Kombucha Dangers: Separating Fact from Fiction

You've probably seen kombucha everywhere lately. All your friends are drinking it and posting photos of those colourful bottles on social media. The hype around kombucha makes it seem like an elixir of health. But is kombucha really as good for you as everyone says? The truth is, kombucha may have some benefits when consumed in moderation, but it also comes with risks that you should be aware of before guzzling bottle after bottle. 

This fizzy fermented tea has been around for centuries, but as its popularity has exploded, so have myths about its health effects and dangers. Here's what you really need to know about the potential kombucha dangers before you take another sip. The truth may surprise you. 

The Real Kombucha Dangers

Kombucha may be all the rage, but it does come with some risks you should know about. The truth is, kombucha dangers are real, even if the rumours of toxicity are overblown. 

The Alcohol Factor 

Homebrewed kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol, usually less than 0.5% ABV. While very low, it could still cause intoxication if consumed in large amounts. It may also interact badly with medications. If you're avoiding alcohol, check with your doctor first. 

Contamination Risk 

Since kombucha is made from a colony of bacteria and yeast (known as a SCOBY), there is a small risk of contamination if not prepared properly. Watch for mould, which can produce mycotoxins, and be very careful to follow sanitary brewing practices. When in doubt, throw it out. 

Allergic Reactions 

Some people report minor allergic reactions to kombucha, especially when first starting to drink it. Reactions may include itchiness, stomach upset, and rashes. As with any new food or drink, start slowly to allow your body to get used to it. If you experience a severe allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately. 

Too Much Caffeine 

Kombucha is made from brewed tea, so it contains caffeine. While less than an average cup of coffee, drinking too much kombucha could lead to insomnia, restlessness, and an upset stomach in caffeine-sensitive individuals. Moderation is key, so stick to 4 ounces a day, especially when you're first getting started. 

The bottom line is that kombucha, when prepared and consumed responsibly, can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. But as with many things, too much of a good thing may not be so good after all. So drink your kombucha, but do so cautiously and listen to your body. 

Kombucha Dangers

Debunking Myths About Kombucha Dangers 

Kombucha has been gaining popularity as a health drink, but some myths about its dangers still persist. Let's look at the facts behind some common fears about kombucha. 

Alcohol Content 

It's true that kombucha does contain a small amount of alcohol, typically less than 0.5% ABV, due to the fermentation process. However, kombucha would need to ferment for a significantly longer time to reach an alcoholic level anywhere close to beer or wine. For most people, the trace amounts of alcohol in kombucha are considered non-intoxicating and safe to consume. However, as with any product, some individuals may experience side effects. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor. 

Toxin Risk 

Some people claim that the bacteria and yeasts in kombucha can produce harmful toxins. However, there is little evidence to support this. When properly brewed and handled, kombucha contains compounds that are considered safe for most adults. That said, kombucha is perishable, so check expiration or 'best by' dates and avoid bottles that have an unpleasant smell or colour, which can indicate the growth of unwanted microbes. 

Health Effects 

While many people drink kombucha for its potential probiotic effects and antioxidants, there is little scientific consensus on its health benefits. Some studies have found kombucha may support gut health and immunity, but more research is needed. The effects can also vary based on the specific ingredients and fermentation process used to make the kombucha. 

The bottom line? When consumed in moderation and purchased from a reputable brand, kombucha is generally considered a safe option for most healthy adults. But as always, listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. Moderation and quality are key. 

Also Read: Kombucha Origin: The History of a Beloved Brew

How to Safely Enjoy Flavours Like Kombucha Ginger Drink 

When enjoying kombucha, especially flavoured varieties like lemon ginger kombucha or just kombucha lemon drink it’s best to start slowly to allow your body to adjust to it. Kombucha contains probiotics and acids that can sometimes lead to temporary side effects. But by being mindful of a few precautions, you can safely reap the benefits of kombucha and avoid any dangers. 

Check the ingredients 

Make sure you know exactly what’s in the kombucha you buy, especially if it’s flavoured. Some brands may add a lot of sugar, artificial flavours or other additives. For the healthiest option, choose a brand with natural flavorings and no artificial sweeteners. Organic ginger kombucha with live, active cultures is best. 

Start with a small amount

Don’t gulp down a whole bottle of kombucha at once, especially when you first start drinking it. Begin with just 4 to 8 ounces to allow your digestive system to get accustomed to it. Some people experience temporary side effects like nausea, diarrhoea or headaches. Starting slowly gives your gut microbiome time to adjust to the good bacteria and acids in kombucha. 

Avoid if immunocompromised 

Some medical experts recommend that people with a weakened immune system avoid kombucha. The bacteria and yeasts in kombucha may pose a risk of infection. Check with your doctor first. 

Look for quality signs 

Choose kombucha that is organic, raw, naturally fermented, and contains live, active cultures. It should have a tangy, vinegar-like smell and taste. Fizziness means it’s still fermenting. Cloudiness is normal, which means it contains beneficial yeasts and bacteria. For the most nutritional benefits, avoid pasteurized kombucha. 

By following these tips, you can safely enjoy the potential benefits of kombucha, like improved digestion, increased energy, and better immunity. But go slowly, check with your doctor if needed, and choose the highest quality, most natural kombucha you can find. Your gut will thank you! 

Also Read: Can Children Drink Kombucha?

Signs of Kombucha Overconsumption and When to See a Doctor 

One of the biggest kombucha dangers is simply drinking too much of it. While kombucha is generally safe in normal amounts, overconsumption can lead to unwanted side effects. Here are some signs you may be drinking too much kombucha and when to see a doctor. 

Upset stomach 

Drinking kombucha in excess can irritate your stomach, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. If you experience severe or persistent gastrointestinal issues after drinking kombucha, see your doctor. They may want you to cut back or stop drinking kombucha altogether. 

Weakness or dizziness 

Excessive amounts of kombucha may lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and low blood sugar, which can cause you to feel weak, lightheaded, or dizzy. See a doctor right away if you faint or experience cardiac symptoms like a rapid heartbeat. 

Allergic reaction 

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the yeast, bacteria, or other ingredients in kombucha. Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, hives, and swelling of the lips, face, tongue, and throat or digestive tract. Seek medical help immediately if you have a severe allergic reaction. 

Liver or kidney damage 

While rare, overconsuming kombucha for a long period of time could potentially cause damage to your liver or kidneys, according to some experts. See your doctor for blood work to check your liver and kidney function if you have been drinking a lot of kombuchas daily for months or years. 

Tooth decay 

The acids in kombucha may weaken tooth enamel when consumed in excess. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after drinking kombucha, and don't brush your teeth right away. Limit kombucha to 4 ounces a day and drink it through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth. See your dentist regularly for checkups and if you notice any tooth sensitivity. 

In moderation, kombucha can be safely enjoyed by many people. But as with anything, too much of a good thing can be bad. Be aware of these signs of overconsumption and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the effects of kombucha on your health. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the truth about the potential dangers of kombucha according to science and research. While kombucha can absolutely be part of a healthy diet for most adults, you need to make sure you're drinking it safely and understanding the risks. Moderation is key, as with many things. Pay attention to how your body responds and avoid it if you have certain conditions. 

The next time you reach for a bottle of kombucha, do so knowing the facts and make the choice that is right for you. Knowledge is power, so keep learning and stay informed about what you put in your body. And of course, when in doubt you can always ask your doctor. But for now, grab a bottle of your favourite kombucha from Mountaintribe, relax and enjoy. Your gut will thank you!


Is kombucha alcoholic? 

Kombucha does contain a small amount of alcohol, typically less than 0.5% ABV. The fermentation process produces the alcohol, though most of it evaporates during the process. However, some bottles may contain higher amounts, up to 3% ABV. If you want to avoid alcohol altogether, check the label and consider a non-alcoholic alternative. 

Does kombucha contain caffeine? 

Kombucha is made from tea, so it contains caffeine. The amount can vary but is usually around 15-30 mg per 8 ounce serving, similar to decaffeinated coffee. The fermentation process reduces the caffeine by about 95% compared to the original tea. If you're sensitive to caffeine, look for a kombucha variety made from herbal tea, not black or green tea. 

Is kombucha safe during pregnancy? 

There is no scientific consensus on drinking kombucha during pregnancy. Some concerns include the alcohol and caffeine content, as well as the risk of contamination. As a precaution, most doctors recommend pregnant women avoid kombucha during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Can kombucha cause digestive problems? 

While kombucha contains probiotics that can improve gut health and digestion for some, it may cause discomfort for others. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Usually, reducing the amount or frequency resolves the issues. However, if symptoms persist or become severe, see your doctor. It's possible to have an allergy or sensitivity to kombucha. 

Is homemade kombucha safe? 

Homemade kombucha may have risks of contamination if not prepared properly in a sterile environment. Bacteria, wild yeasts, and mould can contaminate the kombucha and fermentation equipment. It's best for beginners to start with pre-made kombucha from a reputable brand until you get the hang of brewing your own. When you do make your own, be sure to follow a recipe and proper sanitation to minimize risks.