We love drinking kombucha for its sweet fizziness and probiotic boost, but is it helping us get regular, too? Kombucha and other fermented foods have made their way to the forefront of the wellness world as we become more educated on the benefits of good gut health and a diverse microbiome.
From protecting us from illness to boosting our brain health, it seems like there’s nothing that probiotics can’t do. But the jury is out on if kombucha specifically can help alleviate constipation or smooth our digestive process.
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We reached out to Lisa Valente, MS, RD, nutrition editor at Cooking Light and EatingWell, and Ali S. Taha, MD, PhD, a representative from the American Gastroenterological Association, to hear their thoughts on if kombucha can help us poop.
“Kombucha is touted to help with digestion because it has probiotics,” Valente says. “Probiotics are good for you bacteria linked with gut health. The problem is, you don't always know how many probiotics and which strains you're getting in kombucha.”
Taha also isn’t fully convinced that kombucha is a guaranteed digestive aid. He says while his view as a scientist might differ from others with their own personal experiences, he has yet to see scientific evidence for the effectiveness of this product to help with bowel movements.
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“The absence of scientific evidence isn’t saying that kombucha is not effective, but I would like to see placebo studies done for this product, like with other scientifically proven digestive aids.”
Taha notes the alcohol content found in kombucha is also a cause for concern as a gastroenterologist—even in its small amount. He says alcohol can cause liver and gastrointestinal disease, and we have access to so many different products that are scientifically proven to alleviate constipation that don’t have those long-term consequences.
Valente says kombucha is delicious but she’s not so sure about all the health hype surrounding the beverage. So for now we can enjoy our kombucha for its flavor, B vitamin content, and potentially improved gut health, but we’ll stick to scientifically proven tools, like coffee and fibrous foods, to get our digestive systems on track!
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