Does apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice work?


Apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice are both popular home remedies used for various health benefits. Proponents claim that apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss, blood sugar control, and other issues due to its acetic acid content. Cranberry juice is often consumed to prevent or treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) due to its antibacterial properties. But do these popular remedies really work? Let’s take a closer look at the evidence behind apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermenting apple cider, which turns the sugars into acetic acid. This acetic acid is the main active component of vinegar and may be responsible for its health effects. Here is an overview of the purported benefits of apple cider vinegar and what the research says:

Weight Loss

ACV is often recommended as a weight loss aid. Proponents claim that acetic acid helps increase feelings of fullness, preventing overeating and leading to weight loss over time. Several animal studies showed reduced food intake and weight loss with vinegar supplementation[1]. A 2009 study in people found that those who consumed a drink with 25g of apple cider vinegar at breakfast felt fuller than those who didn’t. They consumed 200-275 fewer calories over the rest of the day[2].

However, a systematic review of studies in humans concluded that evidence was inconsistent. While some studies showed a small amount of weight loss, other studies showed no effect[3]. More research is needed to confirm the impact of ACV on weight.

Blood Sugar Control

Improving blood sugar control is another common claim for apple cider vinegar. In one small study, consuming a drink with 20g of ACV at bedtime reduced fasting blood sugar by 4% the following morning[4]. Another study in people with diabetes found that consuming 2 tbsp of ACV at bedtime lowered fasting blood sugar by 4-6%[5].

However, other studies have not shown a significant benefit. A review concluded that vinegar may improve post-meal blood sugar by 20%, but not fasting blood sugar[6]. More research is needed on this.

Other Benefits

Here are a few other potential benefits of ACV that have been studied to some degree, but require more research:

– Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels[7]

– Improved insulin sensitivity[8]

– Anti-microbial effects against bacteria[9]

– Increased feeling of satiety after a high-carb meal[10]

Overall, evidence on apple cider vinegar is inconsistent. It may offer some benefits when used in cooking or before meals, but more research is needed. It’s best to take any dramatic health claims with a grain of salt.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is commonly consumed to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins and other compounds that may prevent bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the bladder walls, thus preventing or treating UTIs[11].

Here’s an overview of what the research says on cranberry juice and UTI prevention/treatment:

UTI Prevention

Several analyses have found that drinking cranberry juice regularly may reduce the risk of getting a UTI. In one analysis of 24 studies, cranberry products cut the risk of UTI by 26% compared to no treatment[12]. Another found that cranberry juice significantly reduced the risk, especially for women with recurrent UTIs[13].

UTI Treatment

Research is mixed on whether cranberry juice can effectively treat an active UTI. A 2011 review found that cranberry juice was less effective than antibiotics for treating UTIs[14]. However, one 2016 study found that drinking an 8 oz serving of cranberry juice every day shortened the duration of UTIs by nearly two days compared to no treatment[15].

Overall, cranberry juice may be more effective for UTI prevention, rather than treatment. Nevertheless, it may be a helpful addition to conventional care. But it’s best to seek medical treatment if you suspect a UTI.

Here’s a quick summary of the evidence behind cranberry juice:

Use Evidence
UTI Prevention May reduce UTI risk, especially for women prone to recurrent UTIs
UTI Treatment May shorten UTI duration when used alongside antibiotics, but less effective as standalone treatment


If you want to try apple cider vinegar or cranberry juice, here are some dosage recommendations based on the research:

Apple Cider Vinegar

– 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) mixed with water and consumed before one or two meals per day

– Some studies diluted ACV in a drink, using doses of 25g[2] or 20g[4]

Cranberry Juice

– For UTI prevention: 8-16 oz (240-480 mL) of cranberry juice daily

– For UTI treatment: 8 oz (240 mL) daily for up to 6 months

– Look for unsweetened 100% cranberry juice or diluted juice concentrate rather than cranberry juice cocktail, which contains added sugar and less cranberry content

Stick to moderate amounts, as both ACV and cranberry juice may interact with certain medications or medical conditions. And consult your healthcare provider about appropriate dosing.

Side Effects and Safety

Apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice are generally safe when consumed in moderation. Here are some potential side effects and safety considerations:

Apple Cider Vinegar

– Can erode tooth enamel with regular use – rinse mouth after drinking

– May delay stomach emptying, interacting with diabetes medications

– Can irritate the esophagus and throat, especially in undiluted form

Cranberry Juice

– Contains oxalate, which can increase kidney stone risk in prone individuals

– Has high sugar content when not in unsweetened form

– May interact with blood thinners like warfarin

To reduce side effects, dilute ACV in water and moderate cranberry juice intake. Those with reflux, ulcers, kidney issues, or on medication should consult a healthcare provider before using.

The Bottom Line

Here’s the bottom line on apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice based on the current research:

– Evidence is limited and mixed on whether ACV helps with weight loss, blood sugar, and other conditions. It may provide modest benefits when used in cooking or before meals.

– Cranberry juice is most effective at preventing recurrent UTIs, especially for prone women. It may help shorten UTI duration when used alongside antibiotics.

– ACV dosing ranges from 1-2 tbsp diluted in water up to 25-30g before meals. For cranberry juice, 8-16 oz daily is recommended.

– Both can cause mild side effects or interact with medications, so consult a healthcare provider if taking regularly.

– Neither ACV nor cranberry juice are miracle cures. But they may provide supplementary benefits when used properly. As with any remedy, temper expectations and use common sense.

The evidence is still preliminary on both apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice. More large scale, high-quality studies are needed to confirm their effectiveness. But they are likely safe complements to a healthy lifestyle and conventional care when used responsibly.



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