It’s more sour than sweet, but apple cider vinegar is making big headlines as a weight loss supplement and as a solution for controlling blood sugar. On top of that, it’s a popular natural cosmetic for revitalizing skin, scalp, and hair.
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 options on the market, plus in-depth info on the benefits and side effects of apple cider vinegar.
Last updated: January 3, 2023
Apple cider vinegars considered: 23
Hours of research: 38
Experts reviewed: 7
Scientific papers referenced: 32
1. Essential Elements Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
One of the best sources of apple cider vinegar is Essential Elements Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies, which are derived from “The Mother”, and contain beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Apple cider vinegar has also been proven to boost energy and kick-start a healthy metabolic rate. It’s antimicrobial, lowers blood glucose levels, and reduces body weight, body mass index, and waist circumference.
Each gummy is fortified with B vitamins and iodine to further enhance your metabolism and energy. With a delicious red apple flavor, it’s no surprise this is BodyNutrition’s apple cider vinegar winner of 2023.
2. VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar Pure
VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar Pure gives you all the benefits without the nasty side effects. Many users report they feel less bloated and lighter as soon as they begin taking it regularly. Add it to a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and exercise, and you could start seeing results right away.
No harmful additives. No impurities. Made in an FDA registered facility that follows GMP guidelines.
3. Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar
Zeal Naturals is popular and indeed potent; each vegetarian cellulose capsule delivers 500 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per capsule, alongside 20 mg of cayenne pepper for extra weight loss benefits.
If you are taking high doses on a daily basis, but don’t want a liquid supplement, Zeal Naturals is right up your alley.
4. 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.
5. 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!).
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.
6. Lucy’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Lucy’s is another great option for liquid apple cider vinegar. It’s organic, unpasteurized, and includes the “mother,” meaning it’s packed with the antioxidants and enzymes that give natural apple cider vinegar its potency.
It’s a great and versatile option if you want a liquid apple cider vinegar supplement
7. 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 effective pill-based apple cider vinegar supplements out there.
For a 500 mg dose of apple cider vinegar, you really can’t go wrong with Nutricost.
8. 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. If you don’t mind the lower apple cider vinegar content per capsule, it’s a good choice.
9. Only Natural Apple Cider Vinegar
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 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.
10. Havasu Nutrition Apple Cider Vinegar
Havasu markets a hard game, but their apple cider vinegar supplement falls a bit 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.
Best apple cider vinegar overall: Essential Elements Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies
Usually gummy supplements have to make sacrifices on dosage and purity—but not Essential Elements. These apple cider vinegar gummies deliver a potent dose of apple cider vinegar powder and taste great, too.
Best apple cider vinegar for weight loss: Zeal Naturals Apple Cider Vinegar
Zeal Naturals pairs raw apple cider vinegar extract with cayenne pepper extract, a popular natural supplement for burning fat and reducing appetite. This one-two punch means it’s great if your goal is losing weight.
Best apple cider vinegar for metabolic health: VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar Pure
The same great properties that make VitaBalance a winner for weight loss also make it great for controlling blood sugar and improving your metabolic health. If you want to hew close to the scientific research that’s successfully used apple cider vinegar to improve glucose regulation, VitaBalance is the way to go.
Best apple cider vinegar for hair and scalp: Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg makes the best natural, liquid-form apple cider vinegar on the market—it is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and includes the probiotic “mother” that settles at the bottom of the bottle. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar is great for revitalizing hair and especially your scalp: just massage it into the roots of your hair and wait 15 minutes before washing it out.
Best apple cider vinegar for skin care and acne: Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Scalp is not so different from the skin on the rest of your body, which is why Bragg is our pick for skin care, too. Whether you’re using it as a toner or as a treatment for acne, you’ll benefit from the all-natural and unprocessed formulation.
Best apple cider vinegar for heart health: VitaBalance Apple Cider Vinegar Pure
VitaBalance has one of the highest dosages of any apple cider vinegar capsule, and delivers it in a super-simple capsule with no extraneous ingredients. These properties all make it attractive as a supplemental option for improving heart health by controlling factors like cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides (all active areas of research).
Who should buy apple cider vinegar?
In contrast to supplements with a broad range of applications, apple cider vinegar has a pretty well-defined and narrow scope. The following use cases are well-suited for apple cider vinegar:
People who want to improve blood sugar control. Apple cider vinegar has been found to decrease fasted blood sugar levels, so it’s popular among people who want improved metabolic health or who have metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.
People who want to control their weight. Apple cider vinegar might increase feelings of fullness, especially when on a high-carb diet, and has been found to lead to modest weight loss benefits in clinical research.
People who want to reduce blood lipids and cholesterol. Perhaps due to its ability to control body weight, apple cider vinegar is also useful for controlling blood lipids and blood cholesterol, which in turn suggests that they could reduce your risk factors for heart disease.
How we ranked
We used a carefully-chosen array of criteria to rank the quality and ease of use of the products in our rankings.
Good representation from both capsule and liquid vinegar. Apple cider vinegar comes in two distinct forms, pills and liquid.
Since both have their respective advantages, we made sure that we reviewed a wide range of apple cider products that came in both pill and liquid form.
We evaluated liquid and pill based supplements separately, with related but distinct criteria.
Liquid supplement had to include the “mother.” For apple cider vinegar supplements that came in liquid form, we put a high priority on products that include the “mother,” which is the colloquial term for the cloudy sediment that’s formed by the bacteria that convert the sugars in apple cider into acetic acid (i.e. vinegar).
Many commercial forms of apple cider vinegar, and vinegar generally, filter off the mother so it doesn’t make the solution cloudy.
However, many health experts believe that the mother contains many of the important antioxidants and probiotic bacteria that make apple cider vinegar so healthy. As such, we made sure any liquid apple cider vinegar we included in our rankings had the mother included.
Surprisingly, this eliminated a lot of products, which explains why our rankings are so dominated by pill based apple cider vinegar.
Packaging that protects the antioxidants in apple cider vinegar. A thick plastic or glass bottle with a solid resealable lid is necessary to keep apple cider vinegar as fresh as possible, and we dropped any product that was packaged in a bottle of questionable quality.
Capsules had to deliver a high dosage. We kept only the highest dosage apple cider vinegar pills for further analysis.
No tolerance for excessive binders and fillers. From the remaining candidates, we dropped anything that included too many binders and fillers.
Silicates, stearates, and other binding and stabilizing agents aren’t contributing anything to the biological efficacy of an apple cider vinegar pill, and the top-ranked products didn’t need to rely on these ingredients to ensure freshness. We had a slight preference for cellulose-based capsules, but gelatin wasn’t a deal-breaker.
Beneficial combo ingredients that help with weight loss. Finally, we kept an eye out for other helpful ingredients to accomplish the same weight loss goals that apple cider helps with. Some of these ingredients, like cayenne pepper, are great additions; others, like complicated proprietary weight loss blends, would probably be better left out of an apple cider pill.
Top-ranked supplements either included no additional ingredients, or only included a few pure and helpful extracts.
Q: How do you drink apple cider vinegar?
A: Some people drink apple cider vinegar straight, but that’s not the best thing for your teeth. It’s better to mix it with some tea, soda water, or even just plain tap water to dilute it, or to drink it like a shot and quickly consume all of it.
This way, the acetic acid residue isn’t sitting on your teeth for a long time. Also, make sure you drink some water to rinse out your mouth afterwards, to prevent the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar from dissolving your tooth enamel.
Q: How is apple cider vinegar made?
A: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the raw juice and pulp of apples. In this sense, it’s quite similar to how traditional alcoholic cider is made: bacteria break down the sugars in the apples and turn them into acetic acid, which gives apple cider vinegar its distinctively acidic taste.
What’s different, though, is that the bacteria that make apple cider vinegar use oxygen, so instead of converting sugar to alcohol, the sugar is converted to acetic acid. Once the acidity rises to a certain level, the bacteria can’t produce any more acetic acid, so the fermentation stops.
At this point, commercial vinegar manufacturers will filter off the bacteria and sediment (known as the “mother”), but health-oriented brands (including our top-ranked manufacturers) will retain it, as it is thought to contribute to the health potential of apple cider vinegar.
Q: What should you look for in a liquid apple cider vinegar?
A: If you’re going for a liquid form apple cider vinegar supplement, aim to get one that’s both unpasteurized and unfiltered.
That’s because you want it to include the “mother,” which is the sediment left behind during the fermentation process. This sediment includes many of the beneficial antioxidants and enzymes thought to contribute to the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Q: What should you look for in an apple cider vinegar pill?
A: For apple cider vinegar in capsule form, you want an effective dosage, a clean formulation, and possibly added extras that help with any specific goals like weight loss.
Dosage and clean formulation are simple enough–when it comes to added extras, you might want a supplement that includes other compounds like cayenne pepper that could help boost weight loss.
If you’d like to experiment with adding a cultured food to your diet, apple cider vinegar is inexpensive and has a range of potential benefits including blood sugar regulation, weight control, and improved heart health.
Apple cider vinegar is available in pill form or in liquid form, and while the research is not yet clear on the optimal dosage, it’s nevertheless one of the most exciting new avenues in natural health remedies.
People who have trouble swallowing should not take apple cider vinegar pills, and drinking too much liquid apple cider vinegar could damage your teeth, but in small to moderate amounts, it could be an effective way to help you lose weight, control blood sugar, and reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 apple cider vinegar recommendation, click here.