Is Home Brewed Kombucha Safe? How Bad Is It?


Whenever you’re considering putting anything into your body, it’s important to take the time to make sure that it’s going to benefit you rather, than harm you. This is especially important if you decide to make your own kombucha; or you are buying kombucha from a farmer’s market.  Store-bought kombucha is often pasteurized and tested to make sure that it’s safe, but if you’re brewing your own or getting home-brewed kombucha (or the kombucha starter called, SCOBY)  from someone else, there most certainly are some dangers to consider.

First, Kombucha is a wild ferment.

That means that you have little to no control over what exactly is growing in your kombucha. Although it’s supposed to only contain good bacteria, a surprising number of the SCOBY in home-brewed kombucha, can have harmful types of bacteria and yeast growing in them.. Some of which you will end up drinking. Which can lead to problems.

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Because you probably lack the equipment to be testing any homemade kombucha, you have to be extremely careful about these possible contaminants. These can come from not properly sanitizing a container, touching the SCOBY with unwashed hands, or from unknown environmental factors.

If you are worried about whether homemade kombucha safe, then it might not be for you and you should only buy bottled kombucha from the store.

Secondly, Kombucha Contains Unmeasured Amounts Of Alcohol.

For this reason, children should never drink home-brewed alcohol, since there’s no guarantee how much alcohol is in it. Even the commercially-bottled types have some alcohol, so if you do want to give kombucha to your kids, be sure to find one that has the least amount or no alcohol in it. People who are sensitive to alcohol should also avoid home-brewed kombucha for this reason.

Also, Kombucha Contains Sugar.

Although it’s true that much of the sugar is eaten by the bacteria and yeast during the fermentation process, it’s also true that there is still quite a bit of the sugar remaining in the drink afterwards. If you’re trying to eliminate sugar from your diet, then kombucha probably isn’t right for you, especially when you brew it yourself and can’t know exactly how much sugar is left after fermentation.

And last, Kombucha is what is known as a  bio-sorbent.

The SCOBY that’s necessary for creating kombucha is a bio-sorbent, which means it binds to various contaminants and heavy metals. In fact, several studies have shown that SCOBY can be used to clean wastewater of harmful contaminants. What’s dangerous about this factor is that those contaminants and heavy metals can find their way into your kombucha.

What’s important to keep in mind here is that the SCOBY has to come into contact with these contaminants before it can absorb them, which can happen if it is improperly stored in a container that contains something like lead, or (and get this)  when unfiltered tap water is used. Tap water contains trace amounts of heavy metals that the SCOBY will concentrate over time, leading to possible poisoning.

What WebMD Says About Kombucha

Because of a recent bad encounter with home-brewed kombucha that I purchased at a local farmer’s market, I decided to check out what WebMD had to say.

Kumbucha, especially batches made at home where it’s hard to maintain a germ-free environment, can become contaminated with the fungus, Aspergillus and with bacteria, including anthrax. In Iran. 20 people got anthrax infections from taking kumbucha.

Also, home made kumbucha that is made in led-glazed ce-ramic pots, can cause led poisoning.

Here are some more of the warnings that web mdee puts out.

1- Kumbucha is POSSIBLY UNSAFE during pregnancy, and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid kumbucha if you are pregnant.

2 – Kumbucha contains alcohol so it is not great for kids. Or for alcoholics, either.

3 – Kumbucha might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. If you drink kumbucha, watch for signs of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes.

4 – Kumbucha contains caffeine, from the starter teas that are used to make it. The caffeine in kumbucha, especially when taken in large amounts, can cause diarrhea.

Bottom Line

I personally will use only store-bought kombucha. People will say that making your own kombucha is easy. Or they say how healthy it is to buy from a local farmer’s market. But I’d rather error on the side of caution and be sure I and my family are safe.

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