Apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular holistic remedies out there these days. Last year, I wrote about the applications of apple cider vinegar for cats and it got amazing feedback! That post included various ways to use apple cider vinegar with cats that were attested to by cat owners who use it on their cats. Now I’ve done a little more research and I would like to tell you about the science behind the remedy.
Title photo credit: RikkisRefuge Other via Flickr
Notes About Holistic Remedies
If you do a quick Google search on any holistic remedy, including apple cider vinegar (ACV), you are going to see that they are highly controversial. In my opinion, there are a couple of reasons why holistic remedies, get a bad name:
Pharmaceuticals are big money.
It pays more to treat sick people for the rest of their lives than it does to prevent or cure the problem. Pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money to make their products appear to be the only answer.
- Very few peer-reviewed studies about holistic remedies are done.
Not having solid studies makes it difficult to prove that remedies like apple cider vinegar work or how they work.
- People use holistic remedies to get out of paying doctors/veterinarians.
In truth, holistic medicine can require as much attention from a veterinarian as conventional medicine does. Figuring out what a cat’s real root medical problems are can be very difficult even for seasoned veterinarians. Attempting to remedy the wrong problem can give you more problems.
- The public isn’t well educated on how holistic medicine works.
Unlike conventional medicine where a patient doesn’t begin treatment until illness or disease sets in, holistic treatment aims at prevention. To get real benefits from holistic medicine, you have to start when your cat is healthy. Also, many times holistic remedies that help fix current problems do not fix them instantly like pharmaceuticals do.
- Outlandish claims.
There are tons of people out there who will do anything to sell their product. They will claim that apple cider vinegar or another remedy cures everything including baldness. Most of those claims will be backed up by the proof that someone’s Grandma’s next door neighbor’s, brother-in-law grew all his hair back within seconds of rubbing it on his forehead. Unfortunately, these outlandish claims make it seem like none of the claims that are made about the remedy are true.
What Isn’t True About ACV
As you might suspect, some of what you read about apple cider vinegar is true and some is fabricated. It simply isn’t true is the claim that the reason apple cider vinegar has such amazing health benefits is because of all of the enzymes, vitamins and minerals in it. Unfortunately, nutritional analysis of apple cider vinegar shows that pretty much all of the nutrients from the apple cider are diminished in the fermentation process.
How ACV Actually Works
What really makes apple cider vinegar amazing are the acids that are present inside it. It is an excellent antimicrobial! The acetic acid is able to penetrate the cell membranes of microorganisms and kill them off. Studies have found that acetic acid is strong enough to kill E.coli bacteria and when mixed with lemon juice can potentially be strong enough to kill salmonella. There are also a number of phenolic compounds within apple cider vinegar that make it an excellent antioxidant.
Apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered and unpasteurized can also contain fiber in the form of pectin. These vinegars can be identified by their cloudy appearance and the presence of “the mother.” The mother is a web-like cloud of proteins left over from the apples used to make the apple cider vinegar. I called one of the leading sellers of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, Bragg’s, and verified over the phone that their apple cider vinegar does in fact contain pectin.
Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats
There are a growing number of proven uses for apple cider vinegar. Slowly, but surely, a few studies are getting done. In humans, it has been found to be helpful for reducing the effects of diabetes, reducing blood pressure, and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Maybe someday studies will get far enough along that we will know if these applications also work with cats. For now, we know that it works well for the following uses in cats:
- Ear Cleaning
A solution that is ½ organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) and ½ purified water can be used to help remove ear wax, ear mites, bacteria, and fungus.
- A Source of Dietary Fiber
Add ¼ teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar (with the mother) per 10 pounds of your cat’s weight to your cat’s food 1-2 times daily. This can help clear up your kitty’s constipation naturally!
- A cat-friendly cleaning agent
You can use a solution of apple cider vinegar and water anywhere in your home with no worries that your kitty will be poisoned by it. As mentioned above, apple cider vinegar has a number of antimicrobial properties that can help you clean litter boxes, food dishes, place mats, serving utensils, floors, countertops, etc.
The above are ways that Dr. Karen Becker, DVM actually recommends using apple cider vinegar in her practice. They are also backed up by the studies mentioned above. If you are looking for remedies suggested by cat owners who use them on their own cats, please read my post Holistic Healing for Cats: Apple Cider Vinegar.
Do you use apple cider vinegar with your pets?
Sources & Digging Deeper
- Functional Health Properties of Vinegar – Mercola
- Functional Health Properties of Vinegar – The Journal of Food Science
- Nutritional Analysis of Apple Cider Vinegar – USDA
- Antibacterial action of vinegar against food-borne pathogenic bacteria including Escherichia coli O157:H7.- The Journal of Food Protection
- Effectiveness of lemon juice, vinegar and their mixture in the elimination of Salmonella typhimurium on carrots (Daucus carota L.) -International Journal of Food Microbiology
- Could Ear Mites Be the Reason for Your Pet’s Itchy Ears? – Healthy Pets at Mercola
- Constipation: The Bowel Problem That Can Make Your Pet’s Life Miserable… -Healthy Pets at Mercola
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