Why Kombucha isn’t always a Healthy Drink


Hey everyone, so I know this may sound strange to some people, as Kombucha is supposed to be a healthy probiotic drink that some people really do swear by. I have no doubt in my mind that it can be very beneficial to some people, especially if their own personal experiences have led them to believe this. In that case, great! I am happy it works well for some people.

For me, it does not. No, not at all.

Me and my boyfriend were at Healthy Planet(my favorite store ever- lifesaver for celiacs) and I saw some Kombucha on the refrigerated shelf. I thought to myself hmm, they are on sale 2 for 8$. I can grab one for the both of us and see if the amazing things I have heard about it is true. Kombucha is a fermented tea that is filled with lots of healthy bacteria to promote health and wellness. Can’t go wrong I thought, my probiotics do me well and I hate being without them. I actually didn’t have them on this weekend as we were at my boyfriends moms house and I figured this would be a good way to get them in.

Can Kombucha Make You Sick?

We drank a bit when we got home. Not too much we didn’t finish even half a bottle between the 2 of us so just a couple of sips. Shortly after my boyfriend claimed his head was hurting and that he thought that it was from the kombucha. I was fine at this point, until about an hour later. I had a really sharp pain in my chest that seriously really hurt. I thought am I about to have a heart attack? That went away and an hour later my whole tummy felt like it was on fire. I started panicking that I had been glutened by something I ate. Then I realized, it was probably from the kombucha. That’s when I started researching and found so much information on people having horrible reactions to kombucha, including stomach pains, headaches, chest pains, and even death! WHATT?! What have I done I thought?! I thought this was suppose to be super healthy for you? I guess not for everyone.

Kombucha is a wild ferment; tea fungus, sugar and black tea are what are used in the fermentation process. The thing is that, you can never tell exactly which microbes are multiplying from this process. Kombucha has been found many time to contain high levels of Candida Albicans!(Yeast) Seriously?! I have had problems with yeast my whole life and finally got in under control after years of trying to get healthy and then finally finding out I had celiac disease upon diagnosis. I am pretty sure I am completely allergic to yeast, and the connection between celiac and yeast allergy is high. There is lots of information on the web about this as well. I always avoid yeast at all costs so it came as no surprise really that I had such a terrible reaction when I found out kombucha can contain high levels of yeast. A lot of the yeasts found in this fermented tea are the same kind of yeast found in beer and wine production. I do not do very well with alcohol at all and avoid it completely. When I took the first sip I said to my boyfriend “This tastes like it could get your drunk”. I looked at the bottom of the bottle and it did say contains alcohol content, yikes.

Acetaldehyde is also produced when the yeast from kombucha feeds on sugar. Acetaldehyde is the carcinogen and pollutant that is found in cigarette smoke and air pollutants. High levels of acetaldehyde can have many bad reactions in the body including the ones I experienced. You could also experience skin flushing, sweating and a rapid pulse. Whenever you have felt a hangover the day after drinking, what you are experiencing is the high levels of this toxic substance in your body. We went to Walmart later on that night, and I kept saying I feel almost like I am a bit drunk, and I didn’t like it at all. Its funny, drinking used to be such a social thing for me, I would go out and drink most weekends. Now that my body is in much better health, I really can’t stand any type of alcoholic effect and do not miss being sick all the time at all! Believe me, being sober and happy is much more fun than being drunk and sick and masking your own miserableness is not the way to go when getting healthy would take away that urge to escape. Seriously, it really takes way the need for these silly escapes we use day to day. To me it is such an unhealthy way to cope with life, trust me, I’ve been there. Anyways, back to kombucha.

So another thing, it has been found that kombucha can contain high levels of fluoride! Just great. Also small amounts of lead and chromium have been found. It can also make you sick because it magnifies pollutants. Does this list just keep going? The sweetness is kombucha is from all the sugar content. I have been avoiding sugar unless from fruit or natural sources(like agave) so it is no wonder I had such an adverse reaction. The longer kombucha ferments, the less sugar will be present, but still too much for my opinion.

So anyways, drink it if it makes you feel healthier. There is a craze among this drink right now and I believe everyone’s body is different and you should definitely listen to your own body when it comes to matters like this. But if you are like me, and had a horrible reaction, the reasons above can help you understand why.

Goodbye Kombucha, I will never see you again.

Sara Kay