Apple Cider Vinegar as a Treatment for Acid Reflux

Apple cider vinegar is made similarly to apple juice by crushing fresh apples. The difference is that ingredients like bacteria and yeast are added to the apple juice so that it ferments to form a vinegar. The longer it is left the more of the alcohol produced by initial fermentation is converted to vinegar by a secondary fermentation. So for a natural apple cider vinegar, it takes quite a while for the product to develop properly. The end result is a brown, sometimes cloudy liquid.

How does it work?

There are two types of apple cider vinegar. There is a raw, organic form which contains some of the remaining solids from the apple, and there is an inorganic form which has been pasteurized and the pulp removed. The remaining solids contain a lot of nutrients and proteins that are more helpful against acid reflux then the non-organic form. Both forms contain a compound called ethanoic acid. There isn’t match research into how it works but there are two current theories. One theory is that the muscular ring at the top of the stomach that is responsible for keeping the acid inside relaxes when too little stomach acid is produced. When there is some stomach acid it is then refluxed. So ethanoic acid in the vinegar helps to close this muscular ring. Another theory is that because ethanoic acid is a much weaker acid than the acid that the stomach produces, it helps to neutralize it somewhat.

How do you take it?

It is best to dilute the vinegar in water when taking it to reduce any adverse sensations caused by the vinegar and the strong taste. Natural sweeteners such as honey can be added to reduce the taste also. It is also more effective to take the solution through a straw so that it does not deposit on the teeth. The current recommended dosage is 15 to 30 ml (0.5 to 1 fl oz) of apple cider vinegar mixed with 200 ml (about 7 fl oz) of water. The solution can be taken once a day.

Are there any side effects?

There are some side effects associated with taking daily apple cider vinegar. If you don’t use a straw then the acid can cause cavities in the teeth. Even if the straw is used then the acid is still able to irritate the throat though. All sorts vinegar are able to thin the blood which increases the risk of bleeding but also decreases the risk of a stroke or heart attack. And the last side effect which can be very serious if it becomes severe is a reduction in body potassium. If you have any chronic conditions or are pregnant it is obviously best to consult a doctor before trying this.


Currently, the evidence is not particularly strong for the use of apple cider vinegar as a treatment for acid reflux, but there is a lot of anecdotal evidence and a bit of science behind it. There really isn’t much harm in trying it, especially since it does have other scientifically proven health benefits.