How to drink apple cider vinegar safely: As study suggests downing the liquid is a ‘weight loss hack’ we reveal the potential dangers

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Drinking apple cider vinegar straight could rot your teeth and make you feel sick 
  • Researchers warn against drinking it if you take heart or kidney medication 

Apple cider vinegar is touted as a cure to all ailments, from an easy weight loss hack to controlling blood sugar levels.

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Aniston swear by the liquid for it’s supposed fat busting properties.

But beware, the latest health hack could be doing you more harm than good.   

Downing too much of the sour fluid without proper precautions can cause your teeth to rot, make you feel nauseous and even potentially effect kidney function.

Although safe to consume in small amounts, the vinegar, which costs as little as £2.50 in health food stores, experts warn the health benefits have not been extensively researched. 

Here, MailOnline examines some of the dangers associated with drinking the acidic vinegar and how you can minimise them. 

Glugging too much apple cider vinegar can cause your teeth to rot, make you feel nauseous and even effect kidney function

It can erode enamel

Drinking too much apple cider vinegar could rot your teeth.

That’s because the vinegar is, as anyone who attempted to down a shot can attest, is highly acidic.

Drinking it undiluted could erode your enamel, the hard protective layer on your teeth, warns the NHS.

It’s recommended that people don’t drink the vinegar straight and instead mix one to two tablespoons into water, or another drink, or add it to a food dressing. 

This dilution won’t affect any of the supposed health benefits but will reduce the risk of apple cider vinegar eroding your pearly whites.

If the enamel on the surface of the tooth becomes damaged, it can allow plaque and bacteria to reach the softer bone-like material underneath, causing further erosion and even cavities, the NHS warns. 

One case study of a 15-year-old girl revealed her dental decay was caused by drinking 237ml of undiluted apple cider vinegar a day in an attempt to help her lose weight. 

It could damage your throat and skin 

The acidity of the vinegar can not only potentially harm your teeth, it could also damage your throat.

Research published in 2021 in the Journal of Primary Health Care suggested that although apple cider vinegar us safe to drink every day in small quantities, drinking large amounts and applying it to the skin could be dangerous. 

Some believe suing the vinegar helps balance the PH levels in the skin and some people also use it as a spot treatment.

But researchers from The University of Auckland reported direct application to the skin has also been shown to result in skin irritation and chemical burns. 

A review of harmful liquids accidentally swallowed by children found acetic acid, which is found in apple cider vinegar, was a common source of acid throat burns in children.  

It can cause nausea and indigestion

As well as having dangerous consequences for your oral health, drinking apple cider vinegar straight could cause problems further on in the digestive process. 

Possible side-effects of ingesting apple cider vinegar straight include acid reflux, nausea and delayed digestion due to its high acidity according to a 2018 study by researchers at Middlesex University. 

One controlled study, while suggesting that the vinegar may reduce food intake and therefore could logically help lose weight, also found drinking it increased indigestion.  

The 2014 study reported that although people who 25 grams (0.88 ounces) of apple cider vinegar reported less appetite, this was mostly because they felt more nauseous. 

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian (pictured) swear by the tipple

Celebrity advocate Jennifer Aniston also drinks the vinegar as part of her health regime

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian (pictured left) swear by the tipple. Celebrity advocate Jennifer Aniston (pictured right) also drinks the vinegar as part of her health regime

Should avoid if you have kidney problems

If you have chronic kidney disease your body may also struggle to process the excess acid from the apple cider vinegar. 

This could cause a build-up of acid in your body, called metabolic acidosis.

As this acid builds up your kidney function in turn lowers and as kidney functions decreases so does its ability to process the acid, warns National Kidney Foundation. 

A fast heartbeat, feeling very tired, loss of appetite, vomiting and needing to take deep long breaths are all symptoms of metabolic acidosis. 

Allergic reactions 

Anyone with an allergy to apples or pectin, a fibre found in fruits, should also not take apple cider vinegar. 

An allergic reaction can cause swollen lips, swollen eyelids, stomach cramps, skin rashes and an itchy feeling in the throat, the NHS says.

If you experience any unexpected side effects after taking apple cider vinegar you should seek medical attention immediately.


Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples, yeast and bacteria that naturally from in the fermentation process.

The sugars from the apples ferment and acetic acid is created. 

It’s tis acid which is thought to be the source of the health benefits.  

Advocates insist it can reduce your appetite and boost immunity.

It’s also said to lower blood sugar and fight cancer, but these claims have been disputed by experts.  

What is the mother?

Apple cider vinegar comes in two forms, ones containing the ‘mother’ and ones that have been filtered.

The ‘mother’ is a culture of good bacteria that is added to apple cider vinegar as part of the fermentation process.

It can give apple cider vinegar a cloudy appearance or take the form of gelatinous looking layer at the top of the liquid.

Proponents of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits pin its positive effects on this good bacteria and encourage people to drink versions with the ‘mother’ intact.

Filtered apple cider vinegar has had the mother removed to give it cleaner look, making it more appealing to shoppers.

However, advocates still say filtered versions retains some health benefits, just not as much as one with the ‘mother’.


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