Kombucha is a fermented blend of bacteria and yeasts. Is it healthy? Some research shows it can help protect the liver.
Liver disease and toxins
Liver disease and damage to liver cells has become more common as we are exposed to increasingly higher levels of toxins.
Thousands of new toxins have been released into our environment over the past fifty years, and our consumer goods contain higher levels of toxicity.
These, along with increased pharmaceutical use, alcohol consumption and poor dietary habits, have contributed to increased rates of liver disease and liver damage over the past few decades. The liver is also harmed by refined sweets and the Western diet. Antibiotic medications can also damage the liver.
Liver disease is linked to leaky gut syndrome according to some research.
Kombucha helps counter toxins
Researchers from India’s Jadavpur University have discovered that kombucha protects the liver’s cells against damage from toxicity.
The researchers tested liver cells by exposing them to tertiary butyl hydroperoxide, a potent toxin that damages liver cells similarly to other environmental toxins such as paracetamol and carbon tetrachloride. In the study, the toxin exposure caused the liver cells to die or become damaged – primarily from the cell membranes becoming damaged and porous.
However, those cells that were exposed to the toxin along with treatment with kombucha tea avoided much of this damage from the toxin exposure, as their protective cell membrane integrity increased. The kombucha-treated liver cells had significantly less damage, as the kombucha protected the cells from damage from the toxin’s free radical oxidation.
The researchers stated:
“Kombucha tea was found to modulate the oxidative stress induced apoptosis in murine hepatocytes probably due to its antioxidant activity and functioning via mitochondria dependent pathways and could be beneficial against liver diseases, where oxidative stress is known to play a crucial role.”
The study was published in the medical journal Pathophysiology.
How is kombucha made?
Kombucha tea is made by fermenting a culture of bacteria and yeast together with tea and a sweetener. It is an ancient beverage that has been prepared and consumed in Asia and Europe for many centuries. Kombucha tea has increasingly become popular in the United States over the past few years.
Many of the detoxifying, health-giving properties of kombucha are produced by these bacteria and yeasts.
Is kombucha safe?
Kombucha can be safe. It can also be unsafe. This largely depends upon how it is fermented and where the mother comes from. Sometimes the mother is developed in basements that have mold and other microorganisms in the air. These microorganisms can join the mother and begin to ferment with the rest of the yeast and microorganisms within the culture. Should these spores develop in the culture, they can infect the kombucha.
This can produce an unhealthy kombucha that can produce yeast infections and mold infections within the body. Therefore, it is my opinion that home-brewed kombuchas should only be consumed with caution. And a clear knowledge of where the mother originated and where the current culture has been fermented.
Bhattacharya S, Gachhui R, Sil PC. Hepatoprotective properties of kombucha tea against TBHP-induced oxidative stress via suppression of mitochondria dependent apoptosis. Pathophysiology. 2011 Jun;18(3):221-34.
Adams C. Probiotics – Protection Against Infection. Logical Books, 2016
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.