Apple cider vinegar or ACV is tart-tasting vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is available in two forms — filtered and unfiltered, the latter containing the “mother,” the bacterial culture, which converts fermented apple juice to vinegar.
There have been several purported benefits and traditional uses of apple cider vinegar. Research indicates that apple cider vinegar’s medicinal and nutraceutical properties could be beneficial in the long run (1). But do these benefits apply to children, too?
This post answers all your queries about ACV, its possible health benefits, side effects, and tips for safe consumption among children.
Can Children Consume Apple Cider Vinegar?
Children can consume one to two teaspoons (5-10ml) of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water before meals, or served during meals with a food item, like a salad (2). However, check the suitability of the vinegar first. ACV with “mother” contains Acetobacter aceti bacteria, which is known to have probiotic effects (3). But these bacteria may cause allergic reactions in some individuals (4).
If you are concerned about how the child would respond to unfiltered apple cider vinegar, then pick filtered and pasteurized vinegar, which contains very little bacteria. If your child has any gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, allergies, dental problems, or is on any medication, then consult a doctor before introducing ACV (1) (5).
Possible Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Children
- May support digestive health: Anecdotal evidence supports using diluted apple cider vinegar with meals to promote healthy digestion and relieve bloating (7). However, the clinical evidence to validate the use of ACV for improving digestion is sparse.
- May work as probiotic: Unfiltered ACV contains probiotic bacteria good for the gastrointestinal system. It is also believed that apple cider vinegar can improve the absorption of minerals in the gut (1). Nonetheless, more research is needed to conclude these claims.
- May relieve acid reflux: Diluted cider vinegar to treat and manage acid reflux is a common home remedy (8) (9). Some individuals may find the home remedy effective in relieving their symptoms. However, clinical studies backing this use are sparse.
- Could support immunity: ACV has been used in traditional medicine as a natural remedy to treat microbial infections, reduce the duration of common cold, and improve immunity. It is also known to display antioxidant effects (10). These benefits are attributed to the presence of probiotic bacteria, acetic acid, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid in apple cider vinegar (6) (11).
- May relieve eczema symptoms: Eczema is an inflammatory condition with dry, scaly, red patches on the body. Regular bathing with bathwater containing a small amount of ACV may help prevent skin infections and provide relief from eczema (12) (13). However, more research is needed to support this theory.
- May fight scalp problems: ACV has been a part of the hair care regimen to cure dandruff in traditional medicine. The use of ACV is also believed to fight fungal infections (14). However, more research is needed to prove these effects.
- May help maintain the skin’s pH: The topical application of ACV may help restore the skin’s pH level to a healthy range (13). However, further studies are required to examine this effect.
- Could support weight loss: Regular consumption of cider vinegar with a balanced diet and active lifestyle may help in weight loss among obese individuals. Studies note that ACV may help suppress body fat accumulation to achieve weight loss (15) (16). However, ACV is not a replacement for conventional weight loss measures, such as exercise and a healthy diet.
- Could benefit overall health: Regular use of apple cider vinegar is noted to benefit those with conditions such as type-2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) in the long run (17) (18) (19). However, to attain these benefits, apple cider vinegar should be consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.
Apple cider vinegar could provide some benefits that can promote overall health. Yet, encourage your child to eat a whole apple to achieve a broader spectrum of health benefits.
Possible Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Allergic reactions and drug interactions are potential side effects of ACV. Some of the other likely side effects of oral and topical use of apple cider vinegar are the following.
- Increased acid reflux: Excess consumption of apple cider vinegar can increase acid reflux causing gastrointestinal issues, like upset stomach (15).
- Mouth and throat burn: Drinking undiluted cider vinegar can burn the mouth and throat, leading to sores.
- Skin burns: Applying undiluted cider vinegar to treat any skin condition, like mole, acne, or skin infection, can cause skin burns (20).
- Tooth decay: Although mildly acidic, undiluted ACV can dilute the tooth enamel and damage the teeth due to erosion (2).
- Low potassium levels: Consuming excess apple cider vinegar (more than two tablespoons a day) may increase the risk of lowered potassium levels in the body (21). It is uncommon in children and teens, but you must still exercise caution.
Tips For Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Children
These tips could help in the safe use of ACV among children and teens.
- Prefer organic, filtered, and pasteurized apple cider vinegar from a trusted brand.
- If you wish to serve unfiltered apple cider vinegar, then first serve half a teaspoon along with meals. If it suits the child, then you can increase the quantity to one to two teaspoons.
- Whether oral or topical application, use apple cider vinegar in the diluted form.
- Rinse mouth with plain water even after consuming diluted apple cider vinegar.
- Allergic reactions to ACV may be rare but possible. Stay alert to any signs or symptoms of ACV allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance.
How to Add Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Child’s Diet?
Below are some handy tips for using ACV to prepare healthy recipes for your children and teens.
- You can add tart-tangy flavor to soups by adding apple cider vinegar.
- Make tangy-tasting salads by using apple cider vinegar in salad dressings.
- You can also use cider vinegar to marinate chicken and meat.
- Use ACV as an alternative to white vinegar for preparing sauces.
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes For Children
Try these tasty and healthy apple cider vinegar recipes for your children and teens.
1. ACV and cranberry mocktail
You will need:
- 1 cup cranberry juice
- ½ cup water
- 2tsps organic apple cider vinegar
- 2tsps maple syrup
- Mix all the ingredients in a pitcher, add some crushed ice, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Serve chilled with nachos or rye crackers.
2. Cider vinegar salad dressing
You will need:
- ½ cup shallot (peeled, cored and quartered)
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup organic apple cider vinegar
- 2tsps Dijon mustard sauce
- 2tsps Manuka honey
- Black pepper powder, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Blend shallot, vinegar, mustard sauce, honey, oil, salt, and pepper into a smooth paste, using a food processor or blender. Ensure no lumps are left.
- Use the dressing on a salad. If there is any leftover, store in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.
3. Ginger and ACV switchel
You will need:
- 2tsps organic apple cider vinegar
- 4tsps honey
- ¼ tsp ground or grated ginger
- 1 cup water
- Mix all the ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for two hours or up to a day.
- Strain the mix through a fine sieve and store in a bottle.
- Serve a glass with a grilled sandwich or taco.
Apple cider vinegar could be beneficial for your child or teen in the long run. Soups, salads, and refreshing drinks, like lemonade, are the best dishes to introduce ACV to your child. Once they get accustomed to its taste, you can try more recipes. Guide them to consume ACV in moderation and as part of a healthy diet.
2. Apple cider vinegar diet: Does it really work?; Harvard Health Publishing
3. Babak Haghshenas et al., Potentially probiotic acetic acid bacteria isolation and identification from traditional dairies microbiota; Institute of Food Science & Technology
4. V. Nanagas et al.; P285 Anaphylactoid reaction to mother of vinegar; Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
5. Allergy information for: Apple (Malus domestica); The University of Manchester
6. Smriti Tripathi and Papiya Mitra Mazumder; Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and their Pharmacological Approach towards Alzheimer’s Disease (AD): A Review; Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Education and Research
7. Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion. What’s the Deal?; Canadian Digestive Health Foundation
8. Home Remedies For Heartburn (And When You Need A Doctor); Franciscan Health
9. Apple cider vinegar… for heartburn?; Harvard Health Publishing
10. Darshna Yagnik et al.; Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression; NCBI
11. Apple cider vinegar can help clear bacteria and yeast infections; a natural cure; Atlas of Science
12. Soothing Your Child’s Eczema; Sutter Health
13. Get the Facts: Apple Cider Vinegar; National Eczema Association
14. Ana Carolina Loureiro Gama Mota et al., Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar on Candida Species Involved in Denture Stomatitis NCBI
15. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar; The University of Chicago Medical Center
16. Tomoo Kondo et al.; Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects; NCBI
17. Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Your Health?; UW Health
18. Akanksha Singh and Sunita Mishra; Study About The Nutritional And Medicinal Properties Of Apple Cider Vinegar; Researchgate
19. Apple Cider Vinegar; Nutrition Facts
20. Stephanie Feldstein et al.; Chemical Bum from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi; NCBI
21. What you need to know about apple cider vinegar; Gundersen Health System
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