Does Apple Cider Vinegar Affect Periods?
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Affect Your Period, or Is It an Old Wives' Tale?
Apple cider vinegar has been the health elixir that people can't seem to stop talking about. If you have ever taken an ACV shot or have just sniffed it, you know that the health benefits must be incredible to outweigh the pungent taste and aggressive smell. Although ACV can be found as an ingredient in a lot of salad dressings and sauces, you won't derive the same health benefits like if you were taking shots of it. If Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was using vinegar for wound cleaning more than 2,000 years ago, then he had to be on to something, right?
Apple cider vinegar, specifically unfiltered, contains proteins, antioxidants, and acetic acid, which are proven to reduce harmful bacteria, inflammation, blood glucose levels, bad cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. People claim that they feel more full, eat less, have fewer cravings for carbohydrates, and overall have more energy in their day. However, what a lot of people may not know is that ACV's role in insulin and reducing blood sugar levels also affects a woman's hormone balance.
Some say ACV can delay your period, others say it helps to reduce flow, and there are those who say it has no effect. So we spoke to Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, and cofounder of Appetite for Health, to clear any confusion and set the record straight. Upton said, "The research around ACV for menstruation is limited to those with PCOS," or polycystic ovary syndrome. Women with PCOS have insulin resistance, so by taking ACV, they can stabilize their blood sugar levels, which will help normalize reproductive hormones.
Upton also cited a study where seven patients with PCOS were given ACV daily for around 100 days. Six patients observed a decrease in insulin resistance, and four patients saw menstruation restored after only 40 days.
Now the question comes up as to why so many studies out there say ACV can reduce menstrual flow. We also spoke to Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, to clear the air on this question. For one, women who tend to have heavier flow are those with PCOS because insulin is required for blood clotting. If there is insulin resistance in the body, blood does not clot properly, and you are more likely to experience a heavier flow.
If you do not have PCOS but struggle with painful cramps, period irregularities, or abnormally heavy flow, ACV shots may not be the most effective approach. Diet and exercise are just as important. Any pain or discomfort that comes along with menstruation can be reduced by increasing your fiber intake. By eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins, you are ensuring that your body is getting all the micronutrients it needs to stabilize your hormones.
Just as an example, eating foods rich in iron like spinach and lentils will help with restoring blood loss from heavy menstruation. Foods rich in vitamin K like kale will help with blood clotting, and eating more carrots to increase your vitamin A intake will help with heavy flow and any fatigue. Overall, ACV is great to reduce any bloating and could potentially help with flow and pain, but changing your diet may be the best way.
At the end of the day, apple cider vinegar has so many health benefits, but it's important to understand exactly what it's doing everywhere in your body. Some women with PCOS notice effects, and some don't. For some women, it takes a while to notice a change, and for others, they see change immediately.
Either way, you need to make sure you are taking the shot the right way. Since it is highly acidic, it is important to dilute a tablespoon in eight ounces of water to prevent any damage to your tooth enamel or esophagus. I like to drink it through a straw to prevent any contact with my teeth. You also want to make sure to drink ACV before eating your meal to really get that effect of reducing blood sugar spikes. If the taste is too much for you, try adding a teaspoon at a time to some unsweetened tea. Also, make sure not to exceed 10 teaspoons of ACV a day.
ACV may just be the cure to getting us all healthier one teaspoon at a time!