If you’ve browsed the supplement aisle at your nearest pharmacy, you’ve likely seen entire shelves dedicated to apple cider vinegar (ACV) gummies. While it’s true that these candies are a more pleasant way to incorporate this trendy wellness beverage into your routine, you may be wondering if the bite-sized treats actually offer the same benefits as drinking the sour stuff.
“There are no shortage of health claims surrounding apple cider vinegar, from weight loss and improved digestion to detoxification and boosting metabolism,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, the author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan and CEO of NY Nutrition Group. But there is limited evidence to show the chewables can do the same, since most research is done with the vinegar itself, adds Moskovitz. Even research on the alleged benefits of apple cider vinegar are still in its preliminary stage.
And the gummies typically only contain around 500 milligrams of ACV per serving, which is equivalent to a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. “Apple cider vinegar gummies are typically not only made with apple cider vinegar, and they often come packaged with a variety of other ingredients, such as fruit and vegetable juices or powders to help mask the harsh vinegar taste and other essential nutrients such as energizing B vitamins.”
So, is there any point to adding apple cider vinegar gummies to your daily routine? Before you load up your Amazon cart, read on to learn everything you need to know about ACV gummies, and if they’re really worth it, according to registered dietitians.
Meet the experts: Lisa Moskovitz is a registered dietitian and the author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. Marissa Meshulam is a registered dietitian and founder of MPM Nutrition. Brigitte Zeitlin is a registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar gummies?
Before we dive in, keep in mind that there’s an important distinction between apple cider vinegar in its raw, unfiltered form and the gummy variety. “We don’t necessarily know that the gummies are doing anything because there’s no research on them,” says Marissa Meshulam, RD, the founder of MPM Nutrition. Bottom line: Any health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar haven’t been linked to the actual gummy kind yet.
Here’s what we know about the main claims attached to apple cider vinegar in liquid or oral supplement form.
It may help you lose weight.
Apple cider vinegar on its own isn’t going to be a magic pill for weight loss, but it *might* give you an edge if you’re already working towards a weight-loss goal via nutrition and exercise changes, according to Meshulam. Those who consume a tablespoon of ACV at meals while also cutting 250 calories a day lost more weight in 12 weeks than those who only lowered their calorie intake in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods.
Regular apple cider vinegar may suppress your appetite due to the acetic acid found in the liquid, Moskovitz points out. That said, there is no clear evidence that these benefits necessarily translate to the gummies, so she recommends focusing on making other lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet and exercise if you want to lose weight.
It may strengthen your gut health.
You might see claims that apple cider vinegar has prebiotic or probiotic properties. Quick refresher: Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in your gut that support digestive health and your immune system. Meanwhile, prebiotics “feed” those bacteria.
The ACV fermentation process does create bacteria, according to Meshulam. “However, for something to be considered a probiotic, it must contain enough healthy bacteria to promote a health benefit,” she says. So far, we don’t have the research to prove that. And while apples are rich in pectin, a prebiotic, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (roughly two gummies, depending on the brand) probably doesn’t contain enough of the fiber to count as your dose of prebiotics for the day, Meshulam says. Put simply, don’t rely on ACV alone to support the healthy bacteria in your gut.
Still, it can aid digestion: The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help people with low levels of stomach acid break down food, WH previously reported. Plus, ACV can promote motility, says Brigitte Zeitlin, RD, the owner of BZ Nutrition—in other words, it keeps things moving in your GI system.
It may boost your immune system.
Probiotics (and the prebiotics supporting them) are good for your immune system. The good bacteria can basically nudge out harmful bacteria, and some probiotics actually boost the production of antibodies, Meshulam says. Plus, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties against various strains of bacteria that commonly cause infections, a 2018 study published in the Scientific Reports found, but more research is needed, and a single drink or supplement will not prevent you from getting sick. But again, don’t rely on ACV alone to support these beneficial bacteria.
It may support heart health.
The research is mixed on this. While acetic acid has been found to lower “bad” cholesterol in rats while raising their “good” cholesterol in one older study from The British Journal of Nutrition, ACV consumption lowered total cholesterol but had no impact on the bad or good cholesterol levels in humans, according to a 2021 review. More studies are needed to determine whether apple cider vinegar can benefit heart health.
It may lower blood sugar levels.
The lactic and acetic acid naturally found in ACV can lower blood sugar by assisting with glucose storage in the liver, says Moskovitz. “This can directly decrease blood glucose production in the body, which lowers post-meal blood sugar response,” she explains.
Drinking apple cider vinegar before a high-carb meal improved insulin sensitivity by 19 to 34 percent, which helps regulate blood sugar levels after eating, in type 2 diabetes patients, per an older study. Note, though, that this was a small study conducted with only 10 participants, so it’s unclear whether ACV will have the same effect on a large group of people. You shouldn’t solely rely on ACV to control your blood sugar, especially if you have diabetes and take medications.
It may increase your energy.
Apple cider vinegar doesn’t have a special nutrient that makes you feel more energetic, Meshulam notes. However, ACV could provide more consistent energy throughout the day by preventing blood sugar spikes (and the crashes that come along with them, which make you feel exhausted), she explains.
Side note: Some brands (like Goli, Garden of Life, and Vitafusion) say their ACV gummies include as much as 250 percent of your daily rec for vitamin B12. Since a B12 deficiency can cause tiredness, they could help your energy level if you’re deficient. But this is probably not the case if you’re someone who eats animal-based products, Zeitlin notes.
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Can apple cider vinegar gummies help with weight loss?
There is some research linking apple cider vinegar consumption to weight loss, but the relevant studies tend to be pretty small, according to Meshulam. One, for instance, published by the Journal of Functional Foods in 2018, took place over 12 weeks and included 39 participants. All of the subjects followed a restricted calorie diet, but some of them also consumed apple cider vinegar—and they lost more weight.
There are a couple of ways through which ACV could help you shed pounds, Meshulam says. For one thing, the acetic acid may help keep food in your stomach for longer, and therefore keep you feeling satiated.
Blood sugar regulation also comes back into play here. “When our blood sugar spikes really high, insulin is released to lower it,” Meshulam says. “And insulin is also a hormone that tells your body there’s a ton of food available.” So, in theory, if blood sugar isn’t spiking all the time, this fat storage hormone isn’t being released as much either.
Ultimately, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to weight loss and the ACV gummies in particular. On the plus side, they should contain enough apple cider vinegar to be beneficial per relevant research findings, Meshulam says. For instance, some studies had people consuming two tablespoons of ACV per day—that’s about four Goli gummies, and you can take up to six. But she also notes that appetite suppression may be somewhat related to the vinegar taste, and you won’t get that with a sweet gummy.
Again, there’s no magic pill (or in this case, gummy). Incorporating ACV into an otherwise unhealthy diet won’t lead to weight loss—what you’re eating matters, Meshulam and Zeitlin say.
Are there side effects to taking ACV gummies?
One thing to note is that gummies contain added ingredients. “The gummies usually come with a good amount of sugar, and a lot of other stabilizers and things to get it in that gummy form,” Meshulam says. These things aren’t always harmful or even bad, but it’s best to keep nutrition as simple as possible. Plus, supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so we don’t really know everything that might be in them, Zeitlin notes.
As for ACV in general, it can interact with some supplements and drugs, like diuretics and insulin, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with diabetes should avoid taking ACV products like this, as they can lower your blood sugar, and pregnant and breastfeeding women should also skip them.
Bottom line: Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.
So, should I buy apple cider vinegar gummies?
You may be better off saving your money. It’s better to buy a bottle of the actual vinegar if you want to incorporate ACV into your diet. “I would always, always, always opt for the actual food version,” Zeitlin says, because you know what’s in it.
But don’t take a shot of raw apple cider vinegar, as it can hurt your esophagus, Meshulam says. Instead, try putting a few teaspoons in your salad dressing, marinades, or sparkling water if you’re interested in incorporating ACV into a nutritious diet.
Erin Warwood is a San Francisco-based writer, runner, and sparkling water enthusiast. She holds a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University. In her free time, you can find her watching Survivor, trying new Peloton workouts, and reading Emily Giffin novels. Her ultimate goal: become a morning person.
Andi Breitowich is a Chicago-based writer and graduate student at Northwestern Medill. She’s a mass consumer of social media and cares about women’s rights, holistic wellness, and non-stigmatizing reproductive care. As a former collegiate pole vaulter, she has a love for all things fitness and is currently obsessed with Peloton Tread workouts and hot yoga.