Life sometimes presents “odd things”.
Following those “odd things” to an end point can be a lot of fun, and sometimes you “learn things”.
So last night, late, I wanted a snack. Digging around the kitchen, not much of interest. (Yes, the “usual” home made bread, jam, etc. but I’ve had “the usual” a lot. For some odd reason I wanted something “different” and “tangy”…) There, on the shelf, was a can of “Pickled Beets”. I sometimes buy one. It usually sits a long time. Nobody else in my family will eat them. I eat them from time to time mostly because my Dad loved them and so we had them on the table every week or three when I was growing up – even though I’d only eat one slice… often after some ‘encouragement’. He loved them as they made their own on the farm (Pickled beets being one of the easiest things to ‘put up’ for winter) which meant he ate a lot of them on the farm and grew up eating them.
So out of nostalgia, and a little bit for their ‘bite’ of vinegar, and only a little bit for the beet flavor, I sometimes buy a can. Just so they don’t disappear from the world like so many other traditional foods.
OK, fork in hand, I eat the beets. 15 oz can. Don’t now how much is actually beets. And I sip s bit of the “beet juice” that’s basically red vinegar…
Thinking nothing about it, I head off to bed.
A Bit Personal
OK, this is a bit ‘personal’… but hang in there…
The Spouse, who used to complain about freezing cold in a nice 72 F (normal room temperature) has the last few years started wanting the heat turned down to 65 or less. On top of that can be ‘hot flashes’. So the bedroom is “unheated”. It basically gets whatever leaks in through the walls from the rest of the house. I have an added blanket on ‘my side'; but still, at 3 AM things are getting “a bit cold”. I can do reasonably well with it ( as a kid my “bedroom” was an unheated attic conversion that had no insulation, so frequently got to the 40 or 30 range in winter (near freezing). I liked it a lot as I could breath “in the cold”. Only later figuring out it wasn’t “cold” but being away from the tobacco smoke that let me breath… Later still learning I was allergic to the smoke…)
So I can “put up with” cold fairly well. Besides, in California our definition of cold is a bit warmer than others ;-)
But you still KNOW how cold it is, even if you are OK with it.
So usually I’m feeling a bit cold in the hands or feet, and the top of the head is asking for a sleeping cap…
But not last night. The metabolic rate was running higher. No particular reason I can see. Yesterday’s meals were not exceptional. I had wine with dinner and desert, but have done that many times. No, this was ‘different’. Thinking about it, I vaguely remembered being a bit ‘energized’ other times I’d eaten pickled beets. Not coffee hyper kind of energized, just a bit more active. So all night long, I was not feeling particularly the cold. In fact, I ditched a layer at one point. Just TOO warm. Now, at 7 am, whatever “it” was is wearing off a bit. I’m starting to notice a bit of cool again.
Yet I’m still left with a generalized “lift” of spirits and energy / enthusiasm. While yesterday I’d been a ‘bit down’ (and for a couple of days before that too), now I’m not. Having that “lets go find something to do” feeling. As I’m typically not even awake at 7 am and my first desire is to find coffee, at least enough to feel like making breakfast and not sneak back to bed “this is different”.
That sent me off wondering about vinegar.
Vinegar, Fats, and Diabetes
This is not going to have my typical “searched through a few dozen things and worked it down to the basic biochemistry” style. Heck, it’s before 8 am and I’ve not even smelled any coffee yet. So it’s just a pointer to some limited evidence.
There’s a whole folklore / “alternative” medicine cult based on vinegar. The spouse takes a Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in water for some (supposed?) help with arthritic pains. As she keeps doing it, I figure it must do something for her, maybe. But that’s about the limit of my involvement in that “alternative” vinegar line.
But it’s enough to leave me wondering “Is it the beets or the vinegar?”. As I’ve not noticed anything like this with regular canned beets, though not deliberately tested, it points me a bit toward the vinegar. (It’s also possible I’ve got some vitamin or mineral deficiency that the beets fixed; as root vegetables they have a lot of minerals.) So I ought to do a dive into the nutritional and medicinal history of beets, but I remind you of that “coffee limitation”… So that bit will wait….
On a quick check, I’ve found a couple of surprising things from people with M.D. after their names. Hmmmm…. While not a guarantee (there are M.D. folks with crazy ideas too) it does offer more reliability than “just some guy selling vinegar said”…
Vinegar May Prevent Build Up of Fat
According to foodnavigator-usa.com, a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that animals fed a high-fat diet (50% of energy from fat) and supplemented with acetic acid at two different levels developed about 10 per cent less body fat than mice just eating the diet. The Japanese researchers, led by Tomoo Kondo from the Central Research Institute of the Mizkan Group Corporation, found that vinegar was working at a genetic level, by influencing genes linked to fatty acid oxidation and heat-generating (energy burning) proteins. According to the researchers, “The results of this study suggest that acetic acid suppresses body fat accumulation by increasing fatty oxidation and thermogenesis in the liver through PPAR-alpha.”
That whole “foods as epigenetic modifier” thing… The “heat generating” in particular matches what I felt. A 10% lower body fat level is rather significant, even in mice.
From that same site:
Benefit of Vinegar Consumption in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes
Research was published in the November 2007 issue of Diabetes Care that demonstrated that vinegar ingestion at bedtime moderates waking glucose concentrations. The investigators at Arizona State University (ASU) found that the vinegar treatment was especially effective for the six subjects who had a typical fasting glucose greater than 7.2 mmol/L. Fasting glucose in these participants was reduced by 6 percent compared with a reduction of 0.7 percent in those with a typical fasting glucose less than 7.2 mmol/L. According to an article about the study, the researchers concluded, “Vinegar is widely available, it is affordable, and it is appealing as a remedy, but much more work is required to determine whether vinegar is a useful adjunct therapy for individuals with diabetes.”
Antiglycemic Properties of Vinegar in Healthy Adults
Dr. Carol Johnston of Arizona State University (ASU) has been researching the use of vinegar in treating Type II diabetes. Most recently, Dr. Johnston and colleagues published research in the January 2010 online issue of Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, titled, “Examination of the Antiglycemic Properties of Vinegar in Healthy Adults.” The researchers concluded that “The antiglycemic properties of vinegar are evident when small amounts of vinegar are ingested with meals composed of complex carbohydrates. In these situations, vinegar attenuated PPG (postprandial glycemia) by ~20% compared to placebo.” In short, vinegar reduces PPG in healthy adults. Of note, the researchers state that taking steps to reduce PPG is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to limit complications of diabetes.
So it’s helpful in diabetes…
I think this is the same Dr. Carol Johnston. It would be nice to find the same information from a different Dr. for confirmation.
This pick up after the “Narrator” does an intro:
Carol Johnston, Ph.D.:
Hippocrates used it thousands of years ago as a medicine.
Carol Johnston is studying the benefits of vinegar. In one study, three groups of people – healthy, pre-diabetic and type two diabetics… were tested to see if vinegar would lower their blood glucose levels.
Carol Johnston, Ph.D.:
Both the blood glucose and insulin were better managed after the meal when they consumed the vinegar.
Carol Johnston, Ph.D.:
It appears that the vinegar mimics the effects of both Acrabose and Metformin which are two of the commonly prescribed medications for diabetics.
Johnston’s vinegar solution was then tested to see if it could lower cholesterol levels. It didn’t… but it did offer something else.
Carol Johnston, Ph.D.:
Interestingly, the group that got the vinegar lost several pounds on average and that was significant compared to the placebo group that had no change in their weight.
So, in short, it does look like there is at least some effect directly from the vinegar. So on the shopping list goes vinaigrette and off comes the Ranch Dressing! ;-) I think I’ll also be looking into a few more pickles in the diet and perhaps have those pickled beets more frequently.
Oddly, the articles I’ve seen all go on about how it gets tiring to drink the vinegar every day even diluted in water; and not one of them has mentioned pickles. There’s a fair amount of vinegar IN the picked foods. But at least one of them did mention oil and vinegar salad dressing…
These folks claim it can help high blood pressure (but the site is one of the ‘lots of touchy feely not many tortured rats’ ones, so I’d rather see a published paper involving mice and tiny little blood pressure cuffs ;-) but it’s a pointer to further possibles:
Apple Cider Vinegar Cures
Apple Cider Vinegar, that wonderful old-timers home remedy, cures more ailments than any other folk remedy — we’re convinced! From the extensive feedback we’ve received over the past 8 years, the reported cures from drinking Apple Cider Vinegar are numerous. They include cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout. Apple Cider Vinegar also breaks down fat and is widely used to lose weight. It has also been reported that a daily dose of apple cider vinegar in water has high blood pressure under control in two weeks!
I’m surprised they didn’t mention it also cleans glass and makes a battery with an iron knife and copper pot so cures the ‘energy crisis’…
I did run into several links about antibiotic properties and various uses in food preservation (including meats). Lab tests found that Wine Vinegar worked best (due to all the other fermentation byproducts in addition to the vinegar) so for killing bacteria use wine or apple cider vinegar.
Then there are the ‘middle ground’ sites. References to folks with Ph.D. or MD. after their name, but still not quite citing published research:
I had to study the Krebs Cycle in biology (when that was my major for a few years…) but never thought to connect it to vinegar..
The theory of Dr. Krebs, a British scientist, explains how vinegar can eliminate fatigue. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for proving this theory in 1953. Through it, he explains clearly how food is changed into energy, or burned, in the body of almost all animals including human beings and bacteria. He also explains what fatigue is and how it can be eliminated.
I owe this knowledge about the relation between vinegar and fatigue to the late Doctor of Pharmacology and Professor Emeritus, Shichiro Akitani of Tokyo University. He was fascinated by this subject and found clues to solve these problems during the World War II. Though a busy man, he took every opportunity to recommend people take as much vinegar as possible.
Even if lactic acid, one of the substances causing fatigue, is created in your body, it will soon disappear if the Citric Acid Cycle is working well. Oxaloacetic acid plays a crucial role for the Cycle to work well. But citric and other acids are changed to it eventually. Therefore, it is important that you take an adequate amount of these acids so that the Cycle works well.
Pyroracemic acid (pyruvic acid) is a toxic substance which paralyzes nerves. Lactic acid makes the blood acidic and stiffens muscles.
Dr. Lipman, an American scientist, contributed greatly to clarifying how ATP was created. Drs. Krebs and Lipman were awarded Nobel prizes for their contribution in 1953.
As for the details of the creation of ATP, researchers are making efforts to clarify them at present.
Digestion means decomposing starch into glucose; protein is converted into the twenty or more kinds of amino acids which make up protein; and fat is changed into glycerine and fatty acids in our bodies.
The food we consume is eventually burned, or changed into a substance called ATP (adenocine triphosphate) which can give out heat easily. Almost all of the starch, protein, and fat we take in are consumed in our bodies to generate heat, although they are also used to repair our body when needed. The Krebs’ theory explains the process called the “Citric Acid Cycle,” where ATP is usually produced.
Almost all of the food you eat is changed first into citric acid, then into aconitic, isocitric, alpha-ketoglutaric, and four other kinds of acids in your mitochondria. In the course of this change, these acids reduce in quantity. The lost portion of the quantity is used to produce heat (ATP), carbon dioxide (discharged through exhalation), and water (discharged through urine and sweat). Such change and production is caused by specific enzymes in the mitochondria.
Which matches with my lower feeling of ‘fatigue’ right now. It also explains why I get a similar effect from eating grapefruit via their citric acid.
OK, it’s not as complete as I’d like. But it does look like Citric Acid and the Citric Acid Cycle / Krebs Cycle are key players, and it looks like Acetic Acid (aka Vinegar) gets into the mix too. There is an epigenetic mechanism to shift metabolism, and it has an impact on carbohydrate metabolism that is helpful for diabetes. Along the way, blood pressure gets a bit lowered.
All sounds good. While it really does cry out for a bit more in the way of formal studies, given the population of degreed folks being cited, I’m willing to accept a bit of an “argument from authority” while looking for more proof. Certainly enough to put pickles, salad w/ vinaigrette, pickled beets and maybe even some relish on the menu.
At least until the spouse lets me turn the heater back up ;-)
Nothing like coming late to a story… but 5000 years late? It think that’s a new record for me…
Recorded vinegar history starts around 5000 BC, when the Babylonians were using the fruit of the date palm to make wine and vinegar. They used it as a food and as a preserving or pickling agent. Vinegar residues have been found in ancient Egyptian urns traced to 3000 BC. As well, recorded vinegar history in China starts from texts that date back to 1200 BC.
During biblical times, vinegar was used to flavor foods, as an energizing drink, and as a medicine, and it is mentioned in both the old and new testaments. For example, after working hard gleaning barley in the fields, Ruth was invited by Boaz to eat bread and dip it in vinegar. (Ruth 2:14)
In ancient Greece, around 400 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed apple cider vinegar mixed with honey for a variety of ills, including coughs and colds.
I’ll have to try that Biblical bread dipped in vinegar, but I suspect it will work better with a rougher whole grain bread.
Maybe those old Biblical Times folks and Babylonians were on to something…