Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Past studies have shown that consuming vinegar can improve insulin sensitivity in people with insulin resistance and possibly improve blood glucose control in people with Type 2 diabetes. Now, research has indicated that vinegar consumption is also effective at controlling after-meal blood glucose levels in those with Type 1 diabetes.

To determine the effects of vinegar in people with this condition, researchers recruited 10 men with Type 1 diabetes who ranged in age from 29 to 35 years old and who had been diagnosed roughly 15 years earlier. To ensure that they were observed under similar metabolic conditions, the participants were instructed to fast overnight and had insulin infused through a hand vein until an hour prior to the start of the experiment. The men were randomly assigned to groups consuming either vinegar (30 milliliters of vinegar and 20 milliliters of water) or placebo (50 milliliters of water) five minutes before eating a meal composed of bread, cheese, turkey ham, orange juice, butter, and a cereal bar. Blood samples were collected prior to eating and at 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes after the meal to measure insulin levels, and blood glucose levels were measured with a continuous glucose monitor. (A week later, the groups were switched and the experiment was conducted again.)

The data showed that blood glucose levels were similar in both groups prior to eating and until 30 minutes after the meal. At the 30-minute mark, blood glucose levels in the placebo group continued to rise, peaking at roughly 209 mg/dl at 94 minutes, while in the vinegar group, blood glucose levels rose to 155 mg/dl and remained steady, without spiking, until the end of the experiment.

While the mechanisms by which vinegar helps control after-meal blood glucose levels aren’t entirely clear, it is known from previous studies that vinegar delays stomach emptying and that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, enhances glucose storage in the liver and muscle tissue.

According to the researchers, “two tablespoons of vinegar could easily be used as a complementary food (e.g., in a salad dressing) to reduce hyperglycemia.”

To learn more, see “Vinegar Decreases Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes” in Diabetes Care.

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Comments
  1. Always ready to try new things, where can one find more specific info regarding what concentration level of vinegar they started with before it was diluted and what vinegar source did they use, ie, Apple Cider, Wine? Nice to possibly have natural alternatives!

    Posted by Gary W |
  2. Study subjects drank 30 ml vinegar with 20 ml water five minuted before the test meal. The report doesn’t say what kind of vinegar.

    -Steve

    Posted by Steve Parker, M.D. |
  3. Could this work to offset sleeptime increases in Glucose readings.

    Posted by Fred White |
  4. In other studies done with type 2s, they used apple cider or white vinegar, both have similar acetic acid levels. I have used apple cider vinegar for a few years and I works for me.

    Posted by Joe Mc |
  5. My wife and I have for several years drank unprocessed apple cider vinegar whenever we feel a cold coming on with very good results. I’ll gladly try this tip (thanks!) I believe the brand we get is Brags or Braggs. They’re online, but several of our local stores carry the brand.
    The taste is strong - we dilute it with cool tea, never use hot liquids they destroy the good stuff in the vinegar - and we just got used to the flavor.

    Posted by STEPcoach |
  6. A painless way to get vinegar is to use it to make cucumber salad. Add onions, a little sweetener, water.

    Posted by Heartha Whitlow |
  7. Re: finding more info on medical research — you can go to Pub Med (http://www.msn.com/). If you don’t like to wade through a whole paper, you can read the abstract — a short version of the paper. Sometimes the articles they list in the sidebar have the exact info I want. Or perhaps type key words — such as “vineagar + blood sugar” — into a search engine and follow the trail that those results put you on. Following links in articles or search results often gets me to the specific info I’m looking for.

    Posted by Marcie |
  8. I have been using vinegar before meals for years and it works every time for me. It delays digestion and keeps glucose steady and my last A1c was 6.6 as I use either a cocktail composed of about 2 tablespoons of vinegar with lemon and lime juice a few minutes before the meal OR I take vinegar tablets when eating out. These vits can be purchased at Swansonvitimans.com.

    Posted by Fred |
  9. Please let me know the name of theCough mixture that helps Neuropathy.
    Many thanks
    Hilary

    Posted by hclarke |
  10. The vinegar idea to help with blood glucose control for people with Type2 diabetes sounds good, but what about people with stomach ulcers or acid reflux? won’t the sourness of vinegar bother them?

    Posted by Sandy |
  11. I really love statements like these…

    “While the mechanisms by which vinegar helps control after-meal blood glucose levels aren’t entirely clear…”

    A disease that impacts tens of millions and causes billions of dollars of health care, and our research is that inconclusive as to cause/effect?

    Until we understand HOW these diseases work, we won’t have a clue how to CURE them, only how to address symptoms of them.

    Posted by Charlie Levenson |
  12. What about that cough mix that works for neuropathy. My husband has massive pain that pills do not touch. HELP

    Posted by Ms Hudson |
  13. I eat pickles, pickles and more pickles - esp. the ones with the most vinegar and dill - and salads with wine vinegar (fiber plus vinegar!) You know salad is NOT the first part of a meal for many Europeans but the last!
    Works great for me - and my body seems to just crave and love it!

    Posted by Anna Frederiksen |
  14. I like the idea of not having food crash into my system. I have neuropathy in my stomach now, so I am wondering if the vinegar will just make that worse? I have been type ! for more than 55 years, and have survived until now pretty much ‘normal’ if there is such a thing as normal. I love the advise and common sense from these blogs. lets keep it up!

    Posted by William Hildebrandt |
  15. I also would like to know about the cough mixture for neuropathy. thanks for information about the vinger i will try it.

    Posted by maria alvarez |
  16. How would this affect the amount of my pre- meal insulin dose? What adjustment ,if any,would Ihave to make?

    Posted by gilbert glotzer |
  17. Unless I am misssing something, 10 people in the study appears to be a very small sample to make this scientifically valid. Looks like it is a random study, but the small sample size makes me skeptical. My 2 cents.

    Posted by Sangeeta Pradhan |
  18. I agree with Sangeeta. The study was also with 10 men (as are most initial pharmaceutical studies). I wonder if the same efect would hold true with women. I would hate to be chugging an apertif of cider vinegar every night if it was shown not to work in women.

    Posted by Regina |
  19. My question is what type of vinegar can we use for type 2? and how much should you drink a day and when will it be after every meal or before.

    Posted by C C |
  20. I also would like to know about cough mixture for neuropathy.

    Thank You

    Posted by Jim Pick |
  21. I never heard about a cough mixture for neuropathy, so I also would like to know all about it, is it something we mix up ourselves?
    Thanks Much

    Posted by Donna Holbrook |
  22. I have been a diabetic for well over 40 years…
    I also have been on vinegar diets…Most vinegars that are used is the apple cider vinegar..I have used wine vinegar with success, but apple cider is the one prefered by herboligists…That is no the correct word, but I know you figured it out…
    Vinegar curves your appeitite, and also lowers the
    sugar levels in your system and cleans some people out. I am new here, but I have a little knowledge about the vinegar…nice talking to you all….

    Posted by marilyn hook |
  23. That’s my girl Anna! Pickles are the answer. Flatens mt tummy. Helps me to lose the water in my system. Lowers my sugar levels. But best of all helps me lose week. And, my husband wonder why I love pickles? Silly Man! However, let’s not talk to much on how much we love vinegar and pickles; the manufactures will double the cost of them and start to put them in smaller jars. LOL!

    Posted by Angela Williams |
  24. This is sort of off the subject, however, I had neuropathy in my feet and my podiatrist recommended that I use Alpha Lipoic Acid for it. It worked for me and as long as I use it consistently, I don’t have any pain. He said that it should be at least 300 mg. daily. I buy it at a health food store or on line from a vitamin site.

    Jean F.

    Posted by Jean F. |
  25. I am 33 and just was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I am on metformin and don’t like the effects it has on me. So, I am going to start this apple cider trick tomorrow after I pick some up. I will try to come on here and post what my results are each week.

    I am first going to start while remaining on my medication then if it stays in the normal range I will try it without my meds while consulting with my physician. I really hope that this will work and will keep you all updated.

    Thanks for starting this page! See you soon!

    Posted by Angie |
  26. I have nuropathy in my feet. They burn at night there is no sleep. With the information on Alpha Lipoic Acid. I have hope. Thank You! God Bless.

    Posted by pat tortorelli |
  27. Just tried it, and it works like wonder. Stuffed myself with white rice and chicke (a meal that would spike me to 220) and had the highest at 149 after 90 minutes of meal. I was advised by my brother who has type 2.

    Posted by Yuri |
  28. I agree with whoever said that was an extremely small sample size. 10 men randomized to 2 groups, so only 5 per group, that would hardly seem to be statistically significant information from a purely mathmatical standpoint. Also is this gender specific ? While I am sure vinegar can’t hurt, unless of course you have stomach issues, but I am not going to jump on the bandwagon until a more comprehensive, statistically significant study is done. One which I hope would include women as well.

    Posted by Clare |
  29. Any kind of vinegar works but ACV is usdually the best.

    I tried it and it worked for me, trouble was it was making me sore downstairs so to speak so I stopped and took Cinnamon tablets instead. They work but not as good as ACV and water.

    So now I have a weaker dilution of ACV one day and two cinnamon tablets the next day.

    I have cut out all pasties, sausage rolls, and pork pies from my diet and now my beloved crisps. Im still into eating sweet desserts though.

    Posted by marie |
  30. It is not likely that large studies will be done on a substance (vinegar) that is dirt cheap and over the counter. It costs a lot of money to do controlled studies and no one will do it for something that they can’t control (code for “make money from”). I’ll try it myself in as controlled a way as I can and report back, but one patient doesn’t make a study either.

    R. Joslin, MD

    Posted by Rick Joslin |

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