A patient of mine, an intelligent, vivacious middle-aged woman who had undergone corrective surgery for a patent ductus arteriosus at age 28, recently told me that she had started taking daily apple cider vinegar instead of the medication I had prescribed her for hypertension.
A friend had told her that “if you take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar it will take care of your blood pressure.”
Because apple cider vinegar (ACV) is widely promoted on social media and the internet as a “natural” cure for almost everything my patient believed her friend. Fortunately, within days she began having severe worsening of her acid indigestion (GERD). Equally fortunate, she had followed my directions to monitor her blood pressure at home twice daily and observed that it remained persistently elevated.
She began taking the 50 mg of losartan at bedtime as I had recommended and began feeling much better with her blood pressure normalizing within 2 weeks.
Seeking to see what Dr. Google was advising my hypertensive patients about the benefits of apple cider vinegar I noted that the promoted Google article on the topic came from Healthline.
I’ve been aware of Healthline for a while. They send out a daily email/article on nutrition which is typically worthless and loaded with misinformation. Examples of recent meaningless articles I’ve seen in Healthline articles include “The 8 best juices for weight loss” and “20 healthy fruits that are super nutritious.”
These types of articles aren’t particularly dangerous to consumers but the Healthline article on apple cider vinegar is because it contributes to patients taking a useless substance for what is a very serious and life-threatening disease.
There is, in fact, only one study on ACV and hypertension and it is the one mentioned in the Google search and it took place in rats. Thus, there is no scientific information on the safety and benefit of ACV in treating humans with hypertension.
Despite this, the article states “studies show that apple cider vinegar may play a role in keeping your blood pressure low” and there is a large section on how to incorporate ACV into your diet.
There is no information on the qualifications of Ana Gotter who wrote this useless article but it was medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson who “is a health psychologist and a nurse. Seeking to view health from outside the western model, Debra completed a Master of Science in Holistic Nursing, then with a focus on Psycho-neuro-immunology completed a PhD in Health Psychology.”
Ironically, if you Google ACV and GERD, the second article returned is by Healthline.
The article starts off telling us why ACV works for GERD
This opening salvo of unsupported claims is typical of Healthline articles. “Proponent of this remedy claim.” “Might be beneficial.”
The lines “ACV may introduce more acid into the digestive tract. If your acid reflux is the result of too little stomach acid, this might be beneficial” are particularly ridiculous because we know that GERD is related to stomach ACID refluxing into the esophagus.
Most casual readers of this article will read the highlighted box with the “Benefits” and stop in which case they will miss the most important part”
although there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, there’s very limited research.
In fact, no research supporting this claim has been published in a medical journal.
Featured image courtesy of Simply Cider Presses