Kombucha is purported to prevent cancer, boost the immune system, reduce the impact of aging, and improve digestion and liver function. Some people consider it a fountain of youth! But this superfood is increasingly coming under scrutiny for its anecdotal benefits and potential problems. Is kombucha good for you?
In this post from Food Renegade, it seems there are unending benefits to kombucha! But many of these claims– here and in other blog posts and kombucha websites– are only tenuously linked to actually science and little citation is offered. You can see this here in this post on Food Republic, too. Both of these sites seem to focus on more of the supposed benefits– and anecdotal evidence– rather than actual research.
Related: How to Ferment Safely
In the short video above, Dr. Greger explains that the science reports that kombucha has been linked to life-threatening lactic acidosis. While the science is not clear exactly how it happens, the evidence is enough for Dr. Greger to not recommend drinking kombucha at all!
So what is the science? As reported on Mic, “[Kombucha] believers credit the tea with everything from improving digestion to curing cancer. Others say it can lessen joint pain,liver problems and more. If it makes you sick, kombucha can probably fix it. Or not. As Andrea Giancoli, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told NPR, ‘There is really very little evidence to support any kind of claims about kombucha tea. So we don’t know if it does anything at all.’”
NPR’s food blog, The Salt, writes that while most of the benefits of kombucha are probably overstated, it is clear that this funky, fermented beverage is full of good bacteria known as probiotics. Research shows that good bacteria can be so good for our whole body, and while kombucha offers a good dose of probiotics, you can probably get them from other (safer) sources.
While I was pretty on the fence with this research, there was one nail in the coffin that’s going to make me reconsider any ‘booch bottles henceforth. When I consulted my favorite source for smart nutrition, Dr. Michael Greger’s Nutrition Facts, I was pretty surprised that he thinks the science on kombucha is clear: kombucha is not good for us. The Mayo Clinic also recommends that kombucha should be avoided. If you want to see what Dr. Greger has to say about kombucha, watch the video above.