Vinegar & Diabetes: Can It Reduce Blood Glucose Levels?

How Much and What Type of Vinegar

Studies show wine vinegar, white vinegar, and apple cider vinegar all demonstrate the ability to reduce blood glucose levels. However, apple cider vinegar—due to great marketing, is most notable. The reality is all vinegar has acetic acid which is the active ingredient.

The are no official recommendations regarding how much vinegar to use. Carol Johnston, Ph.D., R.D., Professor of Nutrition and Associate Director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, has been studying the effects of vinegar for more than 10 years. She suggests mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a big glass of water and sipping it along with meals, one or two times a day.

Vinegar supplements are also available however they are not standardized, and the amount of acetic acid varies. In fact, a 2005 study found that ingredients listed on the supplement box did not reflect the actual ingredients found in the pills.

Side Effects and Interactions

Large amounts of vinegar can irritate the stomach and cause nausea; burn the mouth and esophagus, and damage tooth enamel.  Vinegar in large quantities can also decrease potassium levels, which could be life threatening. Vinegar may also worsen gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying).

If you take laxatives, diuretics, medications for heart disease or diabetes you should check with your doctor before using vinegar or vinegar supplements in significant amounts and or a consistent basis.

Bottom line

If you choose to add vinegar to your daily diabetes regimen, it is important to check your blood glucose more frequently. Checking blood glucose will help prevent unexpected hypoglycemia–low blood sugar. Do not stop taking your diabetes medication. Talk to your health care provider to determine if you require an adjustment in your diabetes medication.


Constance Brown-RiggsConstance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, national speaker and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes.. She is Dannon One Yogurt Every Day Nutrition Advisor.

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