The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Women with PCOS
Posted by Allie on 20th January 2018
Insulin resistance is a common feature in women in PCOS and is associated with having problems ovulating. Insulin sensitising drugs, such as Metformin, are used to treat anovulation and irregular periods in women with PCOS to improve fertility. However, studies have found that vinegar can also improve insulin sensitivity and control blood glucose in women with the condition, although the mechanisms by which this happens are unclear. One theory is that vinegar reduces the glucose response to a carbohydrate, which can be helpful in PCOS and you can read more about here.
Vinegar is made up of acetic acid and small volumes of amino acids, vitamins, including vitamin C, and mineral salts. It’s considered to have many benefits, such as being antibacterial and helping to treat infections, providing cardiovascular protection, and preserving foods.
A study carried out in 2013 (1) examined the effect of vinegar on ovulation and hormone levels in women with PCOS. Seven women aged between 21-40 years old took 100ml of a drink containing 15 g of apple cider vinegar, referred to as apple vinegar in the study, every day for 90 to 110 days. Two of the women were obese and one was overweight.
After 40 days of drinking apple cider vinegar, four out of the seven participants ovulated and started having regular periods.
After 40 days of drinking apple cider vinegar, four out of the seven participants ovulated and started having regular periods, including the women who were considered obese. Two of the remaining participants ovulated after more than 40 days. One woman, who was described as being infertile for two years, continued to drink the apple cider vinegar for another two months in addition to the study’s 90 days and became pregnant.
The authors concluded that vinegar improved insulin resistance and ovulatory function in the participants, acting in a similar way to Metformin, and may be effective in both obese and non-obese women with PCOS who are insulin resistant. It’s unclear whether the participants were on any other treatment for their symptoms and the study is limited by its small sample size. Further research is needed to ascertain the effectiveness of vinegar for women with PCOS as a non-pharmacological treatment. The women in the study drank apple cider vinegar in a drink but it can used as, for example, a preservative, in cooking and salad dressings.
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1: Wu D. et al. (2013) Intake of vinegar beverage is associated with restoration of ovulatory function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. 230 (1): 17-23.