Vinegar for Better Glycogen Repletion?

Jon Stark

New Member
This is sort of interesting.  Saw the research cited in an Ironman magazine blurb, so I wanted to check it out.

I don't really know if accelerating glycogen repletion is a huge concern.  But for HSTers it might be of greater concern than it is for HITers and other low-frequency types.

Also, I hate vinegar.  I wonder if you can get acetic acid caps?

Int J Sports Med 2002 Apr;23(3):218-22
The efficacy of acetic acid for glycogen repletion in rat skeletal muscle after exercise.

Fushimi T, Tayama K, Fukaya M, Kitakoshi K, Nakai N, Tsukamoto Y, Sato Y.

Central Research Institute, Mitsukan Group Co. Ltd., Handa, Japan.

We examined the effect of acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, on glycogen repletion by using swimming-exercised rats. Rats were trained for 7 days by swimming. After an overnight fast, they were subjected to a 2-hr swimming exercise. Immediately afterward, they were given by gavage 2 ml of one of the following solutions: 30 % glucose only or 30 % glucose with 0.4 % acetic acid. Rats were sacrificed by decapitation before, immediately after exercise and 2 hours after the feeding. Exercise significantly decreased soleus and gastrocnemius glycogen content, and feeding significantly increased liver, soleus and gastrocnemius glycogen content. In soleus muscle, acetate feeding significantly increased glycogen content and the ratio of glycogen synthase in the I form (means +/- SEM: 4.04 +/- 0.41 mg/g-tissue and 47.0 +/- 0.7 %, respectively) in contrast to no acetate feeding (3.04 +/- 0.29 mg/g-tissue and 38.1 +/- 3.4 %, respectively). Thus, these findings suggest that the feeding of glucose with acetic acid can more speedily accelerate glycogen repletion in skeletal muscle than can glucose only.
Interesting article ... I wonder if that is the reason why my body likes "tangy" _and_ "sweet" fruit, rather than something just sweet.
I think this thread needs to be resurrected. I've been following a discussion by Nandi12 on the CEM board, and it definitely seems to work well in practical experiments as a nutrient partitioner.

Link to the full study:

The concentration of acetic acid was 0.2 gm per 100 gm of food ingested. Regular household vinegar is about 5% acetic acid. To get 0.2 gm of acetic acid you would need to drink 4.0 grams of vinegar. Vinegar's density (1.0056 g/cm3) is about like that of water, so drink 4 cc per 100 grams of food.

If you are carb loading before an event, you could take in 4cc for each 100 grams of carbs you eat.

The authors concluded that:

Here we have confirmed that a diet containing acetic acid at concentrations similar to those consumed in a normal meal enhances glycogen repletion in the liver and skeletal muscles of rats (Fig. 1A , B , C ). The effect in liver and gastrocnemius muscle appeared to be linear up to 0.2 g acetic acid/100 g diet.

Our results show that dietary acetic acid can enhance glycogen repletion in both liver and skeletal muscle. The mechanism of this effect is different in liver and skeletal muscle. In liver, acetic acid feeding enhances glycogen repletion by activation of gluconeogenesis and the preferential utilization of G-6-P for glycogenesis. In skeletal muscle, the enhancement of glycogen repletion by acetic acid feeding results from the accumulation of G-6-P due to suppression of glycolysis. We used acetic acid at concentrations comparable to those found in a normal diet. Therefore, we conclude that supplementing meals with vinegar may be beneficial in the recovery of liver and skeletal muscle glycogen, for example, upon fatigue, after skipping meals, postexercise or as part of an athlete’s breakfast on the day of competition.

I've started just drinking the 4cc/100 gm carbs of apple cider vinegar (tastes a lot better than regular white vinegar) post workout, and with breakfast. It's kind of an acquired taste - not half bad really. Don't use it in your workout drink or post-workout shake, though - it really affects the taste horribly. A couple of teaspoons of vinegar with a carb/protein chaser should be fine. Some people like it in their diet sodas as well.

Nandi12 swears it is making him leaner, and he has lost almost 5 lbs with an every-meal protocol - although it could be a coincidence.

The mechanism whereby the acetic acid increases glycogen storage in muscle is by retarding glycolysis. It seems the acetate (vinegar is acetic acid) is converted to citrate in the Krebs cycle, and the buildup of citrate inhibits a key enzyme (phosphofructokinase) responsible for glycolysis (glucose burning). So this makes it harder for the carbs to be burned as fuel during glycolysis, and instead they are shunted into glycogen storage. So more of the carbs are being stored as glycogen and less are being burned as fuel. This would imply that more fat needs to be utilized
to provide energy.
I had a long long debate about vinegar in AvantLabs forum on the mechanism of action ...

In any case, I'd be interested in hearing results from you, Blade.

I might be mistaken, but nandi seems to be also taking alkalnizing agent (sodium bicarbonate or something similar)PRIOR to a workout . You might want to consider that as well.
I'll repost Dr Albers' post here:

I think the metabolic acidosis of bodybuilders is very much underestimated. My athletes report better stamina and recovery from their workouts. As well there is better lactate tolerance. For myself I noted this as I forgot to take my buffering powder before training last week. I had the feeling all the time that “this was really not my day”, my power wasn’t so good, every exercise a rep less than usual. Then I recognized what I had forgotten…
First: All enzymes in the body work best only at a pH-optimum (this is a measurement of the grade of acidosis, pH 7 is neutral, under seven acidic, above seven alkaline). Any time when you ingest food, the minerals will be absorbed and phosphorus, chlorine and sulphur are known as acidic (producing H+-ions), magnesium, potassium and sodium are known as alkaline minerals. Fruit and vegetables are typical alkaline foods while meat and fish as well as white flour products (white bread etc.) are acid producing. To eliminate the excess acids the body has to bind the H+-ions to NH3 which it gets from catabolizing tissue (mostly muscle). Most bodybuilders produce lot of lactic acid while training, this is the first factor for the common acidosis, second is the protein-rich diet (remember that protein by itself isn’t acidic, because NH3 from the amino acids can act as a H+-buffer, it’s the sulphur and phosphate content of the typical amino acids e.g. in meat, whey is better against acidosis because of a lesser content of these amino acids). Third factor is the common drinking of cola sodas (light or not), lots of phosphorus…Forth factor is late eating that gives the fermentation processes in the gut over night with late night food. So what to do?
My athletes have to check their urine pHs early in the morning. This should be about 7. All the bodies I have coached had less than 5,5 in the morning urine (keep in mind from pH 7 to pH 6 means 10 times more acidic!). So they have to take a moderate dose of buffering agents before sleeping to help the body getting rid of the acids over night without catabolizing muscle tissue. And the second time to take quite a lot of buffering powder is 30 minutes before training. The rest of the day they eat quite a lot of potatoes (3-5 lbs), because these are THE buffering food (lots of potassium in it) and veggies (1-2 lbs) together with meat or protein shakes. This normally eliminates the acidic excess from the animal foods.
So what to take. In Germany we have a product called Nemabas, which contains sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, magnesium carbonate and calcium bicarbonate. For my athletes sort of “I will never take salt in my food” with sky high aldosterone levels I recommend calcium citrate, potassium citrate and magnesium citrate (no sodium in it). Recently I read citrates are three times more effective in buffering than bicarbonate, sorry Nandi can’t explain the mechanism why, have to dig further for that.
So what to do in the US? I would stay away from combinations with minerals in phosphate or chlorine form (less effective).
I have found one website in the US ( which sells caps with potassium, magnesium and calcium citrate (not mentioning the buffering capacities). Dosage? Probably about 10-20 caps before training (I take 10 g of mixed powder of these three forms and it works great. Nandi, you’re right better to get these three in bulk powder and playing with that.
Some more reading about bicarbonate and buffering:
Big Lad: The common misconception that cheese is good for the bones is probably immortal, fruit and veggies rules for the bones!! Have to look for the cortisol mechanism, you’re right!

Hope this helps


BTW an alkaline urine leads to less elimination of ephedrine products, so EC + buffering would be a great retard formula for stimulation…
No, but I plan to when I find a cheap source for bulk powders here in Norway.
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Blade @ Mar. 06 2003,3:11)]I think the metabolic acidosis of bodybuilders is very much underestimated.
I agree with this. I know I drink insane amounts of acidic diet drinks. I need to consider buffering agents, as well. What other substances would work, besides sodium or potassium bicarbonate?

As for vinegar, I dislike the taste, though it's tolerable. I was just going to point out that you can get apple cider vinegar tablets pretty cheap. Some are even standardized for acetic acid content. (Though I'm sure if you do the math it's much more expensive than just taking it straight.)
Dr Albers discusses this at length in the thread I provided a link to - you can use potassium-/magnesium-/calcium citrate:

"I don’t tell my athletes to eat less animal food. I keep their protein quite high but always try to have them eat 1-2 lbs veggies per day and to eat potatoes as the main carb source. Then they take their buffering before sleeping and 30 minutes before training. The urine pH should be around 7 in the morning and also 7 with the first urine after training. Then it is the right dosage. You can buy urine test pH-strips in the pharmacy.

When they use a mixture of potassium, magnesium and calcium citrate they take 5 g before sleeping and 15-20 g before training. A product here in Germany with 600 g is about 35 $. So it is not really that cheap, but in the long run it works.About 20 g together of potassium, magnesium and calcium citrate as a mix per day is sufficient for heavy training and lots of protein, even more would be necessary for buffering more severe metabolic acidosis. I would give this scheme a try (by the way, the lots of minerals probably aren’t absorbed completely, I don’t think there should be a risk for overdosing in the healthy athlete)."
[b said:
Quote[/b] (Blade @ Mar. 06 2003,3:58)]Dr Albers discusses this at length in the thread I provided a link to - you can use potassium-/magnesium-/calcium citrate:
Thanks Blade.
hmm... and what's this about the bicarbonate? and acid AND a base with your meals? weird, i tell ya...
I'm wondering if the buffering might be counterproductive during 15s, when we are actually focusing on lactic acid production?

Bryan, do you have any input on this?
That's a great question, I agree. When I first started reading about "metabolic acidosis", I was thinking that this might actually be desirable during 15s.
IT would be nice to have some research available in humans, because its all nice in theory, there are quite a few differences between humans and rats.
It is an intreging idea tho.

in terms of bicarbonate loading affecting lactate levels, if you didnt want that to affect them, dont take it prior to training. The effect is relatively short term, and beware because reasonable amounts of them can really upset digestion and create interesting side effects.
THere is also a paper by the same people (probably the same research) in an older issue of the Journal of Nutrition

which is available free online Here