Pros and Cons of Apple Cider Vinegar for Arthritis

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Research has noted apple cider vinegar (ACV) has anti-inflammatory properties. These properties have prompted some to wonder if it could help with arthritis flares and symptoms.

There are many types of arthritis, each with its own distinguishing characteristics and symptoms. One thing they all have in common is inflammation and impaired function in connecting structures throughout the body, including bone, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.

This article explains apple cider vinegar as a natural remedy for arthritis and whether there is evidence to support its use as an arthritis treatment.

Apples on a table with a knife

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Split Opinions About Apple Cider Vinegar

Generally speaking, ACV is well-known for its health benefits. However, there are also some downsides.


Research indicates apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These may produce benefits including:

  • It may help control hyperlipidemia (high lipid levels) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
  • It may slow stomach emptying, allowing you to feel full longer.
  • It may help secrete insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas that allows cells to take in glucose, which is converted into energy).
  • It may decrease varicose vein symptoms.
  • It may help seborrheic dermatitis (a scaly skin condition).
  • It may help with skin injuries and infections.

Researchers note that there are limits to available research on ACV, so you should interpret its benefits with caution.

Potential Neuropathic Benefits

While there is no evidence supporting apple cider vinegar for neuropathic (nerve) pain, some people say it helps with their nerve pain. People with arthritis may experience joint pain and also nerve pain.


While overall, ACV is a natural and safe product, it does have some cons. For example, ACV is highly acidic, so it may result in gastrointestinal (digestive system) discomfort, irritation, or intolerance in some people. In addition, the acidity could erode tooth enamel if ingested in large doses or over a long period.

In addition, as with any supplement, it is possible ACV may interfere with some medications. So, before trying it out, talk to a healthcare provider first to ensure your medications or health circumstances aren't contraindicated.

ACV for Arthritis in Dogs or Humans?

While ACV may seem like the latest cure-all, it's important to know that there is little research to support its use for arthritis. Some people have tried it out for dog joint pain, but there is no evidence supporting ACV for this use in humans or dogs.

How to Take Apple Cider Vinegar

There is no recommended dose for ingesting ACV. However, research has generally focused on dosages ranging from 1 to 2 tablespoons. In addition, ACV is available in tablet form. In some studies, the tablet dosage was 500 milligrams (mg).

If applying ACV, topically (on the skin), the National Eczema Foundation recommends doing a patch test first to ensure you don't have a skin reaction. In a patch test, you will apply ACV to a small area of skin and check for a reaction over the course of a few days.

If no skin reaction is seen, and a healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead, they suggest adding 2 cups of ACV to a lukewarm bath. Alternatively, you could make a wrap by soaking a cloth in 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of ACV, then placing the wrap on the affected body part.

Other Anti-Inflammatory Therapies for Arthritis

Apple cider vinegar isn't the only at-home remedy for arthritis pain and inflammation. Some other natural options include:

  • Exercises to improve range of motion, strength, and mobility
  • Acupuncture
  • A warm shower, bath, or compress
  • Joint splinting
  • Capsaicin (chili pepper) creams
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Plant-based arthritis diet
  • Herbal supplements, including curcumin, ginger, and Boswellia
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Moxibustion (burning of a cone of mugwort floss on an acupuncture site)

In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and aspirin, are staples in over-the-counter (OTC) arthritis management.

Since arthritis pain often requires daily management, it's crucial to discuss arthritis pain management with a healthcare provider so that you do not inadvertently risk side effects from taking too many NSAIDs.

Is Honey Good for Arthritis?

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, some theorize that honey may be good for arthritis. However, research is lacking to confirm this effect.


While apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties, little evidence supports its use for arthritis pain management. Anecdotally, however, some people do find it helps them.

Since it is a low-risk home remedy, it probably doesn't hurt to try. However, since it is acidic, some people experience gastrointestinal side effects. Check with a healthcare provider to be sure it's a safe option in your circumstance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do arthritis wraps with apple cider vinegar work?

    There is currently no evidence to support ACV for arthritis, including using it topically in wraps. However, as long as your skin tolerates ACV, it probably doesn't hurt to try it. The National Eczema Foundation recommends doing a patch test to watch for a skin reaction and then soaking a cloth in 1 cup of water to 1 tablespoon of ACV.

  • Is it safe to drink apple cider vinegar?

    Generally, it is safe to drink apple cider vinegar. However, since it is so acidic, it's best to consume it in small amounts and dilute it in water. Most studies focused on dosages of 1 to 2 tablespoons.

    Drinking large quantities or taking it often could damage the teeth, mouth, throat, and esophagus (food tube).

  • What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar gummies?

    ACV gummies are a convenient way to take apple cider vinegar. Many people dislike ACV's strong, acidic taste, so gummies are an alternate, palatable option for people with ACV aversion.

20 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kathi Valeii
As a freelance writer, Kathi has experience writing both reported features and essays for national publications on the topics of healthcare, advocacy, and education. The bulk of her work centers on parenting, education, health, and social justice.