Is it OK to put apple cider vinegar in a smoothie?

Quick Answer

It is generally safe and potentially beneficial to add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to a smoothie. Apple cider vinegar provides probiotics, enzymes, and acetic acid that can improve digestion and have antimicrobial effects. However, too much vinegar can harm tooth enamel and the esophagus. 1-2 teaspoons diluted in a 12-16 oz smoothie is a reasonable amount. People with acid reflux or other stomach conditions should use caution when adding vinegar to smoothies.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice.1 The apples are first crushed and combined with yeast to convert their sugar into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to further ferment the alcohol into acetic acid, which gives vinegar its sour taste and pungent smell.2

In addition to acetic acid, apple cider vinegar contains water and trace amounts of other compounds like probiotics, enzymes, and polyphenols. It’s available in two main forms:3

  • Filtered ACV: The clear, amber-colored vinegar that has been filtered to remove solids like the “mother” of vinegar (a cobweb-like substance that naturally forms during fermentation). This leaves just the liquid portion.
  • Unfiltered/raw ACV: Contains the mother of vinegar and appears murky or cloudy with stringy sediment at the bottom.

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is preferred by some as it contains more probiotics and enzymes. But filtered vinegars have a more palatable taste.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the basic nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (15ml) of apple cider vinegar:4

  • Calories: 3
  • Carbs: Less than 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugars: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Manganese: 0.5% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 1% of the DV

As you can see, apple cider vinegar is low in calories and nutrients. Its main nutritional contribution is acetic acid, which provides several health benefits that are discussed later in this article.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Here are some of the top evidence-based benefits of adding a small amount of ACV to your smoothie:

May improve digestion

Apple cider vinegar contains pectin, a type of soluble fiber that acts as a prebiotic.5 Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in your gut, helping them thrive and populate. ACV also provides probiotics from the “mother” and enzymes that further support digestion.6

Research shows vinegar taken with a carb-containing meal can increase feelings of fullness and slow stomach emptying after eating.7,8 This may be due to acetic acid slowing the digestion of carbs.9

By improving digestion, ACV may relieve or prevent gas, bloating, and other GI issues.

Has antimicrobial effects

The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been shown to have antimicrobial properties that may inhibit bacteria and yeasts like E. coli and Candida.10,11

Adding some ACV to your smoothie could help kill potentially harmful pathogens. However, its effects likely depend on the overall acidity of the smoothie.

May benefit heart health

Animal and human studies indicate vinegar may improve several heart disease risk factors, including:12

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing bad LDL cholesterol
  • Increasing good HDL cholesterol
  • Lowering blood triglycerides

It may also decrease inflammation linked to heart disease.13 The potential mechanisms relate to vinegar’s acetic acid and antioxidant content.14

By adding ACV to smoothies along with heart-healthy ingredients like nuts, oats, and berries, you can create a beverage that benefits cardiovascular health.

Can aid weight loss

Some research shows vinegar may help weight loss by increasing satiety after meals to reduce overall calorie intake.15 It may also limit fat accumulation and decrease belly fat.16

The acetic acid in ACV is thought to reduce fat storage by inhibiting certain enzymes and genes.17 And the pectin fiber acts as a natural appetite suppressant.

Adding 1-2 teaspoons of vinegar to a low-calorie, nutrient-dense smoothie can further promote weight control.

Lowers blood sugar and insulin

Vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, particularly after high-carb meals.18,19

This is linked to acetic acid’s ability to delay gastric emptying, which slows the digestion of carbs that can spike blood sugar levels.20

The effect may be beneficial for those with insulin resistance, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes. Adding vinegar to a low-sugar smoothie with protein, fat, and fiber can further help regulate blood sugar.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe?

For most people, taking 1-2 teaspoons of diluted apple cider vinegar per day is considered safe. Larger doses may cause side effects like:

  • Tooth erosion due to the acidity
  • Throat irritation
  • Digestive issues like nausea
  • Low potassium levels
  • Drug interactions

To prevent tooth enamel damage, dilute the vinegar in water or other liquid. And avoid sipping ACV straight.

Those with digestive issues like reflux or ulcers may also want to avoid vinegar, as its acidity can exacerbate symptoms. People taking diabetes medications, digoxin, or diuretics should consult a doctor before using ACV.

Overall, studies suggest 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar per day appears safe for most adults.21 But little research exists on higher intakes.

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Should You Use in Smoothies?

There’s no official recommendation, but most experts suggest limiting ACV to 1-2 teaspoons per day for health benefits without risks.

This small amount is unlikely to significantly change the taste of a 12-16 ounce smoothie. But always dilute the vinegar well by mixing it into the other liquid ingredients.

You can increase the amount to 1 tablespoon in some cases, like if you’re drinking a large smoothie or want the antimicrobial benefits. But limit higher amounts to occasionally rather than daily.

It’s best to start with 1 teaspoon and work up from there based on tolerance and health goals. And consider using straws and rinsing your mouth after to protect tooth enamel.

Tips for Adding ACV to Smoothies

Here are some tips for safely adding ACV to smoothies:

  • Always dilute in liquid: Add 1-2 teaspoons vinegar to 12+ oz of smoothie.
  • Mix well: Thoroughly blend vinegar into the other ingredients.
  • Consider filtered vinegar: Filtered ACV has a more subtle flavor.
  • Start small: Begin with 1 tsp and work up to 2 tsp for tolerance.
  • Use sparingly: Limit ACV to 1-2 times per day maximum.
  • Rinse after: Rinse mouth with water to protect teeth.
  • Avoid sipping straight: Drink through a straw instead of sipping vinegar straight.

Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie Recipes

Here are some healthy apple cider vinegar smoothie ideas:

The Green Apple

  • 1 cup kale or spinach
  • 1 medium green apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup coconut water or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp ACV
  • 1⁄2 banana
  • Ice cubes

Berry Vinegar Smoothie

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1⁄2 cup blueberries
  • 1⁄2 medium banana
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tsp ACV
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Ice cubes

The Grapefruit Boost

  • 1⁄2 grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 1 cup coconut water or almond milk
  • 1⁄4 avocado
  • 1-2 tsp ACV
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Green Tea Smoothie

  • 1 cup brewed green tea, chilled
  • 1 banana
  • 1⁄2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tsp ACV
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Ice cubes

Should You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Straight?

It’s not recommended to drink apple cider vinegar straight or undiluted. The acetic acid can damage tooth enamel and irritate tissues in the throat, mouth, and esophagus.22

Drinking ACV straight can also cause nausea, acid reflux, and other GI issues. And the taste is generally unpleasant and unpalatable on its own.

Some proponents recommend taking 1-2 tablespoons of ACV straight each day for health benefits, often as a quick morning shot. However, there’s little evidence this is safe or more beneficial than taking diluted vinegar with food.

All the benefits of ACV can be obtained by mixing just 1-2 teaspoons into water, smoothies, salad dressings, and other recipes. This will prevent side effects while still providing acetic acid and nutrients.

So skip drinking vinegar straight and opt for mixing it into smoothies and other healthy drinks instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about adding apple cider vinegar to smoothies:

Does apple cider vinegar curdle milk in smoothies?

Apple cider vinegar is acidic, so there is a possibility it could curdle dairy milk. To prevent this, you can mix and blend the ACV very thoroughly into the smoothie. Using plant-based milks like almond, coconut, or oat milk can also help avoid curdling.

Should you drink ACV smoothies before or after a workout?

You can enjoy ACV smoothies either before or after exercise. Pre-workout, the nutrients may give you an energizing boost and help keep your blood sugar stable. Post-workout, it can help replenish electrolytes lost in sweat.

Can ACV smoothies help with weight loss?

Yes, adding 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to a reduced-calorie smoothie can potentially aid weight loss. ACV may increase feelings of fullness, prevent fat storage, and reduce belly fat. But results will depend on an overall healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Is apple cider vinegar gut-friendly?

Apple cider vinegar contains prebiotics to feed probiotics, as well as probiotics from the “mother.” These can help improve gut health by balancing bacteria levels, improving digestion, and treating issues like constipation.

Can you add ACV to smoothies every day?

It’s likely safe to include 1-2 teaspoons of diluted ACV in your smoothie most days, but limit higher amounts to a few times per week at most. Drink lots of water to dilute and rinse your mouth after to prevent enamel damage from frequent exposure to acidity.


Adding 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a 12+ ounce smoothie is generally safe and provides benefits for digestion, antimicrobial effects, heart health, blood sugar control, and weight management. Always dilute vinegar thoroughly and start with small amounts to assess tolerance. Limit intake to 1-2 times daily, rinse your mouth after, and avoid drinking vinegar straight to prevent side effects. Include ACV as part of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle for best results.

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