Apple cider vinegar isn't the cure-all it's cracked up to be

Can a spoonful of apple cider vinegar a day keep the doctor away? Extravagant claims, spread by social media, are made for the efficacy of the sour substance, including weight loss, gut health and good skin. The New York Times reports that many of the benefits are overstated, but at its core, apple cider vinegar can be beneficial.

Limited studies show that a tablespoon or two of ACV before a high carb meal can lower blood sugar spikes, especially good news for people with Type 2 diabetes. And the acetic acid in it can slow digestion, which also helps in processing blood sugar and reducing the amount of food you eat, which is a key to weight loss.

But when it comes to combating acid reflux, the results are mixed at best.

Tamara Duker Freuman, a dietitian in New York City who specializes in digestive conditions, said that many of her patients remark that drinking apple cider vinegar before or after meals reduces their symptoms of acid reflux.

"I believe them," she said. But, she noted, "hundreds of other patients with horrible reflux" have said that vinegar worsened their symptoms.

So what's the harm in trying? Doctors warn that more than two tablespoons of vinegar a day, taken straight up, can wreck tooth enamel and harm the lining of your esophagus. They recommend diluting it, or maybe just making a tasty vinaigrette.

Previously: Vinegar as wonder substance