We all know that vinegar is widely used as a preservative in the food industry. Vinegar is also being traditionally used as a disinfectant to clean and treat nail fungus, warts, lice and ear wax. Over 2000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine had used Vinegar for cleaning wounds. Of all the different types of vinegar, Apple cider vinegar(ACV) is known to have best medicinal properties and has gained popularity in the natural health community. It is scientifically claimed to have many health benefits. As the name suggests, the vinegar is made by fermenting apples. It is a two-step process.
At first, crushed apples are subjected to yeast for fermenting the sugars in them. Second, bacteria is added to this mixture which on reacting, converts it to acetic acid, the main active compound in vinegar. ACV contains certain amino acids and antioxidants along with trace amounts of potassium, calcium and magnesium. The unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar contains “mother” which are strands of protein, enzymes and good bacteria. It is believed that the “mother” is responsible for all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar but with no scientific evidence. The little scientific support for medicinal use of ACV are attributed to the presence of acetic acid in it. Acetic acid makes up about 5 to 6% of apple cider vinegar. It is classified as a “weak acid,” but still has fairly strong acidic properties in its concentrated form.
Some of the known health benefits of ACV are weight loss, reduced cholesterol, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes. Apart from these, ACV is becoming a popular choice of natural remedy for kidney stones. Certain properties of ACV, mainly the acetic acid content is believed to aid in the management of kidney stones in the following ways:
To soften, break down and dissolve stones
The acetic, phosphoric and citric acid in apple cider vinegar allows the stones to absorb moisture and significantly helps breaking down the hard tissues that form kidney stones.
Helps cleansing and flushing kidneys
Regular consumption of apple cider vinegar helps get rid of excess minerals in the blood and flushes the toxins out of the body and thus helps prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Ease kidney stone pain
Apple cider vinegar on continuous intake seems to comfort tissues from inflammation caused by kidney stones and thereby relieve pain.
Prevents new kidney stones
The alkalinising effect of apple cider vinegar alkalizes blood and urine. This aids in the increase of stomach acids to improve the process of digestion which further triggers the production of hydrochloric acid.
Research has found that higher levels of dietary potassium intake were strongly associated with the prevention of kidney stones. ACV contains trace amounts of potassium, which may provide a way to prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Protective against kidney oxidative injuries
Apple cider vinegar is said to produce antioxidant enzymes within the body to protect the kidneys from free radical damage and oxidative stress.
Lowers cholesterol levels -Since higher body weights are associated with kidney stone formation, apple cider vinegar as a dietary intake can bring down cholesterol and triglyceride levels in body weight management and prevention of kidney stones.
There are several options for taking apple cider vinegar as part of daily dietary routine:
The simplest way to take it is to mix 1 to 2 tablespoons to a glass of water. A tablespoon of raw honey may be added to make it sweeter and palatable. It is suggested that adding 2 ounces of lemon juice to ACV in a glass of water can enhance its positive effects on health. Because lemon juice also contains citrates, it helps to further lower acidity levels in the urine. The citrate can also help prevent new stones from forming and existing stones from growing bigger. Drinking this frequently through the day, especially before meals can enhance the effect. Once the stones are passed, it is best to continue it twice weekly to prevent further development of stones.
The following combo is considered a powerful kidney stone home remedy. It increases lubrication and helps pass the stones easily. Drinking this concoction followed by a glass of water is highly recommended for aiding digestion and flushing kidney stones.
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV
- 2 ounces of lemon juice
- 2 ounces of olive oil
Yet another option that is thought to help get rid of kidney stones and prevent them from coming backs to mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of lukewarm water. Sodium bicarbonate is the active ingredient in baking soda. It can help alkalize the body and make the urine less acidic. This desired effect in combination with the effects of apple cider vinegar is known to provide faster relief from kidney stone symptoms such as pain.
ACV can be included in meals by adding it as an ingredient in many of the homemade products such as:
- salad dressings
- sauces or ketchup
- gravies and curries
- pickled vegetables
All said, it is important not to take too much apple cider vinegar since this can lead to calcium loss and lead to osteoporosis. Apple cider vinegar by itself is very acidic and in its undiluted form can cause throat burns, hurt oesophagus tissue, erode tooth enamel and may be dangerous when taken with other medicines or in the presence of other medical conditions. Always consume diluted apple cider vinegar and ensure to drink in plenty of water at regular intervals to facilitate the purpose of taking ACV for kidney stones. Also, it is wise to follow dietary and fluid intake requirements to manage kidney stones better.
The use of ACV in treating kidney stones and much of related scientific evidence are based only on some of the known individual components and not ACV itself. Solid scientific studies examining the direct effect of ACV on kidney stones are still not established. However, ACV still has some important health benefits and shows potential in treating kidney stones naturally. The best suggestion would be not to assume ACV as a “cure-all” in the treatment of kidney stones.
Consultation from a doctor or a health advisor is vital before starting any home remedy to treat kidney stones. If one is on regular consumption of apple cider vinegar and still not showing improved kidney stone symptoms, it is a must to seek immediate medical treatment to avoid further complications. It is crucial for people to analyse and understand the best suitable treatment, especially those who were prone to kidney stones in the past or have a strong family history.