A mug of kombucha tea for your health? (2024)

What is kombucha tea? Does it have any health benefits?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. To make the drink, bacteria and yeast must first grow together to form a culture. The culture is added to the sugar and tea. Then the mix is allowed to ferment. The end result is a liquid that has vinegar, B vitamins and many other types of acids, including amino acids.

Supporters claim that kombucha tea helps prevent and treat health conditions, from blood pressure to cancer. There is limited data on kombucha tea. A small amount of research suggests that kombucha tea may give benefits similar to probiotic supplements. For example, some research suggests kombucha tea may support a healthy immune system and prevent constipation.

But there are few valid medical studies of kombucha tea's role in human health. And there are risks to think about.

Kombucha tea has caused stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions in some people. Kombucha tea is often made (brewed) in homes under unclean conditions. This makes it likely that bad bacteria can grow.

Also, when the tea is made with ceramic pots that have lead in them, lead poisoning happens. The acids in the tea cause lead to leak from the ceramic glaze.

In short, there isn't enough proof that kombucha tea has the health benefits that some claim. At the same time, cases of harm have been reported. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have weakened immune systems should avoid kombucha tea. Others may drink the tea if they like the taste, but only if it comes from a trusted source.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips, current health topics, and expertise on managing health. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Aug. 24, 2022

  1. Kombucha. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=538. Accessed July 18, 2022.
  2. Duyff RL. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 5th ed. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2017.
  3. Villarreal-Soto SA, et al. Understanding kombucha tea fermentation: A review. Journal of Food and Science. 2018; doi:10.1111/1750-3841.14068.
  4. Kapp JM, et al. Kombucha: A systematic review of the empirical evidence of human health benefit. Annals of Epidemiology. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.11.001.
  5. Probiotics: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed July 18, 2022.
  6. Zeratsky KM, et al. Mayo Clinic (expert opinion). July 20, 2022.

See more Expert Answers


A mug of kombucha tea for your health? (2024)


What does kombucha do to your body? ›

Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea that may have many health benefits, such as improving digestion, boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol levels, and supporting cardiovascular health.

What are the side effects of drinking kombucha? ›

Kombucha tea has caused stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions in some people. Kombucha tea is often made (brewed) in homes under unclean conditions. This makes it likely that bad bacteria can grow. Also, when the tea is made with ceramic pots that have lead in them, lead poisoning happens.

Is it okay to drink kombucha every day? ›

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that four ounces of kombucha can be safely consumed one to three times a day. Overconsumption can lead to headache, nausea, gastrointestinal distress, or ketoacidosis.

Is kombucha good for your kidneys? ›

Kombucha may help manage type 2 diabetes

It's characterized by high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. A 2012 study in diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels. It also improved liver and kidney function.

Does kombucha shrink belly fat? ›

Does kombucha help you lose belly fat? While kombucha can be a part of a healthy weight-loss journey, there's no magic solution for losing belly fat. Kombucha may support overall weight management by supporting digestion and gut health, but it's not a stand-alone solution for targeting belly fat.

Does kombucha clean your gut? ›

Boosting your gut health

“Good” bacteria are essential for your gut microbiome to thrive — and fermented foods such as kombucha contain probiotics to help keep those levels high. “Kombucha can really help feed and increase that good, healthy gut bacteria, which can help decrease any bad bacteria,” says Zumpano.

Who should avoid kombucha? ›

People with alcohol use disorder should avoid kombucha. Diarrhea: Kombucha contains caffeine. The caffeine in kombucha, especially when taken in large amounts, can worsen diarrhea. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Kombucha contains caffeine.

How much alcohol is in kombucha? ›

However, the alcohol content of kombucha is typically very low, usually less than 0.5% by volume. If the fermentation process is not controlled correctly, the alcohol content can increase, leading to a more alcoholic beverage.

Does kombucha interfere with any medications? ›

Kombucha tea might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking kombucha tea along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low.

What is the best time to drink kombucha? ›

Drinking kombucha on an empty stomach can also enhance its antioxidant effects. This is because the fermentation process creates natural antioxidants, and drinking kombucha on an empty stomach allows these antioxidants to be more easily absorbed by the body.

Is kombucha good for your liver? ›

Some research has been done in labs that shows kombucha tea has tremendous healing properties, including everything from being probiotic to antioxidant and antibacterial. It is touted as being beneficial for heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and liver damage.

Is apple cider vinegar better than kombucha? ›

If you're looking to improve heart health, apple cider vinegar may be the better choice. If you are fasting ACV is better because it will not break a fast. See our article does apple cider vinegar break a fast. But if you're interested in boosting immunity or aiding digestion, kombucha tea may be a good choice.

Is there a lot of sugar in kombucha? ›

But the good news is that the sugar in Kombucha is for the culture to consume, not for you. When done fermenting, there will be about 2-6 grams per 8 ounce glass of unflavored Kombucha. By contrast, an 8 ounce glass of orange juice has about 24g of sugar. Natural carrot juices have 13g per 8 ounces.

What is the best way to drink kombucha for good results? ›

Take it on an empty stomach . That's when you'll take full advantage of its probiotic and detoxifying properties. Recover with a glass of kombucha after training.

Why does kombucha make you happy? ›

Kombucha contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B6, and B12, all of which are known to help the body fight depression, stabilize mood, and improve concentration. It also contains vitamin C, which suppresses the release of cortisol (one of the stress hormones).

When should you drink kombucha? ›

Drinking kombucha on an empty stomach is the best way to maximize the potency of the living cultures found within. With your stomach clear of any food, the living cultures can pass through your stomach quicker and reach your large intestines to clear harmful bacteria and improve function.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Eusebia Nader

Last Updated:

Views: 6429

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Eusebia Nader

Birthday: 1994-11-11

Address: Apt. 721 977 Ebert Meadows, Jereville, GA 73618-6603

Phone: +2316203969400

Job: International Farming Consultant

Hobby: Reading, Photography, Shooting, Singing, Magic, Kayaking, Mushroom hunting

Introduction: My name is Eusebia Nader, I am a encouraging, brainy, lively, nice, famous, healthy, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.