People with psoriasis have several treatment options, including biologic drugs, topicals, and light therapy. But many individuals who have the autoimmune condition turn to natural remedies as an alternative or a complement to pharmaceuticals. Of the natural solutions to promote health, apple cider vinegar has become one of the more popular ones.
“I have a number of patients who take apple cider vinegar for weight loss and for gut health and digestive problems,” says Pooja DeWilde, DO, a family medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Regional Medical Group in Huntley, Illinois. “I have heard of people using it as a topical solution for mosquito bites, bee stings, and toenail fungus. I don’t know the exact mechanism for how it might work, but I think it may have some antimicrobial, immune-boosting properties.”
Dilution With Water Avoids Risk of Burns
The NPF recommends creating a one-to-one-part solution of organic vinegar and water because straight-up vinegar can cause an unpleasant burning sensation.
“People can do a lot of damage with apple cider vinegar if they’re not careful,” says Matthew Lewis, MD, a dermatologist with Stanford Health Care. “The pH [a measure of acidic concentration] is around three, which is similar to lemon juice. If you leave it on your skin for too long, you can just burn — like a chemical burn. We definitely see those sorts of things in the office frequently — it just destroys the skin.”
Instead, Dr. Lewis directs patients to salicylic acid, which is a commonly available product used to help shed dead skin cells. Coal tar can also help by slowing the rapid growth of skin cells and ridding the body of dead skin.
Does Consuming Vinegar Offer Benefits?
It may be counterintuitive, but some alternative health proponents suggest that apple cider vinegar becomes less acidic or more alkaline once inside the body. Vinegar fans believe that it improves overall gut health and the acid-alkaline balance, which may in turn help reduce inflammation.
So far, no scientific investigations have validated this. One animal study found that apple cider vinegar was ineffective as an anti-inflammatory agent. On the other hand, there is evidence the vinegar intake can have some health benefits. A study published in May 2018 in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine indicated that vinegar may help control blood sugar, possibly lowering diabetes risk, and a study published in August 2009 in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry showed that vinegar may reduce body weight and fat mass in obese people.
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