Kombucha is a popular fermented beverage that boasts a range of health benefits. That said, many have wondered whether kombucha has an effect on bowel movements. What does the science say? Does kombucha really make you poop? Let’s take a look.
Kombucha is a popular fermented tea known for its sweet fizziness. Originally made from black tea, kombucha is also made from some other forms of tea, including green tea.
Little is actually known about the history of kombucha. But over the years it’s become increasingly available around the world, and it’s in especially high demand in the United States. Lovers of kombucha point to its sweet taste and plentiful health benefits as reasons for its popularity. While research to date is somewhat limited, there are good reasons to believe that kombucha can be a healthy addition to your diet.
To make kombucha, a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) is added to the tea for fermentation. Fermentation takes place in the process of the bacteria and yeast breaking down the tea’s sugar and releasing good bacteria (probiotics). This leads to kombucha’s trademark fizz, as well as its gut-supporting health benefits. (More on that below.) Kombucha also contains acetic acid, B vitamins, polyphenols, and minerals.
A big part of kombucha’s popularity is its many health benefits. First of all, the tea base, whether green or black, is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect your body cells from free radicals and manage oxidative stress. This is important because oxidative stress can contribute to a range of health problems, whether physical, mental, or emotional. Managing oxidative stress is an important step toward a healthier life.
Another health benefit of kombucha is the way it promotes healthy digestive functions. Kombucha is typically loaded with probiotics – or “good bacteria” – that support the health of the gut microbiome. This has implications for the health of your whole body, as the nutrients your body needs all have to pass through the gut. In other words, a healthy gut leads to a healthier body.
Studies have also found that a healthier gut microbiome can support a healthier immune system. This suggests that the gut health benefits and antioxidant-like properties of kombucha can help support your immune system.
Kombucha is also loaded up with micronutrients that can support the health of your body in myriad ways.
So, why do folks think kombucha affects bowel movements? It could have something to do with kombucha’s known effects on gut health. Beyond that there’s some anecdotal evidence. Let’s see what the research says.
Let’s set this matter straight: No, kombucha is not a laxative. That’s because a laxative is a compound designed specifically to loosen stools and increase bowel movements. Kombucha isn’t made for that.
Because kombucha is loaded with probiotics, it may help increase bowel movements; indeed, studies have found that probiotics may improve gut transit time. So, you could say that kombucha can occasionally have a slight laxative effect. However the amount of probiotics present in kombucha beverages can vary.
Studies have found that probiotics have a positive impact on digestive health. That’s because your gut health is largely determined by having the right balance in the microbiome. Probiotics, as good bacteria, help improve this balance. This study found that probiotics can help promote gastrointestinal health. Moreover, this study found that probiotics can help people increase their weekly number of stools by supporting gut motility. That said, more studies are needed to determine the exact strains of probiotics that contribute to better digestive health and increased bowel movements.
Kombucha consumption has been linked to some possible side effects. The most common potential symptoms may be digestive such as bloating and increased flatulence. These can be signs of the microbiome adjusting. A good rule of thumb, then, is to start your kombucha consumption in small amounts to see how you do. You can then increase the amount you consume as your tolerance improves. You should also try to avoid drinking too much kombucha in one sitting.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your kombucha, be sure to use a brand that’s naturally sweetened or low in sugar content. You should also pick a flavor you like! Drinking kombucha should be a pleasurable experience. It’s usually best to go for store-bought kombucha. But when you’re brewing kombucha at home, you’ll want to take care to ensure that the conditions are sanitary.
Here’s the bottom line: The probiotics in kombucha are good for your gut, but we can’t say definitively that they’ll make you poop. Kombucha is not a laxative. Nevertheless, studies have linked probiotic consumption with enhanced gut transit time and digestive function.
Kombucha’s increased popularity is owed largely to its sweet, fizzy taste and the range of health benefits it can promote. These include boosting immune function, digestive health, and better management of oxidative stress.