Kombucha: Digestive and Anti-Cancer Elixir?

November 28, 2016 , ,

Kombucha for Better Digestion

The multitude of bacteria found in kombucha after fermentation can probably serve as prebiotics for the body. There haven’t been any in-depth studies on the subject, but it seems an interesting lead. Many people who drink kombucha regularly affirm that it improves their digestive health… to be continued!

Kombucha for Cancer Prevention

So far studies have been carried out on mice or cells. It’s therefore impossible, for the moment, to say whether kombucha is effective or not to prevent cancer in humans.

However, what these studies revealed is that kombucha’s components can be particularly interesting for cancer prevention. Indeed, polyphenols in tea, ascorbic acid and DSL (an acid), which are all products of kombucha fermentation, have marked antioxidant effects. Their role in the prevention of cancer are:

  •         inhibiting genetic mutations;
  •         inhibiting the spread of cancerous cells;
  •         inducing cancer cell apoptosis (death);
  •         terminating metastasis

Even though in theory the effects seem promising, there are as yet no human studies and we can therefore not recommend kombucha for these effects. In other words, if you choose to drink kombucha, don’t do it to prevent cancer (yet).

Kombucha to Improve Liver Function

Certain studies done on mice also show that the antioxidant properties of kombucha could also play a role in helping hepatic (liver) functions. Indeed, the bioactive nutrients in kombucha may have a protective effect on hepatic cells when toxicity markers in the liver are measured.

It is however important to remember that these results have been obtained in mice and not in humans. Despite these promising effects, human studies are needed before we can confirm whether kombucha helps the liver.

Choosing the Best Kombucha

From a nutritional point of view, kombucha is an interesting beverage, especially if it replaces fizzy drinks. It has health benefits and is low in sugar.

But be careful, not all kombuchas are created equal…

If you decide to buy some, chose one with minimum added sugar. And remember that water (still or sparkling) remains the best choice to hydrate throughout the day.

To Conclude

Despite its popularity in certain countries and parts of the population, kombucha is only just beginning to be known to the general public. That’s why so far, few studies have been conducted on humans. Further research will allow us to know whether there really are health advantages to drinking kombucha regularly, and if so, which ones.

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Jef L'Ecuyer
Member of the Quebec College of Dietitians (ODNQ) and Dietitians of Canada,Jef graduated from McGill University in December 2014. Recently graduated and passionate about culinary arts, Jef poses a simple, effective and practical look at daily meal planning. With this in mind, she works in conjunction with the mission of SOSCuisine...

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