Kombucha may provide similar benefits to green tea and protect against conditions like diabetes and cancer. It also contains probiotics, which can benefit your gut microbiome.

People have consumed kombucha, a type of fermented tea, for thousands of years. Not only does it have the same health benefits as tea — it’s also rich in beneficial probiotics.

Kombucha also contains antioxidants, can kill harmful bacteria, and may help fight several diseases.

Here are the top 7 health benefits of kombucha, based on scientific evidence.

Kombucha is thought to originate in China or Japan.

It’s made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar to black or green tea and then allowing it to ferment for a week or more.

During this process, bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface of the liquid. This is why kombucha is also known as “mushroom tea.”

This blob is a living symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or a SCOBY, and can be used to ferment new kombucha.

The fermentation process produces acetic acid (also found in vinegar) and several other acidic compounds, trace levels of alcohol, and gases that make it carbonated.

A large number of bacteria also grow in the mixture. Kombucha contains several species of lactic acid bacteria that may have a probiotic function.

Probiotics provide your gut with healthy bacteria. These bacteria may improve many aspects of health, including digestion, inflammation, and even weight loss.

Green tea contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants in the body.

Kombucha made from green tea contains many of the same plant compounds and presumably boasts some of the same benefits.

Studies show that drinking green tea regularly or taking supplements containing green tea extract can increase the number of calories you burn, reduce belly fat, improve cholesterol levels, help with blood sugar control, and more.

Studies also show that green tea drinkers have a reduced risk of prostate, breast, and colon cancers.

Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, reactive molecules that can damage your cells. Kombucha, especially when made with green tea, appears to have antioxidant effects on your liver.

Rat studies have found that drinking kombucha regularly reduces liver toxicity caused by toxic chemicals. While no human studies exist on this topic, it seems like a promising research area for people with liver disease.

One of the main substances produced during the fermentation of kombucha is acetic acid, which is also abundant in vinegar.

Like the polyphenols in tea, acetic acid can kill many potentially harmful microorganisms.

Kombucha made from black or green tea has strong antibacterial properties, particularly against infection-causing bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella typhi.

These antimicrobial effects suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts in test tube studies, but they do not affect the beneficial, probiotic bacteria and yeasts involved in kombucha fermentation.

Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death.

Rat studies show that kombucha can greatly improve two markers of heart disease, “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol, in as few as 30 days.

Even more importantly, tea (especially green tea) protects LDL cholesterol particles from oxidation, which is thought to contribute to heart disease.

In fact, green tea drinkers have a lowerrisk of developing heart disease, a benefit that may also apply to kombucha.

Type 2 diabetes affects over 462 million people worldwide. It’s characterized by high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.

A 2012 study in diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbs, which reduced blood sugar levels. It also improved liver and kidney function.

In a 2023 pilot study, participants who consumed kombucha (240 mL/day for 4 weeks) had lower fasting blood sugar levels than baseline, while the placebo group did not.

A 2023 randomized controlled trial found that kombucha lowered the blood sugar response to high glycemic index meals in healthy adults.

Further human studies are needed to investigate the benefits of kombucha for blood sugar management.

Cancer is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It’s characterized by cell mutation and uncontrolled cell growth.

In test-tube studies, kombucha helped prevent the growth and spread of cancerous cells, possibly due to its high concentration of tea polyphenols and antioxidants.

How the anticancer properties of tea polyphenols work isn’t well understood. It’s thought that the polyphenols block gene mutation and the growth of cancer cells while also promoting cancer cell death.

For this reason, it isn’t surprising that tea drinkers are less likely to develop various types of cancer.

However, whether kombucha has anticancer effects on people hasn’t been confirmed. Further studies are needed.

What does kombucha do for the body?

Kombucha made from green tea may offer many of the same health benefits as green tea itself, such as weight loss and blood sugar management.

Studies have shown that antioxidant-rich kombucha protects rats’ liver from toxicity.

Kombucha is also rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts.

It has been shown to improve LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in rats and protect against heart disease. Kombucha also improved several markers of diabetes in rats, including blood sugar levels.

Test tube studies show that kombucha may suppress the growth of cancer cells. It’s unknown whether drinking kombucha has any effects on cancer risk in people.

Is it good to drink kombucha every day?

Kombucha is safe for most people to drink in moderation. Your kombucha of choice — whether store-bought or homemade — ultimately determines how much you can drink without experiencing unwanted side effects.

Kombucha is carbonated, which can lead to bloating when consumed in excess. Some kombucha products are high in sugar, which can also contribute to digestive upset.

Who should not drink kombucha?

Consult with a healthcare professional before drinking kombucha if you have irritable bowel syndrome, a compromised immune system, are pregnant, or are nursing.

Kombucha is a type of tea that has been fermented. This makes it a good source of probiotics, which have many health benefits.

Improperly prepared kombucha may have adverse health effects. A safer option is to buy bottled kombucha at the store.