It's more sour than sweet, but apple cider vinegar pills are making big headlines as a weight loss supplement and as a solution for blood sugar.
It can be baffling to try to sort through all the apple cider vinegar options out there, so our research team did the legwork for you. Here are the best ones on the market.
1. Piping Rock Mega Potency Apple Cider Vinegar
Piping rock is popular and indeed potent; each vegetarian cellulose capsule delivers 600 mg of apple cider vinegar and nothing else, beyond rice flour as a filler and a binder. The supplement is sold in a two-bottle combo pack, each of which contains 200 individual capsules. With this kind of volume, it’s a very cost-effective apple cider vinegar supplement. If you are taking high doses on a daily basis, but don’t want a liquid supplement, Piping Rock Mega Potency is right up your alley.
2. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg Organic might’ve been the company that kick-started the apple cider vinegar trend. Since 1912, the company has been making health foods and supplements, but by far its best-known product is its iconic yellow-labeled apple cider vinegar. Bragg Organic has always emphasized how it includes the “mother,” which is the cloudy, unfiltered remnants of the apple fermentation process. The mother is rich in live bacterial cultures and byproducts of the fermentation process; many people believe this is essential for getting the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. “Go big or go home” is the motto with the most popular size, the one-gallon jug. If you are serious about your apple cider vinegar, the gallon jug of Bragg is the only way to go.
3. Puritan’s Pride Apple Cider Vinegar
Puritan’s Pride doesn’t make as many supplements as some of the heavy hitters, but the ones it does make, it makes well. No exceptions here: their apple cider vinegar supplement pushes 600 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per pill, all wrapped up in a vegetable cellulose capsule (vegans rejoice!). As a bonus? It’s cheap! With 200 tablets per bottle, combined with the high dosage per pill, this apple cider vinegar will last you a long time. This makes it a great choice if you want to take a high dose of apple cider vinegar every day, but don’t want to go with a liquid.
4. Herbal Secrets Apple Cider Vinegar
Herbal Secrets delivers a very solid and reliable apple cider vinegar in a simple capsule. The good news: it’s cheap and potent, with 500 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per capsule, and there are no extraneous supplements If you want just one thing (apple cider vinegar in a capsule), this is the way to go. The bad news? It’s a gelatin capsule, which might not float your boat if you’re a strict vegan. But for most people that won’t be a dealbreaker. Beyond that, it’s hard to find much fault in Herbal Secrets. It’s free of most common allergens, and the capsule prevents that tart, sharp vinegar taste that comes along with a liquid apple cider vinegar.
5. Nutricost Apple Cider Vinegar
Solid dose, big bottle, and a low cost. That’s what you get with Nutricost, and in this case the name is spot-on. It’s one of the most cost-effective pill-based apple cider vinegar supplements out there. In a vegetarian cellulose capsule, Nutricost delivers 500 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per one-capsule serving. The only extras are rice flour and magnesium stearate; these are just there to stabilize the capsule and to fill out the rest of the space inside. For a 500 mg dose of apple cider vinegar, you really can’t go wrong with Nutricost.
6. NOW Apple Cider Vinegar
You can always count on NOW to provide a simple, straightforward supplement, and that’s certainly the case with their apple cider vinegar supplement. The dosage isn’t what it could be: the gelatin capsules contain only 450 mg of apple cider vinegar powder each. Some other competitors pack 500 or even 600 mg into a capsule. However, NOW Apple Cider Vinegar does have the edge when it comes to cost. So, if you don’t mind the lower apple cider vinegar content per capsule, it’s a good choice.
7. Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Complete
Dynamic Health makes a capsule-based apple cider vinegar supplement that is inexpensive and cost-effective. But this supplement is more than just an apple cider vinegar product. In addition to 500 mg of powdered apple cider vinegar per capsule, each serving contains green tea extract, turmeric, cayenne, papain (a papaya extract), and bromelain (from pineapple). These are all contained in fairly small amounts, however, so their utility is a bit questionable.
Do you want to hedge your bets with several other health food extracts? If so, Dynamic Health is the way to go. But if all you want is apple cider vinegar, there are better options.
8. Only Natural Apple Cider Vinegar Plus Grapefruit Rind Cayenne
Only Natural combines apple cider vinegar with a mix of two other “superfood” extracts. Each capsule contains a respectable 500 mg of apple cider vinegar extract (though it’s unclear if this “extract” is different than the powder-form apple cider vinegar used by other companies) alongside 100 mg of grapefruit rind and 100 mg of cayenne pepper fruit. Both of these are multi-use supplements that have claimed weight loss, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties. Whether these are right for you is going to depend on your supplementing routine and your personal goals.
9. Angry Supplements Apple Cider Vinegar
Though it’s a curious name for a supplement company, Angry Supplements takes their apple cider vinegar seriously. This product is in the category of supplements that blend apple cider vinegar with other weight loss supplements, hopefully to fortify their effects. The primary ingredients are 500 mg of apple cider vinegar, 300 mg of gymnema sylvestre, and a proprietary blend of several weight loss supplements: chromium picolinate, garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketone, and CLA. As you’d probably guess, you’ll be paying a lot extra for these, and because it’s a “proprietary blend,” you don’t actually know how much of each supplement is included. This, combined with a few other red flags (like typoes on the nutrition label!) indicate you might want to look elsewhere unless you already know you want these extra supplements included.
10. Havasu Nutrition Apple Cider Vinegar
Havasu markets a hard game, but their apple cider vinegar supplement falls flat compared to the competition. Each serving delivers 600 mg of apple cider vinegar powder, but a serving is actually two capsules, not one. So each capsule only has 300 mg of apple cider vinegar, and a bottle is only 60 capsules! It’s just not a great solution and doesn’t offer any special extras or perks to make this one work it.
Part Two: An in-depth look at apple cider vinegar pills for weight loss
Apple cider vinegar is a natural fermented product proven effective in decreasing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss.
Called “sour wine” by the French, apple cider vinegar is a potent anti-microbial substance (like probiotics) that’s been around since the era of Hippocrates.
While many people habitually turn to pharmaceutical medicines for a range of needs in the modern world, appreciation for tried and true natural remedies continues to grow.
This powerhouse effectively kills E. coli (1) and other bacteria, doubles as a cleaning and disinfecting agent, and can be used for treating warts, ear infections and nail fungi. Apple cider vinegar can help reduce food spoilage, make your hair shine, and condition your mouth for better oral health.
You don’t need a prescription, and if you buy a bottle containing the “mother,” from which many believe the benefits are derived, you may even be able to culture your own apple cider vinegar.
The benefits of cultured foods for gut health as well as general overall health are gaining recognition.
We’ll take a look here at the five most compelling reasons people choose to include apple cider vinegar in their health protocol.
1) High Acetic Acid Levels
The active compound in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. This antimicrobial substance is the byproduct of a two-step fermentation process that begins with adding yeast to crushed apples and allowing it to convert the sugars into alcohol.
Next, bacteria are added to the culture, and the resulting acetic acid kills certain harmful pathogens. (2)
Apple cider vinegar that is organic and unfiltered contains the “mother” culture, which consists of enzymes, friendly bacteria and proteins in a strand-like configuration.
Hippocrates recommended apple cider vinegar for cleansing wounds, and it’s a popular home remedy and disinfectant, though studies to back up these traditional uses are lacking. Some believe it can be useful in acne treatment.
Evidence does show apple cider vinegar inhibits the growth of E. coli in foods (3), and it’s used for other food preservation applications.
2) Blood Sugar Regulation
Nearly 30 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2012, with the disease ranked as the 7th leading cause of death in the country. (4)
Elevated blood sugars in diabetics are caused either by the body’s failure to produce insulin, or insulin resistance, which means the cells don’t respond to the hormone and can’t uptake glucose for fuel. (5)
While dietary strategies like cutting out refined carbs and sugar can be very effective for lowering blood sugar levels, clinical trials show apple cider vinegar dropped participants’ blood sugar levels by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread. (6)
In another study, subjects taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime showed a 4% reduction of fasting blood sugars the next morning. (7)
When the effects of apple cider vinegar were tested after diabetic patients ate a high-carb meal, the results were impressive: insulin sensitivity improved by 19 – 34%; both blood glucose and insulin response levels dropped as well. (8)
In searching for avenues to assist diabetics in managing blood sugar, a respectable amount of research has been done with both humans and rats using apple cider vinegar, with promising outcomes. (9, 10, 11)
Adding apple cider vinegar to the diet may help pre-diabetics avoid developing the disease. High blood sugar levels are associated with overweight and obesity, making this a viable strategy for weight control. (12)
3) Better Heart Health
With cardiovascular disease fingered as the world’s biggest killer (13), a natural supplement shown to positively affect heart health is great news.
The benefits have only been noted with lab rats, but if human trials show similar results, apple cider vinegar may help make a dent in these numbers.
Three known markers for an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides and high cholesterol.
Apple cider vinegar can also protect LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is known to bump up the risk of cardiovascular disease. (17)
In a human study, subjects who used salad dressing made with apple cider vinegar showed improved risk factors. (18) Keep in mind this was an observational study rather than a clinical trial.
4) Supports Weight Loss
With its positive effect on blood sugar, apple cider vinegar may be helpful in controlling weight. (19)
One small study with 11 subjects showed increased feelings of fullness with high-carb meals, as well as fewer total calories consumed throughout the day. (20)
Obese patients who added apple cider vinegar to their diets experienced modest amounts of weight loss over a three-month period. Those who used more (two tablespoons as compared to one) lost more (3.7 pounds as compared to 2.6 pounds). (21)
While these aren’t dramatic results, participants made no other changes in lifestyle; used in combination with dietary adjustments and exercise, the effects could escalate.
6) Anti-Cancer Potential
Lab studies indicate vinegar has the ability to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors (22, 23, 24, 25), but since these experiments were the test tube or animal variety, the effect on humans isn’t known.
Most of these studies used rice vinegar rather than apple cider vinegar; the two types of vinegar are comparably acidic, but it’s possible the effects on cancer cells may be different.
A Chinese trial linked vinegar consumption with a lowered incidence of esophageal cancer. (26)
7) How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Consider making a long-term commitment to the practice if you decide to give this antimicrobial compound a try. It’s no miracle-worker, but many swear by it and take it ongoing.
There’s no benefit from going overboard on dosage, and the simplest way may be to incorporate it into your diet through using it with salad dressing or adding it to homemade dishes with tart flavor. You can take anywhere from a teaspoon to a couple of tablespoons a day.
While you can get tablets, the acetic acid content won’t compare with what you’d get from the real thing. (27)
Summary: If you’d like to experiment with adding a cultured food to your diet, apple cider vinegar is safe, inexpensive, and has a range of potential benefits including blood sugar regulation, weight control, and improved heart health.