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If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
You’d be hard-pressed to think of a condiment that’s received as much hype as apple cider vinegar (or ACV).
Some proponents of apple cider vinegar treat it like a miracle elixir, suggesting ACV is the solution to everything, from skin issues to weight loss to type 2 diabetes. With all these rumored benefits, you may wonder, does apple cider vinegar make your penis bigger? The answer is no.
While ACV does have some health benefits, claims that apple cider vinegar can enlarge your penis or treat erectile dysfunction (ED) are not supported by evidence. So if you’re thinking about putting ACV on your penis, put down the bottle (or use it in a nice salad dressing, instead).
Why you shouldn’t put apple cider vinegar on your penis
All kinds of vinegar are acids. If you paid attention in high school chemistry class, you might recall some facts about acids—they’re bitter, can corrode some metals and plastics, and burn. Apple cider vinegar is no exception to this rule, and it may burn and damage the skin on your penis (or wherever you apply it).
Some beauty bloggers recommend diluting ACV to use on the skin, but even diluted ACV can irritate or damage the skin. Researchers in one small study used diluted ACV to treat people with eczema and found that it caused skin irritation in most of the study participants (Luu, 2019). If ACV is painful and irritating to the skin even when diluted, it’s certainly not something you want to apply to the sensitive skin on your penis.
Does apple cider vinegar help with erectile dysfunction?
This popular household condiment is used in salad dressing, pickled vegetables, shampoo, cleaning products, and more. It has also gained popularity online as a natural remedy for just about everything: high blood sugar, weight management, and even erectile dysfunction. And while there are many safe and effective treatments for ED, there is no evidence to support that ACV is one of them. As previously mentioned, apple cider vinegar may cause damage to your penis by burning and irritating the skin.
Treatments for ED
Apple cider vinegar might not be the answer, but many options are available to treat erectile dysfunction. Oral prescription medications for erectile dysfunction belong to a class of drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors, which are very effective treatments for ED. Some popular examples include sildenafil (brand name Viagra), tadalafil (brand name Cialis), and vardenafil (brand names Levitra and Staxyn).
Some people have found natural remedies for ED to be helpful. Some research reports that supplements like DHEA, ginseng, L-arginine, L-carnitine, and yohimbe (to name a few) may improve ED symptoms.
If medication isn’t the right choice for you, simple lifestyle changes may also help with erectile dysfunction. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting quality sleep, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly all make you healthier––and can help contribute to your erectile health.
Benefits of apple cider vinegar
ACV isn’t a substitute for medical treatment, but some studies have explored the benefits of ACV for various conditions associated with ED. Obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes have all been found to contribute to erectile dysfunction (Kouidrat, 2017).
Studies show that people with obesity who eat a reduced-calorie diet and take ACV may lose more weight than those on a reduced-calorie diet alone (Kondo, 2009; Khezri, 2018). Reversing obesity might help alleviate ED.
While the research isn’t very strong, there is some evidence that ACV may also help lower cholesterol, and high cholesterol is associated with erectile dysfunction (Hadi, 2021).
Some studies even suggest ACV could play a role in controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, it’s not a replacement for regular care under the guidance of a healthcare professional (Beheshti, 2012). Diabetes is a significant contributor to erectile dysfunction.
How to take apple cider vinegar
If you decide to try ACV, you can add it to your diet in several different ways:
- Use ACV to make salad dressings.
- Dilute one or two tablespoons in an 8-oz glass of water.
- Eat pickled vegetables made with ACV, like onions, beets, or cucumbers.
- Take apple cider vinegar gummies or supplements.
An occasional sip of apple cider vinegar probably won’t hurt you, but you should avoid drinking straight shots of ACV daily. Apple cider vinegar is an acid and can damage the delicate lining of your digestive system, especially when taken consistently.
Side effects of apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can trigger digestive problems like stomach pain or acid reflux (aka heartburn).
Because ACV is highly acidic, it can also erode tooth enamel. To decrease that risk, rinse your mouth with plain water after consuming ACV. Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after taking it, so you don’t scrub the acid into your enamel. This is generally a good rule after consuming other acidic drinks like coffee, tea, or soda.
If you struggle with erectile dysfunction, speak with your healthcare provider about the many safe and effective treatment options available. Together, you can find a treatment plan that’s right for you (and likely does not involve applying apple cider vinegar to your penis).
- Beheshti, Z., Chan, Y. H., Nia, H. S., et al. (2012). Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids. Life Science Journal-Acta Zhengzhou University Overseas Edition, 9(4), 2431-2440. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hamid-Sharif-Nia/publication/260311324_Influence_of_apple_cider_vinegar_on_blood_lipids/links/00b7d530bb6f074e4b000000/Influence-of-apple-cider-vinegar-on-blood-lipids.pdf
- Bratu, O., Oprea, I., Marcu, D., et al. (2017). Erectile dysfunction post-radical prostatectomy – a challenge for both patient and physician. Journal of Medicine and Life, 10(1), 13–18. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5304365/
- Hadi, A., Pourmasoumi, M., Najafgholizadeh, A., et al. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 21(1), 179. doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03351-w. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8243436/
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- Khezri, S. S., Saidpour, A., Hosseinzadeh, N., & Amiri, Z. (2018). Beneficial effects of Apple Cider Vinegar on weight management, Visceral Adiposity Index and lipid profile in overweight or obese subjects receiving restricted calorie diet: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Functional Foods, 43, 95-102. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2018.02.003. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464618300483
- Koehn, J., Crodel, C., Deutsch, M., et al. (2015). Erectile dysfunction (ED) after ischemic stroke: association between prevalence and site of lesion. Clinical Autonomic Research, 25(6), 357–365. doi:10.1007/s10286-015-0313-y. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26374302/
- Kondo, T., Kishi, M., Fushimi, T., et al. (2009). Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 73(8), 1837–1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661687/
- Kouidrat, Y., Pizzol, D., Cosco, T., et al. (2017). High prevalence of erectile dysfunction in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 145 studies. Diabetic Medicine, 34(9), 1185–1192. doi:10.1111/dme.13403. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28722225/
- Liatis, S., Grammatikou, S., Poulia, K. A., et al. (2010). Vinegar reduces postprandial hyperglycaemia in patients with type II diabetes when added to a high, but not to a low, glycaemic index meal. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64(7), 727–732. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.89. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20502468/
- Luu, L. A., Flowers, R. H., Kellams, A. L., et al. (2019). Apple cider vinegar soaks [0.5%] as a treatment for atopic dermatitis do not improve skin barrier integrity. Pediatric Dermatology, 36(5), 634–639. doi:10.1111/pde.13888. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31328306/
- Maiorino, M. I., Bellastella, G., & Esposito, K. (2014). Diabetes and sexual dysfunction: current perspectives. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, 7, 95–105. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S36455. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3949699/
- Nunes, K. P., Labazi, H., & Webb, R. C. (2012). New insights into hypertension-associated erectile dysfunction. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension, 21(2), 163–170. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4004343/
- Rajkumar, R. P. & Kumaran, A. K. (2015). Depression and anxiety in men with sexual dysfunction: a retrospective study. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 60, 114–118. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2015.03.001. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25818906/
- Shabataev, V., Saadat, S. H., & Elterman, D. S. (2020). Management of erectile dysfunction and LUTS/incontinence: the two most common, long-term side effects of prostate cancer treatment. The Canadian Journal of Urology, 27(1), 17–24. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32101696/
Dr. Chimene Richa is a board-certified Ophthalmologist and Senior Medical Writer/Reviewer at Ro.