IBD and the Benefits of Vinegar

Vinegar has been around for centuries. A variation of the Old French word vinaigre (from vin or wine, and aigre, which means sour), "vinegar" literally translates as sour wine. With seemingly countless uses (see Reader’s Digest’s list of 95+ Household Uses for Vinegar), vinegar is something of a wonder product. But what about its dietary health benefits?

In January 2016 the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published an animal study that showed promising results for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The study, led by China's Jilin University, looked at the effect of vinegar and its main component, acetic acid, on the gut bacteria and inflammatory markers of mice.

At the beginning of the study the mice were altered chemically to develop ulcerative colitis (UC). Small amounts of vinegar or acetic acid were given to the mice and changes in inflammatory markers and gut bacteria were measured through colon inflammation and stool bacteria. Both substances, the vinegar and the acetic acid, improved the symptoms of UC as well as reducing inflammation in the colon and improving the gut bacteria (increased numbers of healthy bacteria present based on stool sample measurements).

While the study looks promising, further research is needed to see if these results can be repeated in human subjects.

So, what does that all mean for current IBD patients? First things first: discuss any changes you intend to make to your diet with your physician. If you get the go-ahead from your doc, then you can start to add vinegar to your diet.

In light of the fact that, for many people, apple cider vinegar tends to be the most palatable, here are six ideas that might help you add apple cider vinegar to your daily routine:


Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.