Which Brand of Apple Cider Vinegar Should I Buy?
I have personally been drinking apple cider vinegar (shorthand: ACV) for a while now and feel more energetic and healthy. For me, one of the major benefits is that I feel better able to digest my food, and as a result, my stomach feels better. I have also made conscious choices to eat healthy food and exercise regularly.
For centuries now, apple cider vinegar has been used as a miracle tonic. Proponents say it can cure many health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, skin ailments, heart ailments, and high cholesterol, as well as problems with the digestive and immune systems. It may also be effective for weight loss, hair loss, and for getting youthful and glowing skin. Research suggests that drinking it every day may help lower blood sugar levels in those with Type 2 Diabetes.
Best Apple Cider Vinegar Brands With the Mother
Myself and a group of six friends tried each of these. Each one had a distinctive taste and aroma. So, while they're all the same thing, they definitely don't all taste the same. You'll likely need to try a range and decide which one tastes the best to you. We're going to cover:
- Dynamic Health
As one of the oldest brands of apple cider vinegar in the market, Bragg is also one of the most trusted brands to buy. Based on my survey (see the survey at the end of this article), most of my readers have voted for Bragg.
The California-based company says that 100% of its apples are sourced from within the United States. Because of this, they have better control of their quality. They use organic apples only, and claim that they're free from arsenic and pesticides. They also claim to use wooden barrels, which "boosts its natural fermentation qualities."
Founded by Paul C. Bragg, who was an advisor to many Olympians, the brand is now supported by Paul's daughter and nutritionist Dr. Patricia Bragg.
How'd it taste?
While this one smells sour, the taste is quite mild and goes down quite well. This would be my second favorite choice.
While Bragg is specifically known for its apple cider vinegar range, Vitacost is a widely known company for health products in general. Apple cider vinegar is just one of the products they sell.
In fact, Vitacost is also a retailer of other brands of vinegar that include Bragg and Dynamic Health.
Vitacost claims that their apple cider vinegar is the fermented juice of fresh-pressed 100% organic apples. It is unpasteurized, and contains the "mother," the "nutrient-rich sediment responsible for the amber/brown color and cloudy, string-like appearance of natural apple cider vinegar." There's no added sugar, artificial flavors and colors. Also, it is kosher and suitable for vegetarians.
If you are looking for cheaper but quality brand, then Vitacost is an option to consider.
How'd it taste?
This one was almost wholesale voted the worst tasting. For most of the group, this one was too acidic.
You can also consider buying Fleischmann's apple cider vinegar. California-based Fleischmann began making vinegar in the 1920s when they decided to use the alcohol produced by the bakers' yeast growth. With advances in technology, the production of bakers' yeast reduced the production of alcohol. They then entered the specialty vinegar business. Fleischmann's seems especially hard to find. I couldn't find it in any retail stores when I looked for it. Any retailers that seem to claim that they sell it online are out of stock. I reached out to the company directly about acquiring a sample and never heard back from them.
Founded in 1994, Dynamic Health provides a range of health supplements and products which are kosher, halal-certified, organic, and are available in liquid as well as capsule form.
Dynamic Health's apple cider vinegar is price competitive, but they give you a great value for the money.
How'd it taste?
This one had the best flavor, smelled the least potently, and was quite smooth going down. If you're going to drink it straight, this is the one I'd prefer. In my tasting group, several people said this one had the faint aftertaste of citrus.
How'd it taste?
This brand was pepper and stung going down. The smell was also very pungent—even for ACV. The flavor is very harsh and tangy. This version appeared to be pretty divisive: either people loved it or hated it. For me, it was too tangy and foul smelling. For others, it tasted citrusy and was fairly smooth.
All four brands mentioned here are good. They reportedly use freshly-pressed organic apples and sell raw, unfiltered, and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. They all contain "mother," the live culture that transforms apple cider into vinegar.
None of these brands need to be stored in a refrigerator. Avoid direct sunlight, though. Also, you should preferably buy in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles.
What Makes Good ACV?
So what should you look for when searching for the perfect ACV? You want to find a brand that is all three of the following criteria.
- Unpasteurized: Your apple cider vinegar should be unpasteurized. Pasteurization is a heating process that's used to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, the heating process will kill good bacteria as well. That's why we need unpasteurized. We want the good bacteria.
- Unfiltered: Unfiltered ensures that it contains the "mother" of vinegar. The mother is the grainy, muddy, strain-like substance you will see settled at the bottom of the bottle. If you shake the bottle, it will float. The mother contains the enzymes that you want to reap the health benefits of.
- Organic: While this is not a must, it is good to know that we are buying vinegar made from certified organic apples. An "organic" label means that they are pesticide-free. At least one study has shown that "the bacterial microbiota for the industrial production of organic apple cider vinegar is clearly more heterogeneous than the bacterial microbiota for the industrial production of conventional apple cider vinegar." In plain English: organic acv features a more diverse cast of microbes than nonorganic, suggesting that the organic has more health benefits to offer than the conventional.
Now that we know that we want to look for organic, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, let's review the most common brands and see which one's the best. When picking a brand, remember that more expensive brands are not necessarily the best brands. In fact, cheaper brands offer value for money.
Let's look at the top brands and see which are both reliable and easy on your wallet.
Many people claim that drinking ACV has the following benefits; however, it's worth noting that many of these studies were either done with small sample sizes or on nonhuman subjects. Most of the results of these studies are more implication rather than scientific fact. I've provided links to studies so that you can draw your own conclusions. As ever, please consult your doctor if you have any questions.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces cholesterol and helps weight loss
- Improves digestion
- May help prevent osteoporosis
- May reduce the itchiness of psoriasis
- Soothes tired muscles, removes stiffness of muscles
- Strengthens bones and teeth
- Builds strong immune system
- Gives shine to hair, removes dandruff and promotes hair growth
- Provides nourishment to plants
Should I Take Apple Cider Vinegar as a Liquid or Pills?
This is a common question. I have been using ACV in liquid form, and I wouldn't want to switch over to pills. Some brands like Vitacost, Aztec, and NOW Foods offer ACV pills. There are benefits to both forms. Let's explore the pros and cons, and then you can decide what's best for you.
- Enzymes: When you drink ACV, you benefit from the raw, unfiltered enzymes present in the liquid. However, it is difficult to know whether ACV pills contain the enzymes needed to give us those health benefits.
- Evidence: There's not much evidence to support the benefits of pills. Melissa Wdowik (PhD, RDN, FAND, assistant professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and director of the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center) claims that "[as for] apple cider vinegar pills, there is no research to support their value. These supplements are not regulated, so you cannot know what or how much you are getting, and there is evidence that some do not even contain vinegar. In short, save your money." When looking for research about the efficacy of pills, I wasn't able to find any research that was from a reputable medical establishment.
- Taste: ACV can be hard to swallow—literally. ACV has an incredibly pungent taste. If you take the pill, you don't have to taste the strong flavor; however, you could be exchanging that for all of the benefits it offers. So you might not be doing yourself any favors by trying to skirt the flavor by using pills.
- Potency: Most ACV pills are between 400-500mg per pill. Most recommendations, including those from WebMD, seem to be for about two tablespoons of ACV per day. The concentration of these doesn't seem comparable to me. But, to be fair, I couldn't find research about how many mgs are in a teaspoon of ACV.
- Risks: Consuming large amounts of ACV, which is presumably easier to do if you take the pill, can be harmful. Reported complaints include reduced bone density and skin burns. It also may contribute to tooth erosion, throat irritation, and ulcers.
While I have my preference, hopefully this information helps you make your own informed decision about what's best for you.
The Pros and Cons of ACV Liquid Vs. Pills
Full enzyme benefits; Research supporting benefits; Can dilute potency
Some find the taste unpalatable;
Possibly fewer enzymes than liquid form; Less research about efficacy; Might be too potent
Your Favorite Brand?
Which brand of cider vinegar do you buy?
Not Sure How to Use It?
Are you all excited about using apple cider vinegar for weight loss, silky hair and smooth skin? You are not alone. Millions around the world are doing the same to improve their overall health.
If you are unsure about how to use apple cider vinegar, just drop in a comment below and I will be happy to answer your questions. Also, if you have used any of these brands and have any feedback (good or bad), leave a comment for the benefit of all readers.
Would you like to recommend any brand that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know as well.
P.S. Did you know that when mixed with water and applied to hair as a conditioner, apple cider vinegar helps in stopping hair loss, removing harmful chemicals and dandruff from the scalp and giving us shiny hair? Try it out!
Is There a Difference Between ACV and White Vinegar?
Yes, apple cider vinegar is not to be confused with the regular white vinegar found in most kitchens. White vinegar is used in cooking. It's also an effective kitchen and bathroom cleaner and is good for washing. White vinegar, however, is refined and does not have the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from apple must. You get apple must when you crush whole apples, including the skin, stem, and seeds. This apple must is then taken through the process of fermentation and oxygenation. This process converts the sugar in apples to alcohol. With oxygenation, this alcohol gets converted to acetic acid. Studies suggest that this acid has anti-infective properties, has positive cardiovascular effects, can help with blood-glucose control, and can hamper tumor growth.