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Are the health claims around apple cider vinegar actually true?

Are the health claims around apple cider vinegar actually true?
13 Seeds Hemp Farm

Hey guys, and welcome back to 3 Question Friday! 

In this week’s edition of 3QF we find out the truth about if apple cider vinegar a health food, the dangers of lead found in some supplements, and whether you should be using the BMI scale to measure your health! 

Congratulations to Darius, Kate, and Rebecca who all won $20 gift vouchers just for asking Ben a question! You can always send your questions to ben@13seeds.com.au

Let’s find out the answers to the following questions! 

  1. Darius: “Are the health claims around apple cider vinegar actually true?”
  2. Kate: “I’ve heard that some turmeric supplements contain high amounts lead?”
  3. Rebecca: “I recently saw that I’m overweight according to my BMI. Should I be concerned?”

1. Are the health claims around apple cider vinegar actually true?

There are plenty of claims of the benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for health on the internet. If I’m going to be totally honest, we were told things a few things while I was studying years ago about ACV that may not be as true as we thought! 

Apple cider vinegar advocates suggest that ACV can help with many different types of health conditions, but what does the research have to say about it?

Blood sugar management & Diabetes

Out of all the reported health claims, ACV as a natural way to help improve blood sugar levels may be the most credible. These blood sugar regulating effects of ACV may be helpful for people who suffer from diabetes, a metabolic condition that causes high blood sugar due to the body’s inability to use insulin (hormone involved in blood sugar regulation).

There have been multiple small sample sized studies that suggests that ACV may be able to lower blood sugar and improve insulin’s ability to do its work (aka insulin sensitivity) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). 

While these are only small studies, these are pretty impressive results! However, it’s important to note that ACV should not be replaced by your prescribed medications. It’s also important to consider that eating a diet low in refined sugars is a far more effective way to regulate blood sugar.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) 

ACV’s insulin improving effects may also be applicable to females who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal condition that is characterised by insulin resistance, and high levels of testosterone that can cause irregular periods, cysts on the ovaries, acne, and excessive facial hair growth.

One study found that women who drank 15ml of ACV after dinner for 3 months had improved hormone levels and more regular cycles. This is only one study, but it’s an interesting finding none the less (7)

Weight Loss

There is some evidence that vinegar may be able to help people lose weight. Acetic acid is the active compound in vinegar that may produce this effect by lowering blood sugar, improving insulin levels, supporting metabolism, and supressing appetite. These effects have mostly been found in mice studies, so how much these apply to humans remains up for debate (8, 9, 10).  

However, there are a few studies conducted in humans. Unfortunately, these studies are poorly designed to conclude that ACV is the reason for weight loss and it is more likely to be the case that they are just eating less calories! (11, 12

I think it’s a bit of stretch based on the limited studies to suggest that apple cider is the magic weight loss bullet. When it comes to weight loss try stick to the basic’s guys – smaller portions, active lifestyle, and protein with every meal.

Improved Digestion

Many people take ACV in the morning to stimulate digestion. The theory is that ACV can help to increase the acidity of your stomach, that helps create more of the enzyme called pepsin that breaks down protein.

Despite lots of anecdotal evidence (stories), there really isn’t any studies to support this claim. 

The good news is there are there are supplements that have been proven to increase the acidity of the stomach such as betaine HCL. So, this may be a better option if you are looking to improve your digestion (13).

*Warning: it’s important if you are going to take apple cider vinegar to dilute it as it may be acidic enough to damage your tooth enamel!

2. I’ve heard that some turmeric supplements contain high amounts lead?

We’ve just launched our awesome new turmeric supplement TheraJoint+ that is one of the most pure and high-quality turmeric supplements on the market. 

Apparently, some manufactures add lead to their turmeric supplements to make it more yellow. This may be more common in places like the US where their supplements are less regulated than they are in Australia. 

Our turmeric is organic and manufactured to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards so you can be rest assured that the purity is high.  

The capsules are also Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) standard as well, so the incidental lead is below 0.0001%. Meaning that our capsules contain almost no lead at all, or nothing to be concerned about (small amounts of lead can even be found in tap water!). 

Just to confirm… the lead is tested on the turmeric to 0.0001% and final product is tested again in a TGA certified lab to be max 0.0005%

So, there’s no need to worry or as they say in the Lion King “hakuna matata!”

You can read more about the benefits of turmeric here!

3. Being overweight according to your BMI. Is it something to be concerned over? 

BMI is short for body mass index. It’s a scale that is used to measure if a person is “healthy” based on a mathematical formula that divides someone’s weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in meters squared (m2).

  • BMI = weight (kg) / height (m2)

Once your BMI is calculated your result is measured on the BMI scale (you can measure your BMI here)

According to most criteria accepted around the world: 

  • BMI of 18.49 or below means a person is underweight
  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.99 means they are of normal weight
  • BMI of 25 to 29.99 means they are overweight
  • BMI of 30 or more means they are obese

The BMI scale was originally designed by a Belgium mathematician called Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetele in 1832 to help estimate the percentage of the population that are overweight or obese to help his government decide how much of their financial resources they would allocate to health. 

But how relevant is this measure now?

Advantages

Despite unpopular opinions on BMI, it turns out that BMI is a good indicator of assessing someone’s health as a BMI lower than 18.5 (“underweight”) or above 30.0 (“obese”) has been linked to the increased risk of chronic disease and premature death (14, 15).

Many studies have supported this claim demonstrating that a BMI of over 30 increases your risk of chronic health conditions such heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and liver disease (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22).

BMI may also be a handy tool used in scientific studies to help get an idea of the weight and health of large groups of people. 

While BMI has been criticized for being “too simple”, it seems to be supported by research as a good indicator of a person’s risk of chronic health conditions and premature death, and is a consistent measure that can be used for scientific studies of large groups of people.

Disadvantages

BMI only considers someone’s weight as an indicator of health, while there are many other markers to consider such as body composition, blood sugar, cholesterol and inflammation in the body. 

Another big problem with BMI is that it considers all weight in the body equal. For example, muscle and weight weighs approximately the same as fat. So, if you had someone who is overweight (higher fat mass) and a bodybuilder (higher lean muscles mass) this could yield similar results in being overweight according to BMI, despite the body builder being in good shape. 

BMI also doesn’t consider where fat is stored in the body, as fat stored around the stomach and waist area is linked to a greater risk of chronic health conditions compared to fat being stored in lower risk parts of the body, such as below the waist (23, 24, 25).

BMI can also lead to feelings of embarrassment that could lead to someone avoiding check-ups due to feelings of being judged that could have negative health outcomes (26).  

BMI is probably a poor indicator of individual health as it doesn’t take into consideration an individual’s age, sex, race, body composition, medical history, and other markers of health that may affect an individual’s weight and health status.

What’s the good news?

The good news is there are many other different types of measurements and tests that can be done to assess someone’s health such as waist-to-hip ratio, body fat percentage and lab tests (eg. blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, blood sugar levels, inflammation).

It’s important to note that while each of these tests have their pros and cons, when we combine these tests, we can get a more accurate measure on whether someone is healthy!

If you have any questions or need support with your health, feel free to email our head nutritionist Ben at ben@13seeds.com.au

Disclaimer:

This article does not constitute medical advice and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please see your medical professional before implementing the above.

References:

  1. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.long
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7796781/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28292654/
  4. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2814.full
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28292654/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27213723/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23666047/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16277773/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16630552/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24781306/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661687/
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618300483
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946491/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499607/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856854/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5401682/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29490333/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22530540/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25580754/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29281762/
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323521/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26672639/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5690984/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24974911/
  25. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20467889/
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650789/

 

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