nothin' compares to these blue and yellow purple pills
Supplement (noun): something that completes or makes an addition
Did you know that supplements aren't regulated by the FDA? In fact... the supplement section at your local pharmacy is basically a Wild Wild West of false promises, shady ingredients, and made up seals and certifications with some quality intermingled.
There's not really a sherrif in town, though; so what's a gal to do?
Supplements are meant to, as the word implies, supplement a varied, whole diet rather than make up for a diet that is lacking and/or nutrient void. Supplements can only do so much. According to your particular body's makeup, however, you may require supplementation in deficiencies, which is 100% something to discuss with your doctor.
Not too long ago, I shared my favorite morning elixir, my Morning Kickstart.
32 oz of warm water with some raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (with the Mother—Bragg’s is my preferred brand), cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and squeeze of lemon. When I’m sick, I add in some honey, too.
Why? Well, some claim that drinking lemon water aids in digestion, boosts immunity, and is great for your skin.
Me? I tend to very much enjoy my morning kickstart beverage, which I suck on down before settling into my workday with my coffee. I've been doing this for hovering on six years now. It's become as habitual as brushing my teeth and sticking my contacts into my eyes.
I don't remember why or how I started, to be quite honest. Assuredly it was when I was studying Integrative Nutrition, but I don't feel the need to find the source as I like it and I want it and damn do I enjoy it.
Not everyone enjoys vinegar though, and you know what? That's okay.
Apple cider vinegar is having a rockstar moment as it flies off of shelves, boasting antibiotic powers, anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to ease indigestion.
According to some studies, it can help with hiccups and lowering cholesterol. It also has potassium, which thins mucus, and acetic acid which prevents germ growth, suppresses appetite, increases metabolism, has an anti-glycemic effect (slows the absorption of starches), and reduces water retention. The potassium in ACV can also contribute to increased energy.
Those are some pretty steep claims. Many studies have been done to try to prove and disprove these claims, but none are conclusive.
If you don't like vinegar and you're feeling pressured to CHUG IT HAVE IT IT'S GOING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE—
No. No it's not. It's okay.
Not too long ago I got a text message from my sister:
"So.... I hate apple cider vinegar. I hate all vinegar. It makes me want to gag. Can I take apple cider vinegar pills?"
I love my sister very much and she is, I kid you not, the smarter, funnier one out of the two of us. So when she asks me questions, I take them very seriously; she is my every woman. If she's asking about something, I know it's probably a question lots of women are asking.
This is where I'd like to reiterate one of my core beliefs:
There is no such thing as a good or bad food. Food is simply food. No one food is THE savior, and there is absolutely NO food (or liquid) that you must compromise your tastebuds for (unless you're sick and then take your medicine like a big kid).
I kid, but I also genuinely mean it when I say: If you don't like something, don't eat it. It's not going to move the needle that much for you, and it's certainly not going to do you much good if you aren't enjoying it. If it's causing you minute levels of stress, don't do it. There are other probiotic, fermented foods that are good for your gut. Prioritize pleasure.
Now, I totally get that that's exactly what she was aiming to do with the ACV pill. The best of both worlds, right? Get the benefits of ACV without the vinegar flavor. BOOM.
Eh. Not so much.
Apple Cider Vinegar pills are being marketed as weight loss supplements, but don't necessarily believe the marketing of any supplements out there.
Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and, like I said, the pills and powders and potions section of your pharmacy is equatable to the Wild Wild West. The FDA's stance? It’s up to the individual manufacturer to verify that the products it manufactures or distributes are safe, that any claims they make about their products are not false or misleading, and that the products comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and FDA regulations. But the FDA isn't following up; these are basically guidelines that manufacturers have to follow.
One of the most important things for you to do as a consumer, then, is to ensure that the supplement you're about to put into your body has been tested using a randomized trial.
Where do ACV pills fall on this?
Well, first, let's talk a little bit more about those apple cider vinegar claims.
Apple cider vinegar has historically been used for various purposes medicinally (Hippocrates was a big fan) and even in love potions (Cleopatra was said to have dissolved pearls in vinegar to give to Anthony—let's all try this one, ladies!). A few studies have been performed to investigate the claims, and a few randomized trials have shown that apple cider vinegar does have an effect on variables such as overall BMI, bodyweight, and waist circumference, but participants of the study also reported heart burn and diarrhea, which indicates that ACV may disrupt the digestive system.
Apple cider vinegar pills, on the other hand, have not been studied enough to even come close to my recommending them for safe consumption. Especially because ACV in pill form may not contain what it says on the bottle, according to a 2005 report published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
This is one of those things that you're going to want to discuss with your doctor. I personally choose to use liquid ACV, and I also pay attention to the cues from my body.
If you hate apple cider vinegar, don't use it as a supplement, plain and simple.
You know what's better for your digestion than those pills?
- drink less alcohol
- add some gelatin or collagen into your pantry rotation (add a tablespoon to juices, soups, smoothies, or tea)
- add in a turmeric supplement (turmeric can be mixed into a paste using coconut oil and black pepper)
- eat probiotic-rich fermented foods
- invest in a quality probiotic, like:
Integrative Therapeutics Probiotic Pro-Flora Concentrate
Metagenics Ultra Flora Plus DF 15 Billion Organisms
VSL#3 is the most well-studied probiotic that’s available over the counter and by prescription.
support your body's digestion with digestive enzymes, like:
Integrative Therapeutics Bio-Zyme
Pure encapsulations Digestive Enzymes Ultra
chew each bite of your food 20-30 times
eat more fiber (an easy way is to add in ground flax and/or chia seeds)
leave out the ACV and start your day simply with warm water with either lemon or lime
move your body more
These are just a handful of alternatives that are available to you.
Don't believe the hype. ACV isn't a Godsend, and there are lots of other things you can try and other ways you can live your best life.
Which one of these will you try for the next 30 days?