How Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help With PCOS Symptoms

Apple cider vinegar has long been touted for its health benefits, from combating heartburn to keeping germs at bay. In recent years, it has also earned favor as a possible means of losing weight, lowering blood sugar and blood pressure, and remedying acid reflux. People have mixed it into their foods, taken apple cider vinegar supplements, and even added it to their bathwater as a means of enjoying the benefits of apple cider vinegar. 

Because of its ability to aid in weight loss, its hormone-balancing prowess, and its potential to keep blood sugar levels under control, apple cider vinegar has also been cited by experts like clinical nutritionist Lovneet Batra as a good way to manage the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (per Nutrition by Lovneet). Also known as "PCOS," this condition can lead to heart disease, diabetes, infertility, anxiety, depression, and possibly uterine cancer if left untreated. There are a number of ways that apple cider vinegar impacts the body that can help manage the symptoms of PCOS.  

Ways that apple cider vinegar might help PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects women during their reproductive years and tends to cause irregular periods in people who have it. Women who experience PCOS can have intermittent periods with long stretches in between, or they could have a period that goes on extensively. The condition causes the ovaries to overproduce male sex hormones called "androgens." When this happens, small, fluid-filled sacs called "cysts" can form in the ovaries. Women who suffer from PCOS can also experience excess body hair, thinning hair, and acne. 

Apple cider vinegar can be efficacious in fighting PCOS because of its ability to help balance hormones, such as insulin, which is a key component in the production of androgen (per Phable). In addition, androgen production can cause weight gain, and apple cider vinegar's metabolism-boosting properties can, in tandem with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, help manage weight when dealing with PCOS.  Apple cider vinegar is also good for gut health due to its anti-microbial capabilities. It can help aid in digestion, which, in turn, can get the menstrual cycle back on track, according to Batra.

Apple cider vinegar does have some side effects

While apple cider vinegar does have its benefits, it's also important to be aware of side effects. It has been shown to slow down the emptying of the stomach, which can prevent nutrients from being absorbed into the bloodstream. In addition, it could also cause the body's potassium levels to drop or lead to brittle bones, as reported by a 1998 case study published in Nephron. According to that article, a woman was admitted to the hospital with low potassium and osteoporosis after consuming about 250 milliliters of vinegar — either diluted in water or in salad dressings — daily for six years. 

Additionally, apple cider vinegar is highly acidic; and, when consumed too often, could cause the enamel in your teeth to weaken and promote tooth decay. It can also cause interference with certain medications, including laxatives and diuretics. If you are dealing with symptoms of PCOS and are considering taking apple cider vinegar as a means of alleviating your symptoms, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor and make sure you are being careful not to overdo it.