I've learned that some people take vinegar to treat arthritis. It's a well known folk cure.

Natural News: http://www.naturalnews.com/026715_apple_pain_vinegar.html Learn How to Relieve Arthritis and Joint Pain with Apple Cider Vinegar

The simplest way to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet is to mix 1-3 teaspoons in eight ounces of water three times per day, preferably just before meals. You can sweeten the drink with a small amount of honey or stevia if you like.

Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1241303/Vinegar-honey-cured-crippling-arthritis-says-delighted-organist.html Vinegar and honey cured my crippling arthritis, says delighted organist

Yet the 55-year-old church organist now claims to be completely pain-free thanks to a simple but startlingly effective cure she found in her kitchen cupboard - vinegar.

Mrs Gall said: 'It suggested drinking cider vinegar mixed with honey and hot water. After only a week I started to feel much better. I didn't need to see the specialist any more. Eventually the arthritis had disappeared. My doctor was flabbergasted.'

What does the medical literature say about vinegar for arthritis?

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    Both answered at one point mention calcium and/or magnesium. Which I have heard are major factors in joint pain. Specifically, increasing mag. or reducing calc. will help. If there exists studies on vinegar ingestion going either of these, and studies conferring that these minerals do have an effect, there might be something here. At least that is where I would start searching if I were so inclined.
    – Jonathon
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


There is no scientific evidence that vinegar - apple cider vinegar (ACV), specifically, since that's what is often claimed to be an effective treatment for a number of conditions - is an effective treatment for arthritis.

Some of the claimed effects of ACV:

Some proponents of apple cider vinegar claim it can cure everything from diabetes to acid reflux, to warts, cancer, arthritis, athlete’s foot, halitosis, high cholesterol, gout, poison oak, urinary tract infections, and even head lice!

Not a direct answer to your question, but it's worth looking at the necessary minerals that proponents claim ACV is a good source of:

Let’s see, what else do we have? Hmm, composition… “Apple Cider Vinegar contains cholesterol-reducing pectin and the perfect balance of 19 minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, fluorine and silicon.” (From http://www.parrothouse.com/acv.html). This should be easy to check, as USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture) provides an online database of nutrient values: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/. I typed in Cider Vinegar and found that Cider Vinegar contains the following minerals (amounts per 100 grams):

Minerals Calcium, Ca mg 7 Iron, Fe mg 0.20 Magnesium, Mg mg 5 Phosphorus, P mg 8 Potassium, K mg 73 Sodium, Na mg 5 Zinc, Zn mg 0.04 Copper, Cu mg 0.008 Manganese, Mn mg 0.249 Selenium, Se mcg 0.1 These minerals are present in miniscule amounts. To put this in some kind of context, the attached PDF ‘K in food’ shows levels of potassium in common foods. How much Cider Vinegar do you need to consume in order to get 300mg of Potassium? 410 grams. How much baked potato would you have to eat in order to obtian the same amount of potassium? 56 grams (about one third of a baked potato according to the PDF).

To put it another way - the Zinc present is 0.04mg, or 40 micrograms. This is 0.2% of the EU Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Zinc. How significant an amount is 0.2% of your RDA? Two thousandths of the amount you require daily. Great, now I just need to find some way of getting the other 99.8 of my RDA. (See PDF for foods rich in Zinc).

Despite the claimed benefits of ACV, there has been little research into its use as a treatment for various disorders - but in the research that has been done, no evidence has been presented that suggests it is an effective treatment for arthritis:

There doesn’t seem to be much evidence for the safety and efficacy of Cider Vinegar on Pubmed, so I had a look around. Maybe there are some scholarly articles not published on Pubmed that look at Cider Vinegar? http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GCU/is_n6_v14/ai_20152545/pg_1 seems to be sceptical regarding the much vaunted benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Two quotes stand out for me:

“There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar has any medicinal properties. While the folksy anecdotes from those who claim to have benefited from apple cider vinegar tonics may be amusing to read, they are simply that — anecdotes.“

“The Arthritis Foundation calls vinegar a harmless, but unproven, arthritis remedy. It points out that arthritis symptoms come and go, and that a person using an unproven remedy may think a remedy worked simply because they used it at a time when symptoms were going into natural remission. Such is undoubtedly the case for many of the “cures” connected to vinegar.”

Furthermore, consuming ACV in sufficiently large quantities may actually worsen one's health:

EDIT: Spotted this – http://content.karger.com/produktedb/produkte.asp?typ=fulltext&file=nef80242. Quote: “Regular ingestion of cider vinegar is becoming an increasingly popular habit in Austria and Germany. Cider vinegar is described as a prophylaxis and cure for almost any disease or complaint. Doses from one teaspoon to six soupspoons per day have been recommended. A local bookshop offered nine different specialist books on the benefits of cider vinegar. Here we describe the case of a woman, in whom chronic ingestion of excessive amounts of cider vinegar caused serious health problems.” What kind of health problems? Well, the article is entitled ‘Hypokalemia, Hyperreninemia and Osteoporosis in a Patient Ingesting Large Amounts of Cider Vinegar’. Authors: Karl Lhotta, Günther Höfle, Rudolf Gasser, Gerd Finkenstedt. Ref: Nephron 1998;80:242-243 (DOI: 10.1159/000045180).

So, in summary: There is no scientific evidence to support apple cider vinegar as a treatment for arthritis. (The linked post goes on to address the conclusions of various studies that test its use as a treatment for other conditions such as diabetes, if you're interested. It also contains links to the PDFs mentioned in the section about minerals.)

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