Vinegar is an old folk remedy for painful joints. The most common form of vinegar used for this application is apple cider vinegar. Various claims have been made through the decades attributing nearly miraculous benefits to vinegar regarding joint pain.
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Theories from alternative medicine proponents point to enzymes in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar as curing agents. These theories claim that toxins build up in joints, rendering them painful, and that enzymes help remove the toxins.
The potential benefits of drinking raw apple cider vinegar include decreased joint pain and swelling, and increased range of motion. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may see fewer episodes of attacks.
The specific type of vinegar is unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, not apple flavored. Most users recommend liquid over pills and prefer a cloudy unfiltered vinegar that supposedly contains more enzymes and fiber.
There have been medical studies on the validity of vinegar cures. No large control study has been conducted on the use of vinegar for joints with any significant results.
The acidity of vinegar can cause lowered potassium levels and can lower bone density. Long-term use is not recommended for anyone suffering from osteoporosis.