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Vinegar & Calcium Absorption

By Paul Marshall

Vinegar contains acetic acid which aids in releasing calcium from food and supplements, as well as assisting the body in absorbing the released calcium. Other nutrients in vinegar, such as vitamin D, are necessary for calcium absorption. Vegans can benefit from vinegar because it breaks down the calcium in vegetables for more efficient absorption. While it is not a cure-all, adding vinegar to a diet and exercise plan can help to increase blood calcium levels.

History

Evidence reveals that Babylonians commonly used vinegar 7,000 years ago as a condiment and food preservative. Actually, the word vinegar is derived from two French words meaning “sour wine.” Over the centuries, vinegar has continued to be used in numerous ways by cultures from all over the globe. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar as early as 400 BC to treat skin ailments along with colds and coughs. Since the turn of the century, researchers have been validating some of vinegar’s health and healing attributes.

Mechanics

The two best dietary sources of calcium are dairy products, such as milk and cheese, and dark green leafy vegetables. Vegetables high in calcium also contain compounds called oxalates that block the absorption of calcium in the human digestive tract. The acetic acid contained in vinegar aids in the breakdown of foods and helps neutralize the compounds that inhibit calcium absorption. Apple cider and wine vinegars also contain magnesium, a necessary compound that facilitates the absorption of calcium.

Considerations

Commonly reported side effects of vinegar are a burning sensation in the throat or esophagus and enamel erosion of the teeth. Using vinegars with lower acid content can mitigate or eliminate these symptoms. High acid content vinegars include balsamic, apple cider and white distilled vinegar, while malt and red wine vinegars have lower acid concentrations. It is best to use vinegar in foods or dilute it in other liquids. Also, brushing the teeth after consuming vinegar helps to avoid acid erosion.

Theories/Speculation

In 1953, Dr. Hans Adolf Krebs won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for the Krebs Cycle Theory. Krebs’ theory states that all nutrients consumed by the human body must be combined with acetic acid in order to enter the citric acid cycle. This cycle is critical for proper nutrient breakdown and utilization by the body. Vinegar contains between 4 and 6 percent acetic acid, depending on local regulations, which helps the body to process food into usable nutrients.

Benefits

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing calcium from food. Calcium supplements are often left only partially absorbed. Vinegar assists with the absorption process by mixing calcium and magnesium to form a highly absorbable calcium compound. Increased blood calcium levels helps to mitigate the effects of osteoporosis and prevents painful cramping in the legs that can occur when calcium levels are low.

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