Apple cider vinegar (ACV), a popular household staple, has long been touted as a remedy for numerous ailments. But is there any truth to the claim that drinking it can support sluggish adrenal glands?
A fermented beverage made from the juice of apples, the unfiltered version of this liquid — labeled as “with the mother” — contains visible strands of proteins, probiotics, trace minerals, enzymes, B vitamins and plant-based antioxidants known as polyphenolic compounds, according to the University of Chicago Medicine 1. It’s these nutrient-dense strands that give ACV most of its (potentially) healing qualities.
ACV and Adrenal Fatigue
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center describe this mythical illness as a cluster of symptoms, including a weakened immune system, a decreased sex drive, difficulty in handling stress, and fatigue (accompanied by the need for stimulants such as:
However, the adrenal glands actually produce additional cortisol (as well as other hormones) during times of stress. They don't break down.
Before You Try Adrenal Fatigue Treatment
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Since adrenal fatigue is not a recognized disorder, there are no studies that show a possible connection with ACV. Actual adrenal insufficiency (called Addison's disease) is a rare condition diagnosed via a series of blood tests 7. According to the Mayo Clinic, Addison's disease is treated with hormone replacement therapy. While dietary changes may benefit some patients with adrenal insufficiency, these changes center on adopting a high-sodium diet, per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 789. They don't have anything to do with ACV, and there's no evidence indicating that ACV helps prevent or improve adrenal insufficiency 7.
The Endocrine Society advises that people who don't have adrenal insufficiency but who show symptoms associated with "adrenal fatigue" get tested for each individual ailment 49. Per the organization, stress could be at the root of their symptoms, since stress can cause people to disregard their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Be wary of any practitioner or website that offers adrenal supplements, as well as any products touting adrenal support or adrenal cleanses. “If you are experiencing unexplained fatigue, body aches, weight loss, low blood pressure or other symptoms, you should see your doctor,” says Largeman-Roth.
- Since adrenal fatigue is not a recognized disorder, there are no studies that show a possible connection with ACV.
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- UChicago Medicine: "Debunking the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Fermented Foods for Better Gut Health"
- Adrenal Fatigue Solution (for Theory): "Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Your Adrenal Recovery?"
- BMC Endocrine Disorders: "Adrenal Fatigue Does Not Exist"
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: "Debunking Adrenal Fatigue"
- Mayo Clinic: "Adrenal Fatigue: What Causes It?"
- NIDDK: "Adrenal Insufficiency and Addison's Disease"
- NIDDK: "Eating, Diet and Nutrition: What Should I Eat if I Have Adrenal Insufficiency?"
- Endocrine News/Endocrine Society: "The Myth of Adrenal Fatigue"
- Seaborg, Eric. The myth of adrenal fatigue. Endocrine News. Updated September 2017.
- Cadegiani FA, Kater CE. Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review. BMC Endocr Disord. 2016;16(1):48. doi:10.1186/s12902-016-0128-4
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms and causes: what are the symptoms of adrenal insufficiency? Updated September 1, 2018.
- Akturk HK, Chindris AM, Hines JM, Singh RJ, Bernet VJ. Over-the-counter adrenal support supplements contain thyroid and steroid-based adrenal hormones. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93(3):284-290. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.10.019