Apple Cider Vinegar? Nutritional Supplements for Opioid Addiction.

Q: What are some of the benefits of using apple cider vinegar?

A: As the popular saying goes, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Does the same hold true for apple cider vinegar (ACV)? It is used for a multitude of medical conditions and for different cosmetic purposes. However studies which back up these claims have been short-term, with small sample sizes or studied in animals. There are, however, a few scientific studies in humans that suggest ACV may help improve diabetes and boost feelings of satiety.

Several studies have shown that the acetic acid found in ACV, and all vinegars, can improve insulin sensitivity during a high carbohydrate meal and that ingesting it at bedtime can favorably impact waking glucose in persons with type 2 diabetes.

In addition, it has also been shown that ACV may help slow digestion. This can be helpful for those who would like to increase satiety but for others it can worsen the symptoms of certain conditions, like gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach).

Note: Undiluted ACV may harm teeth enamel, burn the skin and may interact with some medications. Talk with your doctor before adding it to your daily routine.

—Nicole Wavra, MPH, RD

Q: Is there any evidence to support the use of nutrition supplements to help with the treatment of opioid addiction?

A: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that we are in a public health crisis due to increasing rates of opioid addiction and overdose. With documented statistics showing the severity of this issue, questions regarding treatment options abound.

Manufacturers of certain nutritional supplements have made claims regarding use of these products in the treatment of opioid addiction, often boasting that they assist with symptoms of withdrawal, and often without scientific evidence to support this claim. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) submitted a public service announcement stating that “CRN is not aware of any mainstream research that would support using a dietary supplement to treat opioid addiction.” The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have also sent warnings to marketers and distributors of these supplements directing them to halt the marketing of these products. Bottom line – proper nutrition may assist a person’s overall health while undergoing treatment for opioid addiction but there is no evidence at this time to support the use of any specific supplements as part of a treatment regimen.

 —Kristen N. Smith, PhD, RDN

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