Fit and Well Logo

Our Policies About Us Contact Us

Home > Health > Keep Healthy > Apple Cider Vinegar pH level
woman jumping on beach, smiling

The pH of Apple Cider Vinegar

What is the effect of Apple cider vinegar's pH?

By | Updated .

checked symbolFact Checked

Fact Checked

×

All the content published in our website is fact checked to validate its accuracy.

Visit our guidelines web page to learn more about our strict processes regarding how we review our content's sources: reliable and reputable journals, media websites, universities, colleges, organizations, and professionals.

Our articles are based on scientific evidence, and the references are included in its footnotes, which are clickable links to sound scientific papers.

First published: 11.Oct.2018

Proponents of an alkaline lifestyle claim that following an alkaline diet has health benefits.

This diet consists of "alkaline" foods and a lower intake of "acidic" foods. Its purpose is to alter the human body's pH to make it more basic or alkaline.

Elsewhere we discuss these claims, which in our opinion are flawed (starting with the notion of acidic or alkaline foods and the unscientific notion that diet can alter the human body's pH).

The alkaline diet includes apple cider vinegar -an apparent incongruity since vinegar is an acid!. Yet supporters of the alkaline diet argue that vinegar becomes alkaline once it is ingested (actually buffers present in the blood neutralize alkalis and acids maintaining the body's pH constant).

This article looks into the pH of vinegar, and its effect on the pH of our bodies.

Apple Cider Vinegar: a diluted acid

Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting apple juice in a two-step process: first, the apple is converted into alcohol (hard cider), and then, in a second step the alcohol is converted into acetic acid by specialized bacterial fermentation.

Malic acid

Apples contain malic acid and during apple cider fermentation part of this malic acid becomes lactic acid by a process called malolactic fermentation.

Malic acid has a distinct flavor and so does lactic acid.

Apple cider vinegar contains roughly 1 part of malic acid for every 7 parts of acetic acid.

But, what is an acid?

Acids

Certain molecules (oxides, salts, acids, and alkalis among others) split apart into when dissolved in water. They break down into two components with different electrical charges known as ions.

An acid is a substance that when dissolved in water generates a positively charged ion (or cation) formed by H+ ion: a hydrogen atom without its electron.

For instance, hydrochloric acid in water dissociates as follows: HCl → H+ + Cl-.

Basic or alkaline substances when dissolved in water form a hydroxyl ion: OH-.

If an acid dissociates completely in water it is known as a strong acid (like hydrochloric acid), if only dissociates partly into its ions it is known as a "weak acid" and the solution contains water, ions, and the acid (this is the case of the acetic acid found in vinegar).

Acetic acid (whose correct name is ethanoic acid) has the following formula:

Dissociation of acetic acid in water, A. Whittall

CH3COOH

The image shows how acetic acid dissociates in water, the hydrogen proton combines with a water molecule to form a hydronium ion (H3O+).

But, what does all this have to do with pH?

Show Full Article Hide Full Article

pH a measure of acidity or alkalinity

pH measures the acidity (or alkalinity) of a substance.

The concept of pH was created by Sørensen in 1909, it is a measure of the concentration of H+ protons in a solution.

The "p" stands for "Potenz", German for power or concentration and the "H" stands for the hydrogen ion which, as we mentioned above, is the hallmark of an acid.

The formula used to calculate the pH value is:

pH = -log10[H+]

For alkalis, the concentration of the hydroxyl ion: OH- is used instead of the hydrogen ion.

The formula for weak acids like vinegar's acetic acid is a bit more complicated, but it follows the same general concept.

It has a logarithmic scale so one unit on the scale represents a tenfold increase or decrease in acidity.

It has a scale that ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline) and the midpoint value of 7 is that of a neutral solution.

pH scale chart with examples, A. Whittall

The pH of apple cider vinegar

The pH value of vinegar depends on the concentration of acetic acid in it. As the U.S. government sets a minimum value of 4% acetic acid for vinegar and most vinegars have a 5% concentration, we can estimate a pH value of around 3 for a 5% strength vinegar.

For instance, Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with 5.14% content acetic acid has a pH of 3.08.

A study that analyzed different apple cider vinegar samples reported an average pH value of 2.78 (1).

The table below is based on data from Avanija (2016) (2):

Beverage

pH

Minute Maid Lemonade

2.57

Pepsi Max

2.74

Powerade Orange

2.75

Apple Cider Vinegar

2.78

Coca-Cola Zero

2.96

Gatorade Rain Lime

3.19

Mountain Dew Reg.

3.22

Dasani Water Regular

5.03

Perrier carbonated

5.25

Surprisingly, cola drinks have a similar pH to apple cider vinegar (around 2.75).

The pH scale tells us that apple cider vinegar (pH 2,75) is over 100 times more acidic than carbonated water with a pH of 5.

Compared to regular tap water (pH range 6.5 - 8.5) apple cider vinegar is 10,000 to 1,000,000 times more acidic (due to the logarithmic scale used to measure pH).

Effects of Vinegar on Body Acidity

We discuss the Side Effects of Apple Cider Vinegar separately, but we should point out that its acidity increases the risk of dental enamel erosion.

The acidity and alkalinity of the human body

Our bodies can only function within a certain pH range, which is slightly alkaline (ph 7.4). The enzymes that catalyze our body's biochemical reactions can only work under special pH conditions so any changes in pH are quickly adjusted so that the balance is stable.

This process is known as "homeostasis" from the Greek words "homo" = "the same" and "stasis" = "standing still".

The body's pH can't be modified

Can the acidic pH of vinegar influence your body's overall acid-alkaline balance?

No, it can't, but the homeostatic forces cand disrupt some natural processes trying to restore the balance if you go overboard with your vinegar ingestion.

Lhotta wrote about a patient (in 1998) who was hospitalized after her health failed due to excessive ingestion of apple cider vinegar (3).

The 28-year-old woman had been drinking just over one cup of apple cider vinegar a day (half a pinta - 250 ml) for six years.

Her body absorbed the acetate in the intestine and the liver converted it into bicarbonate to be excreted by the kidneys, but these ions (acetate and bicarbonate) circulating in the bloodstream required extra buffering (buffering is the process by which the body neutralizes acids and alkalis) to maintain the homeostasis.

This buffering consumed calcium which was leached from her bones, provoking osteoporosis.

This is an extreme case, a normal ingestion of a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to dress your salad shouldn't disrupt your body's pH homeostasis.

Acidic Urine

Ingestion of vinegar will increase blood plasma acidity slightly as your body transports and metabolizes the acetate and excretes the bicarbonate. This will cause your urine to become more acidic as shown by Johnston (2008) (4):

The study involved individuals with diabetes who were given either commercial vinegar pills, pickles (equivalent to 1 oz. 28 g of vinegar), or vinegar (2 oz. - 56 g). Those consuming the vinegar displayed a "significantly reduced urinary pH" (their urine was more acidic) and the study concluded that "chronic Vinegar ingestion may influence hepatic function and metabolic pathways..."; meaning that it provokes an extra strain on your liver and kidneys.

This is a reminder that "Alkaline" diets entail some risks.

Read More

> > False claims of the alkaline diet.

The dubious science behind the alkaline diet.

apples and apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, Metoc

Learn about Apple Cider Vinegar Uses at our:

> > Apple Cider Vinegar Uses webpage

From weight loss to disinfectant and denture cleaner...

References and Further Reading

(1) Rei-Chu Chang, Hsiu Chin Lee and Andi Shau-Mei Ou, (2005). Investigation of the Physicochemical Properties of Concentrated Fruit Vinegar, Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, Vol. 13:4, 2005, 348-356

(2) Avanija Reddy et al., (2016). The pH of beverages in the United States. April 2016 Vol 147:4, 255-263 JADA

(3) Lhotta K., Höfle G., Gasser R., Finkenstedt G., (1998). Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar, Nephron 1998;80:242-243 https://doi.org/10.1159/000045180

(4) Carol S. Johnston, Andrea M. White, Shannon M. Kent, (2008). A Preliminary Evaluation of the Safety and Tolerance of Medicinally Ingested Vinegar in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes, Journal of Medicinal FoodVol. 11, No. 1 24 Mar 2008 https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2007.574

About this Article

Apple cider vinegar pH level, A. Whittall

©2018 Fit-and-Well.com, 11 Oct. 2018. Updated. 12 Sep. 2020. https://www.fit-and-well.com/health/apple-cider-vinegar-ph-level.html

Tags: Apple Cider Vinegar uses, apple cider vinegar side effects, pH of ACV, apple cider vinegar, side effects of vinegar, ACV and diabetes, pasteurization, dental erosion, acetic acid

This Webpage

Subject: Fit-and-Well.com. The pH of apple cider and your body's acid-alkali balance.

Related Articles: Read on

alkaline diet foods and text: Alkaline Diet Myths

False claims of the Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet can't modify your body's pH, it can help you lose weight, but the body regulates its pH regardless of what you eat.

More...

text: apple cider vinegar side effects

Side Effects of Apple cider vinegar

Which are the side effects of Apple Cider Vinegar? It has many benefits but some side effects: dental enamel erosion, health issues for diabetics, osteoporosis, loss of electrolytes.

More...

spoonful of apple cider vinegar

Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

The uses and benefits of ACV: learn about its weight loss effects, how to use it as a disinfectant, denture cleaner, a remedy for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an aid to control blood sugar.

More...

woman drinking glass of water

Does drinking water improve skin complexion?

A high water intake is frequently promoted as a detox agent that "flushes" toxins from the skin, "cleansing" it. Proper hydration is considered a cure for scaly dry skin, but is this the case?

More...

vial with natural cosmetic

Is vinegar good for your skin?

Vinegar is promoted as an ingredient in natural cosmetic due to its supposed antiseptic properties. But, can you use vinegar on your skin? is it safe to apply it on your face?

More...

woman with pimples and acne on her face

Cure acne with Apple Cider Vinegar?

ACV is recommended as a cure and treatment for acne, but is it effective? Learn the dangers of applying vinegar on your skin to cure pimples.

More...

Health Advice and Advertisements Disclaimer

The material appearing on Fit-and-Well.com is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

We do not endorse products or services that are advertised on the web site. Advertisers and advertisements that appear on this website are served by a third party advertising company.

Share

Our Social Media

visit our Facebook click to send us an e-mail visit our blog follow us on Instagram

Policies

Terms & Conditions

Privacy Policy

Affiliate Disclosure

Advertisement Policy

Don't Sell my Personal Information

Cookie Policy

Publishing Ethics

Editorial Guidelines

Medical Disclaimer

About

About Us

Contact Us

Accessibility

Site Map

Patagonia Wellness
Liniers 440, B1602 Florida, Buenos Aires, Argentina

E-mail: info@patagoniawellness.com

Copyright © 2018 - 2020 Patagonia Wellness. All rights reserved.

Fit and Well: Health, Fitness, Diet & Food information website
Our website is a reliable source of up-to-date, scientifically proven information on health, fitness, wellbeing, diet, food, and nutrition.
Our mission: Educate and inspire with reflective evidence-based reasoning. Information and News that you can trust.

Last updated V.1