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Can Drinking Vinegar Be Bad for You?

Updated April 17, 2017

Vinegar is a delicious component in many dishes such as salad dressing, chilli and condiments like malt vinegar. A commonly used food substance, vinegar has many prolific uses. However, the active ingredient in vinegar is a type of acid, which can be harmful at high doses.

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The active ingredient that gives vinegar its taste is acetic acid. Acetic acid is formed when specific bacteria oxidise ethyl alcohol. Acetic acid is a common solvent used for antiseptic and cleaning purposes. In low doses, however, it is safe to consume as a food product.


The 50 per cent lethal oral dose, or the amount that will kill half the people who consume it, of acetic acid is about 3,310 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. So a person that weighs 69.9 Kilogram would need to consume half a pound of acetic acid. Most vinegar is less than 10 per cent acetic acid by volume, so you would have to consume over a half a gallon of vinegar to reach a potentially lethal dose.


The consuming of large amounts of vinegar has been linked to many internal maladies such as rupture of red blood cells, kidney failure, severe internal burns, hyperreninemia, hypokalemia and osteoporosis.

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About the Author

John Heller has been a freelance writer and author since 1998, beginning in college, and has written content for publishers such as Game Wire and Demand Studios. He focuses on and enjoys writing and blogging about health, technology, gaming, recreation, food and lifestyles for many online and print publications.

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