Does Apple Cider Vinegar for Toenail Fungus Work?
By the time people realize they have a fungal infection in their toenails, it’s usually too late. The nails will already have become discolored and misshapen and the only thing left to do is try to clear the infection as quickly as possible. A number of treatments exist that claim to kill toenail fungus fast, but sometimes they can cause terrible side effects. Because of this, many people are wondering if there are ways of treating nail fungus naturally.
Natural remedies for getting rid of toenail and fingernail fungus do exist and apple cider vinegar is one of the more popular treatments to use.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Treating Fungi
Also known as cider vinegar, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made from a mix of apples that have been fermented. While there are other types of vinegar, only apple cider vinegar is used primarily to treat a variety of health issues including acne, allergies, diabetes, heartburn, and even sore throats. It has even been shown to be effective at reducing body fat and frequently used as a weight loss aid.
However, for those wondering does vinegar kill toenail fungus, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that ACV does. The best part about using apple cider vinegar is that it doesn’t cause side effects when used properly. It can adversely affect health if consumed in high doses per day. Additionally, ACV pills can burn sensitive tissues if caught in the throat. Other than that, apple cider vinegar is safe for everyone to use even kids.
How to Treat Fungus Using Apple Cider Vinegar
There are a few ways you can use apple cider vinegar to get rid of nail fungus:
- Apply topically: ACV can be applied directly to the affected nail. First cut the nail as short as possible. Then apply the vinegar to the nail and as far under the nail bed as you can get. Let dry. Do this three times per day until the infection has cleared away.
- Foot soak: Make a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water. Make sure the water is warm but not too hot. Soak feet at least 30 minutes once per day. Not only will this treat the nail fungus, it will also get rid of athlete’s foot. Follow up by massaging the foot with tea tree oil which is another powerful antifungal agent.
- Dietary supplement: You can also take apple cider vinegar as a daily dietary supplement that will help fight the infection from the inside. Drink a combination of a tablespoon of ACV and 8 ounces of water three times per day. Alternatively, this vinegar also comes in pill form. Follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions.
As noted before, there are several different kinds of vinegar and many of them are used in naturopathic remedies for an assortment of ailments. In fact, you may be wondering if you should use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to kill your infection. While white vinegar does kill fungal infections, it is too harsh on the skin and can cause you to break out in a rash.
How Apple Cider Vinegar Works
ACV does have antifungal, antiviral and anti-bacterial properties that may be doing the trick. Used consistently, this natural substance can inhabit the growth of nail and foot fungus. But it is unknown exactly how apple cider vinegar kills nail fungus. Common hypothesis is that vinegar makes the pH of the skin and nail more acidic. Since the fungus prefers an alkaline environment to grow in, increasing the pH makes the area inhospitable to it, reducing its ability to survive. At the same time, the vinegar is sufficiently mild that it doesn’t damage the affected skin or nail.
How to Get Rid of Nail Fungus
Follow these tips to maximize the results you get from using apple cider vinegar to cure your toenail fungus:
- Clip toenails on a regular basis.
- Toenail fungus thrives in moist warm areas. Keep feet dry. Walk around barefoot or in sandals as much as possible.
- Avoid sharing socks or shoes with other people. You will avoid spreading the disease to others as well as getting it again.
- If you frequently use public showers or pool areas, spray feet with apple cider vinegar or another antifungal agent to kill any fungus that may try to invade your toes and feet.
- Eliminate or cut back on the amount of sugar you eat. Sugar feeds the fungus and can make the infection worse.
- Diabetics can improve circulation by getting more exercise, which can significantly improve the ability of their immune systems to fight off the nail fungus infection.
Length of Treatment
Toenails grow at a slower rate, about 4 times slower than fingernails, and this rate varies from person to person. To ensure the infection is eliminated completely, it’s best to continue using these treatments until the entire diseased nail has been replaced by healthy new nail. This can take anywhere from a few months to over year, depending on how quickly your toenails grow.
As it will take a while to see results from using apple cider vinegar. With consistent effort, though, you should achieve some degree of clear nails within a few months.
It’s important to be cautious when using vinegar to treat toenail fungus if you have diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or any condition that negatively impacts blood circulation to the lower legs and feet. These conditions can cause foot injuries to heal slower, which increases the risk of infection.
Additionally, vinegar is acidic and can aggravate the skin. If this occurs, dilute the vinegar with more water. Another option is to reduce how often you’re soaking your feet in the vinegar water. If the condition doesn’t improve after taking these actions, end treatment and talk to a healthcare provider.
While apple cider vinegar may seem like a natural remedy for toenail fungus, the evidence for its efficacy is purely anecdotal. There haven’t been any official research studies indicating this is a good remedy to use. Using this method to treat your nail fungus may worsen the disease or give the fungus more time to get entrenched in the nail.
One option to speed up the process is to use a anti-fungus treatment product made from a variety of natural ingredients that will kill the fungus quickly and stimulate the growth of healthy nails.
To increase the likelihood of successfully treating this disease, it’s best to use a known effective treatment as early as possible.