Kombucha is a fermented tea product that has gained media attention recently. Many celebrities claim to drink it for the medicinal benefits, and others claim weight loss success with the addition of kombucha to their diets. Companies that sell the product make claims that kombucha can help detoxify the body, reduce the risk of cancer, improve skin, increase energy, and aid in digestion and vision. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular claims, and the truth behind them.
1. Increased Weight Loss
While it would be wonderful if you could purchase weight loss in a bottle, this product is no more effective than plain tea when it comes to weight loss. While some people have reported to lose weight while drinking kombucha, the weight loss can likely be attributed to the fact that they are adding more fluids to their diets rather than the kombucha itself. Many makers of this fermented tea use a green tea for the base of the fermentation. Green tea has many health benefits, and it is more likely any weight loss reported is as a result of the green tea.
2. Kombucha is a Mushroom
This would only be important to those with an allergy to mushrooms. Rest assured, kombucha is not actually a mushroom. Kombucha itself is actually a variety of yeast and bacteria that is added to tea with sugar and allowed to ferment. That’s not to say fungus can’t be found in some of these bottled teas. Unsanitary bottling conditions can create the growth of fungus and additional bacterial.
3. It’s Natural, so it Must be Safe
Natural doesn’t equal safety. There have been many reports of people having adverse reactions after consuming kombucha tea. Reactions have ranged from simple stomach upset to more toxic reactions. The FDA also warns that kombucha tea is at a higher risk for contamination since much of it is brewed in homes under not-so-sanitary conditions. If you are nervous about this, look for pasteurized commercial teas.
4. Kombucha Has No Health Benefits
While there have not been clinical trials conducted with humans, this doesn’t mean kombucha is worthless. Early research has suggested it can improve mental acuity thanks to the high levels of B vitamins. Some other studies on lab animals have shown some improvement in skin conditions, and can possibly help circulation in some. Kombucha also contains probiotics, which can improve digestion.
You may experience some health benefits by sticking to 4 ounces or less of kombucha tea daily. As always, if you have any concerns about kombucha you can consult with your doctor. Certain medical conditions, and medical treatments, can be adversely affected by adding any kind of natural remedy to the mix. Your doctor can help you determine whether this is a safe alternative and if you would experience any of the health benefits purported.