Kombucha, What is it?

Learn About Kombucha as Organic Source of Antioxidants

Fermented foods and beverages have been gaining popularity over the years, not only for the delicious taste but also because of all the health benefits they bring! Kombucha is a fermented tea based beverage made from a combination of bacteria and yeast (Dimidi et al., 2019). 
These health claims have been supported through numerous studies.  A randomised control trial performed by Jung et al. (2019)  assessed the change in the microbiota and the effects on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in twelve mice. It showed a positive correlation between the treatment group on changes in the composition of the gut microbiota, suggesting the microbial changes may help the suppression of fat accumulation in the liver. These results are supported by a study performed by Gharib (2009) which assessed the relationship between kombucha and oxidative stress in mice. Twenty mice were divided into four groups, a control group, a kombucha treated group, a trichloroethylene (TCE) treated group and a kombucha/TCE treated group.  The results showed the kombucha significantly improved lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress induced by the TCE. Suggesting that kombucha may assist in repairing damage in the kidneys.   



But how much should you drink?

As most things in life there need to be a balance, too much of a good thing can still lead to problems and to not enough won’t give you the affects you desire. 

Some things to consider when jumping on the butch-train are:

  • Are you already use to eating or drinking fermented foods?

Fermented foods contain a combination of yeast and bacteria which can alter the composition of your gut microbiota making it more diverse, don’t worry this is a good thing! Having an active and natural variation of microorganisms in the gut is what improves health. However at the beginning, especially if you consume a high carbohydrate and refined sugar diet it may take some getting used to. So start small and increase your intake as your body adjusts.

  • There is still sugar

Although during the fermenting process a lot of the sugar is consumed by the SCOBY some still remains. For example if you take a plain home-brew kombucha there is roughly 9g of sugar in a 240ml glass. However this number can vary greatly depending on the fermenting time and if flavours through fruit or juices are added after. While this still isn’t like having a glass of coca cola, it can still add up if excessive amounts are consumed.

  • Alcohol and Caffeine

Kombucha is fermented, and as I mentioned earlier alcohol naturally occurs due to the fermentation process. The more sugar that is added and the longer it is left to ferment, the higher the alcohol percentage will be, especially in home-brewed kombucha. Commercial kombuchas use methods to control alcohol content, keeping it below 0.5%ABV, however these methods can affect the final composition of beneficial bacteria and in some cases kill the live cultures.
Kombucha is a tea based drink, so naturally there will be some caffeine, however after the brewing process the caffeine content is reduced by roughly 1/3 making it weaker than that of a normal cup of tea. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, it is still ok to drink it, but start with small amounts and monitor for side effects, and avoid drinking it before bed.
Because of the alcohol and caffeine content, for those who are pregnant and breast feeding it is best to follow recommendations from your doctor, Many people avoid drinking kombucha during this time.

  • So how much should you drink in a day?
Kombucha is more than fine to drink daily, but be aware of your body and how it reacts, everyone is different, there is not one size fits all when it comes to kombucha drinking. A general rule of thumb is to start small with roughly 2oz/60ml a day. If there are no side effects then increase it to 4oz/120ml a day and so on. Typical side effects are, diarrhoea, bloating and gas. On average the maximum amount recommended is roughly 16oz/500ml.


- Alyssa Michel -  


Dimidi, E., Cox, S, R., Rossi, M., & Whelan, K. (2019). Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients11(8), 1806-1832. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081806

Kim, J., & Adhikari, K. (2020). Current Trends in Kombucha: Marketing Perspectives and the Need for Improved Sensory Research. Beverages (Basel), 6(15), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.3390/beverages6010015

Jung, Y., Kim, I., Mannaa, M., Kim, J., Wang, S., Park, I., Kim, J., & Seo, Y. (2019). Effect of Kombucha on gut-microbiota in mouse having non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Food Science and Biotechnology, 28(1), 261–267. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10068-018-0433-y

Watawana, M. I., Jayawardena, N., Gunawardhana, C. B., & Waisundara, V. Y. (2015). Health, Wellness, and Safety Aspects of the Consumption of Kombucha. Journal of Chemistry, 2015, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/591869

Kapp, J. M., & Sumner, W. (2019). Kombucha: a systematic review of the empirical evidence of human health benefit. Annals of Epidemiology, 30, 66–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2018.11.001

Gharib, O. A. (2009). Effects of Kombucha on oxidative stress induced nephrotoxicity in rats. Chinese Medicine, 4(1), 23–23. https://doi.org/10.1186/1749-8546-4-23


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