Does Kombucha Have Any Health Benefits? Here’s What Nutritionists Say


Benefits of kombucha

Benefits of kombucha are still the subject of discussion. I first tried kombucha twelve years ago at the low-cost grocery store in Newtown PA. I don’t forget to see the sixteen-ounce bottle with its brand new $ 3 fresh labels, advertised with the phrases “renew” and “rebalance.” I sold it, wondering if it was suitable for me. Its slight vinegar taste and vulnerable effervescence seemed proof that it should have some valid health benefits of kombucha – why else would humans pay a lot for it?
Turns out I wasn’t alone in questioning kombucha was some sort of magic elixir – then researching it: the global kombucha market has grown to $ 1.67 billion and is expected to hit 2, $ 4 billion by 2027, in line with a 2020 market assessment case with assistance from Grand View Research.

Benefits of kombucha

But in reality, there is really nothing magical about the fermented drink. Not that kombucha is bad for you or that you’re foolish to buy it (I still buy it from time to time – the flavor has really grown on me), but then it’s not worth consuming for its health paybacks, because, frankly, there is no factual indication that they in fact exist. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of kombucha and why you might not want to advertise it as a healthful drink.


What is kombucha tea?

Kombucha tea is marketed as being beneficial for gut health because it contains probiotics.

Kombucha tea in fact is a fermented tea, made by combining fermented tea with a SCOBY – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, sometimes called “mother” – and a little sugar. Over the course of a week or two, sugar feeds bacteria and yeast, and the drink fermented in a spicy and slightly effervescent kombucha.
Although SCOBY, which is solid and somewhat gelatinous, is removed from the kombucha before it is drunk or packaged, many strains of bacteria remain in the drink. “It is recognized that many microbial types that cultivate in kombucha tea can have a probiotic role,” Rebecca Jaspan, MPH, RD, CDCES, a New York nutritionist said.

Probiotics in kombucha

A quick update: the bacteria and other microbes that live in your body constitute what is called a microbiome, a relatively new area of study in the science of health and nutrition. Mostly, the researchers are focused on the intestinal microbiome and how it affects health. “Probiotics are live bacteria that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract”, which houses the intestinal microbiome, says Rebecca.

probiotics in kambucha

“They are termed ‘good’ or ‘essential’ microbes.” Probiotics are originated naturally in fermented nutrients like kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha, and are similarly sold as dietary supplements. A diverse microbiome, with lots of probiotic bacteria, is believed to improve digestion, improve immune function, promote skin health, and reduce the risk of certain diseases. “

Benefits of probiotics

However, the jury’s still out on how and whether probiotics are actually beneficial and work. Some of the benefits of kombucha as a result of probiotics that leave in the kombucha tea are well documented and generally agreed by experts. For instance, a 2006 review of 25 earlier performed randomized controlled studies published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology institute that supplementation of probiotic benefited in treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, probably by substituting probiotic bacteria in your gut that were killed by antibiotics.
That being said, the evidence is shaky. A 2019 review in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at 45 previous studies of the benefits of kombucha probiotics on various aspects of health. The authors found that probiotic supplements appear to increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut, although it is unclear whether that number of healthy bacteria remains after a person stops taking the supplements.

They also found evidence that taking probiotics might help fight the common cold but didn’t find solid evidence that probiotics might help protect or fight the flu, reduce the occurrence of heart disease and its risk factors (high cholesterol and high blood pressure ) contribute. or help with the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Probiotics can also fight vaginal infections by increasing the levels of “good” bacteria in the vaginal area. And there is some evidence that probiotics might help relieve GI symptoms (diarrhea, constipation, gas), but it’s unclear how.
That’s a lot of information, but the bottom line is that while probiotics have potential, there is still a lot to learn about how they work and how they can affect our health.

The research review on benefits of kombucha.

We really don’t know anything about the specific health benefits of kombucha, either.

The studies mentioned above talk about the health benefits of probiotics in general, but “there is no scientific evidence of the probiotic’s benefits of kombucha“, says Jaspan.
One reason for this is that there is no way to tell how many live probiotics there are in a single jar of kombucha. A widespread well-known brand of kombucha, for instance, displays on its label that “at the time of bottling,” a 16-ounce portion holds 6 billion probiotic bacteria from three different strains. The warning? According to the FDA, although statements like this should accurately reflect the total number of these organisms in a drink – that FYI is usually added after the fermentation process so that manufacturers can measure them – there is really no way of knowing how many are alive and how many are dead. In addition, even the probiotics that are alive at the time of bottling may be dead by the time you drink the kombucha. Consumers do not really know (without testing each drink in the laboratory before consuming it) how many probiotics are in a given bottle.

Antioxidants’ benefits of kombucha

We have a little more information on the levels of antioxidants in kombucha. A 2020 Antioxidants study looked at the chemical profiles of different types of kombucha fermented over different periods of time. The researchers found that while the levels of polyphenols and flavonoids (two types of antioxidants) varied widely depending on the type of tea from which the kombucha was made and the length of time the kombucha fermented, all types had different levels. important of these antioxidants. This is probably good news, but we can’t say for sure what it means.

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Why? Because hardly any research has been done on how consuming kombucha affects people. A 2019 systematic review in Science Direct looked at this topic and searched for previous studies on kombucha. Researchers found several studies in different animals, but only one in humans – a very small study in 24 adults with type 2 diabetes that lasted only three months. In other words, the potential benefits of kombucha especially in humans – not just the benefits of probiotics or antioxidants in general – are virtually unknown.

Is kombucha safe?

Kombucha tea is considered safe for most people, but even that’s up for debate.

Notably, the amount of kombucha that a person can safely drink is also a gray area. In 1995, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested limiting consumption of kombucha to no more than 4 oz per day, based on the clinical case of two healthy women who habitually drank homemade kombucha inexplicably fell ill. (one ultimately died). But kombucha has never been proven to be the cause of these deaths. Cases like this are incredibly rare despite the fact that most people drink more than four ounces of kombucha at a time, so unless you’re consuming an unholy amount of it, you probably don’t have to worry. of toxicity.
Of course, you have to keep in mind that kombucha may contain more alcohol than you think.

How much alcohol in kombucha?

Although small amounts of alcohol are created as part of the fermentation process, kombucha is not classified as alcohol because it typically contains less than 0.5% ABV, the cutoff point.

Alcohol is also an ingredient

However, many sample studies over the years, including that conducted by the British Columbia Center for Disease Control in 2020, have found that many bottles contain between one and three percent alcohol.
Due to the alcohol and live bacteria, it is recommended that pregnant women and immunocompromised people stay away from kombucha. And it’s not for nothing that the carbon dioxide and other ingredients in kombucha can also lead to stomach upsets.

Conclusion on benefits of kombucha

The bottom line: Kombucha might be tasty, but it’s far from a superfood.

The idea that kombucha is a superfood is the result of the marketing and wellness campaign. The statement contains no noteworthy levels of vital nutrients, and any probiotic or antioxidant properties might have been up for discussion. Furthermore, “no food or drink can truly be called a superfood,” says Jaspar.
If you’re drinking kombucha because you think it will boost your microbiome or improve digestive health, Jaspar recommends changing your approach. “Eat a variety of foods. Mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes,” which contain fermentable fiber that feeds probiotics. Again, it boils down to the fact that a nutritious overall diet, not a single food or drink, will give you the most for your money when it comes to health.
As for the kombucha lovers out there, if you like the flavor, there’s no reason you shouldn’t buy the stuff, but don’t expect the benefits of kombucha to magically transform your health.

If you are looking for the benefits of superfoods and hoping to find them in kombucha, think again. For more information on superfood, benefits of kombucha, ways to improve your health and wellness, contact Philadelphia Holistic Clinic (267) 284-3085 and schedule your appointment with Dr. Tsan. He will examine you and propose the most beneficial supplements specifically selected for you.

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