© Madeleine_Steinbach - Getty Images There's a new claim linked to apple cider vinegar-that it can help reduce bloating. But Is there any science to back up the claims that you should drink ACV for bloating? Bloating is great for making you look a few months pregnant when you're not-and literally nothing else. So how downright wonderful would it be if you could nix your bloating with something that's already in your kitchen (or that you could buy for under five bucks)?
Turns out, people are saying apple cider vinegar (a.k.a., ACV) can do just that. FYI: ACV has also been erroneously touted as a "cure" for everything from colds to yeast infections. So, can ACV really help with bloating, or is it all hot air?
Wait, why do people think ACV helps with bloating?
It all has to do with probiotics, says Ashley Amaral, R.D., a cardiovascular ICU dietitian at Banner - University Medical Center Phoenix. The main source of probiotics in ACV? Acetic acid, which is the byproduct of the sugar from apples after they're fermented, she says.
The idea is that probiotics will improve gut health by spreading healthy bacteria and promoting regularity with your bathroom business-which equals less bloating. Unfortunately, "there is no clear evidence that supports this theory,” says Amaral, adding that the "good bacteria" found in ACV may not even be able to survive in the acidic environment of the stomach.
Pectin is another ingredient in ACV (and apples in general) that's thought to lessen bloat. According to Amaral, pectin-a type of soluble fiber usually found in ripe fruits-is beneficial for colonic health and does other helpful things for your tummy, like help to regulate bowels.
But the amount of pectin in an actual apple is way higher than what’s in one tablespoon of ACV. “You’d have to drink a quarter-cup’s worth of the vinegar for that pectin to have any real effect,” she says. Uh, no thanks.
So should I try to use ACV for bloating or not?
Let's say you decide to take enough ACV to reap the pectin benefits (a quarter cup's worth)-that could seriously harm your body. "ACV is very acidic," says Amaral-downing more than a tablespoon could lead to erosion of tooth enamel, acid reflux, and irritation of the digestive system. Worst-case scenario: Too much ACV could contribute to a dip in your potassium levels, which could even affect how your muscles and nerves function, says Amaral.
Still, ACV can be used in the context of a healthy diet, says Amaral. "Try to incorporate ACV by using it to make salad dressing, marinades, or for pickling vegetables," she says-and stick to tackling bloat through proven remedies like cutting down on sodium and drinking more water.
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