Friday, March 16, 2018

Ranking the best MCT oil supplements of 2018

Many people take MCT oil because they’re rich in “good fat” and provide added energy and weight loss benefits.

MCT oils, found in coconut oils, have rock-solid science supporting their use. Not all MCT oil is created equal, though.

What you want is a highly pure and strongly effective MCT oil to improve your health and drop your body weight. We’ve rigorously reviewed and ranked the top MCT oils to find out which ones are the best.

1. Sports Research MCT Oil

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The MCT oil made by Sports Research comes in a generously-sized 32 oz bottle that’s BPA free, and its only ingredient is MCT oil from coconuts that are certified non-GMO.

With ratios of caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid that are nearly 1:1:1, it’s a great balance of the primary medium chain triglycerides.

2. Viva Naturals MCT Oil

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Straight, simple, and to the point–Viva Naturals makes an MCT oil supplement that comes in a 32 ounce squeezable bottle and that uses solely coconut oil in its manufacturing process.

Cheaper MCT oils might rely on palm oil to balance out the formula, but not Viva Naturals.

3. Left Coast Performance MCT Oil

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Left Coast Performance makes an excellent MCT oil that really drives hard to deliver capric and caprylic acid (the “C8” and “C10” MCT oils).

Almost all of the fat in this liquid oil supplement is comprised of these two MCT oils, leaving very little lauric acid in the formulation. It’s made in America from coconuts grown in Malaysia, and it’s non-GMO certified.

4. Garden of Life MCT Oil

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Garden of Life always goes out of its way to distinguish itself, and in the case of their MCT oil, they do so by making sure the coconuts that are the sole source of the MCT oil in this supplement are organically sourced.

If organically-produced ingredients are a priority for you, Garden of Life is a great choice.

5. Onnit MCT Oil

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Cutting-edge supplement juggernaut Onnit is a big name in the MCT oil market, and their product is a solid formulation that provides a good supply of caprylic and capric acid without hedging too much on lauric acid–it still constitutes 30% of the total fat content in the MCT oil formula.

6. Zhou MCT Oil Powder

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Alongside Perfect Keto, Zhou Nutrition provides the best powdered MCT oil on the market right now. With acacia fiber to solidify the MCT oil, and no bulking or anti-clumping agents like some of the other powder-based MCT oil supplements out there, it’s a great travel companion or cooking ingredient.

As with any powdered MCT oil, it is not going to blend into a smoothie as easily, and it’s going to take some stirring to get it mixed into your coffee. Still, for air travel, it’s a lifesaver.

7. Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder

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One of the better powder-based options for MCT Oil comes from Perfect Keto, which uses acacia fiber to solidify MCT oil into a powdery substance for use in baking, homemade granola, or smoothies.

It’s not as easy to use as a liquid MCT oil supplement for something like MCT oil boosted coffee or a smoothie, but the lack of mess and the ability to travel with it makes it a good investment for someone who’s on the road a lot.

8. Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil

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This is the MCT oil that started it all, but now that it’s caught on, other companies have pulled a bit ahead. Bulletproof focuses on delivering just caprylic and capric acid, two of the MCT oils that are thought to have the greatest health benefits.

However, the smaller bottle means you’ll have to resupply more often, and other companies have extra perks like non-GMO certification.

9. Nature’s Way MCT Oil from Coconut

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Nature’s Way makes a solid MCT oil supplement that comes in a liquid bottle, but even in its maximum bottle size, it’s a little less volume than you’d get from some of the other liquid MCT oils out there.

Still, it’s 100% MCTs from coconut oil, so it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

10. Now Pure MCT Oil

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Now Foods is a popular brand, but unfortunately has a reputation of cutting corners to make products on the cheap. In the case of their MCT oil, it’s a warranted reputation.

Unlike higher quality MCT oils on the market, Now Foods uses a mix of coconuts and palm kernel oil to derive its MCT oils.

This means it won’t have the same super-health composition of the medium chain triglycerides that you’d get from a product that’s pure coconut. In this case, there are better options out there for MCT oil.

MCT oil benefits and side effects

It’s rare for a supplement to get wildly popular for health benefits, weight loss, and exercise performance, but MCT oil appears to have done so.

With plenty of scientific research continuing to come out in support of the health benefits of medium chain triglycerides, and the sea change in the stance of nutritionists when it comes to plant-derived saturated fats, don’t expect MCT oil to fade away any time soon.

How is it possible for MCT oil to have benefits across so many different categories, and why doesn’t it get thrown in the “bad food” bin with most other sources of saturated fat? We’ll dig into the science to uncover the answers.


Saturated fats have been much maligned for their tendency to increase biomarkers that are associated with increased risk of heart disease, and an increase in risk for metabolic syndrome as well.

But scientific research shows that MCT oil doesn’t have the same properties as other saturated fats–in fact, it appears it is beneficial with regards to your risk factors for heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

One study published in 2008 studied whether MCT oil would increase risk factors for metabolic syndrome compared to olive oil, the “gold standard” healthy oil that’s commonly recommended for heart and metabolic health (1).

Participants in the study were randomly assigned to a diet that contained 12% of its caloric content either from olive oil or from MCT oil. The standard American diet only contains about 2% of its calories in the form of MCT oil, so this represents a substantial increase.

The subjects were followed for four months. All of the subjects were overweight or obese, and several of them already had metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure combined with high blood sugar levels). After the researchers collected and analyzed the data, they found no changes in risk factors for metabolic syndrome in the group that consumed MCT oil.

In fact, all of the subjects in the MCT oil group who had metabolic syndrome at the beginning of the study did not have it anymore at the end.

This was the case for a few of the subjects in the olive oil group, but a few olive oil consumers went from healthy to having metabolic syndrome too.

As far as heart disease, there is even more robust evidence supporting the idea that MCT oils are processed differently by your body compared to other saturated fats.

A very large long-term study on nurses published in 1999 drew the distinction between medium chain triglycerides and long chain triglycerides like those found in animal products (2).

After adjusting for factors like age, smoking, and other potential confounding variables, the study found that medium chain triglyceride consumption did not increase risk for heart disease, while long-chain triglyceride consumption did.

More concrete evidence for the health benefits of MCT oil as it relates to weight loss comes from a 2010 research article in the scientific journal Pharmacological Research (3).

In it, the authors cite several research papers that illustrate how MCT oil can help you lose weight. Several early studies in rats showed the weight loss potential for MCT oil: rats fed an MCT oil rich diet showed a decrease in fat deposition and an increase in thermogenesis, i.e. the body’s metabolism (see: thermogenics).

Later studies tried to translate this success into studies in humans, and the results were equally impressive. When obese people are given a meal that’s enriched with MCT oil, their energy expenditure after the meal increases significantly compared to if the same amount of calories were added to the meal using long-chain fats.

Many studies have been conducted on MCT oils for weight loss, but in 2015, researchers in Australia pooled the results of 13 different trials totalling almost 800 subjects (4).

After pooling the data, the researchers found strong evidence that MCT oil supplementation leads to decreases in body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, and total body fat content.

As with other weight loss supplements, your weight loss results will definitely be better along with reforms to your dieting and exercise habits, but MCT oil’s effects are definitely strong enough, and its ancillary health benefits are attractive enough, to consider it a cornerstone of a successful weight loss program.

Interestingly, MCT oil might even provide performance benefits to athletes. This was the claim of a 2009 study on recreational cyclists (5).

The subjects were given a 6 gram per day MCT oil supplement for two weeks, then completed a cycling time trial. The subjects given the MCT oil were able to cycle longer and harder compared to those given a long chain triglyceride supplement.

The researchers hypothesized that the MCT oil had increased the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel during high-intensity exercise, leading to better performance because of the increased energy available.

Side Effects

Overuse of MCT oil can lead to diarrhea and loose stools, as well as nausea and vomiting in rarer cases. These side effects have been well-known for many years, because one of MCT oil’s earlier use was as a major portion of the calories in ketogenic diets for seizure control (6).

However, at the doses that are most effective for MCT oil’s weight loss and health benefits, these side effects are rare. There are two strategies you can use to reduce the incidence of side effects if you are having problems. The first is adaptation: if a 12 gram dose of MCT oil causes gastrointestinal problems, you can start with a smaller dose–maybe 3 or 4 grams per day.

Then, over the course of a few weeks, you can work your way up to 12 grams. The other strategy is taking MCT oil with food, which seems to help control gastrointestinal problems, especially if you are taking higher doses of MCT oil.

One other consideration is how you store your MCT oil–while it won’t necessarily cause side effects, you shouldn't’ store your MCT oil near a window that will expose it to direct sunlight, especially if you have an MCT oil supplement that doesn’t have an opaque container.

MCT oil also shouldn’t be refrigerated. The cold won’t damage it, but it will solidify, making it much more difficult to measure out the right dosage and to mix it into your food or beverage of choice.

Recommended Dosage

Although there has been an explosion of studies on MCT oil for everything from weight loss to treating cardiovascular disease to improving athletic performance, there isn’t a clear consensus on what the optimal dose is.

For now, the best route is to copy the protocols of the most successful scientific studies, since these are where the best results have been demonstrated.

Studies range from 5 to 20 grams of MCT oil per day, but right around 10-14 seems to be the midrange of the optimal dosage.

This is enough of a dosage to result in all of the positive health benefits of MCT oil, but should be low enough for most people to avoid some of the gastrointestinal


MCT oil is an incredibly popular supplement, and for good reason. There’s an impressive body of scientific evidence supporting its use as a health supplement to decrease risk factors for metabolic syndrome and heart disease, as well as strong support for its weight loss benefits.

It can help you lose weight, decrease your waist size, and improve your metabolic health all at the same time. On top of this, it might even be effective as a performance enhancer for endurance athletes.

The only major side effects of MCT oil use are gastrointestinal problems, and they are rare at the doses used in scientific research studies.

It’s likely that studies on MCT oil’s benefits will continue to roll in as its potential for treating and preventing other health conditions is explored.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Punarnava benefits and side effects

Punarnava, also known as Boerhaavia diffusa, is an herb that can fight cancer and lower inflammation (1).

Punarnava is also helpful in treating diabetes, indigestion, menstrual symptoms, and asthma (2).

It is a tropical plant commonly used in Ayurveda, a branch of medicine practiced in India that involves using herbs to treat various bodily ailments (3).

It grows in the form of a creeping weed that is very prevalent in India, and is normally consumed as a vegetable (4).


In addition to being an ancient remedy in India, Punarnava has long been touted as a painkiller in the Caribbean, mostly as part of a folk medicine ritual. According to scientific studies conducted to test the veracity of its benefits, punarnava has been shown to effectively reduce the sensation of pain in mice by 47-50% (5).

Punarnava has also been shown to contain a compound called methanolic root extract that has the ability to block calcium channels, meaning that it can be useful in treating epilepsy (6).

In fact, injections of the methanolic root extract taken from punarnava have been used for centuries in Nigerian folk medicine to reduce the onset of seizures (7). This herbal supplement is similar to the clinically prescribed Diazepam in this regard, but must be used in much higher dosages to attain a similar effect (7).

Other studies have shown that punarnava can be useful in the treatment of diabetes as well. In one study, mice with diabetes were given punarnava as a vegetable every day for thirty days. Over this time, researchers saw a trend of normalization of both blood glucose and serum insulin (8). This same effect, however, was not recorded in non-diabetic mice, although they, too, saw health benefits (8).

The anti-diabetic effects of punarnava were put to the test again in another study, and it was found to be almost as effective as known diabetes drugs in managing glucose and insulin levels (9).

However, these studies were conducted on animals with diabetes, not humans, so there is still a significant amount of testing to be done before a consensus can be reached about its efficacy in the human body.

Yet other studies conducted on mice have shown that punarnava can also increase the production of white blood cells, meaning that it can strengthen the immune system (10). Unfortunately, though, in other contexts, punarnava was shown to actually suppress the immune system (11). This conflicting information is something that is being studied at the current time, so that a definitive answer can be reached.

Research has also been done on punarnava’s effects on cancer treatment. Several studies have shown that this supplement can inhibit the metastasis of certain types of cancer, and can reduce tumor formation, especially in the lungs (12).

It is not always clear, however, if these effects are based on punarnava alone, of if it is acting as secondary to the immune system (13).

Regardless, mice with cancer who were injected with punarnava were shown to have an increase in lifespan of 240-257% when compared to mice in the control group (14).

In vitro tests of punarnava have shown that it is also an extremely potent antioxidant, with antioxidant levels comparable to that of vitamin c (15). It was noted that the roots of the punarnava plant were more effective than the plant’s leaves in this respect, which implies that the part of the punarnava one consumes has a big effect on how effective it is (16).

In other trials, punarnava has been shown to be effective in treating asthma, reducing kidney stones, treating indigestion and other intestinal issues, and reducing estrogen to help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and possibly prevent breast cancer (17, 18, 19, 20).

Side Effects

Most studies show that punarnava is safe for consumption, especially in its natural form. No signs of toxicity within the body were reported (21). This means that punarnava may be eaten as a vegetable with no noted side effects, whether or not it has any beneficial effect on the above-listed functions and organs. It appears to be perfectly safe for humans to consume, although more studies are being done to test its safety and efficacy all the time.

It should be noted, though, that punarnava contains sugar and a self-generated alcohol compound, so it should not be used by persons with diabetes unless they are being closely monitored by a professional (22).

Recommended Dosage

Most dosages for punarnava are calculated based on dosing amounts used in mice or rats in research studies. In rats, the appropriate dosage is 200-400mg/kg, with the maximally effective dose being 1000mg/kg. The human equivalent of this dosage is 32-64mg/kg, or 2,200-4,300mg for a person who weighs 150 pounds, 2,900-5,800mg for a person who weighs 200 pounds, and 3,600-7,200mg for a person who weighs 250 pounds (23).

It is important to note that no studies have been done on humans in relation to punarnava (23). All of the tests so far have been done on lab animals, meaning that this dosage is just an educated estimate. The fact that punarnava has been used for centuries as a part of Indian, Caribbean, and Nigerian folk medicine without any reports of serious side effects is evidence that it seems to be well-tolerated in the human body, however.


Punarnava has a whole host of potential benefits for the human body. It shows great promise in helping to treat everything from indigestion to asthma to diabetes to cancer, and can even work as an effective painkiller and antioxidant.

The only downside is that most of the research on punarnava has been conducted on animals and not human subjects. This does not mean, however, that the herb is not effective on humans, as it has long been used as a remedy for various ailments. It is important to note that while punarnava can be extremely beneficial to the body, more research needs to be done before one can say with absolute certainty whether or not it is an effective treatment for human health issues.

Piperine benefits and side effects

Piperine is the main component in black pepper, and is responsible for its strong smell and flavor (1).

While most people think of black pepper as being simply a spice used to add flavor to food, the piperine it contains actually makes it useful for combatting a variety of health issues, from upset stomachs to dental problems (2).

The piperine in black pepper slows down some of the processes of the liver and intestines, meaning that it can cause the body to hold certain compounds inside it for longer. This helps the body to absorb more of the nutrients it needs, and it heightens the effectiveness of several supplements and drugs (3).


Piperine inhibits a process in the liver known as glucuronidation. This process normally involves a signal being sent to the liver to expel medicinal drugs and supplements as urine (3).

Piperine, however, stops this process, which means that the body retains the drug for longer. Piperine also changes the rate of metabolism in the body by slowing down the intestinal transit rate, giving the body more time to absorb certain compounds (4).

This is beneficial to the body because piperine keeps certain chemicals from being released before the body is finished absorbing them (5).

One important example of this is curcumin. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory molecule that is not unlike fish oil in its benefits and purpose (6).

It has a low bioavailability, which means that when it is administered, not much of the compound remains in the body before being expelled in urine or feces (7).

Piperine works well with curcumin, in that it keeps the body from metabolizing it so quickly. It enables the body to hold the curcumin inside longer, which allows it to be better absorbed. Studies have shown that taking curcumin with piperine increases the bioavailability of the curcumin by 2000% (8).

Piperine provides these same effects for several other supplements as well. Some of these supplements include vitamin B6, vitamin C, and EGCG (9).

It enhances the benefits of these compounds by changing the way the body processes them, which increases their absorption and allows the body to accrue more of the benefits from them before they are expelled from the body (10).

Aside from its use as a magnifier for other dietary supplements, piperine can also benefit the body on its own. Piperine has long been known as an anti-inflammatory agent (11). It also works as a pain reliever by blocking the expression of a gene that causes arthritis pain. It reduces the amount of pain the body feels, making things like arthritis and other injuries easier to withstand (12).

A 2008 study recorded in Food and Chemical Toxicology also touted the benefits of Piperine on the brain. Although the reasons behind this outcome were not clear at the time, the results of the study showed a significant improvement in mental processes, increased attention span, and heightened reasoning skills after taking piperine (13).

Side Effects

Piperine is widely considered safe for human consumption, but it does have a few possible side effects (14).

One of the most worrisome of these possible side effects is the fact that black pepper (including the piperine it contains) is a possible carcinogen (15).

There have been several preliminary studies that list cancer as a side effect of long-term use of piperine, but this side effect was most commonly noted when the piperine was used as a topical agent, not as a food product (16).

This was not found to be the case when the product was tested on rats, which are hypersensitive to the effects of piperine, but for human beings, oral consumption of piperine appears to be completely safe in this context (17).

Unfortunately, though, there is another downside to piperine use. The same processes that piperine employs to aid in the absorption of curcumin and other supplements are also processes that can cause major problems in the body (18). While piperine can make curcumin 2000% more effective in the body, it can also stop a particular protective measure the body takes against toxic xenobiotics (19).

Ingesting piperine in the form of black pepper does not present as many of these side effects, but taking it in its pure form as a dietary supplement can cause problems if not taken in the direct dosage (20).

While the benefits of piperine are backed by more research than the possible side effects, one must always check with a doctor before adding it to their diet.

Recommended Dosage

While piperine is most commonly ingested via black pepper added to various food dishes, it is also available on its own as a dietary supplement. In order to make this supplement, the piperine is extracted from the black pepper using an organic compound called dichloromethane (21).

Companies such as BioPerine sell piperine in capsules or tablets that one can swallow one to two times a day (22).

The recommended dosage of piperine is 5-15mg per day (23). It is fast-acting, and the effects of the piperine on the bioavailability of other supplements in the body usually begins in fifteen minutes, with the short-term effects peaking at around two hours. The long-term effects on the metabolism last much longer than this, however (23).

It is best to take piperine around the same time that one is taking the supplement whose effects they want to enhance.


The primary benefit of piperine is the fact that it amplifies the effectiveness of other supplements, especially curcumin. It helps supplements that would normally pass through the body without being effectively absorbed to stay in the body longer, and to metabolize slower. This way, the body gets what it needs, and gets the maximum benefits from the supplements ingested.

While there are some potential side effects of piperine, these are much rarer than the benefits it provides. If taken as a part of a larger dietary supplement routine, piperine can be very good for one’s health.

Bladderwrack benefits and side effects

Bladderwrack (or Fucus vseiculosus) is a form of brown seaweed used for everything from treating thyroid problems to combatting obesity (1).

The brown color of bladderwrack comes from a pigment called fucoxanthan (2). A closely related compound called fucoidan gives bladderwrack anti-coagulant properties, in addition to many other varied health benefits (3).


Bladderwrack is best known for its use in treating thyroid disorders. In fact, it was the first source of iodine ever found, making it the go-to natural remedy for thyroid issues (4).

Bladderwrack can help the thyroid in many ways, regardless of whether one’s thyroid is overactive or underactive. It has also been shown to treat problems that accompany a defective thyroid, such as weight gain, by acting as a weight loss supplement and pain reliever (5).

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database reports that many studies have proven that bladderwrack is effective in helping to balance the thyroid by controlling the hormones in the body and keeping them at normal levels (6).

As with most drugs and supplements, however, these effects are not the same in each person who uses bladderwrack. While some may see a dramatic change for the better, others may see no effects whatsoever. More research studies are called for before doctors can give a definitive answer on whether bladderwrack is the best treatment for this issue or not (7).

Aside from its function as a thyroid moderator, bladderwrack can also help with many other bodily issues. The presence of fucoidans in bladderwrack has been proven to inhibit adipogenesis, one of the most-researched methods of cell differentiation (8, 9).

It can also inhibit another type of cell differentiation called adipocyte differentiation via MAPK signaling (10).

When applied at the cellular level, bladderwrack can also reduce adipocyte glucose uptake while inducing lipolysis (11).

In a recent human trial, bladderwrack was also shown to have an effect on estrogen in the female body. The study showed that women with irregular menstrual cycles saw stabilization of their estrogen levels when they took bladderwrack. They also saw a longer menstrual cycle as a result (12).

This was said to be caused by a lowering of estrogen levels, which was secondary to fucophorethols, which possess anti-aromatase aspects often related to breast-cancer treatment (13).

In the past, the fact that Asian women have longer menstrual cycles than women in other parts of the world was attributed to the fact that soy is a large part of the Asian diet (1415). However, recent studies have shown that perhaps the consumption of bladderwrack is the reason behind this (16, 17).

Beyond its associations with the thyroid and estrogen levels, bladderwrack has been shown to have anti-coagulation properties. In fact, some studies have shown that the anti-coagulating power of bladderwrack is 2.3 times higher than that of heparin, the drug most used in hospitals to for this purpose (18).

Another compound in bladderwrack called Undaria Pinnatifida or Wakame has been shown to lower blood pressure, as well as cause ACE inhibition (19).

When eaten as a vegetable, bladderwrack has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels (20).

Bladderwrack also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenesis properties, meaning that it can not only reduce pain and inflammation, but can also keep cancer from growing and spreading in the body (2122).

In addition to this, studies have shown that bladderwrack can help skin by reducing collagen and improving elasticity when applied to the skin as well (23, 24).

Ingesting bladderwrack can also provide one with many essential minerals and vitamins, such as iron, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins B-2, B-9, and B-12 (25).

Side Effects

Bladderwrack has a long list of alleged benefits, but there are also some serious side effects one should consider before they add bladderwrack to their diet. For example, one should not use bladderwrack if they are already using synthetic hormones or other medications to manage their thyroid. It should also not be used if one is pregnant, breastfeeding, or using other forms of seaweed such as kelp to manage health issues, as combining these things could lead to serious health problems (26).

Most side effects that come from the use of bladderwrack are a result of introducing too much iodine into the body. These side effects can include rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and sudden and inexplicable weight loss (26).

The anti-coagulate properties of bladderwrack can also be a problem. There is conflicting research on this aspect of bladderwrack, but the consensus is that different strains of seaweed may contain different strains of structural fucoidans, which could lead to clotting problems (27). In particular, the Okinawa Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus) species has been shown to negatively prolong clotting time (28).

Recommended Dosage

Bladderwrack can be used as a vegetable and added to salads and other dishes, or it can be taken as a dietary supplement in the form of a capsule. The amount of bladderwrack that a person should take is dependent on that individual and their own individual health needs (29).

However, beneficial effects of bladderwrack were seen beginning with non-concentrated dosages of just 500mg per day (30).

Several studies used a 4,000mg dosage (31), but the consensus is that some amount between these two extremes is ideal (32). More research needs to be done to provide a more specific recommendation.


Bladderwrack is an appealing dietary supplement, due to the fact that it can be eaten in its natural form and added to various salads and other dishes. It has long proven to be a terrific help in regulating thyroid function, and it can help combat many other problems such as blood coagulation, high estrogen levels, skin issues, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

The only drawback to using bladderwrack regularly is that it can potentially cause high levels of iodine in the body, and can interact with medications. However, if one consults with a doctor on a regular basis and doesn’t ingest more than the suggested amounts of bladderwrack, it can be an extremely helpful supplement that can help regulate many processes in the body.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ranking the best fat burners for men of 2018

Men have a hard time cutting fat, especially around the stomach.

Like a daily mens vitamin, many men use a daily fat burner for men to help melt belly fat.

When extra weight is stored as fat, the only way to get rid of it is by burning it.

Diet and exercise help, but a fat burning supplement might be able to increase your fat metabolism beyond what you’d otherwise be able to achieve.

This can kick-start your weight loss and help you lose weight faster and improve your health.

Concerned about finding the right fat burner for you? Check out our rankings of the best fat burners on the market right now.

1. Instant Knockout

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Instant Knockout is a trendy mens fat burner that has taken the industry over.

The formula was originally engineered to help MMA fighters melt fat before their fights. Several professional MMA fighters take the supplement, including Diego Sanchez and his training coach Greg Jackson.

We love Instant Knockout because its been proven to work (many times over) and the ingredients are natural and effective: green tea extract, cayenne pepper, glucomannan, caffeine, zinc, chromium, green coffee bean and piperine.

The result? Testimonials like this:

Loaded mix.

Worth the daily routine for any man wanting shed more fat.

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2. Evlution Leanmode

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Evlution Leanmode is great for caffeine sensitive people who still want a strong fat-burning supplement.

It focuses on extracts that up-regulate your body’s fat burning capabilities without keeping you awake like caffeine does, and all of its active ingredients are popular weight loss supplements in their own right. Green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia, and green tea extract are the three standard-bearers for this fat burner.

3. Old School Labs Vintage Burn

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Despite the name, Old School Labs’ Vintage Burn has got all the latest supplements in it. Most anything that’s grabbed headlines recently is in its ingredients list: raspberry ketone, green coffee bean extract, green tea extract, forskolin, and garcinia cambogia, just to name a few.

There are also a few supplements inside that haven’t hit it big yet, like olive leaf extract. Vintage Burn is tremendously popular, so maybe their nutritionists are onto something with these sleeper ingredients. The caffeine content is modest, at 150 mg–a cup and a half of coffee, roughly speaking.

4. Lean XT

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If you want to keep things simple, Lean XT is a great choice. It focuses its efforts on only three key ingredients: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, green tea extract, and forskolin.

The proprietary black pepper extract BioPerine is present too, but that’s just to enhance absorption and bioavailability of the other ingredients.

5. Genius Burn

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If mainstream fat burners aren’t doing the trick for you, think about giving Genius Burn a try. The Genius company, which has a reputation for creative and innovative supplements, keeps that habit strong with Genius Burn.

It uses several less-common naturally-sourced supplements, and it doesn’t rely on caffeine as a crutch to burn more energy. While the proven supplements are probably the best place to start, it’s good to have a fall-back option in Genius Burn.

6. BeLive Moon Burn

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Moon Burn offers an interesting take on the classic fat burning pill–instead of being a stimulant that energizes you during the day, it claims to burn more energy while you sleep.

While it does include caffeine, the content is very low, so it shouldn’t keep you up. Instead, it doubles down on other thermogenic compounds like white kidney bean extract, chromium, raspberry ketone, and CLA.

7. Base Burn

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Base Burn doesn’t have a lengthy list of ingredients. It focuses on a few proven fat burners: chromium, 5-HTP, capsaicin extract, forskolin, and green tea extract.

These are delivered at a pretty high dose, which indicates that it would really crank up your metabolism and increase fat burning. Notably, except for the small amount of caffeine in green tea extract, Base Burn is caffeine free.


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As the label warns, BURNZ is an incredibly heavy-hitting fat burning supplement. Pretty much everything it has, it delivers at a high dose. The formula is lean on direct supplements and heavy on biological precursors like choline, L-carnitine, and higenamine.

The supplements it does include–cayenne pepper extract and huperzine A–are reputed to be strong fat burners. The caffeine content might be a bit much for some people at 250 mg per capsule.

9. Cellucor Super HD

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Cellucor Super HD combines a strong dose of B vitamins with a proprietary blend of over a dozen different extracts and supplements.

It’s very popular but has mixed reviews; part of the problem might come from the fact that, with so many ingredients, each fat burning ingredient is present at fairly low concentrations. It might be worth a shot if simpler fat burning supplements aren’t working for you, but if you want high doses of the most effective ingredients, there are better options.

10. Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite

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Hydroxycut has been one of the leading fat burning supplements for years, but its formulation has not stayed the same. Because of a series of safety concerns, Hydroxycut is now centered around robusta coffee, forskolin, and a strong dose of caffeine (270 mg to be exact).

These stimulants together might give even the most resilient of weight loss enthusiasts the stimulant jitters. By now, Hydroxycut is showing its age, and there are better options out there.

11. Skald

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Skald claims to assist with respiratory health as well as increasing fat burning. The company claims there is a synergy between increased oxygen delivery to your cells and an increased ability to burn fat.

The supplement has all its ingredients wrapped up in a “proprietary blend” on the label, so it’s hard to evaluate the legitimacy of these claims. Some of the ingredients should cause concern, too–bitter orange has been associated with health problems, and it’s never good when you don’t know how much caffeine is in a supplement.

Fat Burner for men benefits and side effects

For men, weight loss is a great goal, but fat loss in particular is even better. If you can selectively lose fat mass while retaining your muscle mass, your health will improve even more and you’ll look even better.

Figuring out how to tune your body to burn more fat while on a weight loss program is in large part a matter of picking the right supplements.


When it comes to fat burning supplements for men, there are a tremendous number of options, and these have widely varying levels of evidence for their efficacy.

One of the most-proven and reliable fat burning supplements is green tea extract. Researchers initially noticed that obesity was less of a problem in nations that tend to consume a lot of green tea, like Japan and China.

However, many other confounding factors could cause that type of association, so a specific kind of study was needed to determine whether there was a real effect.

Such a study came along in 2005, when scientists in the Netherlands examined a large group of obese and overweight individuals over a four-month period (1).

When they analyzed the data, they found that a green tea supplement improved weight management during the follow-up period, independent of caffeine consumption.

This is an important observation, because caffeine itself is a powerful fat burner (which is way some men use caffeine pills). That’s why a number of fat burning supplements, even ones without green tea derived ingredients, still include caffeine.

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that administration of even a small dose of caffeine has significant fat burning effects (2). This study looked at a single 100 mg dose of caffeine, which is about as much as one cup of coffee.

Many fat burning supplements have twice this amount or more. The caffeine dose had a significant fat-burning effect in both obese and “post-obese” (meaning people who had lost weight and were no longer obese) subjects. The good news is that the energy expenditure increase appears to be greater in the obese subjects, even though the relative dose that they get is smaller.

Due to their larger body mass, an obese person usually has to take a higher dose of a supplement to get the same effect. In this case, though, perhaps due to the increased number of fat cells in the body, an obese person actually gets more benefit from a given dose of caffeine.

Back on the topic of green tea extract, though, the mechanism of action for green tea extract seems to be related to its active ingredient, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

Research in the International Journal of Obesity has found that EGCG independently increases the metabolic activity in fat cells (3). Furthermore, this effect appears to be magnified by caffeine, meaning that the two work synergistically to increase fat cell activity.

The exact mechanism involves some complex cellular biology, but the net effect is a magnification of fat burning activity beyond what would be achieved with either supplement on its own.

The upside of this is that, unless you want to avoid caffeine in your fat burning supplements for its side effects, you should look for at least a moderate amount of caffeine alongside green tea extract for maximum efficacy.

Another strong fat burning supplement you should look for in a fat burning supplement is conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. While robust studies in humans are lacking, there is good evidence from animal studies to suggest that it both reduces your appetite and more importantly increases the metabolic activity of fat cells, making CLA a staple in many appetite suppressants

A study in the journal Obesity Reviews cites a number of studies on CLA and recommends that it be considered as a legitimate long-term weight loss supplement (4).

Among some of the more modern and newly discovered fat burning supplements, the most attractive is almost certainly capsaicin, also known as cayenne pepper extract.

According to research published by scientists at the Manchester Food Research Center at Manchester Metropolitan University, a significant body of experimental literature indicates that capsaicin is a beneficial fat burning supplement (5).

In their study, they pooled the results from several different experiments, with a grand total of over 500 subjects. The data showed that capsaicin, when taken for one to two years, can significantly reduce fat mass.

One benefit of capsaicin over other proven fat burners like green tea is that it does not require caffeine to work optimally, and does not seem to have the same stimulant-inducing effects.

There are many other supplements with varied levels of scientific support: chromium, forskolin, green coffee bean extract, and garcinia cambogia are all found in many popular weight loss supplements, but the experimental evidence for them does not rise to the same level as caffeine, green tea extract, capsaicin, or CLA.

This doesn’t mean they don’t work; indeed, there is good evidence from cell culture experiments or studies on mice, but the human studies aren’t there yet.

Side Effects

Fat burning supplements have been an area of supplementation that’s been rife with side effect controversies. Market leaders like Hydroxycut have had to reformulate their ingredients several times because of safety concerns related to ingredients like ephedra, synephrine, and hydroxycitric acid.

Fortunately, the best fat burning supplements have side effect profiles that are pretty mild. One notable exception to this is also one of the most surprising: caffeine, of all things, has a pretty lengthy side effect list.

In high doses, like those found in some of the more extreme fat burning supplements on the market, caffeine can cause jitters, irritability, nausea, and (as you might guess) an inability to sleep.

Knowing your own caffeine sensitivity is very helpful when figuring out what level of caffeine you can tolerate.

The best-proven fat burning supplements also tend to be the safest. Green tea extract has no significant side effects; indeed, it’s often taken for its ability to boost general health and well-being and fend off chronic disease.

CLA, as a natural food ingredient, has a similarly unremarkable adverse effect profile.

Capsaicin has been widely studied for its pain-relief properties; the only side effect noted in those studies was localized burning sensation when capsaicin is applied to the skin.

By analogy, this could cause an upset stomach, so pay attention to the capsaicin content of your supplements if you have a sensitive stomach.

Recommended Dosage

The ideal dose of a fat burning supplement for men is going to vary greatly depending on what the ingredients are. For the most part, reputable manufacturers deliver the ingredients at the appropriate dosages.

With caffeine, the thing to be careful about is not taking too much. Even small amounts of caffeine have fat-burning effects, so you don’t need to overdo it with a high dose that’s likely to cause adverse effects.

Just 100 or 150 mg is plenty to induce a thermogenic effect (more on thermogenics here). Green tea extract is typically supplemented at 400-800 mg doses, which seem to be ideal for fat burning.

CLA needs to be delivered at a higher dose; some studies recommend doses as high as a few grams per day. Capsaicin, given how new it is as a fat burning supplement, does not have a well-established effective dose.

For what it’s worth, published studies so far use doses in the range of 3 to 10 mg per day, though a few studies have used more.


Though your options for a fat burning supplement seem endless, keeping a few basic guidelines in mind can help select one that’s right for you.

Look for a supplement that has at least a few of the well-established and reasonably effective fat burning ingredients, like green tea extract, moderate doses of caffeine, CLA, and capsaicin.

Other ingredients can be helpful too, but your best shot is going to come from these ingredients. If you are getting a supplement with green tea in it, its efficacy can be magnified by a moderate amount of caffeine.

Finally, be patient. These supplements aren’t going to work overnight, but the evidence is pretty good that they do gradually increase your fat mass loss over time.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Ranking the best apple cider vinegar pills of 2018


It’s more sour than sweet, but apple cider vinegar pills are making big headlines as a weight loss supplement and as a solution for blood sugar.

It can be baffling to try to sort through all the apple cider vinegar options out there, so our research team did the legwork for you.  Here are the best ones on the market.

1. Piping Rock Mega Potency Apple Cider Vinegar

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Piping rock is popular and indeed potent; each vegetarian cellulose capsule delivers 600 mg of apple cider vinegar and nothing else, beyond rice flour as a filler and a binder. The supplement is sold in a two-bottle combo pack, each of which contains 200 individual capsules. With this kind of volume, it’s a very cost-effective apple cider vinegar supplement. If you are taking high doses on a daily basis, but don’t want a liquid supplement, Piping Rock Mega Potency is right up your alley.

2. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

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Bragg Organic might’ve been the company that kick-started the apple cider vinegar trend. Since 1912, the company has been making health foods and supplements, but by far its best-known product is its iconic yellow-labeled apple cider vinegar. Bragg Organic has always emphasized how it includes the “mother,” which is the cloudy, unfiltered remnants of the apple fermentation process. The mother is rich in live bacterial cultures and byproducts of the fermentation process; many people believe this is essential for getting the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. “Go big or go home” is the motto with the most popular size, the one-gallon jug. If you are serious about your apple cider vinegar, the gallon jug of Bragg is the only way to go.

3. Puritan’s Pride Apple Cider Vinegar

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Puritan’s Pride doesn’t make as many supplements as some of the heavy hitters, but the ones it does make, it makes well. No exceptions here: their apple cider vinegar supplement pushes 600 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per pill, all wrapped up in a vegetable cellulose capsule (vegans rejoice!). As a bonus? It’s cheap! With 200 tablets per bottle, combined with the high dosage per pill, this apple cider vinegar will last you a long time. This makes it a great choice if you want to take a high dose of apple cider vinegar every day, but don’t want to go with a liquid.

4. Herbal Secrets Apple Cider Vinegar

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Herbal Secrets delivers a very solid and reliable apple cider vinegar in a simple capsule. The good news: it’s cheap and potent, with 500 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per capsule, and there are no extraneous supplements If you want just one thing (apple cider vinegar in a capsule), this is the way to go. The bad news? It’s a gelatin capsule, which might not float your boat if you’re a strict vegan. But for most people that won’t be a dealbreaker. Beyond that, it’s hard to find much fault in Herbal Secrets. It’s free of most common allergens, and the capsule prevents that tart, sharp vinegar taste that comes along with a liquid apple cider vinegar.

5. Nutricost Apple Cider Vinegar

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Solid dose, big bottle, and a low cost. That’s what you get with Nutricost, and in this case the name is spot-on. It’s one of the most cost-effective pill-based apple cider vinegar supplements out there. In a vegetarian cellulose capsule, Nutricost delivers 500 mg of apple cider vinegar powder per one-capsule serving. The only extras are rice flour and magnesium stearate; these are just there to stabilize the capsule and to fill out the rest of the space inside. For a 500 mg dose of apple cider vinegar, you really can’t go wrong with Nutricost.

6. NOW Apple Cider Vinegar

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You can always count on NOW to provide a simple, straightforward supplement, and that’s certainly the case with their apple cider vinegar supplement. The dosage isn’t what it could be: the gelatin capsules contain only 450 mg of apple cider vinegar powder each. Some other competitors pack 500 or even 600 mg into a capsule. However, NOW Apple Cider Vinegar does have the edge when it comes to cost. So, if you don’t mind the lower apple cider vinegar content per capsule, it’s a good choice.

7. Dynamic Health Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Complete

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Dynamic Health makes a capsule-based apple cider vinegar supplement that is inexpensive and cost-effective. But this supplement is more than just an apple cider vinegar product. In addition to 500 mg of powdered apple cider vinegar per capsule, each serving contains green tea extract, turmeric, cayenne, papain (a papaya extract), and bromelain (from pineapple). These are all contained in fairly small amounts, however, so their utility is a bit questionable.

Do you want to hedge your bets with several other health food extracts? If so, Dynamic Health is the way to go. But if all you want is apple cider vinegar, there are better options.

8. Only Natural Apple Cider Vinegar Plus Grapefruit Rind Cayenne

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Only Natural combines apple cider vinegar with a mix of two other “superfood” extracts. Each capsule contains a respectable 500 mg of apple cider vinegar extract (though it’s unclear if this “extract” is different than the powder-form apple cider vinegar used by other companies) alongside 100 mg of grapefruit rind and 100 mg of cayenne pepper fruit. Both of these are multi-use supplements that have claimed weight loss, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties. Whether these are right for you is going to depend on your supplementing routine and your personal goals.

9. Angry Supplements Apple Cider Vinegar

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Though it’s a curious name for a supplement company, Angry Supplements takes their apple cider vinegar seriously. This product is in the category of supplements that blend apple cider vinegar with other weight loss supplements, hopefully to fortify their effects. The primary ingredients are 500 mg of apple cider vinegar, 300 mg of gymnema sylvestre, and a proprietary blend of several weight loss supplements: chromium picolinate, garcinia cambogia, raspberry ketone, and CLA. As you’d probably guess, you’ll be paying a lot extra for these, and because it’s a “proprietary blend,” you don’t actually know how much of each supplement is included. This, combined with a few other red flags (like typoes on the nutrition label!) indicate you might want to look elsewhere unless you already know you want these extra supplements included.

10. Havasu Nutrition Apple Cider Vinegar

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Havasu markets a hard game, but their apple cider vinegar supplement falls flat compared to the competition. Each serving delivers 600 mg of apple cider vinegar powder, but a serving is actually two capsules, not one. So each capsule only has 300 mg of apple cider vinegar, and a bottle is only 60 capsules! It’s just not a great solution and doesn’t offer any special extras or perks to make this one work it.

Part Two: An in-depth look at apple cider vinegar pills for weight loss

Apple cider vinegar is a natural fermented product proven effective in decreasing blood sugar levels and supporting weight loss.

Called “sour wine” by the French, apple cider vinegar is a potent anti-microbial substance (like probiotics) that’s been around since the era of Hippocrates.

While many people habitually turn to pharmaceutical medicines for a range of needs in the modern world, appreciation for tried and true natural remedies continues to grow.

This powerhouse effectively kills E. coli (1) and other bacteria, doubles as a cleaning and disinfecting agent, and can be used for treating warts, ear infections and nail fungi. Apple cider vinegar can help reduce food spoilage, make your hair shine, and condition your mouth for better oral health.

You don’t need a prescription, and if you buy a bottle containing the “mother,” from which many believe the benefits are derived, you may even be able to culture your own apple cider vinegar.

The benefits of cultured foods for gut health as well as general overall health are gaining recognition.

We’ll take a look here at the five most compelling reasons people choose to include apple cider vinegar in their health protocol.

1) High Acetic Acid Levels

The active compound in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. This antimicrobial substance is the byproduct of a two-step fermentation process that begins with adding yeast to crushed apples and allowing it to convert the sugars into alcohol.

Next, bacteria are added to the culture, and the resulting acetic acid kills certain harmful pathogens. (2)

Apple cider vinegar that is organic and unfiltered contains the “mother” culture, which consists of enzymes, friendly bacteria and proteins in a strand-like configuration.

Hippocrates recommended apple cider vinegar for cleansing wounds, and it’s a popular home remedy and disinfectant, though studies to back up these traditional uses are lacking. Some believe it can be useful in acne treatment.

Evidence does show apple cider vinegar inhibits the growth of E. coli in foods (3), and it’s used for other food preservation applications.

2) Blood Sugar Regulation

Nearly 30 million Americans suffered from diabetes in 2012, with the disease ranked as the 7th leading cause of death in the country. (4)

Elevated blood sugars in diabetics are caused either by the body’s failure to produce insulin, or insulin resistance, which means the cells don’t respond to the hormone and can’t uptake glucose for fuel. (5)

While dietary strategies like cutting out refined carbs and sugar can be very effective for lowering blood sugar levels, clinical trials show apple cider vinegar dropped participants’ blood sugar levels by 34% after eating 50 grams of white bread. (6)

In another study, subjects taking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime showed a 4% reduction of fasting blood sugars the next morning. (7)

When the effects of apple cider vinegar were tested after diabetic patients ate a high-carb meal, the results were impressive: insulin sensitivity improved by 19 – 34%; both blood glucose and insulin response levels dropped as well. (8)

In searching for avenues to assist diabetics in managing blood sugar, a respectable amount of research has been done with both humans and rats using apple cider vinegar, with promising outcomes. (9, 10, 11)

Adding apple cider vinegar to the diet may help pre-diabetics avoid developing the disease. High blood sugar levels are associated with overweight and obesity, making this a viable strategy for weight control. (12)

3) Better Heart Health

With cardiovascular disease fingered as the world’s biggest killer (13), a natural supplement shown to positively affect heart health is great news.

The benefits have only been noted with lab rats, but if human trials show similar results, apple cider vinegar may help make a dent in these numbers.

Three known markers for an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides and high cholesterol.

When rats ate a high-cholesterol diet, apple cider vinegar kept blood triglycerides and cholesterol measurements lower. (14) Blood pressure levels also dropped in the animal studies. (15, 16)

Apple cider vinegar can also protect LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which is known to bump up the risk of cardiovascular disease. (17)

In a human study, subjects who used salad dressing made with apple cider vinegar showed improved risk factors. (18) Keep in mind this was an observational study rather than a clinical trial.

4) Supports Weight Loss

With its positive effect on blood sugar, apple cider vinegar may be helpful in controlling weight. (19)

One small study with 11 subjects showed increased feelings of fullness with high-carb meals, as well as fewer total calories consumed throughout the day. (20)

Obese patients who added apple cider vinegar to their diets experienced modest amounts of weight loss over a three-month period. Those who used more (two tablespoons as compared to one) lost more (3.7 pounds as compared to 2.6 pounds). (21)

While these aren’t dramatic results, participants made no other changes in lifestyle; used in combination with dietary adjustments and exercise, the effects could escalate.

6) Anti-Cancer Potential

Lab studies indicate vinegar has the ability to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors (22, 23, 24, 25), but since these experiments were the test tube or animal variety, the effect on humans isn’t known.

Most of these studies used rice vinegar rather than apple cider vinegar; the two types of vinegar are comparably acidic, but it’s possible the effects on cancer cells may be different.

A Chinese trial linked vinegar consumption with a lowered incidence of esophageal cancer. (26)

7) How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Consider making a long-term commitment to the practice if you decide to give this antimicrobial compound a try. It’s no miracle-worker, but many swear by it and take it ongoing.

There’s no benefit from going overboard on dosage, and the simplest way may be to incorporate it into your diet through using it with salad dressing or adding it to homemade dishes with tart flavor. You can take anywhere from a teaspoon to a couple of tablespoons a day.

While you can get tablets, the acetic acid content won’t compare with what you’d get from the real thing. (27)

Summary: If you’d like to experiment with adding a cultured food to your diet, apple cider vinegar is safe, inexpensive, and has a range of potential benefits including blood sugar regulation, weight control, and improved heart health.