Jump to content
The Corroboree

Recommended Posts

Recently started brewing my own, mainly for fun and the light fizz. I was surprised, given the marketing hype surrounding commercial kombucha offerings, that there is actually zero scientific evidence -- i.e., in human trials -- of any therapeutic benefit. Granted, there are promising animal laboratory studies, as well as a 2200-year tradition of consumption in China. There are risks of adverse outcomes. Two of the most exciting things I discovered were (1) SCOBYs can be dried and eaten, and (2) kombucha could be the basis of a new textiles industry: seamless clothing. I know people who guzzle this stuff by the gallon, sometimes as an alcohol substitute in social contexts. And it is refreshing -- but also sugary, fizzy, liable to contamination and leaching from storage vessels. Any tips from master brewers out there? 

Edited by fyzygy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not something you should drink daily if you value your tooth enamel.

Edited by Glaukus
Spellink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that biofilm really clings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drank it regulary around 30 years ago, I didnt notice any benefits but enjoyed it all the same. I stopped using after a report was released about potential liver damage. I continued to drink alcohol but.. go figure. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming they are made with attention to ingredients, process and standards of food safety, it seems intuitive to me that fermented foods can be good for you. 

 

"I was surprised, given the marketing hype surrounding commercial kombucha offerings, that there is actually zero scientific evidence -- i.e., in human trials -- of any therapeutic benefit."

 

Of course, because it would be unethical in the extreme to test foods as therapeutics without clinical rationale.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, saguaro said:

Of course, because it would be unethical in the extreme to test foods as therapeutics without clinical rationale.

Not sure I follow. Kombucha is everywhere these days -- from bottle shops to supermarkets -- and yet there's no supportive clinical data on either safety or therapeutic efficacy in humans? Anecdotally, there is evidence both for and against kombucha as a therapeutic foodstuff. We need to know more, especially if manufacturers are trading on a widespread consumer "intuition" that fermented foods = healthy (according to biochemists, kombucha is of negligible probiotic value). All of the animal studies I've seen point out the need for further research with human subjects. If not by now, at what point will we have reached sufficient "clinical rationale"? 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you take therapeutics for medical indications, or to prevent them from manifesting. 

 

For certain conditions, like cancer or certain psychiatric conditions, when candidate therapeutics are tested, they are often trialled with so called gold standard medicines as control, because it's deemed unethical to deprive certain patients of certain therapeutics. I think more rational here would be something like a longitudinal study. 

 

Whether foods influence disease rates is a difficult topic because there are so many confounding variables. For example, erythritol is used in several kombucha products, and even erythritol is lacking in long-term safety data.

 

Tepache is similar to kombucha, there is scientific literature to suggest that it has probiotic value, it also contains bromelain. Kimchi is apparently healthy, but also causes stomach cancer, or is that the H. pylori from people's mouths/forks? 'Yoghurt' is 'healthy', but some types have so much sugar they can cause diabetes, in which case it's not even right to call them nutritious...

 

 

Edited by saguaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently, this tea-based fermented beverage has become increasingly popular in western cultures, mainly in the functional food movement for its alleged health benefits. Kombucha tea is thought to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure; increase weight-loss; improve liver, glandular, immune, and gastric functions; reduce kidney calcification; increase vitality; combat acne; eliminate wrinkles; purify the gall bladder; improve constipation; alleviate arthritis pain; inhibit cancer proliferation; cure AIDS; and many others. Most of these health benefits are unsubstantiated and based on personal observations and testimonies, but there are some indications that kombucha tea consumption may indeed aid health prophylaxis and recovery through detoxification, antioxidation, energizing, and immune-stimulating effects. However, despite the lack of evidence from clinical trials to substantiate benefits to human health, kombucha is one of the fastest-growing beverages today within the functional food category, demonstrating a +49% dollar growth over the period of July 2017 to July 2018.  •.  "Kombucha Tea Fermentation: A Review" Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, 2020

 

"Health prophylaxis" strikes me as an interesting concept -- enhanced health (familiar to eastern traditions and complementary medicine) differs greatly from the western model of health as (mere) absence of disease. So perhaps "therapeutic" is not the right word ... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

possibly, i was just trying to say it's pretty murky trying to test kombucha as a cancer or aids therapy. maybe as an adjunct. as far as I'm concerned, kombucha's products are basically a drink that is probs healthy, kinda like a piece of fruit. some of them are soaked in industrial poisons, some are 'organic' etc. 

 

imagine trying to get a study approved where you test a hypothesis about consuming lactic acid bacteria (LAB) probiotics in the form of kombucha, and some dependent variable marker of psychiatric symptoms. There might even be rationale for such a study, given the association of gut microflora and psychiatric conditions.

 

i don't buy into the health mysticism of kombucha, such as curing AIDS, or increasing vitality. I know some taste good, tea polyphenols are apparently good for you and lactic acid bacteria show activity in vitro that could support some of the less mystical claims about kombucha, such as alleviating symptoms of autoimmune conditions, if this activity also occurs in vivo

 

ive tried making it a couple of times, sometimes good, some nasty

 

many of the claims from that quote attributed to kombucha (apart from aids curing obviously) have also been attributed to intermittent fasting

Edited by saguaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kombucha produces AAB, not LAB, by default -- though LAB may be present in kombucha, more or less accidentally. (That's acording to review study quoted from in my previous post). There are a large number of variables, such as fermentation period, involved in the brewing of kombucha, none of which has been decisively studied. 

 

1 hour ago, saguaro said:

lactic acid bacteria (LAB) probiotics i

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ah yeah, i confused tepache with kombucha.

 

the nexba one is fermented, then they add B. caogulans ( a lactic acid bacteria), i think maybe because filtration removes most of the cfus. from the primary fermentation 

 

anyway, i'd be guessing why there hasn't been much research into the health effects. i'd say no one wants to fund  it because it's a low priority

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry for my clumsy replies on this read lol

 

i didn't have much quality info, but was motivated to contribute for some reason

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to know more than I do about fermentation. So thanks for chipping in. 

2 hours ago, saguaro said:

sorry for my clumsy replies on this read lol

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sun-dried a few SCOBYs, they turn into this extremely tough, skin- or leather-like substance, which is actually moderately sweet to the taste. But teeth won't cut it -- it's strong, like animal hide. In the mouth it rehydrates with the saliva, texture like that of a really tough mushroom. I think one would need to shred it somehow prior to ingesting. And I'm guessing nobody knows how good (or not) it might be to eat. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 20/01/2022 at 9:03 AM, fyzygy said:

 there is actually zero scientific evidence -- i.e., in human trials -- of any therapeutic benefit. 

 

 There's initial human studies on some of the probiotic strains used in commercial kombucha's eg Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086

 

Clinical studies showed that consuming BC30 helped alter the gut microbiome by increasing the numbers of beneficial bacteria, and ex vivo testing of blood from elderly humans who had consumed BC30 for 28 days showed increased anti-inflammatory cytokine responses. Results from a recent clinical trial suggest that the consumption of BC30 supports exercise performance and helps reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. Cell walls from the live B. coagulans GBI-30, 6086 strain have demonstrated immune modulating and anti-inflammatory effects in vitro. The immune-modulating effects of the BC30 strain were associated both with the cell wall fraction and with the metabolites produced by the live bacteria in vitro. It has shown benefit in IBS and rheumatoid arthritis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Alchemica said:

the probiotic strains used in commercial kombucha's

Thanks, that's good to know.

I think B. coagulans must be added to conventional kombucha/SCOBY, rather than being one of its typical components. https://mojobeverages.com.au/pages/activated-kombucha

(Why would it be added? To reinforce drink manufacturer's otherwise spurious claims of probiotic benefit? Or to trump potential home-brewers consuming the stuff without paying?)

In one of the studies I read, LABs may occasionally be found in addition to AABs, but not as a matter of course in kombucha fermentation. I doubt that home-brewers would find much B. coagulans in their beverage, other than by accident (use of an improperly washed milk bottle, for example). 

Studies of kombucha don't usually examine boutique commercial offerings. But that would make for a good study, too. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×