Apple cider vinegar has been touted for a wide range of health conditions, ranging from lowering blood pressure to helping with weight loss and diabetes management. But can apple cider vinegar treat ED? The answer is, yes and no. Although your doctor isn’t going to prescribe this natural remedy as a treatment regimen for erectile dysfunction, there is some evidence it can be helpful in managing some of the medical conditions associated with ED.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is made from apple cider, which is fermented apple juice. Because apple cider frequently contains some alcohol, apple cider vinegar may as well. You also should know that:
- Apple cider vinegar is available pasteurized, unpasteurized, or organic, and the latter two contain what is known as mother of vinegar, a form of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose that is produced in fermenting alcoholic liquids.
- Unpasteurized or organic apple cider vinegar has a slightly cloudy or congealed appearance
- Regardless of the type of apple cider vinegar you purchase, it must contain at least 4 grams per 100 milliliters of acetic acid to be classified as vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar and lipids
A link between heart health, blood circulation, and erectile dysfunction has been established. Although the presence of erectile dysfunction does not always indicate a man has a heart problem, research does suggest that men with ED not associated with another cause and who have no symptoms of heart problems should be screened for heart disease.
The presence of ED before evidence of heart problems appears to be due to dysfunction of the endothelium (inner lining of the blood vessels) and smooth muscle. This condition, known as endothelial dysfunction, is a factor in the development of atherosclerosis and impaired blood flow to the penis and heart.
Because the arteries in the penis are narrower than those that service the heart, trouble with erections can signal impending difficulties with the heart.
A small study conducted at Babol University of Medical Sciences looked at the effect of apple cider vinegar on lipids; that is, total cholesterol, bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL), and triglycerides in adults with high cholesterol. After eight weeks of taking the vinegar daily, there was a significant decline in all three of these factors. This is one of several studies that have indicated apple cider vinegar can be helpful in managing heart disease risk factors, which in turn benefits erectile function.
Apple cider vinegar and blood pressure
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar appears to help reduce blood pressure and the activity of an enzyme called renin, which helps regulate blood pressure. Because the research has been limited to animals thus far, more work is needed to see how the vinegar affects humans.
Apple cider vinegar and obesity
Overweight and obesity have been associated with heart disease, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction, so it seems logical that using a natural way to boost weight loss is a win-win situation. Although the human studies have not yet caught up with this idea, experiments conducted with animals have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar can reduce the risk of obesity as well as lower the chances of undergoing metabolic changes associated with carrying excess weight.
Apple cider vinegar and diabetes
Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels associated with an erection, a fact that helps explain why so many men with ED also have diabetes. At Arizona State University, several studies have indicated that consuming apple cider vinegar can help in management of the disease.
- 4 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar consumed before eating a high-starch meal can lower fluctuations of blood sugar and insulin after eating.
- If you want good fasting glucose levels when you get up in the morning, you may want to down a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and water before retiring, according to another study.
How to use apple cider vinegar
Do not use apple cider vinegar if you are allergic to apples or cider. This includes both the liquid and supplement forms. If you have a history of acid-related stomach issues, such as acid reflux, it’s best to avoid using apple cider vinegar in any form.
Because products can vary significantly regarding potencies and acidity, be sure to use apple cider vinegar with care. Dilute the liquid product with water or another liquid (e.g., a smoothie, salad dressing) before using. You may enjoy adding a teaspoon or more of apple cider vinegar to a glass of sparkling water, tomato juice, or a tomato-based soup (e.g., gazpacho).
The addition of apple cider vinegar to your menu can spice up your food, but exactly how much it will spice up your erection is not known nor researched specifically. However, it may improve factors that can contribute to ED and be used along with other traditional treatments.
Beheshti Z et al. Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids. Life Science Journal 2012; 9(4):2431-40
Hmad MB et al. Apple cider vinegar attenuates oxidative stress and reduces the risk of obesity in high-fat-fed male wistar rats. Journal of Medicinal Food 2017 Nov ahead of print
Johnson CS et al. Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity to a high-carbohydrate meal in subjects with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2004 Jan; 27(1): 281-82
Kondo S et al. Antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 2001; 65(12): 2690-94
White AM, Johnson CS. Vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations in adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2007 Nov; 30(11): 2814-15