Is Kombucha A Good Probiotic?
Kombucha is a probiotic beverage that is thought to be originated from China or Japan. It is made by fermenting a synbiotic culture of bacteria & yeast.
If that sounds hard to remember then you can just call it SCOBY 🙂
And, if those words are all new to you and highly confusing you are in the right place. My post is going to shed some light on whether or not Kombucha is actually a good probiotic and or just another health buzz-word.
Trust me.... there a lot of those out there.
Some Kombucha Health Benefits
Consuming kombucha has been associated with some health effects such as reduction of cholesterol levels and blood pressure, boosts immune system, and gastrointestinal function according to some medical studies.
The benefits of kombucha are attributed to the presence of acids, probiotic strains other chemical substances produced during fermentation.
1) May Improve Gut Health
Since the kombucha undergoes the process of fermentation using a culture of yeasts and bacteria, it contains several species of lactic-acid bacteria which may have probiotic properties.
The Bacterium and Saccharomycodes probiotic strains are sometimes found in Kombucha help the gut by providing good bacteria—creating a balance in the gut microflora. This could in turn improve your gut health, better your digestion, and boost your body’s nutrient absorption but the strains do vary between each batch. (1)
2) Could Boost Your Immune System
The fermentation process of the kombucha produces acids and gases including acetic acid. Acetic acid is mostly present in vinegar and is suggested to have antimicrobial properties that can kill microbes and fight infections. (2)
Is Kombucha a Probiotic Or Prebiotic?
Most homemade kombucha recipes only contain PROBIOTICS. Some kombucha brands like Wonder Drink Kombucha do however contain both probiotics and prebiotic fiber and different tasty flavors.
Prebiotic fiber is a plant-based fiber that nourishes the good probiotic bacteria that already lives in your gut. Prebiotics has a very important role to play in probiotic health.
They serve as a food for probiotics to stay healthy and alive. Instead of adding more hungry probiotics in your gut, you can feed the ones that you already have by giving them prebiotics.
Recommended Article: Prebiotic vs Probiotic
Is Kombucha Gluten-Free, Vegan & Keto Friendly?
Kombucha can be gluten-free, vegan, and keto-friendly all at the same time! But it all depends on the ingredients used. This beverage is made from non-dairy ingredients such as tea leaves and sugar—thus, it is both gluten-free and definitely vegan. However, answering the question if this beverage is ketogenic friendly would be a little complicated. It is both a yes and a no, depending on how the kombucha is made.
I already mentioned that kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea, thus it is made with loads of sugar. But don’t worry! These sugars will be eaten by the culture to facilitate fermentation. After fermentation, only a little sugar will be left making the kombucha low-carb.
But since the taste of kombucha is a little like vinegar some commercial brands choose to add more sugar and fruit flavors. This time, the end product is not keto-friendly because these versions of kombucha are loaded with carbs and sugars that will definitely kick you out of ketosis.
What Is The CFU Count Of Kombucha?
The Probiotic CFU count or colony-forming units is the measure of viable bacterial or fungal cells in a food or beverage. This number will tell you how many good bacteria are alive and can protect your body from illness.
For kombucha, the average probiotic CFU count is about 10 billion CFU, which is considered a good probiotic count. Again thought, like the Probiotic strains. This count may vary between different Kombuchas depending on how long they were fermented. The longer the fermentation usually means a higher CFU count.
Kombucha Dangers & Side Effects
Drinking kombucha is generally pretty safe when following all the best standards but when made under conditions where it can be contaminated with bad bacteria such as containers or unclean home setting, it can become unsafe to consume.
Consuming homemade kombucha has been reported to cause some side effects including stomach problems, yeast infections, and nausea amongst others.
ProffesorHomeBrew on Reddit said they had "Been brewing for several years, I’ve had it give me a bit of an upset stomach when I brewed it too strong but nothing like food poisoning."
GettingWiggyWidit also chimed in with "I got very very sick from my kombucha after a few months. Mostly on account of just overconsumption of probiotics. I had a terrible case of SIBO and brain fog for about a year afterwards".
This might be because of the mishandling of ingredients or improper storage. When you decided to make kombucha at home it is important to follow all safety protocols to avoid contamination.
Aside from incorrect brewing of kombucha, overconsumption could also have some detrimental effects on health. This includes bloating due to its carbonated nature, as well as diarrhea because of its caffeine content. Some commercialized kombucha also has a high amount of added sugar which is worth checking out before you order. I've already spoken many times about how a high intake of sugar can upset the micro-biome which defeats the purpose of using a probiotic product in the first place.
Kombucha is a good probiotic drink that can give you a wide range of health benefits provided it’s drunk in moderation and you take precautions when making it homemade because brewing kombucha incorrectly can result in contamination that can lead to health risks. Buying kombucha online from a genuine company might be the best option if you want to stay safe.
Another Probiotic drink worth trying if you are not vegan is Kefir which has a lot of Lactobacillus Probiotic strains.