Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe in Pregnancy?
Apple cider vinegar’s healing properties are extolled throughout the natural medicine field. Apple cider vinegar’s uses may include healing skin conditions, gastrointestinal issues and infections of the vaginal tract. Vinegar is a result of the wine making process and the term "vin aigre" means "sour wine." As of 2011, it is unknown whether vinegars are safe during pregnancy. Do not consume unpasteurized vinegars while pregnant or trying to conceive.
About Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples that are left to ferment, first into alcohol and secondly into acetic acid. Aeration may speed up this process for commercial production. Apple cider vinegar found on your grocery shelf is most often pasteurized, a process of heating the vinegar to remove potentially harmful bacteria such as E. coli. Apple cider vinegar is available in its unpasteurized state at many health stores. Marketers of unpasteurized vinegar argue that pasteurizing removes the health benefits. They state that the true health gems lie in the enzymes found in the bacterial sludge, also known as “the mother,” that forms in vinegar.
Folklore of Vinegar for Pregnancy
Vinegar has a rich history of use as a folk cure for nearly whatever ails you. History has seen it used to protect against osteoarthritis, weight control, to kill illness-causing bacteria in the body, to treat skin conditions and more. Dr. D.C. Jarvis, one of the most notorious proponents of apple cider vinegar's virtues, recommended that pregnant women consume apple cider vinegar daily to ensure their baby would be born with an "excellent chemical pattern with which to meet its new environment." Beth Fontenot cites this line in her article "The Sour Truth about Apple Cider Vinegar."
Vinegar is a safe product used commercially in foods, as a condiment and for a variety of medicinal purposes. Acetic acid, in general, provides a variety of health benefits including mitigating the impact of high carbohydrate meals and neutralizing blood glucose levels and insulin response. E. Östman et al. in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” dated 2005 report positive results of this effect. Heartburn is a frequent complaint during pregnancy and some pregnant women shy away from taking ant-acids. Pasteurized apple cider vinegar may provide some relief for heartburn by taking 1 tbsp. of it mixed with a glass of water. For skin conditions caused by ever-changing hormones, topically apply diluted apple cider vinegar to treat acne and other skin conditions.
Safety During Pregnancy
The concern regarding the safety of apple cider vinegar during pregnancy centers on the paucity of available research demonstrating that it is safe, according to EMed TV. In particular, concerns rest with the ingestion of unpasteurized vinegars or supplements, which may not actually be comprised of what the manufacturers report on the label. J. Dean and P. Kendall report concerns regarding harmful bacteria of unpasteurized foods and safety for pregnant women. They state "some food-borne illnesses can cause a woman to have a miscarriage, stillbirth or serious health problems for the baby after birth." Food-borne illnesses may be carried in unpasteurized juices, and although the acetic acid in vinegar may protect against this, little evidence exists. It is simply not worth the risk. Apple cider vinegar may also lower potassium levels if taken with certain medications and may inhibit the impact of your prescribed medications. Discuss taking apple cider vinegar with your doctor prior to taking it.
Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you might be tempted to consider tablets or capsules as a safer alternative. L.L. Hill, et al., report in their study in the "Journal of American Dietetic Association" that very few supplements tested contained what the label reported they contained. The study indicates that the supplements varied considerable in the pH values and component acid content. In some cases it was questionable whether the supplement even contained apple cider vinegar at all. This is of great concern if you are considering taking this supplement during pregnancy, as not only are the long-term effects of apple cider vinegar supplementation unknown but you can also not be sure of what you are getting in tablet for.
- EMed TV: Apple Cider Vinegar and Pregnancy
- The Vinegar Institute: Vinegar Lore
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; Vinegar Supplementation Lowers Glucose and Insulin Responses and Increases Satiety After a Bread Meal in Healthy Subjects; E. Ostman et aI; 2005
- The CBS Interactive Business Network; The Sour Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar; Beth Fontenot; 2004