Apple Cider Vinegar

Why do people love it so much?

I mean, seriously, people seem to think this cures everything under the sun. Try googling 'ACV cure' and there's about 250,000 results. If something seems to cure 'everything' there's usually a clue that 'everything' has a common underlying cause.

Some people seem confused when I tell them that the GAPS diet has helped us with autism, eczema, asthma, ME, migraines, and a whole host of other symptoms, but that's because they haven't understood that these are all just symptoms. The underlying cause is a gut flora imbalance, which is what GAPS treats.

I've heard lots of arguments about what ACV's benefits are. Some people insist it's the nutrient profile, but that doesn't quite ring true, because there are other foods with just as strong a profile that don't have the same effects. Some people say it's because it's probiotic. I love probiotics and they are beneficial to everyone, but people don't rave about sauerkraut curing their reflux/arthritis/yeast infection/<insert other illness here> so it can't be solely the probiotic benefit.

The best argument I've heard is to do with acetic acid. Bear with me because we are going to get into some controversial stuff, but read to the end before you switch off, it's worth a look.

Some people's blood pH is a little off, which means that certain chemical reactions in the body are not functioning as optimally as they should. Before you reach for the alkalising water, you should know that I mean they're too alkaline.

Not everybody, some people are too acidic, but I think there's a lot more alkaline blood pH than we imagine because 'acidosis' has become so popular in health circles. The real issue is that it's really hard to tell, because when you draw blood to test it, it oxidizes and changes the pH. I believe there are some very expensive specialized tests you can get done, but the NHS are not offering it, and certainly not on a hunch that your body is not performing 'optimally'. I imagine you'd have to be pretty sick for them to consider paying for it!

The best way to check is you symptoms (you can google them ask for symptoms of acidosis or alkalosis). Does your body appear to be more acid or more alkaline?

As an aside here, if you are on a very low carbohydrate diet, a ketogenic diet or an SCD/GAPS style diet, you are almost certainly more alkaline. We'll get to why in a minute.

Your blood should be alkaline by the way, but just a little bit. PH is actually really important for transporting minerals and allowing enzymes to work efficiently; it affects your thyroid function and your metabolic rate, and it's one of those little things that you can change so easily.

So, back to acetic acid: it's pH is very low at 2.5 - that's like stomach acid, which is why it's really good for heartburn. When your stomach acid is too alkaline, the valve doesn't close properly. You don't have too much acid, you have stomach acid in the wrong place. As you age (50,60,70) your stomach pH get's higher and higher, so you suffer with heartburn and indigestion more and more. A shot of ACV will close that valve right up and relieve the symptoms, but most people reach for a Rennie or Remegel, further alkalising the stomach and increasing the problem.

If your pH is too high, you can't absorb calcium well, so it starts to build up in the soft tissue; arthritis, cataracts, neuritis, kidney stones, gall stones... not that all of these are always caused by alkalosis, but they can be. You also need fat soluble vitamins to process calcium (D and K2), but today I want to concentrate on pH.

So why would so many people's bodies be alkalised? Well, high stress can cause it. When we are stressed our adrenals cause us to lose H+ (a hydrogen ion) in the urine, which is very acidic, which results in a more alkaline body. Just a little, but over time it can really add up.

So you have all this calcium in the body, building up in deposits, but it's unavailable to be used, because the pH is a little off, which means you get symptoms like a twitchy eye (for those who've seen me tired, you know what this looks like!); cramping in the calves; migrating arthritis pain (where it changes which joint is inflamed). The best solution for all these is magnesium and calcium in proper ratio. I suggest taking your magnesium transdermally, but getting your calcium by acidifying the body with a little ACV.

Alkaline bodies also lose potassium. Often people say that drinking ACV is beneficial because it increases your potassium, but it doesn't really contain that much and is far more beneficial than an equal dose in supplements. The reason it helps is because as you acidify the body it loses less potassium, so you get to keep more of what you consume from your general diet.

Potassium deficiency is responsible for a huge range of symptoms; high blood pressure, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, muscle spasms, irregular heartbeats, constipation, stiffness... hence why people with those symptoms generally see an improvement with regular consumption of ACV.

If you eat a lot of protein, either because of those nasty protein shakes, or because you are on a very low carb diet, you will have a lot of guanidine (a by product of breaking down proteins) which is an extremely alkaline chemical. If you are on GAPS or SCD or any protein based diet, and you start to feel more stiff and arthritic, take some ACV for a few days and see if it helps.

Getting the correct pH also helps your immune system function at it's best, which is why people make 'fire cider' with ACV when they feel a cold coming on.

Hopefully this makes sense, and was helpful. It's the answer that makes the most sense to me at the moment surrounding this home remedy that everyone seems to be talking about nearly as much as coconut oil(!)

And finally, I'll finish off with a recipe of my own making.

The simple way to take ACV is to put a tablespoon in a glass of water, possibly with a spoon of honey and drink it before every meal... but I like my 'good girl moonshine' a little better :-)

It's hot, and sour and sweet; and best served over ice.

Juice 1.5 inch piece of ginger
Juice one small beetroot
Juice one whole lemon (skin on)
Juice one orange
Add 3 tbsp ACV
Stir in 3 tbsp honey

Fill a glass with ice and pour over. At first sip it's so sour that you wince and think you won't drink it, but it's surprisingly moreish and before you know it you polished off the whole jug.
Enjoy :-)


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