Can Apple Cider Vinegar Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

It's antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial—and Miranda Kerr loves it.

apple cider vinegar
Image via Tales of a Kitchen

Miranda Kerr drizzles it over her salads and uses it in her hair, Megan Fox says it “cleanses out your system entirely,” and both Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna are fans. No, I’m not talking about a pricey juice detox, simply humble apple cider vinegar (ACV) that you can pick up for under $5 at the supermarket.

ACV has been used in traditional medicine for generations as a topical acne treatment; digestive issues like acid-reflux or constipation thanks to the malic acid content; insomnia; joint paint; weight loss; and, according to 2007 study published in Diabetes Care, it could even help treat diabetes by lowering glucose levels. (It’s important to note here that it could interfere with diabetes medication.) Holistic nutritionist, Lee Holmes, also cites other benefits to drinking the organic, unfiltered kind: “Studies have shown it can help to reduce appetite, lower bad cholesterol, aid digestion and even tone and clarify the skin,” she added.

However, perhaps the most notable everyday use—especially for women who frequently suffer from urinary tract infections (UTI)—is that apple cider vinegar is widely believed to help prevent nasty, painful UTIs. It’s a type of infection caused by fungi, viruses, and bacteria in the urinary tract that causes burning or stinging pain on urinating, frequency of urination, the urgency to urinate, lower abdominal pressure or pain, and a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying. More than 50 percent of women will have at least once in their lifetime, and with each UTI, the risk that you will continue having recurrent infections increases. Some unlucky women suffer from three or more UTIs in one year. Fun! Generally, treatments for urinary tract infections will often include a doctor-prescribed dose of antibiotics, however, if you want to avoid the unpleasantness all-together, drinking ACV might be the answer.

When it comes to avoiding UTIs and supporting general health, the reason ACV’s so effective is due to its ability to balance pH levels in your body, creating an alkalized state. It’s also a trifecta of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral benefits. “It can be used as a natural antibiotic,” explained Holmes, adding that useful minerals lurking in sediment at the bottom of the bottle can curb infection. “Drinking apple cider vinegar can prevent the bacteria that cause UTIs from multiplying or growing,” she said.

If it sounds like something you want to try, you can either shot the solution (if you’re game!) or add two tablespoons into a class of water. Holmes suggests adding a little honey or lemon if your tastebuds just can’t handle it.