Apple cider vinegar has health benefits, but there is a right and wrong way to use it—and in this case, the "wrong way" can potentially be dangerous and unhealthy.
Take it straight
If you’re thinking about downing some apple cider vinegar and then quickly eating or drinking something else to mask the bitter taste, you may want to think twice. Drinking it this way may be more harmful than helpful. “Due to the [acidic] nature of ACV, you risk the ACV severely irritating and causing damage to the esophagus and stomach,” advises Matt Weik, a kinesiologist and owner of Weik Fitness, LLC. “Do yourself a huge favor and always dilute your ACV in a liquid.” Water is probably the way to dilute the apple cider vinegar.
Take swigs of it
Even when it’s diluted, apple cider vinegar is still an extremely acidic substance. Caitlin Hoff, a health and safety investigator for ConsumerSafety.org, says that ACV is highly acidic and as such, can damage tooth enamel. So, if you’re wondering how to take apple cider vinegar, don’t just sip it or swig it from a glass (even diluted). Instead, try drinking it through a straw so that it comes into as little contact as possible with your choppers.
Drink it right before bed
While taking apple cider vinegar before you eat is a good idea, taking it before you sleep is not. “Taking ACV immediately before bed is not advised because of the potential for it to creep back up the esophagus,” says Laura C. Stix, a naturopathic doctor and clinical hypnotherapist.
“Regardless of the time of day, people should remain upright for 30 minutes after taking it to ensure there is no reflux and irritation to the esophagus,”
Put it directly on your skin
“Whether you’re using ACV as a toner, to remove blemishes, or to treat infections, it’s crucial that you dilute it and minimize the contact with your skin,” says New York City resident Caleb Backe, a certified personal trainer and a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “Prolonged exposure to the highly acidic vinegar can actually kill skin cells, erode your skin, and even leave you with semi-permanent chemical burns.” Again, sticking to one part vinegar to eight or ten parts water is the recommended amount.