Thinning hair is common hair loss problem that can vary from person to person. While for men it is relatively easier to cope, this can be different and much worse ‘mentally’ for women. The treatment is usually dependent on the underlying cause. How about apple cider vinegar (ACV)? Does it really work for thinning hair?
Where does ACV come from?
Based on how alcohol is made, vinegar is produced in a 2-step process. In the first step, this is used to expose apple cider (crushed apples) to yeast in order to ferment the sugar to become alcohol.
Then in the next step, bacteria are added – and the alcohol is fermented again. As a result, it will turn into vinegar which is mostly composed by acetic acid.
And this vinegar is what we use for many different purposes. Actually, the word ‘vinegar’ points to ‘sour wine’ (in French).
ACV is extremely low in calories. There is only about 3 calories /tablespoon. It also contains other essential substances such as minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and a small amount of potassium.
Numerous health benefits from ACV
For many years, vinegar is not only used for numerous cooking and household purposes, but also used as a folk remedy for many health conditions. And in the natural health community, ACV may be the most popular vinegar.
It is thought that ACV can help provide a number of different health benefits. Although many of these claims are not scientifically confirmed yet, but some are already supported by science!
Scientifically, the following are some benefits from ACV that may really work:
To help kill some kinds of bacteria
There are some types of bacteria that can be killed by ACV! Even it had been used by Hippocrates for wound cleaning about two thousand years ago. It also has been commonly used to help treat nail fungus, warts, lice, and other infections.
Unfortunately, most of these are not confirmed yet by research. However some studies have confirmed.
For instance, there is adequate evidence that it may help inhibit the growth of some bacteria (such as E. coli). In fact, it’s quite common to see ACV for a food preservative.
Acetic acid in ACV is the key for numerous health benefits, including for fighting against harmful bacteria.
For your weight loss goal
Again, it is low in calories but it can help you fell full longer. Even some studies suggest that it may help increase satiety. As a result, you are better able to control your appetite, eat fewer calories, and get actual pounds lost.
Along with healthy foods high in calories (such as whole grain or complex carbohydrates), vinegar can increase your feelings of fullness. This may make you consume 200-275 fewer calories than usual.
The daily consumptions of 1-2 tablespoons (about 15-30 mL) of ACV may result about 2.6 – 3.7 pounds weight loss – according to one study. But this was observed for only 12 weeks. In other words, the actual effect on weight scale seems to be rather modest.
Overall, ACV may help for weight loss by raising satiety. But it doesn’t work alone. Other appropriate steps to burn more calories are also required – such as regular exercise and well-balanced diet.
To help control blood sugar levels
Insulin is essential hormone produced in pancreas, and it plays a key role in regulating the amount of glucose in the blood.
In people with diabetes (chronic high blood sugar disorder), there something goes awry with their insulin. This can be the poor performance of pancreas in producing insulin or /and the poor performance of insulin (when this hormone doesn’t work effectively).
ACV can help manage blood sugar level for several ways. A number of different studies show that it may help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar.
- There are some foods that can easily cause a significant increase in blood sugar, and one of them is white bread. ACV may help reduce the raised blood sugar by about 34 percent when we eat 50 grams of white bread.
- According to one research, it may also help boost the sensitivity of insulin by about 19-34 percent during a high-carb meal.
- Drinking about 30 mL (2 tablespoons) of ACV before going to bed may help lower fasting blood sugar by about 4 percent.
For these reasons, regular consumption of ACV is also recommended for diabetics. It is also helpful for non-diabetics who want to reduce their risk of diabetes or just to keep their blood sugar healthy.
But if you have diabetes and are taking certain medications, it’s better to consult first with your doctor before taking any remedy (including ACV) in order to keep safe.
Reducing the risk of cancer
In most cases, the exact cause of cancer is not known. But doctors know that it occurs when healthy cells get altered and behave abnormally (typically characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells).
As written earlier, ACV contains some antioxidants, essential substance to help protect against cancer. However, this doesn’t mean that everything is answered. Still, the link between ACV and its effect in protecting against cancer remains puzzling.
There are some studies that have observed the effect of vinegars on cancer. But most of these studies are not specifically used to observe ACV.
However overall, some experts believe that ACV may have an effect in lowering the risk of cancer – though currently, it is still definitely premature to suggest this vinegar for cancer based on the current research.
It may also help improve the health of your heart
Heart disease is one of common life-threatening conditions that can lead to death. Like other diseases, there are also some risk factors that put you at higher risk of heart disease. And regular consumption of vinegar may help control some of these risk factors.
Some studies have shown that ACV may help reduce the levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, common biological factors for cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, these studies were only done in rats.
However, again some experts believe that it’s very possible for ACV to help improve for heart health.
ACV for thinning hair – Does it work?
Hair is composed by very active cells that grow and develop quite quickly. And each hair has its own life cycle that is divided into 3 categories, growing (anagen), transition (catagen), and resting (telogen).
Anagen phase is when hair continuously grows (about 0.5 to 1 inch each month). This can last for years and vary from person to person. Then hair will go into catagen phase, when it begins to shrink and grow more slowly.
Then hair will go into the next phase, resting phase (when it stop growing). In the end of this phase, old hair falls out and replaced by a new growth of hair – and another growing (anagen) phase starts all over again. This cycle occurs continuously.
Normally, most hairs on the scalp go with anagen phase at any given time. And a few hairs go with catagen and telogen phase.
Therefore actually, it is normal to notice hair loss about 50-100 stands of hair per day. This is likely to be more noticeable in shower, particularly true if you shampoo your hair more often than usual.
But if you lose more hairs (greater than usual) or even you have noticed thinning hair on your scalp, you may start wonder whether or not it is normal.
Nowadays, there are many hair loss treatment options. And the use of Rogaine or Minoxidil is common option for thinning hair, especially for women.
Some lifestyle measures and home remedies can help, too. How about ACV? Does it also work for thinning hair? The answer varies.
Some women report that another problem (such as scalp irritation or dandruff) occurs a few months after taking Minoxidil. For this scenario, additional treatment may be necessary or you may need to consider switching. And ACV can be one of complementary treatments to choose from.
Although there is still not adequate evidence by research, but many testimonials give positive feedback for the use of this vinegar for hair loss treatment.
Some women find that the use of ACV does help stimulate hair growth and stop hair loss. But again, this is dependent on the cause of the problem.
As well we know that hair loss is also common symptom for numerous different medical conditions. If it does link to certain condition, natural remedies alone are usually not enough. Medical intervention is required to address the underlying cause.
In general – if ACV does work, it is likely more effective for hair loss associated with lifestyle factors. For serious hair loss (such as pattern baldness ‘androgenetic alopecia’ cases or hair loss linked to certain health condition), it is usually only recommended for complementary treatment (optional).
Complementary treatment means it is more intended to support the main treatment, NOT to replace the main treatment!
How does ACV help treat thinning hair?
The exact way of how it may help treat hair loss is not fully known. But there are some explanations, these include: