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Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Constipation

By Krista Sheehan

After a particularly spicy or greasy meal, you might find yourself running to the restroom more than usual. And while you might not appreciate these frequent trips, the opposite situation can be just as uncomfortable. Although there are a wide variety of constipation treatments available, some people prefer a home remedy of apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

To make apple cider vinegar, fresh apples are crushed and deposited into an enclosed wooden barrel, where they mature. The barrel’s internal environment encourages natural fermentation of the fruit. The fruit’s yeast, a natural microorganism, converts the natural sugars into alcohol. At that point, another microorganism -- “Acetobacter” -- converts the alcohol into acetic acid. As the vinegar matures, it develops a sour flavor and an acidity level of 5 to 7 pH.

Constipation

Constipation occurs when bowel movements become infrequent, difficult or painful. Although all bodies are different, MayoClinic.com suggests the general rule that having less than three hard and dry bowel movements per week could be considered constipation. Constipation typically occurs when you are not consuming enough fiber or fluids in your diet. However, it can also occur when the muscles in the colon or bowel dysfunction. Additional symptoms of constipation might include straining during bowel movements, feeling like you cannot completely empty your bowels, abdominal discomfort and rectal pain.

The Combination

Apple cider vinegar contains a high amount of pectin, a specific type of fiber that is soluble in water. High fiber foods are a common treatment for constipation. However, it’s typically the insoluble fiber products that work the best. As explained by the Colorado State University Extension, insoluble fiber speeds up the passage of wastes through the digestive tract. On the other hand, soluble fiber -- like pectin -- slows the passage of wastes through the tract. For some people, drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar can help relieve constipation. For other people, however, the insoluble fiber from vegetables and beans might have better results.

Considerations

Although apple cider vinegar may work in treating your constipation, there are a few important health considerations to keep in mind. Because of its high acidity, apple cider vinegar can cause irritation of the mouth, throat and stomach. If apple cider vinegar remains in contact with the teeth for an extended period of time, it can weaken the enamel and encourage the development of cavities. Apple cider vinegar can also interact with certain types of medications and nutritional supplements. To ensure your health and safety, consult your physician before using apple cider vinegar to treat your constipation.

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