How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Improve Digestion

How to use apple cider vinegar to improve digestion || Apple cider vinegar is a powerful natural remedy for heartburn and indigestion. Let's take a closer look at why this remedy works and how you can use it!

Apple cider vinegar is a powerful natural remedy for heartburn and indigestion. Let’s take a closer look at why this simple remedy works, and how you can use apple cider vinegar to naturally get rid of heartburn, reduce belly bloat and gas, and generally improve digestion.


Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a heavy feeling in your gut?

Do you ever feel like you have a rock/small baby hippopotamus in your belly hours after eating a meal? Do you experience heartburn, bloating, or burping soon after eating?

If yes, it’s very likely that you’re not digesting your food properly.

These uncomfortable feelings were so well-known to me that I used to just let them slide as “normal”. But there is no such thing as “normal” pain or discomfort: it’s a sign from our body that something is amiss.

How to use apple cider vinegar to improve digestion || Apple cider vinegar is a powerful natural remedy for heartburn and indigestion. Let's take a closer look at why this remedy works and how you can use it!


Proper digestion is key to a healthy body.

The digestive tract — from your tongue to your tushie — plays a vital role in all aspects of our health. It’s the mechanism through which we receive the nutrients necessary to sustain life, and is a vital component of the immune system.

But think about it: if we are eating the most nutrient-dense foods possible yet not breaking them down adequately enough to actually get to the nutrients they contain… what’s the point?


Proper stomach acid levels are necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.

As soon as we see, smell, or think about food, our stomach cells begin secreting hydrochloric acid (HCl). HCl plays a vital role in protein digestion by converting pepsinogen into the enzyme pepsin, which breaks proteins down into amino acids. It also promotes the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins A and E by stimulating the release of pancreatic enzymes and bile into the small intestine.

So without adequate stomach acid, food is incompletely digested and nutrients are not properly assimilated. This is a BIG. DEAL.

Factors such as stress, excess carbohydrate consumption, nutrient deficiencies, allergies, and excess alcohol can decrease HCl production. And according to Jonathon Wright, MD — author of Why Stomach Acid is Good for You — approximately 90% of Americans produce too little stomach acid.

(Now if you’re thinking “Oh, well I have acid reflux/GERD so I make too much stomach acid”, think again. Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) are actually caused by low stomach acid. While antacids do help to alleviate the symptoms, they do not remedy the underlying cause. To learn all of the details, check our Chris Kresser’s 6-part series on the topic.)


Apple cider vinegar improves digestive health by increasing stomach acid production.

It’s as simple as that! By increasing stomach acid production, apple cider vinegar helps our bodies properly break down and digest our food.

How to use apple cider vinegar to improve digestion:

Mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in one glass (8 oz) of water and drink 15-20 minutes before a meal.Be sure to use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the mother. If desired, increase to 2 teaspoons.

“Swish” and drink a few more sips of water to prevent the acid from affecting tooth enamel and irritating your esophagus.

How to use apple cider vinegar to improve digestion || Apple cider vinegar is a powerful natural remedy for heartburn and indigestion. Let's take a closer look at why this remedy works and how you can use it!


Have you used ACV to improve your digestion?

How did it go!? Please share with us in the comments below!

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  1. Have you tried drinking 1-2 glasses of fresh apple juice? It’s a great way to get things moving, and I recommend it to people who will be traveling. It makes you feel lighter and able to sit longer on those intercontinental flights. BTW make sure there is 10-12 hours between the time you drink the juice to the time of your boarding.

  2. Great article Nadia. How do you compare taking ACV to taking enzymes and probiotics? Do you take these as well as ACV or is this all you use for digestion? I have always used ACV before I go to bed. This cured acid reflux that I used to have. It really works great. I am going to try it before meals as well.

  3. Great questions and that’s AWESOME! Yes, ACV helps with acid reflux since reflux (opposed to what many think!) is actually caused my LOW stomach acid.

    I do also take high quality transient and native probiotics daily for overall GI health.

    Enzymes and HCl are both necessary for proper digestion. There are a bunch of different enzymes involved in digestion that come in at different stages of the process (starting salivary alamyse in the mouth – in the saliva – that is necessary for carb/starch digestion). But the thing is, proper HCl levels stimulate the secretion of gastric enzymes in the stomach, as well as pancreatic enzymes in the small intestine. So if you’re chewing your food properly and HCl levels are appropriate, enzyme levels should be sufficient as well. But a number of digestive supplements do contain both HCl (as betaine) and enzymes to assist the entire process – like these http://amzn.to/1GISFLb and these http://amzn.to/1NE4qEF if you’re interested.

  4. Thanks for the great idea! I’m going to have to try it. But I was wondering, do I need to do this forever? Or will my stomach acid levels correct over time, and then I won’t have to drink apple cider vinegar forever?

  5. Today I exoerienced the hard knot in my stomach. This was not uncommon to me because I have major digestion issues often. I am visiting my sister for the weekend and noticed she had some braggs acv in her bathroom so I said to her I wonder if I drink this would it help me since it has so many wonderful benfits. I took two capfuls (non diluted) and like magic the uncompfortable feeling starting to dissapear. I felt movement in my system immediately. My headache dissapeared. Needless to say I will be getting a bottle immedieatly and begin the regumine mentioned in this article. Thanks for posting.

  6. That’s so great to hear, Erica! It really is a great thing to always have on hand, like you said it has so many uses. I love that your sister had it in the bathroom! It’s great for face masks and as a toner (very diluted) – not sure if that’s what she uses it for!

  7. Nadia,
    Thanks for this info. It has been really helpful but I am a bit worried of what the side effect of taking more than 3 tablespoonful of ACV daily might be particularly it effect on your kidney?

  8. Four tablespoons a day is quite a bit. Just like anything, you have to be careful not to overdo it (too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!). I’ve read that overconsumption of ACV can increase risk of bladder cancer, so keeping it to a reasonable amount is probably the safest bet!

  9. Hi Angela. Thanks for your comment and concern. I have not heard that and will have to look into it. But the 4 tablespoons is definitely not something indefinite — the idea is to get your stomach to start producing more acid so that eventually you don’t need it at all. I’m actually at the point where I’ve stopped using any ACV! I should make this more clear in the post.

  10. Hi Ebenezer. Thanks for your comment and concern. I have not heard of any possible side-effects for the kidneys, but will have to look into it.

    But the 4 tablespoons is definitely not something indefinite — the idea is to get your stomach to start producing more acid so that eventually you don’t need it at all. I’m actually at the point where I’ve stopped using any ACV! I should make this more clear in the post.

  11. is there any counteractive issues with drinking the honey/ cayenne mixture before meals as well as drinking the apple cider vinegar before meals?

    Would that be a harmful mixture at all change the effectiveness of the other mix?

  12. Hello Nadia
    I’ve started taking ACV for acid reflux. I take a protein shake first thing in the morning and then take ACV in a glass with water straight after. Is this ok to do straight after or should I give it a couple of hours and let my protein shake digest?
    Also can I store ACV in a plastic cup with water and drink later in the day at work?

  13. Great article! I’m newly pregnant andi have horrible indigestion! It feels like my stomach is always full and I feel so bloated at all times. I know I need to eat but I don’t want to Bc of the discomfort. I tried acv , 1 tsp in warm water and I started to feel “empty” again! Is the standard “dose” 1-4 tablespoons? Tia

  14. Hi. I have problems with chronic anemia. If ACV improves digestion, does this mean it will improve my body’s absorption of iron from supplements and food?

  15. Hi, Glen. I hope your acid reflux has improved since writing this comment – my apologies for the belated reply! I would suggest you store the ACV in glass, not plastic. Also, you may find that if you take it before eating (or drinking your protein shake) it prevents the reflux from happening.

  16. I’ve suffered from a hiatus hernia and IBS since I was 15, and have been on omprozole for around 15 years. Apple cider vinegar before meals definitely helps, but cutting out sugar made the biggest positive difference.

  17. When you said you drink 2 tbsp of ACV diluted with an equal amount of water, do you mean you drink it with 1 ounce of water? 2 tbsp is 28 grams and 28 grams is 1 ounce.

    I’ve read about drinking 1 tbsp of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Wouldn’t you need at least 8 ounces of water or is a lower amount better?

  18. When you said you drink 2 tbsp of ACV diluted with an equal amount of water, do you mean you drink it with 1 ounce of water? 2 tbsp is 28 grams and 28 grams is 1 ounce.

    I’ve read about drinking 1 tbsp of ACV with 8 ounces of water. Wouldn’t you need at least 8 ounces of water or is a lower amount better?

  19. “Do you ever feel like you have a rock/small baby hippopotamus in your belly hours after eating a meal?”

    Boy that described me to a tee many times. And the more antacids I took the worse it got. I thought there was something seriously wrong starting to happen to me.

    Then I discovered this information that perhaps I didn’t have enough stomach acid so I started using apple cider vinegar mixed with water with my meals.An overnight cure. I couldn’t believe it.

    Thanks !

  20. I have Gastroperisis which is slow emptying of the stomach contents. My stomach n intestines are not digesting my food and cause me to b full n throw up after eating. I also get cinstipated easily. Have recently quit taking miralax due to its content. Have heard that ACV can help with my digestive problems. Is this true. Thanks

  21. I have ulcerative colitis. i take my prescribed meds plus 1-2 tablespoons of Red Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother, diluted with water. When my medication refill has crossed in the mail, I lnow RACV will protect my gi tract. I also have used medical cannabis to alleviate symptoms. All medications can be used for good or bad purposes. I love my RACV.

  22. Good day, how soon after consuming the apple cider vinegar should I start to see improved digestion and my regular tummy size again? Also, great article!

  23. Hi, wanted to thank you for the concern about tooth enamel. As a dental hygienist, one of my focuses is patients enamel and causes for its breakdown.

    Appreciate all of the great articles as well. Completing a liver cleanse now and will be starting the ACV as well. My belly hurts when I bend over and feels full all the time. Over the summer I did a body challenge where I was introduced to the lemon-cayenne pepper drink. I didn’t understand the why behind it, but knew it sis something right in my body. Missing that feeling of ‘feeling good’ and not wanting to get stuck on OTC pills/vitamins I have no idea if they contain what the label says, I decided to go the natural route and let nature take care of me.

    Thanks for the great articles and support.

    Jennifer

  24. ACV rocks! It has helped my digestion & got rid of bloating after eating bread. I plan to start taking it before my protein shakes. I have a cocktail in the morning: 3 tsps. ACV, 1/2 tbsp. local honey, 1/8 tsp. of turmeric. I have started adding 7 leaves of neem as a cancer preventative & it feels like my body is on steroids. I’m 64 years old and feel more like 45 or 50.

  25. Well you never know unless you ask! Hydrochloric acid – it’s what the stomach naturally produces to break down food. Adequate levels are absolutely critical for proper digestion.

  26. Thanks so much for explaining this. I had my gallbladder removed several years ago and have GERD and a lot of stress so I have had the “big rock” in my stomach after eating, and just feeling awful. So today I started trying the ACV with water before I eat. Will let you know how it goes.

  27. Hi, Bobbi. Do you take an ox bile supplement? I highly suggest looking into it – that rock may also be because you’re not digesting your fats properly anymore without the gallbladder.

  28. Really, if you have a lack of stomach acid then you should see the results fairly quickly – you’ll notice less discomfort with your meals.

  29. What kind/brand of CAB? I’ve tried a few and they all taste terrible bit I really need the help.

  30. Hello, I have a hiatus hernia and some liver damage. I’ve been taking Lansoprazole for a few years now and it help enormously, I started taking ACV About 3 months ago now. Initially I took it diluted (I really don’t like it) my daughter takes it as a shot and then drinks water to wash it down. Another daughter thinks this would be bad for my gut. Can you pl asemtell me the best way to take it. Thanks in advance.

  31. Hi Nadia
    I have been taking ACV with mother in a cup of squeezed lemon but I suffer from bloating and burping as my stomach swells up. Would ACV make this worse as it seems to happen about an hour after I have it.
    Regards
    Sandra

  32. this question is directed to Jorge Rivas. Regarding your cocktail of ACV, honey, turmeric, and neem leaves. Are the neem leaves in a powder? Also, do you mix all this with something? Or just the four items? It seems that it would be hard to mix and swallow without some other medium in which to mix it with. Thanks!

  33. Hi guys when yall say it feels like a rock are you talking about kinda under your left lower ribs along with stomach pain and horrible throat and mouth burning please someone answer

  34. I developed a severe dry mouth condition. Both my doctor and dentist could not identify the cause. I would wake up many times during the night to drink water and use dry mouth remedies which only alleviated the symptoms. I am healthy and not diabetic but this was starting to affect my health as I was always tired. In desperation I tried ACV and the result was miraculous. For the first time in 2years I slept through the night and have not had dry mouth since. I eventually discovered that low stomach acid can cause dry mouth in some people and the medical practitioners have no idea. I hope this helps anyone suffering from dry mouth. I take 2 teaspoons in half a cup of water before all meals.

  35. Hello Nadia,
    Would taking it after meal in the morning only be okay. Because when I take it first thing in the morning, i have this stomach mega hunger feeling that I feel so uncomfortable. I’ve read somewhere that should take it not on empty stomach too.

  36. Hi I was wondering about the effects of taking apple cider vinegar after meals as opposed to before. Sometimes I forget to take it before eating but remember during or right after the meal so I take it then, is it too late to have helpful digestive effects if not taken before the food reaches the stomach or will it still aid even if it’s less preferable to take it later? How are the effects different taking it before vs after eating? Thanks!

  37. If possible, I would try to take it before or during the meal. I sometimes do take it after if I’m having slight indigestion and it does help to alleviate the discomfort. When you already have food in your belly, the acid from the ACV is diluted so it doesn’t stimulate the production of gastric juices to the extent as it does when taken on an empty stomach.

  38. Hi Nadia, Thank you for the great article, in my part of the world it is hard to find the Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother, so any alternatives? or can I use any other Apple Cider Vinegar? please answer as soon as possible as am badly suffering from flatulence, my tummy goes inches big and badly constipated as well.

  39. Not sure what is going on with me. I have had my gallbladder removed. I also have Hashimoto’s which they say usually results in low stomach acid. I often experience gas immediately after eating, I mean within minutes! It just seems like my stomach and intestines are a mess. Nexium helps with the heart-burn but doesn’t help my stomach or intestines. I have tried ACV and that has helped calm my stomach and intestines tremendously but I still seem to get heart burn once in a while even though I am taking ACV. I mix 1-tablespoon in my 40-ounce water jug and sip on it through out the day. Do you have any advice Nadia??

  40. Hi, Barb. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Honestly, I have too much to say but also I would need to know way more details to truly be a help. If you’d like some assistance decoding these symptoms and getting to the root, I’m currently accepting new Nutritional Therapy clients: https://bodyunburdened.com/nutritional-therapy/ If you’d like to learn more and chat, you can schedule a free 15-minute discovery call with me by following the button on the bottom of the page.

  41. Hi Again, Waiting for your response on my above question, kindly let me know if a filtered but organic ACV with mother should be taken? and it would help, also can it be taken along with the prescribed medicine for acid reflux etc.

  42. Great article Nadia did you take your tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and tablespoon of water right before meals or 15-20 minutes before meals? Please let me know. Thanks

  43. Hi, Larry! I recommend mixing 1-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a FULL GLASS of water. Start with 1 teaspoon to see how you fare, and go from there.

  44. Hi – I am new to this post and found it while I investigated ACV uses. So… where to begin? I suffer from intestinal gas/bloating leading to constipation issues. I have Hashimotos disease as well as significant blood disorders (low WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, Platelets and Neutrophils. The words; neutropenia, leukopenia, pancytopenia and macrocytosis are expletives thrown around like loose change on my blood reports. My hematologist performed bone marrow biopsy (not fun) which showed nothing dire so now I am just monitored every 6 months. Currently, I am on a wait list for a 2nd opinion.
    Honestly, if I could feel better after I eat and decrease the gas, do a nice poop every day I’d think I was in heaven. As for the rest, perhaps the Hashimotos affects the blood or perhaps vice versa. Perhaps all the supplements I take are therefore not absorbing because of the state of my intestines, don’t know. Like a lot of you out there, trials, second guessing, standard medical mixed with natural medicines (I believe there’s a place for both) leaves me (us?) confused.
    What do you think Nadia? Perhaps my constipation issues are created by bowel gas that migrates from poorly digested food a little north. Pockets of air preventing eas of transit? Kinda makes sense to me but very interested in your response.

  45. All could certainly be helpful. If you wanted to experiment with just ACV or enzymes, you could do that. Generally speaking, probiotics will are helpful to everyone.

  46. Hi, Gail. I’d really need to know more about your unique situation to be able to offer a thoughtful response. It seems as though you would benefit most working with a nutrition professional. I offer complimentary discover calls should you like to connect and see if we’d be a good fit: https://bodyunburdened.com/nutritional-therapy/ Hope to talk soon 🙂

  47. I have been diagnosed with atrophic gastritis, hiatus hernia and barretts disease and of course been put on a life time course of Omeprazole. I constantly feel as if my food is just sitting in my stomach and I get very bloated and constipated (so bad at times that I sweat and feel faint when I finally go).also struggle to lose weight but that could be a menopause issue. I have just started trying ACV and my stomach feels different as if it emptying at last and I am going to the toilet Also I don’t seem to be running for the pills to stop the pain as much so here is hoping.Have to admit though that I don’t enjoy drinking it so any recipes I could use for its consumption would be gratefully receieved!

  48. Hi Nadia,
    First, thanks for your useful information and responses as reading them helps me gather lots of useful information. I have Crohns and bloating is a huge issue for me. My son has had a lot of gastric issues and has seen four different Gastro’s to no avail and sadly is now very cynical about going to a doctor. One med clinic he visited told him that he had low acid, so he and I have been investIgating that for a while. I will be forwarding all of this information to him as well and suggesting that he possibly consult with you. I also have Hashimoto’s and terrible dry mouth, so I love seeing these comments from people with similar scenarios and I’m anxious to try this remedy.
    My question is: can low acid and ACV have any effect on a Crohn’s patients tract? I’m just wondering if you know anything about that. Thank you again for your time and information .
    Jo

  49. I am taking a acid reducer and it is doing the job of acid reflex reduction. Is it beneficial or destructive to take acv at the same time?

  50. I have severe indigestion,flatulence, frquent passing of stools, reflux through mouth and less gain on body weight.The doctors immediately categorize it to IBS. Have also noticed that taking wheat products worsen the issue. Is it gluten ntolerance.Also fruits like apple,pineapple intake also makes frequent bloating.Would apple cidar help in this case.?

  51. It sounds like you may something more serious going on like an infection, yeast overgrowth, or dysbiosis. I would suggest getting some testing done.

  52. Hello

    My wife is suffering from acid reflux for the past 18 months. The gastroenterologist rcommended omeprozole
    She has not recovered from it. But still she suffers from acid reflux and also LPR. I have tried today ACV. Will it help or make worse the situation. please

  53. Do a good quality apple cider vinegar capsule have the same benefit as the braggs acv liquid. I have very sensitive teeth and im afraid that it may do more damage to my teeth.
    Also I add a tsp to my smoothie in morning and I find it works just as well as taking before the smoothie. I was thinking of using liquid in my smoothie and capsule at night with my dinner.
    Thanks for your time and sharing your knowledge.

  54. Hi, Annie! I’m honestly not sure. I would personally opt for a digestive enzyme supplement with HCl instead, though – this is what I use with my Nutritional Therapy clients and it works wonders!

  55. So on and off for past few years I had started to get really bad heartburn and as I had omzeparole in my medicine cabinet I took it to ellivate symptoms which it did. Then a year and a half a go I underwent surgery. Again the doc prescribed omzeparole to take in conjunction with my pain meds. This is when it all started going wrong. I developed a b12 deficiency,constant diarrhoea and crippling heartburn. Eventually I discovered a link to omzeparole & b12 deficiency. So immediately stopped taking it. I also read about low stomach acid and came to the conclusion this was what I had. It made sense. Omzeparole reduced my stomach acid which meant my body wasn’t processing food right resulting in acid reflux,tummy problems and absorption of vitamins. Googling led me to stopping any antacid product, taking ACV with honey in water before a meal and also taking a digestive enzyme with every meal. All I can say is the difference is amazing. The size of my stomach has reduced, tummy troubles easing and heartburn all but gone. It’s amazing!