Kombucha… or Nah?
You’ve undoubtedly heard of Kombucha. Among the slew of health products on the market, this one continues to gain popularity. Perhaps you’ve even been bold enough to taste your friend’s home brew. Or grow your own.
Anything described as grown or brewed on a counter is enough to make me pause before consumption. Kombucha was no exception, despite a myriad of my friends attempting to persuade me to try it. A “mother” was even offered to me by a buddy so I could make my own. Intriguing. But being the Nancy Drew fan that I am, I started sleuthing for the roots and reasons for the fizzy bevvy health fad.
The evidence collection, however, has left me less than enthused to hop on the ‘bucha bandwagon.
Research Evidence is Sketch
For a beverage considered such a health craze, the evidence regarding its benefits is far from expectations.
Out of sixty-five journal articles (1) on PubMed, only nineteen studies used human subjects. The human subject articles are the ones I felt appropriate to look into, even though I’ve been described as alien. Of those articles, ten of them cited adverse effects from Kombucha consumption whereas the other nine could not definitively offer a link to health benefits.
A clinical review (2) of studies surrounding Kombucha found no supported evidence to its “efficacy and safety,” but plenty of documented risks.
Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling overwhelmingly supportive of the wellness drink at this point.
Individual case studies were the only positive feedback link to Kombucha I found. So basically just people saying they felt “so great” from drinking it. That’s alright, but it wasn’t enough to make me go through the process of culturing it in my kitchen… especially with so much scientific evidence steering me away.
The Store Bought Stuff
The dubiously dubbed “cure-all” may officially have you wary, as it did me, but the question still remains: What about the store bought stuff?
Kombucha currently being commercially manufactured is monitored and safely produced (5) for consumption. But, just like the home brew, there is no clinical evidence linking it to health benefits. All that remains is a general consensus from the zombie mass that it has “healing powers” –an opinion undeniably produced by the classic placebo effect.
The bottom line is, unless you love the taste, there really isn’t a reason to drink Kombucha. Before you start creating this bacterial culture kitchen moonshine, consider the risks versus benefits. Base it on facts, not fad.