What Are the Dangers of Drinking Balsamic Vinegar?

By Sienna Condy

Although balsamic vinegar is generally considered a healthy salad dressing or food condiment, drinking too much of it may cause problems. Balsamic vinegar is highly acidic according to Medscape, and some minerals in it can result in long-term health problems.


According to a special report published by Environmental Health News in November 2009, balsamic vinegar may contain dangerous amounts of lead. Shoppers in California were warned of this by signs posted near the bottles on retail shelves. Although each bottle of vinegar may only contain a small amount of lead, the lead adds up, especially in small children. Just 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar a day could increase a child's lead level by 30 percent or more. In adults, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar a day could result in ingesting seven to 10 times the maximum daily lead level per person set by the state of California.

Inflammation and Irritation

In rare cases, some types of vinegar, such as rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, have caused internal inflammation or irritation. Wine vinegars, such as balsamic vinegar, and cider vinegars, like apple cider vinegar, contain the same amount of acetic acid, according to Medscape. Similar levels of acetic acid can result in similar side effects. One woman suffered inflammation and a second-degree burn to her throat after drinking a tablespoon of rice vinegar to dislodge a piece of crab, according to Medscape. In another incident, a woman got an apple cider vinegar tablet lodged in her throat for 30 minutes. She experienced throat tenderness and pain soon after swallowing the tablet and had difficulty swallowing for 6 months after the incident, according to WebMD.

Other Dangers

According to WebMD, long-term use of some vinegars can cause bone density issues and may lead to osteoporosis. High vinegar consumption has also been linked with low potassium levels in one rare case. According to Medscape, inhaling the fumes from any type of vinegar can sometimes cause the larynx in the throat to spasm or become sore.