kombucha side effects

What are the side effects of drinking kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea that originates from Asia, but it has found its way through Europe and America. You can buy kombucha in many stores or you can make kombucha at home. Kombucha has a lot of health benefits and many people enjoy drinking kombucha every day without any side effects. But, in certain conditions kombucha can have serious side effects. If you are not sure whether you should drink kombucha or not, check out these variables that can give you side effects when drinking kombucha.

  1. How much kombucha do you drink daily?
  2. How frequently do you drink kombucha?
  3. Do you have any illness or health conditions?
  4. Did you buy or make kombucha at home?
  5. Are you sensitive to effects of caffeine?
  6. Can you consume alcohol?

Variables that influence Kombucha side effects

If you have read my article about kombucha health benefits, you may remember that you should not drink more than 12 ounces of kombucha per day. Logically, if you exceed the recommended amount, you may experience some side effects. Also some people don’t feel well when drink kombucha on an empty stomach.

To make kombucha can be very tricky as well, especially if you don’t have much experience with making fermented drinks. If kombucha gets too fermented, it can give you serious health problems. So, if you are not sure how to make it, you should buy it at the supermarket. Again, kombucha beverages in the stores can have different ingredients or different amount of one ingredient. For instance, one kombucha may have more alcohol or sugar than the other.

The same way you get jittery because of too much coffee, green tea, or sugar you can feel that when drinking too much kombucha. And the most important, if you have certain health conditions or you take medications you need to check out with your doctor whether you should drink kombucha or not.

In the meantime, you can check this ultimate list of kombucha side effects with detailed explanations when they can occur.

Kombucha side effects diarrhea

Having diarrhea is one of the most common side effect of kombucha, especially if you drink it for the first time. The reason why this happens is because kombucha has new friendly bacteria for your gut that will fight against the gut bacteria you already have. If you want to avoid diarrhea, drink really small batches of kombucha at once, don’t drink coffee or other caffeine-rich beverages, and make sure you eat something before drinking kombucha. Diarrhea can takes up to two weeks, that means your body has still not adjusted to the new bacteria. If diarrhea won’t stop, you should consider making a break from drinking kombucha.

Another reason why kombucha can cause you diarrhea is sugar. If you eat sugar a lot plus you drink kombucha that contains sugar as well, your stomach may get upset.

Kombucha side effects liver

If you have problems with your liver, you shouldn’t drink kombucha as it may cause serious damage. Usually, this side effect looks like jaundice, so if your skin seems yellow you should know that kombucha is damaging your liver. Of course, this side effect is very individual and not all people who drink kombucha have a problem with liver.

Can Kombucha cause constipation and bloating?

I already mentioned to you that when you drink kombucha new good bacteria interact with old good bacteria in your stomach. If your stomach accepts those good bacteria you will experience a lot of benefits such as better digestion, but if your old bacteria fight with the new ones, you may experience quite the opposite- bloating and constipation. To avoid such problems you should drink plenty of water and exercise on a regular basis. If you can tolerate these side effects of kombucha, constipation and bloating, you should feel better after a few days of drinking kombucha when your stomach gets used to it.

Bloating

Kombucha is a lightly carbonated drink because of the yeast and fermentation. Similar to other carbonated drinks, you may feel bloated after you drink kombucha because these types of drinks deliver carbon dioxide into your digestive system.

Flatulence

For the same reason as bloating, flatulence can occur. Kombucha is a carbonated drink so you may feel discomfort in your stomach and have the urge to fart. If you want to stop the farting you should exercise more and hydrate well.

Gurgling stomach

Another side effect of carbonated drinks- you may feel that your stomach is gurgling, leaving weird noises. This can happen when you drink too much carbonated drinks at once, plus if you drink kombucha on an empty stomach. Gurgling stomach is connected to the flatulence, constipation or diarrhea and other similar GI distress.

Gastrointestinal toxicity

Drinking kombucha along with alcohol, or while taking antidiabetic medications can result in poisoning of the gastrointestinal tract. Also, there were cases that individuals were actually allergic to the kombucha and got gastrointestinal toxicity. In a nutshell, you shouldn’t drink kombucha if you take medications that restrict or forbid the intake of alcohol or caffeine.

Indigestion or stomach aches

If you feel that your body doesn’t process the food well and you have any of these mentioned side effects (diarrhea, constipation, gurgling stomach or flatulence), you have indigestion which is a common side effect of kombucha drinking. As I mentioned above, kombucha is a carbonated drink so that can be the cause of indigestion problems but also intolerance to histamine. If you experienced indigestion with other fermented drinks of foods, you are maybe intolerant to histamine.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you suffer from IBS and you drink kombucha your condition may get worse because kombucha has caffeine. When you drink too much kombucha in such state, or on empty stomach your IBS symptoms may get worsened.

Acne

Although some people believe that fermented products including kombucha can cure or successfully treat acne, other have experienced these side effects. For similar reasons as stomach problems, if your body needs time to adjust to new gut bacteria, it may have negative impact on your skin. The changes of bacteria cause the increase of sebum production and your skin is prone to acne. Also, if you are allergic to histamine, you may have problems with skin including acne.

Allergic reactions

You have probably heard that most people don’t tolerate some food. They can eat and have some small side effects, or maybe they don’t even know what food they are intolerant too. So, if you are intolerant to some kombucha ingredients, you may experience some allergic reactions such as skin rash, acne, stomach aches, joint pain or swelling, and generally muscle aches.

Anxiety

Histamine sensitivity may cause anxiety, so if you are sensitive to histamine drinking kombucha can cause you anxiety. Also, the gut-brain axis is very important. According to some studies some bacteria found in kombucha can change the production of neuroactive metabolites that are generated in your gut. Furthermore, that process alters the activity in your brain and if you feel anxiety while drinking kombucha, it is maybe just an adaption response to these metabolites.

Blood sugar changes

Kombucha can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Pay attention to signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use kombucha.

Brain fog

Many people who enjoy drinking kombucha and are lucky enough not to have side effects of it, say that kombucha helps them focus. On the other hand, those who experience some kombucha side effects have brain fog experience. In other words, you may feel clouded because of bacteria that die in your gut. So it takes a while for your body to adjust to new gut bacteria and meanwhile you can experience “brain fog”.

Chills

If you experience goose bumps on your skin or any type of feverish feeling, that mean you may have another side effect of kombucha. So if you drink too much kombucha, you can experience chills together with gastrointestinal distress mentioned above. It may be due to homemade kombucha which didn’t pass the quality control or had too many kombucha drinks.

Dizziness

When you drink alcohol on an empty stomach you are more likely to get dizzy. The same goes with kombucha. Before buying kombucha check out the alcohol % on the bottle and if you don’t tolerate alcohol well buy kombucha with the least percent of alcohol.  Also, make sure you had a meal before a glass of kombucha. Dizziness can also happen due to allergic reactions to some kombucha ingredients.

Other less common kombucha side effects

Flu-like symptoms– you may feel sick if you drink too much kombucha at once or if you drink homemade kombucha that wasn’t make properly. Also, you can feel all these symptoms such as chills, sweating, body aches, stomach pain, vomiting, dizziness, similar to having a flu.

Headaches– a combination of sugar, caffeine and alcohol may cause you headaches especially if you don’t hydrate enough. Also if you are prone to migraines or intolerant to histamine, you may feel strong headaches as well.

Lead poisoning– if you prefer homemade kombucha, make sure you make it in a pot that doesn’t contain lead crystal or paint or ceramic because the tea can absorb the lead from the pot.

Nausea and vomiting– if this is your first time to drink kombucha or you had too much of it, you may feel nausea. Also, contaminated kombucha can produce this side effect as well as histamine intolerance. Some studies show that dead bacteria can generate endotoxins which your immune system may attack, by giving you the feeling of nausea. Nausea can easily lead to actual vomiting so if you experience this, you should definitely visit a doctor.

Yeast – kombucha may contain Candida species and may cause you yeast infection. This side effect usually experience individuals with very weak immune system. Although fermented food and drink kill yeast, if you drink kombucha that wasn’t properly brewed and has high PH, it may do quite the opposite- encourage the development of candida.

Tiredness– if you are intolerant to histamine or you feel tired after eating sugar or drinking alcohol, you may also feel tired because of drinking kombucha. High amounts of kombucha can change energy levels so one minute you may feel quite energetic and the other fatigued.

All health content on foodscene.net is for general information only, and you should not take it as medical advice. If you have any concerns about your health, you should contact your local healthcare provider.

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