Kombucha is one of the fastest-growing beverage markets around the globe. However, its rise in popularity is also flocked with doubts and controversies due to the purported health benefits of kombucha.
In a world where fad diets exist, does kombucha stand a chance for its huge potential to be a medical breakthrough or be another beverage fueled by capitalism? In this post, let’s navigate each health benefit claim so you can decide if kombucha is worth the hype.
Are there any proven health benefits of kombucha?
As of this writing, the only trials for kombucha are done in rats. Its lack of human trials has been the peak of so many debates between kombucha advocates and the unconverted ones. The risks associated with kombucha consumption also added fuel to the fire since a woman died due to the possible effects of kombucha.
On the contrary, by studying the ingredients, production process, and the experience of drinkers, there are some possible reasons why it can cause some health benefits. Regardless of the lack of further research and tests, several doctors are advocates of kombucha due to their notion that lack of evidence doesn’t abolish the possibility that kombucha is a hidden medical gem unknown yet to man.
By checking the other side of the controversy, it pays to check why people are starting to embrace the booch culture and why it’s no longer just a thing for the hippie.
Discovering the hype: What are the benefits of kombucha?
As kombucha starts to become interesting to curious and health-conscious people, more and more people are sharing their experiences along with the following benefits:
1. Helps treat cancer
As cancer remains an incurable disease, claims that kombucha can help prevent cancer have sparked an influx of studies. Most of the studies provided positive results and a deeper understanding of how kombucha might be a potential cure for cancer. These studies are as follows:
- In an in-vitro study from the researchers of Ain Shams University, three types of kombucha were used to verify its antiproliferative effect or the ability to inhibit cell growth on pathogens and cancer cells found in the human colon and liver. Here’s what they found:
- All kombucha samples inhibited the growth of cancer cells.
- Kombucha derived from black tea has more antitumor activity than kombucha derived from other ingredients. It also helps induce apoptosis or the death of cancer cells.
The findings of this research are only done on a test tube study, but it opens a new door for scientists and researchers to further research the cancer-fighting effect of kombucha.
- Another study suggests that kombucha inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells by altering the stimulators of angiogenesis or the growth of blood vessels.
Some theories about the cancer-fighting effect of kombucha come from the magnified effect of black or green tea in the beverage. Green and black tea are already proven to prevent several types of cancers.
2. Manage Type 2 Diabetes
In a study on diabetic rats, researchers gave them black tea and kombucha for 30 days. After several tests, they found that kombucha suppresses the blood sugar levels in rats more than the black tea. The result of the study is promising but still requires further tests to verify if kombucha will have the same effect on humans.
3. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Two separate studies have tried to investigate if kombucha plays a major role in managing heart conditions. The results have shown that kombucha has a curative effect on high-cholesterol conditions in rats which also improved their liver and kidney function.
As a product of fermentation, kombucha contains high levels of acetic and lactic acids. These acids keep the kombucha safe from contaminants during fermentation. It is believed that introducing these acids into your gut creates a highly acidic environment for bad bacteria which kills them over time.
5. Contains antioxidants
Due to the green and black tea content of kombucha, kombucha is known to possess polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants help manage free radicals and relieve oxidative stress on healthy cells.
6. Aids in weight loss
The green tea in kombucha is linked to its weight loss benefit. Green tea is a dependable beverage that helps increase the fat-burning capacity of your body during physical activity. Most advocates believe that post-workout is the best time to drink kombucha for weight loss.
7. Help improve your skin
The health of our skin is usually an indication of our overall health. So, the more we become healthy, our skin also becomes more hydrated, plump, and young-looking. The probiotics in kombucha are claimed to improve gut health and reduce inflammation on the skin, relieving signs of acne.
8. Aid in digestive problems
There is conflicting information about the role of kombucha in IBS or irritable bowel syndrome. While most kombucha drinkers consider their booch as a gut-friendly option to treat IBS, medical experts beg to differ.
In an interview, Dr. Mark Pimentel does not advise patients to consume kombucha because the nature of IBS already involves the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Adding more bacteria could only make things worse.
9. Improves inflammation and alleviates symptoms of depression
Several studies have shown that there is a significant link between inflammation and depression. Inflammation triggers the increase of some chemicals in the hippocampus which induces depression. With claims that kombucha can help relieve inflammation, theories suggest that it also helps alleviate depression.
10. Reduce liver toxicity
Another promising research on kombucha has shown that it can detoxify the liver and consequently improve heart and kidney health. Further research is still required to ensure that the result of kombucha during the study will also produce the same results in humans.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How quickly do the benefits of kombucha take?
The effect of kombucha is different for every person. Some people experience its benefits in just a few sips while some take months before they notice any changes in their health.
What is the minimum amount of kombucha to drink to reap the benefits?
Kombucha is not a beverage that requires drinking more cups a day to reap its benefits. It could even be more dangerous if you drink too much kombucha. By consuming as little as 4 oz. to 12 oz. a day, you will notice subtle positive changes in your body.
Can you get drunk with kombucha?
Though kombucha contains alcohol, it is usually very minimal to make you drunk. You may feel a little tipsy and sleepy which most kombucha drinkers love about it since it relaxes them.