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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been known to reduce and alleviate IBS symptoms. ACV contains antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, as well as probiotics and prebiotics that repair your gastrointestinal system and keep it healthy.

Gut dysbiosis is one of the root causes of IBS. If you balance your gut bacteria, your IBS symptoms might minimize or disappear.

How to Use ACV

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of ACV in an 8 oz glass of water
  2. Drink on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning
  3. Repeat every morning
Despite its great health benefits, ACV is not for everyone. Do not take ACV if you believe you have an ulcer or esophageal lesions. ACV will only aggravate these conditions.

How It Works

Vinegar is very acidic, which is typically not ideal for IBS. ACV is different because it creates an alkaline environment.

An alkaline environment refers to an environment with a pH value higher than 7.0 — whereas an environment with a pH below 7.0 is considered acidic.

ACV contains acetic acid, which stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is not only responsible for digestion and breaking down fatty foods but balancing out your body's pH levels.

Viruses and bacteria are unable to live in an alkaline environment, which is why those who suffer from IBS may find relief with apple cider vinegar.

ACV contains five essential probiotics that promote gut health

  • Acetobacter
  • Komagataeibacter
  • Lactobacillus
  • Oenococcus
  • Gluconobacter

These probiotics aid in digestion and destroy harmful bacteria that can lead to IBS. (Trcek, Mahnic, & Rupnik 2016)

ACV also contains prebiotics — thanks to the “mother" found in most bottles. Prebiotics differ from probiotics as they continue to help nourish the already established probiotics living in the gut.

Note: Store-bought apple cider vinegar often does not contain “the mother” — the mother gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance some people dislike. However, the mother is believed to be the healthiest part.


ACV's antifungal properties make it able to fight candida. Candida overgrowth can create intense sugar and carbohydrate cravings. If you give in to these cravings, you may encourage leaky gut symptoms.

If left untreated, candida can cause a variety of digestive issues, which only intensify IBS symptoms.

What is IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a recurrent disruption of gastrointestinal functioning. It typically involves the colon, small intestine, and bowel motility and sensation.

It affects up to 24% of the population. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe.

IBS Causes

Studies show a potential link between an unhealthy gut and other mental and physical health issues.

Microbial imbalance and inflammation of the gut, for example, have been linked to several mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. (Clapp, Aurora, Herrera, Bhatia, Wilen, & Wakefield 2017)

It's reasonable to believe that prior adverse life experiences such as traumas or lingering infections caused by bacteria or fungi can predispose someone to be later diagnosed with IBS.

Other possible issues that may disturb digestive health and cause IBS include:

  • Leaky gut
  • Bad diet
  • Prolonged stress

IBS Symptoms

There are three types of IBS. A physician can identify which form of IBS you suffer from:

  • IBS-D — IBS with diarrhea
  • IBS-C — IBS with constipation
  • IBS-M — IBS with alternations of both diarrhea and constipation

No matter which subtype of irritable bowel you have, you may experience extremely distressing symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Urgent bowel movements
  • Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Gas and bloating
  • Food intolerance
  • Feeling ill
  • Fatigue
  • Excess stomach acid

Though medications are the main focus of treatment for IBS symptoms, home remedies such as apple cider vinegar may also be effective — without the adverse side effects.

If you are on medication, discuss with your physician whether it's worth discontinuing.

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Research Citations

  • Saha L. Irritable bowel syndrome: Pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and evidence-based medicine. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;20(22):6759-73. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.6759
  • Yarandi SS, Nasseri-Moghaddam S, Mostajabi P, Malekzadeh R. Overlapping gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome: increased dysfunctional symptoms. World Journal of Gastroenteroly. 2010;16(10):1232-8. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i9.1232
  • Trcek J, Mahnic A, & Rupnik M.Diversity of the microbiota involved in wine and organic apple cider submerged vinegar production as revealed by DHPLC analysis and next-generation sequencing. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 2016;223:57-62. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2016.02.007.
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