Every time a celeb says they swear by a new health trend, we’re immediately skeptical. Yes, they look fan-freaking-tastic all the time, but we know a lot of that is lighting and hours in a makeup chair (#journalism). But Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom are SO into apple cider vinegar that it’s practically the reason they’re together. Plus, our moms swear by it. So what’s the big deal?
Orlando Bloom turned up to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday to essentially sing an ode to apple cider vinegar. What Bloom does specifically is takes a shot glass serving of the stuff and dilutes it with a litre of water. He then drinks it throughout the day. It’s apparently great for your skin, your digestion, your blood sugar levels and it’s the reason he and Katy Perry knew they were made for each other (when the couple first met, they both had water bottles with ACV in it). Bloom’s speech was essentially the non-internet manifestation of that meme about wholesome content clearing your skin and paying your bills. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR LITERALLY PAYS ORLANDO AND KATY’S BILLS.
ACV isn’t exactly new (it’s an ancient remedy, so calm down) but it’s worth it to take a look at the actual science apart from the anecdotal evidence offered by celebs and Instagram influencers. Orlando Bloom holds up his own face as the evidence that 20 years drinking the stuff has done him good. We get it, Orli, you’re gorgeous, but in the words of the Fab 5 and every English teacher ever: let’s unpack that.
WHAT ARE THE CLAIMS?
According to the general beliefs floating around the zeitgeist, ACV can detox you from the inside out. Here’s a list of the most common claims about what apple cider vinegar can do (spoiler: they’re not all true):
- Kill harmful bacteria
- Help with digestion
- Brighten dull hair
- Prevent cancer
- Whiten teeth
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Help with weight loss
- Lower cholesterol
- Balance skin pH
- Treat acne
- Detoxify your system
TALK SCIENCE TO ME
Some of those claims have science to support them and some just don’t. Healthline did a deep-dive on the provable benefits last year and found that the most successful and thoroughly studied application for ACV is to regulate blood sugar, particularly in patients with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar can be a factor in aging, so the fact that ACV helps regulate it could account for Orlando Bloom’s refusal to look any older than 29.
The weight loss claims stem from studies that found ACV can be used as an appetite suppressant and can keep people feeling full longer, thus encouraging lower calorie consumption. It SHOULD NOT be used as a meal replacement, however, and is actually considered by many healthcare professionals to be an unhealthy and dangerous weight loss tactic.
The skin claims are mostly anecdotal with some people swearing by ACV as a topical acne treatment and others using it as a toner. The uses of the vinegar as a reinvigorating hair wash are also based on aesthetic results. If you like how your hair looks after an ACV wash, by all means, do it.
WHAT IT DOESN’T DO
The claims about ACV consumption helping to prevent certain cancers are derived from its antioxidant properties and studies that have shown reduction in tumors and cancerous cells in test tubes and rats. There is still NOT ENOUGH HUMAN EVIDENCE to support the use of ACV to treat or prevent cancer.
The whole concept of “detoxifying” in our culture has been flagged by healthcare and nutrition professionals as misguided since we have organs called “kidneys” and “livers” that detoxify naturally on their own. In a piece for SELF earlier this year, registered dietitian Abby Langer said that there was “nothing magical about apple cider vinegar,” specifically in reference to its alleged detoxifying benefits.
Dentists are also cringing at the trend of using apple cider vinegar as mouthwash or for whitening teeth. Pittsford Dental Excellence Center warns that drinking straight vinegar will weaken your teeth’s enamel and make them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. They suggest only consuming ACV when diluted with water.
THE BOTTOM LINE
At the end of the day, it looks like ACV may not be the miracle Orlando Bloom, Katy Perry and a million influencers think it is, but it also probably won’t hurt you. If drinking (diluted) apple cider vinegar and washing your hair with it makes you feel better, go for it. If you’re not into it, that’s perfectly fine too. You’re probably not missing out on any life-saving benefits.
In conclusion: you do you, boo.