Kombucha is a popular fermented tea drink with many impressive health benefits.
For example, it’s a rich source of probiotics and antioxidants ().
Plus, it has antimicrobial qualities and has been shown to reduce heart disease risk factors and blood sugar levels (, 3, ).
But although kombucha is good for you, it’s possible to drink too much.
Here are 5 possible side effects of drinking too much kombucha.
There are many different kinds of kombucha available to consumers.
While some are low in calories, others can have up to 120 calories per bottle (5).
Sipping an occasional kombucha drink won’t hurt your waistline, but drinking kombucha daily may contribute to excess calorie consumption, which can lead to weight gain.
People who frequently drink beverages high in calories are more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don’t ().
This is because liquid calories are much easier to consume and less filling than calories from solid foods.
Plus, calorie-laden beverages often take the place of more filling, nutritious snacks that can help you feel fuller for longer.
Summary Some kombucha brands are high in calories. Consuming too many high-calorie drinks can contribute to weight gain and may take the place of nutritious foods.
Kombucha has been found to benefit digestive health due to its probiotics, or beneficial bacteria. However, consuming too much may cause side effects ().
Because kombucha is carbonated, too much may lead to bloating.
Drinking carbonated beverages delivers carbon dioxide (CO2) into the digestive system, which may cause bloating and excess gas ().
Additionally, kombucha contains compounds called FODMAPs, specific types of carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress in many people, particularly those with IBS ().
Lastly, consuming too many kombucha drinks may lead to excessive sugar intake, which can cause water to be drawn into your intestines, causing diarrhea (, ).
For these reasons, some people may experience bloating, gas and diarrhea if they consume too much kombucha.
Summary Kombucha is carbonated, can be high in sugar and contains FODMAPs, which may cause digestive upset in some people.
Many kombucha drinks are sweetened with fruit juice or cane sugar to make the product more appealing to customers.
While this may make kombucha taste delicious, it increases the sugar content of the beverage.
When consumed in excess, added sugars — especially from sugar-sweetened beverages — can negatively impact your health in a number of ways.
For example, sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver and heart disease (, , , ).
Depending on the brand, just one serving of kombucha can contain as much as 28 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 7 teaspoons (19).
Though some brands of kombucha are high in sugar, other kombucha products make better choices.
When shopping for kombucha, look for drinks that contain less than 4 grams of sugar per serving to keep your added sugar intake to a minimum.
Summary Certain kinds of kombucha are high in sugar, which is not good for your overall health. Purchasing low-sugar kombucha products whenever possible is the healthiest option.
While kombucha is safe for most people, it can cause severe side effects in some.
Because kombucha is unpasteurized and contains a mix of different types of bacteria and yeasts, it can promote the growth of opportunistic bacteria that can lead to infections in certain people.
For instance, those who have weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer, kidney disease or HIV, can develop serious complications from drinking kombucha ().
Although rare, there have been reported cases of severe allergic reactions, acidosis and liver complications due to potentially contaminated kombucha consumption ().
Summary Those with compromised immune systems and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid drinking kombucha.
Kombucha is usually made with black or green tea, both of which contain caffeine.
Although kombucha contains far less caffeine than traditional brewed tea, it’s possible to consume too much caffeine if you’re overdoing it on kombucha.
For example, GT’s Kombucha contains anywhere between 8 to 14 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce (240-ml) serving (23).
While that’s a small amount compared to the 47 mg of caffeine found in one cup of brewed black tea, drinking too much kombucha can impact those sensitive to this stimulant (24).
People sensitive to the effects of caffeine may feel anxious or jittery if consuming too much kombucha ().
Plus, drinking kombucha close to bedtime may cause sleep disruptions.
Summary Kombucha contains caffeine, which may cause unwanted side effects in certain people.
Though kombucha is safe for most people, it’s best to limit your intake for several reasons.
It can be high in calories and sugar, so overindulging isn’t the best choice for your health.
To reap the benefits of kombucha without consuming too many calories, limit your intake to one to two 8-ounce (240-ml) servings per day.
It’s important to note that most kombucha bottles contain two servings — 16 ounces or about 480 ml.
Choose high-quality, low-calorie, low-sugar products stored in dark glass containers. This packaging protects the probiotics from light damage.
Pick a kombucha that delivers no more than 50 calories per serving to keep liquid calorie intake in check.
Summary Limiting your kombucha intake to one or two servings per day is best. Focus on products that are high in quality and low in calories and sugar.
When brewing kombucha at home, it’s important to follow safety protocol.
Brewing kombucha incorrectly could result in a contaminated final product that could pose serious health risks.
For example, chemicals from ceramic or lead-containing vessels could contaminate your kombucha, which is why this drink should only be stored and prepared in glass containers.
Always brew kombucha using sterile equipment in sanitary conditions and follow directions when using a kombucha-brewing kit.
Learning how to properly prepare and ferment kombucha before making your first batch is the best way to avoid potential safety risks.
Summary When home-brewing kombucha, proper preparation and fermentation techniques are key to ensuring a safe product.
Kombucha has been linked to a wide array of benefits, leading some people to overconsume this beverage.
Drinking too much kombucha can lead to excess sugar and calorie intake and side effects like digestive distress.
It's also unpasteurized and contains small amounts of caffeine and alcohol. This makes it off limits for some, including people with weakened immune systems, those sensitive to caffeine and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Limit consumption to one to two servings per day to reap the health benefits of kombucha without going overboard.