Possible Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis: Common Vinegar

Possible Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis: Common Vinegar

New research has investigated the therapeutic power of vinegar – a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet – in the fight against ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that researchers think is connected to the gut microbiome.

The research team behind the study, which was published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that vinegar suppressed proteins that induce inflammation while improving the gut’s bacterial makeup in mice models. UC is a chronic illness, not fully understood by the scientific community. Previous studies suggested that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract play a pivotal role, as people who suffer from the condition report frequent inflammation of the large intestine’s lining – causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and ulcers, among others.

Authors Lu Yu, Bo Liu and colleagues found that vinegar has been known for centuries in traditional medicine for its healing powers, and one recent study suggested a benefit in ulcerative colitis. According to a press release, this hypothesis encouraged the team to investigate further the potential clinical benefits of vinegar in ulcerative colitis. The team’s study is titled “Vinegar Treatment Prevents the Development of Murine Experimental Colitis via Inhibition of Inflammation and Apoptosis.

The team tested vinegar (5% v/v) and its active main component, acetic acid (0.3% w/v), in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis (dextran suflate sodium [DSS]-induced colitis model). Researchers found that adding either vinegar or acetic acid in small portions to the animals’ drinking water was enough to see significant results and reduced symptoms of their condition, such as reduced disease activity index, histopathological scores, less body weight loss, and shorter colon length.

A further assessment showed that vinegar inhibited inflammation through the suppression of Th1 and Th17 responses, MAPK signaling activation, and the NLRP3 inflammasome.

Researchers were surprised to find that pre-treatment with vinegar for 28 days before DSS induction (to induce UC) increased the levels of the commensal lactic acid-producing or acetic acid-producing bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Other studies have found these bacteria to be beneficial to mice with ulcerative colitis-like symptoms.

The research team concluded that vinegar is able to decrease the levels of proteins that can potentially induce inflammation and damage the gut. But they emphasized that despite the findings suggesting the possibility of new dietary strategies for the prevention of ulcerative colitis, more research is needed to understand whether the beneficial link observed in mice is sustained in humans.


  1. yvonne says:

    I have been instructed to consume Apple Cider Vinegar with “mother” on the label. It has along with other dietary guidlines have helped me with my gut flora from toxicity from antibiotics that led me to get Candida (been treating naturaly for 2.5yrs)

  2. Jessica says:

    Drinking DILUTED ACV, rather than ‘neat’, makes a huge difference. The same applies for using it topically for e.g., vulvodynia / candida infection. I am Histamine Intolerant and react badly to ACV taken ‘neat (as in severe asthmatic wheezing symptoms. When I take it diluted, however, it has the opposite effect and significantly calms mast cell activity, reducing histamine release and the inflammation, pain, and ‘burning sensation’ that this otherwise causes. This would at least in part explain why – used judiciously – ACV can be so effective in reducing symptoms of Colitis, which so often involves excess mast cell degranulation.

    I keep a glass jar of dilute ACV (roughly 1 part ACV to 6 parts water) in the bathroom for topical use as needed, and another in the kitchen for taking small sips throughout the day as I remember, for digestive health. I notice the difference on the days I forget to keep those two jars topped up.

    Sometimes “less” is more. : )

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