and you leave high cholesterol foods behind. Exercise can likewise lower your cholesterol levels. [1, 2]

Lifestyle modifications play a large role in reducing your cholesterol levels, as you see. If you were diagnosed with high cholesterol, or if a loved one was, you may wonder what proactive steps you can take to attain better health. Natural remedies to lower your cholesterol levels may come to be an important part of your cholesterol management plan. What do you need to know if you were considering apple cider vinegar as a high cholesterol treatment?

Can You Lower Your Cholesterol With Apple Cider Vinegar?

Organic apple cider vinegar brands, like Bragg's organic raw apple cider vinegar, contain numerous antioxidants like chlorogenic acids, gallic acid, and catechin. These antioxidants have been found to reduce oxidative stress, which is implicated in numerous diseases, ranging from cancer to ulcers and from infections to excess cholesterol. [3]

Proponents of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar typically recommend using an apple cider vinegar drink — either neat or diluted with water, and sometimes with added baking soda to counteract the acidity of acetic acid — before meal consumption. The question is clear: can you really reduce cholesterol and protect your heart health with apple cider vinegar, or is this a nice theory at best and a simple scam at worst?

Numerous rodent studies [4, 5, 6] show that the consumption of apple cider vinegar in rats and mice indeed lowers their LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") and triglyceride levels while increasing their HDL ("good") cholesterol

Does the effect carry over to humans? Research in this area is, unfortunately, still rather slim — but not non-existent. 

One study found that ingesting apple cider vinegar prior to eating high cholesterol foods had no impact on the postprandial lipid response, that is the absorption of lipids (fats), in healthy people during the study period. Its authors recommended further study into the long-term cholesterol reduction effects of vinegar intake. [7]

Other studies have found that taking 30 milliliters of apple cider vinegar twice a day significantly reduces LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing HDL cholesterol — the so-called "good" cholesterol. This may particularly be true for obese people. The authors of a review on the topic noted that grain vinegar may have a similar positive effect. Once again, this has been studied in rodents but human research regarding the cholesterol reducing effects of grain vinegar are currently not available. [8]

One study further demonstrated that women who drizzle vinegar on their salads have a lower risk of fatal ischemic heart disease, indicating that vinegar can protect your heart health [9]. 

Finally, research shows that apple cider vinegar makes people feel full more quickly. This might indirectly lower your cholesterol by causing you to eat lower amounts of high cholesterol foods — because you're satiated and don't feel like eating more. [10]

The Bottom Line: Apple Cider Vinegar Might Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels

The available body of scientific literature offers us impressive data on the cholesterol-fighting effects of apple cider vinegar and other types of vinegar in rodents. While rodents are used as study subjects precisely because their responses are often similar to those of humans, they do not always react in exactly the same way. 

Research on the cholesterol-reducing effects of apple cider vinegar in humans is limited, and the results of the studies that are available can only be said to be inconclusive. Having said that, there is some evidence that apple cider vinegar may reduce your cholesterol levels. If you are interested in trying it, please discuss this with your healthcare provider before starting, though, because apple cider vinegar just might lead to tooth erosion and esophageal injury as well [11, 12]. Meanwhile, though, there is a good chance that apple cider vinegar and baking soda help with weight loss and that apple cider vinegar can manage blood glucose levels in diabetics

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