Deep Dive into the Benefits of Kombucha
A delicious refresher, kombucha has taken the beverage and wellness worlds by storm. It now lines the drink aisles of many stores and has been credited with multiple health benefits. It seems as though every problem can be solved with kombucha. We dove into the research to find out which of the claims are true.
The SCOBY of kombucha does more than give the beverage the unique effervescent taste. The bacterial component of the SCOBY also produces probiotic cultures in the drink that have the potential to be beneficial for our gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is the culture of bacteria living in our intestines that digests our food and helps our bodies absorb the necessary nutrients. Probiotics support our gut microbiome which can help alleviate diarrhea, improve immune function, fight colds, ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and aid wtih debloating.
Kombucha is brewed from a base tea that has its own health benefits which can carry over to the kombucha brew. These benefits vary with what tea is used. Kombucha brewed from black tea has been found to have about a third of the caffeine found in the original tea. In a 2018 study, kombucha brewed from rooibos exhibited the ability to repair oxidative activity in damaged cells.
There are a number of organic acids in kombucha from the fermentation process and these are able to inhibit pathogenic bacteria. A 2000 study showed that the acetic acid in kombucha helped kill microbes and bacteria including E. coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus.
The base tea for kombucha also contributes polyphenols and flavonals to kombucha that perform an antioxidative role in the body. Antioxidants combat free radicals that cause cellular and DNA damage. In a 2011 study, kombucha produced protective benefits for liver cells and mitochondria via antioxidant effects. A study from 2014 found that in rats kombucha had higher free radical scavenging (antioxidant) activity than green tea.
A 2012 rodent study indicated that kombucha can provide dual action on cholesterol. It has the ability to lower the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and decrease it’s absorption. LDL cholesterol forms the dangerous plaques in our blood vessels. Kombucha also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which carries extra cholesterol from around your body back to the liver for excretion.
Kombucha affects cancer cells in a variety of measures. In a 2013 study, kombucha interfered with the growth of new vessels to support the cancer cells and decreased the survival rates of the new cells. A 2008 study found kombucha from different varieties of teas reduced cancer cell growth. In addition, the polyphenols and antioxidants the kombucha derives from the base tea have also shown chemopreventive effects.
The results of various studies indicate kombucha has the potential to offer numerous health benefits for consumers. However, as a 2018 study found, none of the research on kombucha in recent years has been conducted on human beings but utilized rodent subjects and human cell lines and thus the results only indicate potential benefits. Nutritionists recommend a maximum of 4oz of kombucha in a day for healthy adults and advise pregnant women and those with immunodeficient conditions to avoid kombucha due to the presence of live bacterial cultures.
The science behind kombucha is still in its infancy but the results we do have indicate there may be many benefits alongside the great flavor.
Grab your favorite brew today!