Once upon a time, I subscribed to 5 different health magazines, all of which touted the benefits of the deemed elixir, apple cider vinegar (ACV). Claims still abound about its benefits, and it has been cited, at least anecdotally, as a cure-all for diabetes to high blood pressure, and for skin problems to … well, even cancer. But again, most who sing cider’s praises are from folks who participate in health forums. The question then arises: Can apple cider vinegar help quash or even prevent angular cheilitis.

Let’s first examine the contents of apple cider vinegar. High in acetic acid, this vinegar contains minerals, vitamins (including potassium, calcium, and beta-carotene), amino acids, pectin, fiber, complex carbohydrates, and even enzymes. Apple cider vinegar enthusiasts say this combination of potent living matter is synergistic and helps keep our natural defenses strong. And as much as I want to agree, research does not support that the cider is rich in these vital nutrients. Indeed, it is extremely low, scarcely measurable, in Vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals, such as calcium. The quantity of amino acids and similar materials don’t measure off the scale as well.

Still, who is to argue with folks who’ve experienced such positive outcomes using apple cider vinegar. Perhaps its the fact that it alters the body’s PH which enhances the immune system. There is also speculation that it deactivates enzymes that break up carbohydrates which slows down the rate that sugar enters the body.

Indeed, there are too many intangibles and not enough scientific research on apple cider vinegar to make a declarative statement one way or another as it pertains to potential gains.

So let’s go back to the question of whether to use apple cider vinegar if one has cheilitis. Here are my thoughts:

1) As I can only claim a sample of one (myself), topical apple cider vinegar did not work for me. (This does not mean it will not work for you!) But it irritated the corners of my lips and gave me a minor burning sensation.

2) As such, oral consumption of diluted apple cider vinegar (10% vinegar to 90% water) may be worthwhile as part of a detoxification program. In the absence of medical studies, I’m clinging to the hope that ACV helps to eliminate toxins in the body. Moreover, and still waiting for absolute scientific proof, it’s possible that ACV makes it difficult for yeast to thrive in a slightly lower PH environment, especially if it stimulates the production of friendly bacteria (probiotics). These are my wishes, not necessarily facts, many of which are listed as absolute truths on so many websites.

3) Many sites also tout apple cider vinegar as having antibacterial and antiseptic qualities – not just antifungal properties. This would be ideal to combat angular cheilitis if it had these capabilities.

Still, undiluted ACV is not without potential adverse effects. For example, long-term use may lower bone density and potassium levels. it can even interact with medication which is why it’s absolutely essential to discuss this ‘natural remedy’ with your doctor if you pursue this course of treatment.

Other suggestions if you decide to drink ACV ASAP: Remember to dilute it, take it before meals or on an empty stomach, and purchase a non-GMO one that is raw, organic, and contains the ‘mother’ of the vinegar. (Bragg is a good brand.)

So angular cheilitis sufferers, I feel ambivalent about recommending apple cider vinegar for perleche. It may be worth ingesting for a couple of weeks to see the effects it produces, if any. If you’re desperate to try it topically, perhaps use a light spray mist on the perleche.

ACV may be your holy grail against perleche but there are better treatments to pursue, in my humble opinion.

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