10 Great Kombucha Side Effects (and a few to watch out for)

Kombucha side effects are REAL.

I am all about taking probiotics to keep my skin clear. When kombucha (a fermented, probiotic filled drink) started becoming popular I jumped right on board that bandwagon. I was so excited about the kombucha side effects that I started brewing the stuff myself. That’s how serious I am about getting my probiotics.

If you can’t brew, buy! Kombucha usually runs around $3 to $4 and can be found in most grocery stores.

Kombucha side effects you need to know

The benefits you get from kombucha are plentiful (even from the high alcohol kombucha). It’s one of those wonder drinks that is better for you than you may think. But, you’ll need to be careful not to overdo it all at once because some of the side effects aren’t too pleasant. Pro-tip: if you aren’t brewing the stuff yourself (which is admittedly a bit extra of me) you’ll need to buy unpasteurized kombucha to get the beneficial side effects. Pasteurization kills off the probiotics in kombucha and basically just makes it into any other soft drink.

1. Healthier gut environment

Kombucha is filled with all kinds of benefical goodies for your gut. If your digestive track is out of whack kombucha can help even things out. It has all those good probiotics, acids, and enzymes that you may be lacking. It may also help to heal stomach ulcers.

2. Aid in controlling heart disease

Probiotics can be used to assist heart disease treatment. This study found that probiotics can reduce blood cholesterol in three different ways. They can counter the production of cholesterol with acids, break down liver bile acids, and literally eat cholesterol. Not a bad reason to get your daily dose of probiotics.

3. Reduces inflammation

The new it word in health is inflammation. We’re learning more and more how much inflammation negatively effects the body and can be a cause or exacerbate certain diseases. Kombucha has antioxidants that can help to fight inflammation. This is the thing that people tout when saying kombucha can prevent cancer. If you ever hear that any food/drink can prevent cancer, take that news with a huge grain of salt. It’s absolutely not going to prevent you from getting cancer, but it certainly does not hurt.

4. Nix soda cravings

This is more anecdotal evidence than anything else, but drinking kombucha makes me not crave sugary drinks. Not that I was a huge soda drinker before, but since I’ve started eating more probiotic foods, and drinking kombucha, I’m craving sugar less all around.

5. Help relieve anxiety and depression

Look, drinking kombucha isn’t going to solve severe anxiety or depression. If you have or think you have mental health problems, please see a doctor. But, there is a link between gut health and our brains. It’s called the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Studies show that taking probiotics and getting your gut in good shape can help to mitigate anxiety and depression.

6. Aid in immunity response

Hearing kombucha fans say they never have stomach issues, or that they never get sick isn’t unusual. I’m sure there’s more than a little bit of a placebo effect going on, but an increases in probiotics has been shown to help immunity response.

7. Aid in weight loss

You can use probiotics found in kombucha to help weight loss or weight control. Just replacing high calorie sodas with kombucha can help, toss those probiotics in and you’re on your way too sustaining a healthy weight.

8. Support healthy liver function

Kombucha has Glucaric acid which can help inhibit toxic substances effect on the liver. Because kombucha brewing can vary greatly, the amount of Glucaric acid can also vary greatly.

 

 

9. Upset stomach

But, not all kombucha side effects are good for you. There are also some negative effects if you drink too much or if you don’t let your body adjust to consuming probiotics. This is something the Big Book of Kombucha calls “the healing crisis”. It’s also just a nice name for an unpleasant case of diarrhea. If you start experiencing any negative side effects after drinking kombucha, just scale it back a bit. Maybe sip some pepto, and wait till your stomach is back in the game before trying again.

10. Headache

Some people use kombucha as a replacement drink for their morning coffee or evening alcohol. But cutting anything out of your diet cold turkey, especially caffeine, can cause headaches. Even though kombucha is made with caffeinated tea, it’s nothing like you’re having a cup of coffee. If you’ve ditched the morning cup for kombucha and are experiencing headaches, you can wait it out, or slowly ween yourself off the caffeine instead.

Because kombucha contains caffeine, sugar, as well as probiotics you should chat with your doctor before taking up the habit if you are pregnant or have any significant health issues. Also, you don’t want to have more than one cup of the stuff a day (don’t over do it!) but that is enough to get the benefits.

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Bio: She’s a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn’t camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you’ll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she’s ever seen. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram @themercuteify.