Strange as it may seem, apple cider vinegar can be used to fight heart burn, even though that type of vinegar is composed of acetic acid the same as any other. It wouldn’t seem logical to use an acid to alleviate a condition caused by excess acidity in the stomach, but all will be clear shortly.
First, let’s have a look at what cider apple vinegar is, and what health benefits it can impart to the body. There is more to the old maxim regarding an apple a day than most appreciate. Although an orange has more vitamin C, apples have a lot going for them. They not only contain the soluble dietary fiber and prebiotic pectin, that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, but are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Many consider apple cider vinegar the form of the apple that provides its ultimate health benefits.
Hippocrates himself has written of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and used it for the benefits to health that it imparted. That goes back almost 2400 years, to an age when the biochemistry of the body was unheard of and even the alchemists had yet to work their magic. There was no surprise then that an acid could be used to increase the alkalinity of the body since the terms had yet to be understood, let alone invented.
The later applications of vinegar followed a path that would be expected of a substance recognized as a form of medicine, and it has been poured over wounds to sterilize them from early in history, and by people of the 14th and 17th centuries to protect themselves against the Black Death and the Great Plague respectively. It was believed by people in these times that the disease was transferred by breathing in the ‘ill vapors’ and that a vinegar-soaked cloth over the face would protect them.
Many people, associate vinegar with ‘bad wine’ or solutions of acetic acid, generally 5%. But how is real cider apple vinegar produced? All vinegar has acetic acid as its key ingredient. The reason that it can be produced from wine is that acetic acid is produced naturally by the fermentation of ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, the main alcoholic product of the fermentation of sugars. If the fermentation of wine is allowed to continue after the sugar has been used up, then the yeast will act on the ethanol and convert it to acetic acid. In fact the word comes from the old French ‘vin aigre’ or ‘sour wine’, due to it resulting from the undesirable continuing fermentation of wine.
The concentration varies according to the use it is put, though commercial pickling vinegars can be distilled to any required concentration of acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar is obtained by the over-fermentation of apple must usually used for cider, and can be obtained either the clear filtered form, or unfiltered with a hazy light brownish color. Although the manufactured distilled vinegars consist of acetic acid at various concentrations, natural vinegars contain by-products of the fermentation process such as citric and tartaric acids.
However, none of this explains why apple cider vinegar should help to cure heartburn. The first thing you should keep in mind is that this type of vinegar has some nutritional value that will be explained later, but also that it is less bitter than many other types of vinegar and many enjoy drinking it with a small amount of honey as an energy pick-me-up and also to prevent various digestive problems that it appears to alleviate such as bloating and diarrhoea.
The reason that many people experience heartburn is due to the body finding that that the acidity of the stomach is lower than it should be to digest a meal. There might be several reasons for the body believing this, such as drinking too much milk during the meal and thereby neutralizing some of the acid while also introducing more fat to be digested. The body reacts by injecting more acid into the stomach. Excessively spicy foods or alcohol can cause the same effect.
Stomach acid is concentrated hydrochloric acid that is very corrosive and can even dissolve a nail. If your stomach is slightly full, the acid causes a slight, but not full, reflux and you get the burning sensation known as heartburn due to the corrosive effects of the very strong acid on the esophagus, which is not protected by the stomach lining that is designed to withstand it. Sometimes the excessive acid in your stomach will cause the bottom of the esophagus to open, allowing some of the stomach contents into the esophagus giving the horrible burning sensation. That sensation is acid corrosion of your body tissue, but it is rapidly repaired and does no lasting damage unless it is chronic when you have to see your doctor.
Since heartburn is caused by excess acidity then, it will seem strange that you can use an acid to alleviate it. However, keep in mind that your heartburn is due to the body (brain) being convinced that there is insufficient acid in your stomach. If you introduce a weak acid, then you can convince your brain that the acid has been brought to a satisfactory level and so it will stop sending signals to the stomach lining cells that secrete the HCl.
If you remember what I asked you to remember above, regarding the traditional uses of apple cider vinegar and how easy it is to drink, then that vinegar is the ideal acid to take. It floods the stomach with acetic acid and signals pass back and forth between the stomach wall to the brain and back again to the effect that the stomach has enough acid and so no more hydrochloric acid need be secreted.
Had you treated it with milk or even an antacid, it would have worked initially, but eventually the signal would be initiated and the lining would secrete more HCl. With an antacid that can occur after the stomach contents have been passed on, but although it has had its effect, your food will have been poorly digested, and so the better remedy is likely not an alkaline antacid but a weak acid such as apple cider vinegar.
That’s how it works, but what other benefits does it bring to you. For starters it is a good source of potassium which is essential to maintain a proper cardiac rhythm. Potassium can also help to maintain a good blood pressure, and it is necessary for healthy nails, hair and teeth, and also helps to repair damage to soft tissues and to allow cells to repair internal tissue loss.
Potassium is an essential mineral, although there is normally sufficient in a healthy diet. However, if somebody is displaying the symptoms of potassium deficiency then this form of vinegar can help to resolve the problem. The elderly especially can benefit from a regular dose.
Other than its antiseptic effect, the most common popular use of apple cider vinegar, however, is to fight heart burn and in that respect it is very effective, even if it seems a bit of a paradox.
Author Resource: More information on apple cider vinegar for heart burn is available at VitaNet ®, LLC Health Food Store. http://vitanetonline.com/
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