# Vinegar and stomach acid pH

Gold Member

## Main Question or Discussion Point

"By taking a little apple cider vinegar before a meal, you can increase stomach acidity and thereby improve digestion and nutrient uptake. "

But since vinegar is less acidic than stomach acid wouldn't it follow that vinegar would reduce stomach pH? (unless the watery contents of vinegar flux out of the stomach at a higher rate than the acidic contents of vinegar?)

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jim mcnamara
Mentor
I think you are correct. For older people, stomach acidity (pH) may go up, so maybe in that case vinegar would lower pH. For people with normal pH I don't see how it could lower pH overall. My only guess would be that adding acid lowers the pH of chyme (food) before the stomach acid has started to be produced.

Dunno for sure.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Please provide the source of your quote so we can see it in context.

Evo
Mentor
It's all "health food" misinformation. Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a "cure all". I read the book on "Folk Medicine" by Jarvis decades ago that was a catalyst for the health food misinformation and basic scamming of people that pay a small fortune for the vinegar at a health food store.

This is an excellent article about apple cider vinegar myths and facts.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GCU/is_n6_v14/ai_20152545

Gold Member
Okay, here's a quote: (from a more credible source) [although related to acids in general, not just vinegar]

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/CustomsToday/2001/May/other/custoday_wellness.xml

Antibiotics
Medication: Penicillin, Erythromycin
Avoid: Acidic foods - caffeine, tomatoes, fruit juices
Reason: Increased stomach acid from acidic foods can make the medication less effective

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Hey there-
Any food or drink which introduces hydrogen ions into the contents of the stomach will make it more acidic (lower the pH). The stomach lining releases concentrated hydrochloric acid into the lumen of the stomach in response to stretching (when food fills it). The pH of the food and drink in the stomach averages with the pH of the hydrochloric acid (sorta, acid/base chemistry is a bit too complex for this post). This means that if the food starts at a lower pH (more acidic), the end result will be lower than if your food started near a neutral pH.
Please note: I am a student of cellular and molecular biology in my last semester. I am firmly grounded in the world of science and hate quackery and pseudo-science. So please do not take my post as a confirmation of the claims made by the "vinegar will cure anything that ails you" people.

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It's all "health food" misinformation. Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a "cure all". I read the book on "Folk Medicine" by Jarvis decades ago that was a catalyst for the health food misinformation and basic scamming of people that pay a small fortune for the vinegar at a health food store.

This is an excellent article about apple cider vinegar myths and facts.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GCU/is_n6_v14/ai_20152545
im sorry but if everyone is going to be a source and reference nazi on this forum i have to point out that your "excellent article" is pretty pathetic. how many references are there? none. how many facts are in the article? none. the author lists a bunch of claims and then responds by making claims. what studies were done, who conducted them, why is the bibliography a link to the article you are already reading? has reading one book really turned you into a bitter skeptic? health food is a scam? id rather drink this really expensive $3 vinegar the rest of my life than take a single chemical pill which from day one has more known side effects than known benefits. it really makes me chuckle that people waste so much energy debunking what they already think of as a harmless placebo. the world is full of chemically imbalanced people, so instead of promoting organic "health food" and dealing with the cause, lets keep pumping out nutrient deficient foods and drown the world in artificially produced chemicals that mask the symptoms! oh and we can make billions while doing it!!! GENIUS !!! alxm Science Advisor Hey there- Any food or drink which introduces hydrogen ions into the contents of the stomach will make it more acidic (lower the pH). Nonsense. Anything that contains protons contains counterions and is in equillibrium with a pKa/pKb. Depending on which, it may not increase stomach acidity one bit. The pH of the food and drink in the stomach averages with the pH of the hydrochloric acid (sorta, acid/base chemistry is a bit too complex for this post). Well the original post was pretty explicitly referencing the facts of acid/base chemistry so I'd say it's quite relevant. Evo Mentor im sorry but if everyone is going to be a source and reference nazi on this forum i have to point out that your "excellent article" is pretty pathetic. how many references are there? none. how many facts are in the article? none. the author lists a bunch of claims and then responds by making claims. what studies were done, who conducted them, why is the bibliography a link to the article you are already reading? has reading one book really turned you into a bitter skeptic? health food is a scam? id rather drink this really expensive$3 vinegar the rest of my life than take a single chemical pill which from day one has more known side effects than known benefits. it really makes me chuckle that people waste so much energy debunking what they already think of as a harmless placebo. the world is full of chemically imbalanced people, so instead of promoting organic "health food" and dealing with the cause, lets keep pumping out nutrient deficient foods and drown the world in artificially produced chemicals that mask the symptoms! oh and we can make billions while doing it!!! GENIUS !!!
I just read it again, and it's an excellent article discussing vinegar myths. I can see why it would upset someone that believes in the hype.

Ok, here you go.

Apple cider vinegar has been used alone and in combination with other agents for many health conditions. Anecdotally, ancient Egyptians used apple cider vinegar for weight loss. During the diet "craze" of the 1970s, proponents suggested that a combination of apple cider, kelp, vitamin B6 and lecithin could "trick" the body's metabolism into burning fat faster. Claims of preventing viral and bacterial infections, as well as allergic reactions to pollen, dander and dust, stem from the proposed ability of apple cider vinegar to prevent alkalinization of the body. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to form a clear conclusion about the efficacy or safety of apple cider vinegar for any health condition.

There may be long-term risks associated with the acidity of apple cider vinegar, including low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) or diminished bone mineral density.

Evidence

Uses based on scientific evidence
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

No evidence-based uses

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table
.
http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/display.cfm?id=9e8f94b3-b637-4a3e-bf43a1dce39b9be3&method=displayfull&pn=6eb86a59-ebd9-11d4-810100508b603a14 [Broken]

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saying the same thing twice doesnt make it true. also, you are assuming i "believe the hype", which i dont. what i had a problem with was you claiming there is "health food misinformation and basic scamming of people". then to prove your point, you use an article that might as well be counter misinformation, since it proves nothing. then you give me another article with more of the same "there is not enough scientific evidence to form a clear conclusion" and "There may be long-term risks". not enough scientific evidence and the chance that there may be risks doesnt seem to stop major commercial food companies from adding things like aspartame, msg and other toxic chemical additives. if you want to eat right, always think in terms of what was being consumed by humans 12,000 years ago, or rather what wasn't being consumed by them. i'll be the first to point out, they werent drinking vinegar ;)

Evo
Mentor
Actually my mom is one that believes in all of those myths. I gave her that book on Vermont Folk Medicine to read. I thought she'd like it since she LOVED vinegar.

Growing up, she put vinegar on almost everything. Any green leafy vegetable, lettuce, spinach, collards, mustard and turnip greens, avocados, asparagus. When she tried to feed me cold tripe covered with oil and vinegar, I finally put my foot down.

The thing is, myths abound. They take a little fact and blow it all out of proportion and no one is going to fund scientific research specifically to debunk food myths. Vinegar has some small qualities that can be considered good for some things. So does wine. :tongue2: But the danger in going along with the myths or the stretching of the truth, is that people will self diagnose and then self prescribe a home remedy, not understanding what they are doing or if they are putting themselves at risk. Obviously, we don't condone that here.

fair enough. organic food and farming is one of the few simple, yet very positive (for the planet and people) movements humans are involved in right now. im guessing you were referring mostly to the vinegar when you said "health food misinformation and basic scamming". since vinegar isnt really a food i just wanted to make sure you werent saying that "health food" is itself a scam. a very good book (which is thoroughly referenced) called "ten thousand years from eden" tells of a study that observed 90% more nutrient content in organic plants compared to commercially grown specimens of the same type.

Evo
Mentor
a very good book (which is thoroughly referenced) called "ten thousand years from eden" tells of a study that observed 90% more nutrient content in organic plants compared to commercially grown specimens of the same type.
Do you have a link? Because all of the studies I've read show no nutritive difference between "organic" and regular farm grown.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0970656009/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Chapter Nine "When is a Tomato a Tomato?"

"Comparisons of organic and commercially grown foods are also revealing. Smith (1993), over a two year period, purchased apples, pears, potatoes, wheat and corn from markets in Chicago. These were analyzed by Doctor's Data Laboratory in west Chicago. The vegetables organically grown had on average, over 90 percent more nutritional elements than similar commercially grown food. Sweet corn had 2.5 times more nutrients."

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Evo
Mentor
Oh, no, I mean actual nutrional analysis. One head of cabbage grown *organically*, one head of cabbge grown normally. Nutritionally they are identical.

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/0970656009/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Chapter Nine "When is a Tomato a Tomato?"

"Comparisons of organic and commercially grown foods are also revealing. Smith (1993), over a two year period, purchased apples, pears, potatoes, wheat and corn from markets in Chicago. These were analyzed by Doctor's Data Laboratory in west Chicago. The vegetables organically grown had on average, over 90 percent more nutritional elements than similar commercially grown food. Sweet corn had 2.5 times more nutrients."

i guess you responded before i added the quote. if you are actually interested in more than internet hearsay i would highly recommend reading that book. it will spell it all out for you, and cite where the information came from. the author is a Ph.D. and is an older gentleman, so its a lifetime of wisdom packed into one book. it is written clearly so anyone can understand and becomes more technical toward the end as he starts to explain the biochemistry behind it.

oh and where is your link or source for the study with the nutritional analysis to support the claim "One head of cabbage grown *organically*, one head of cabbge grown normally. Nutritionally they are identical." ?

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epenguin
Homework Helper
Gold Member
"By taking a little apple cider vinegar before a meal, you can increase stomach acidity and thereby improve digestion and nutrient uptake. "

But since vinegar is less acidic than stomach acid wouldn't it follow that vinegar would reduce stomach pH? (unless the watery contents of vinegar flux out of the stomach at a higher rate than the acidic contents of vinegar?)
I leave aside the nutritional and digestive things.

You seem to make physical chemical mistakes here.

From how you write it you seem to want to say "since vinegar is less acidic than stomach acid wouldn't it follow that vinegar would reduce stomach acidity" . But that = increase, not decrease, stomach pH.

Then you seem to think that a weaker acid makes a stronger acid less acidic. No: the vinegar would have practically only the effect of the same volume of water. Apart from that effect, two acids together are more acid than either alone, not something in between.

We discussed that here not long ago: https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=2131463&postcount=6

I think if you mix the two it will give you a pH almost the same as if you put the same volume of water as of weak acid, but will be very slightly more acid than that. In other words the effect is essentially no different from dilution.

Instead of complicating by dilution let us just compare a given concentration of strong acid with that same concentration of the strong acid but the solution also containing weak acid. (I am assuming the weak acid not extremely more concentrated than the weak.) Now it is true that, compared with when the weak acid was on its own, dissociated ions e.g. Ac- will take on protons to form HAc. But it cannot take on more protons than it releases into the water in the solution of weak acid of that concentration! Not more, so a small bit less, that little bit is the extra protons added to the solution of strong acid when the weak one is added ideally without dilution.

It is instructive to make a full calculation. I found, subject to correction , that when the strong and the weak acids are equimolar the [H+] is higher than that of the strong acid alone by Ka .

Here I correct just at the last word an error I made on that post which I could not correct becase the thread was locked. (The effect however is quantitatively negligible, though a useful excercise.)

To everyone

I have a problem with low amount of HCL. The ph isn't the problem and taking vineager (apple cider because I like the taste) does make a diference so I don't understand what the issue is. I have found that what works for me and my circumstances may not work as well for you. This is probably due to the fact that I have other factors that contribute to my requirements.

As to repeating what someone else says is the gospel truth is fulish. I have celiacs and myasthenia gravis and a load of doctors that have told me what I had to do and that I would never get of the dangerous drugs, well they're wrong. Its great when someone tells you what happened to them and what they did to get a resolution but remember we are not doctors and none of you know all of the issues. So support each other with information that YOU know has worked for you.

James

Gold Member
Then you seem to think that a weaker acid makes a stronger acid less acidic. No: the vinegar would have practically only the effect of the same volume of water. Apart from that effect, two acids together are more acid than either alone, not something in between.
Hm, this sentence confuses me. The extra volume of water would *definitely* dilute the acid. In other words, it would raise the pH. So if you added vinegar instead of water, you would still raise the pH (since the volume of vinegar would probably be a good fraction of the total volume of stomach acid, and since the vinegar is usually well-diluted anyways) of the whole solution - just not as much as if you just added water? (but still more than adding nothing at all?) There would be far more neutral water molecules with the extra addition, and just a few more hydronium ions (and the ratio of them would just decrease)

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vinegar seems to affect digestion in a good way, so enjoy your vinegar.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9630389

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276

as for how it affects stomach acidity on an empty stomach, that's hard to say. the stomach is not normally secreting much acid then. that's why you want to take calcium carbonate supplements with a meal: to dissolve the carbonate releasing CO2 and make the Ca++ ions available for absorption. otherwise, you pass much of it as sand. calcium citrate (like the citrical commercials paul harvey did aimed at your parents with low stomach acidity) you can take whenever.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomach_acid#Secretion

Oh, no, I mean actual nutrional analysis. One head of cabbage grown *organically*, one head of cabbge grown normally. Nutritionally they are identical.
Well a 0.18 second Google search found me just the article I needed, and it is only one of many I have seen. YES, organic produce is MEASURABLY healthier than conventional produce. I really don't understand why people are so hesitant to this idea.

"In summary, this analysis found more iron,
magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin C and
less nitrates in organic crops as compared to
conventional crops. In addition, there were several trends showing less protein but of a better
quality, more nutritionally significant minerals,
and lower amounts of some heavy metals in
organic crops compared to conventional ones."

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If you have what you believe to be too much acid in your stomach that 2 tsp spoons of applecider vineger. If your stomach boilsthen use an antacid but most likely you will find that you acid is low and you need to increase the acid.

Also vegetables that are grown with commercial fertilizers, pesticides and gene spliting or other microbiaogie changes are lower in vitamins, minerals and are basicly nothing but fiber. How can you remove the nutriants from the earth and then find them in the produce.

If you want to feed the world on 2 acres of land by changing the DNA structure of the plant then something must suffer. Remember Newton's Law - For Every Action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more you grow on that acre of land the less value it has.

Greetings. This is a very interesting thread. I came across it trying to find info about how to treat digestion problems and low stomach acid. I wish that I was better versed in chemistry and I can not speak at all to the debate about the chemistry of stomach ph and vinegar. However, I can offer this bit of information based on my own experience. Bragg's raw organic apple cider vinegar is delicious. I use it to mix up salad dressing with olive oil and a little seasoning or sometimes just plain.
The side discussion that ensued about the veracity of health food claims and organics vs conventional produce is also very interesting. First of all i must confess that I have no references to site. However, even if I did, that which I may have read, no matter how well referenced, is still only information and not truly knowledge if it did not come as the result of direct experience. (At least, that is what I think.) That being said, I believe there is a good deal of evidence that is mounting that can leads in the direction of concluding that modern style large scale farming that uses GM crops and all the pesticides is having a huge deleterious effect on the well being of wild life, soil health, water purity and that in fact the foods grown that way are less healthy and in my experience taste like nothing, or bad.
I eat almost all Organic veggies fruits and they really do taste better. Even if Pesticides had no bad effect on the foods themselves, the effect they have on the environment is an important consideration also.
lastly, I work at a Health food type store, and I have meet countless people who tell me that some health problem or another of theirs has gotten better because they changed they way they where eating. I understand that the science and understanding, from a fully tested point of view, of the interplay between diet and health is still quite nascent and there is much that is disagreed upon, but the basic ideas have been around for a long time. eat plenty of veggies. drink enough water. get exercise.

anyway. that is my 2 cents. I wonder if there is a thread on here about time travel.

Again your are only looking at a chemical reaction not at the function of the apperatice. If you have low acid in your stomach you will have poor digestion which most people think is that they have too much but in most cases you don't have enough. If you injest ACV and you feel better then the problem is your stomach acid is low but if you feel whose and feel that you acid burning sensation then ACV is going to nothing for you. So if you stomach acid is low then ACV will increase the acidity in your stomach for a positive reaction but if you have a normal or high amount of acid then you will get a negative reaction. Remeber none of you are taking into acount the mechanics and chemical reactions of the human body. Physics and chemistry are only as accurate as the data input into the equation. Nothing is just black and whith.

By the way I have complete tested the reactions of this on myself long before to resolve my own issues which were sevier as I have mutiple issues with the intestinal tract and malnutrition.

Guys, stop thinking like physicists. ACV induces the previously inert stomach into producing hydrochloric acid. Much of the acid production in the stomach occurs at the anticipation of food, along with the aroma and tastes of food.

Eating just about anything small enough before actually eating, especially an initially acidic food (such as lemon juice, which ends up being slightly basic after digestion), will make sure a large pool of acid and digestive enzymes is available for the real meal to come. Suspending the chyme in enough acidic fluid is important for proper and complete digestion preventing a bolus of food from forming and stalling somewhere down the line.