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The Real Truth About Kombucha Health Benefits

Inflammation Circuit

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Carrie Lam, MD; Jeremy Lam, MD

An image of homemade kombucha with herbs and spices around itKombucha is increasingly becoming one of the trendy beverages in the drinks market. One of the reasons for its popularity are the numerous kombucha health benefits that will improve your health if you start drinking this substance. There are many anecdotes suggesting the kombucha health benefits. However it is important to look at the evidence to support any claim before you embark on taking kombucha for improving your health. In this article, we discuss the truth about kombucha and whether it will benefit your health.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha originally came from China around 2,000 years ago. Over the years, it has also become popular in Japan and Russia, before spreading to Europe in the early 20th century. In recent years, this drink has become popular amongst people who are looking to improve their improve health and boost their energy levels.

Kombucha is made from yeast, sugar and black tea. This mixture is left to sit for at least a week to allow bacteria to ferment it to form acids, and alcohol. This fermentation process is very similar to the way kimchi and yogurt is made. Other substances can be added to the tea for more flavor, or it can be taken plain.

Recently, there have been many stories to suggest the kombucha health benefits. Some people claim that it can be used to relieve or prevent a wide range of health concerns. This includes conditions like hair loss as well as more serious diseases like AIDS and cancer. However, there is little evidence at this stage to support these claims.

To enjoy the benefits of Kombutcha, you can try this Kombucha Recipe.

The Dangers of Drinking Kombucha

Despite many kombucha health benefits, there are certainly some dangers to drinking this fluid. When kombucha is made, bacteria are allowed to grow in the drink. Usually, these bacteria are a form of probiotics, which are considered healthy and can be very good for your gut. However, if prepared incorrectly, harmful bacteria or mold can grow in the kombucha, and these present a very real health threat.

There has been at least one death attributed to drinking kombucha as well as several serious illnesses. Kombucha also been linked to cardiac arrest, hepatitis, liver dysfunction, skin anthrax, and inflammation of the heart muscle. It has also been known to cause allergic reactions, nausea, and lactic acidosis or a buildup of lactic acid in the body which is most commonly connected to exercise. The way kombucha is made can also present an unexpected health risk. Fairly recently, an individual who made kombucha in ceramic containers suffered from lead poisoning after drinking it.

If you are thinking about adding kombucha to your diet, then you need to be aware of the potential dangers. However, there are also some important kombucha health benefits you should know about.

The Truth About Kombucha Health Benefits

An image of someone holding the scooby from kombuchaKombucha contains caffeine and B vitamins as well as probiotics, which are essential for your gut health. Studies on rats have found that kombucha may delay the absorption of LDL cholesterol, sometimes known as the bad cholesterol. Animal studies have also shown that kombucha may increase HDL levels, which are the good cholesterol levels. Additionally, kombucha was also found to lower blood sugar levels. However, these studies were performed on animals and need to be tested on human subjects. Some of the kombucha health benefits may be beneficial if you have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

Kombucha and AFS

There are many kombucha health benefits that is good for you if you suffer from the circuit imbalances and symptoms related to AFS. When the body is stressed, the adrenal glands release cortisol to increase alertness and prepare for a response to the cause of the stress. This activity also helps to guard the body against harmful effects. The activation of the adrenal glands is part of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response and it is meant to be a short-term stress tactic. So, when you are stressed over a long time, the NEM stress response can become overworked and the adrenal glands begin to fatigue. This is what sets off the imbalances and circuit dysregulations that are characteristic of AFS.

One of the most important kombucha health benefits is the fact that it contains probiotics, which can help to improve gut health. Taking probiotics can be a good way to improve imbalances in the inflammation circuit, which consists of the gut, the immune system and the microbiome. These three systems and interconnected and work together to help your body cope with stress by causing inflammation, which is designed to expel the cause of the stress. But when your stress is chronic and caused by factors like a poor diet, a bad environment, or relationship pressures, there is nothing to expel. Inflammation can become chronic, that spreads in the body without any real purpose. When this occurs, it can start to do damage to the body’s systems. This type of imbalance is characteristic of AFS and can result in additional stress, a greater demand for cortisol, and further adrenal fatigue.

Correcting Inflammation Circuit Imbalances

The best way to correct inflammation circuit imbalances is by improving the health of the associated organs or systems. This can be a difficult and long process that needs to be carried out carefully, to avoid adverse reactions. Some changes that will help include improving your diet, eliminating processed and harmful foods, and lowering your overall stress levels.

Given, the kombucha health benefits, taking probiotics, such as those found in Kombucha, can be beneficial for this process. Adding more probiotics to your diet may help to correct the imbalance in the numbers of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Especially if you have been exposed to antibiotics before, there may be an imbalance of the gut flora. Drinking Kombucha improves the health of the microbiome naturally, the body’s overall balance of bacteria and it also helps to correct gut or digestive problems. As these two systems return to better health, your immune system will begin to relax naturally and the amount of inflammation in your body will gradually decrease. This will help to enable the inflammation circuit back into a healthier and more natural alignment.

The Dangers of Kombucha with AFS

If you have AFS, you need to be very careful if you decide to add kombucha to your diet despite the kombucha health benefits. Your system may already be overwhelmed and on alert, which means that it may react badly to any changes. So, taking kombucha could cause bad reactions or effects, even if it is fermented properly.

An image of a man holding his stomach in painNew food sensitivities is another problem that can occur when you have AFS. This is usually because of the associated digestive problems and bacterial overgrowth in the gut. Do not assume that it is safe to drink it because of the kombucha health benefits. Even if you have never reacted adversely to food or drinks before, you may still find that your body reacts poorly to kombucha, causing stomach upsets and worsening your overall condition.

Kombucha also contains alcohol, which can be very detrimental to your body, especially when you have AFS. The dangers of kombucha may outweigh the kombucha health benefits in some cases. It is therefore important that if you are going to make this kind of change, you need to do so with the help of a trained professional who understands your overall condition as well as AFS and the effects it can have on your body.

Lastly, Kombucha contains caffeine from the tea which may again eclipse the kombucha health benefits. Caffeine is a stimulant. If the body is in adrenal fatigue, and already feeling nervous, jittery, and wired, consuming caffeine can exacerbate this. You should ask an AFS specialist or your healthcare practitioner if drinking Kombucha is right for your body and your stage of recovery.

The Takeaway

If you already have health concerns because of AFS or any other disorder, then it’s probably best if you avoid drinking kombucha. Despite all the rumors about kombucha health benefits, there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that it will benefit your health in any way. In fact, if your system is already sensitive because of AFS, it just might cause more problems for your stomach and gut, resulting in further inflammation and a worsening of your overall condition.

© Copyright 2020 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

Despite all the hype, there is little evidence to suggest that any of the stories about kombucha health benefits are true. In fact, because this drink is easily contaminated during the manufacturing process, it is more likely to damage your health than benefit it.

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