Kombucha; elixir or hype?
Updated: Jun 5, 2022
I just started making my Kombucha a few months ago to cut down on the cost of buying it; $6-8 bucks a bottle adds up over a run of a week.
But is it as good for us as we are led to believe?
Kombucha: A fermented probiotic (pro-life) beverage from a kombucha culture (SCOBY). The fermentation includes teas, wild herbs and a sweetener (usually organic white sugar).
These good bacteria help balance the stomach acids, supporting the entire digestive system, it forms alkalies, which alkalizes the rest of the body. Kombucha clears the way for the body to digest correctly and, very significantly, assimilate all the nutrients coming in. Many people cannot absorb all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that they are ingesting. Still, Kombucha can assist the body in absorbing them.
Kombucha is also one of the most amazing detoxifiers and helps chelate and remove heavy metals and toxins from environmental conditions, food, and water. In this detox process, it's crucial to drink a good amount of water while drinking Kombucha to release these unwanted toxins from the body.
One cup (about 8oz) contains about 7 grams of carbohydrates and about 20% of the daily value of B-Vitamins also contains:
• Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms
• S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms
• EGCG 100mg
• Glucuronic Acid 10mg
• L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg
• Acetic Acid 30 mg
All this can help the body by supporting:
• Liver detoxification
• Improved pancreas function
• Increased energy
• Better digestion
• Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
• Reducing Candida (yeast)
• Helps nutrient assimilation
• May be beneficial for weight loss
So, how much should we drink?
It depends on the person, but in general, Kombucha should be treated as a medicinal supplement. People should start with a few ounces twice a day and then work their way up; if you experience loose stool, that is an indicator that you need to back off. I drink about a cup a day, depending on the strength of the brew I make.
There are some cautions to note:
• Pregnant and nursing moms and anyone with a medical condition should check with your primary healthcare professional before consuming. It contains both caffeine and sugar, which should be limited during pregnancy.
• Some people experience bloating from drinking it. This may, in part, due to the presence of probiotics and potential changes in gut bacteria. Anyone with a digestive disorder should consult a doctor or healthcare professional before consuming.
• If Kombucha is made incorrectly, it may contain harmful bacteria and could be dangerous. This is rare but is more common with home brews.
• Preparing kombucha in a ceramic vessel may be hazardous as the acidic mixture can leach any lead from this vessel into the finished drink.
For the most part, it is a healthy, safe beverage to enjoy :)
Should I be concerned about the alcohol content?
Kombucha does contain a minimal amount of alcohol, a source of much controversy in recent years. Sources estimate that store-bought brews include 0.5% to 1.0% alcohol. To put this in perspective, a person would have to drink a six-pack of Kombucha to approach the alcohol in a single 12oz beer. A bottle of Kombucha would have a similar alcohol content to an over-ripe banana. Store-bought brew containing over 0.5% alcohol must be labelled as such, and often an ID is required to purchase it. Homemade Kombucha also typically contains more alcohol than store-bought, though still not much.
Bottom line: It's delicious, healthy but with anything fermented, we have to be cautious. It is also important to note that the research doesn't yet support the health properties but is considered safe to drink.
R. Jayabalan, P. Subathradevi, S. Marimuthu, M. Sathishkumar, K. Swaminathan, Changes in free-radical scavenging ability of kombucha tea during fermentation, Food Chemistry, Volume 109, Issue 1, 1 July 2008, Pages 227-234, ISSN 0308-8146, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814607012940.
Sheng-Che Chu, Chinshuh Chen, Effects of origins and fermentation time on the antioxidant activities of Kombucha, Food Chemistry, Volume 98, Issue 3, 2006, Pages 502-507, ISSN 0308-8146, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814605005364.
P. Semjonovs, I. Denina and R. Linde, 2014. Evaluation of Physiological Effects of Acetic Acid Bacteria and Yeast Fermented Non-alchocolic Beverage Consumption in Rat Model. Journal of Medical Sciences, 14: 147-152.
C. Dufresne, E. Farnworth, Tea, Kombucha, and health: a review, Food Research International, Volume 33, Issue 6, July 2000, Pages 409-421, ISSN 0963-9969, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0963996900000673.
Determination of D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone from brewed kombucha broth by high-performance capillary electrophoresis.