Fluoride in Kombucha: Should You Be Concerned?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist July 1, 2013

kombuchaMy friends Will and Susan Revak, founders of OraWellness, recently wrote a thoughtful article on their concerns about fluoride content in kombucha. The research they uncovered convinced them that the best course of action was to stop drinking kombucha – either store bought or brewed themselves.

Given the devastating health effects that fluoride can wreak, particularly on growing children, they are certainly right to be troubled about the potential for excessive fluoride exposure from kombucha, a traditional Russian drink made from fermenting plain black tea (or a combination of black and green tea) and sugar.

The Fluoride Action Network lists black and green tea consumption as the sixth top reason for fluoride overexposure. Consumption of fluoridated water is #1. The reason is because the leaves of  the tea plant tend to accumulate high levels of fluoride which they take up from the soil.  Excessive intake of tea, particularly bottled or instant tea, has been known to cause a painful bone disease called skeletal fluorosis.

Cow crippled by fluorosisI am no stranger to the devastation of skeletal fluorosis. The picture to the right is of a cow crippled by fluorosis in Polk County, Florida just a few miles from where I live.

The cause of widespread fluorosis in cattle in Central Florida in decades past resulted from the creation of phosphate plants in the 1940′s.

Raw phosphate contains high concentrations of fluoride estimated between 20,000 and 40,000 parts per million or 2-4% of the ore.

When raw phosphate ore is processed into water-soluble phosphate via chemical reaction with sulfuric acid, large amounts of fluoride are vaporized into the air which can contaminate surrounding land with toxic fluoride in the form of hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride.

As a result of the land contamination from the phosphate industry, the cattle population of Polk County, Florida dropped by 30,000 between 1953 and 1960. Farmers fearing for the health of their herds caused an estimated 150,000 acres of cattle land to be abandoned.

According to the former President of the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association:

“Around 1953 we noticed a change in our cattle… We watched our cattle become gaunt and starved, their legs became deformed; they lost their teeth. Reproduction fell off and when a cow did have a calf, it was also affected by this malady or was a stillborn.”

With one of phosphate’s primary uses being the production of commercial fertilizers, the possibility of fluoride residues being absorbed by commercial tea crops being repeatedly treated with phosphate based fertilizers is a very real concern. It is already known that dairy cattle can suffer the effects of severe fluorosis simply through use of mineral supplements made using mined phosphate.

In addition, commercial crops are treated with an array of pesticides and herbicides, 150 of which include fluoride according to the Organic Consumers Association.  The category “Fluorine Insecticides” include Cryolite, Barium hexafluorosilicate, Sodium hexafluorosilicate, Sodium fluoride, and Sulfluramid and the herbicides Trifluralin, Fluometuron and Benefin (Befluralin) (EPA, Aug 97).

Is Organic Tea Any Safer?

With the potential for high levels of fluoride in the soil and uptake by commercially grown tea plants, it seems best to avoid drinking commercially grown tea as much as possible.

What about organic tea?

While studies on fluoride levels in organic tea are sparse, the results are very encouraging.  In tests performed on organic tea by the Weston A. Price Foundation, levels of fluoride in organic tea were found to be very low compared with commercial tea and even lower in kombucha brewed with organic tea.

According to the USDA, commercial black tea was found to contain fluoride at levels of 3.37 parts per million (ppm) in 2005.

Tests on organic tea made with filtered water by the Weston A. Price Foundation found fluoride levels nearly 75% lower at .94 ppm and even lower in kombucha brewed with organic tea (.9 ppm). The testing was performed by Soil Control Lab, Watsonville, CA.

These results suggest that fermentation of the sugar tea water into kombucha may potentially remove some of the fluoride from the tea perhaps via absorption from the kombucha culture itself.

How Does Kombucha Compare with Fluoridated Water?

Probably this statement from the Orawellness article generated the most concern:

“One 16 ounce serving of kombucha can contain as much fluoride as 6 gallons of fluoridated water.”

I’m comfortable challenging this conclusion in that the article only addressed the worst of all possible scenarios and did not include available data on organic tea. I’d like to provide some balance by providing you with a simple layout of the Orawellness data contrasted with a best case scenario using data on fluoride in organic tea published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Fluoride Content of Kombucha (2)

In summary, the worst case scenario of 200 mg of fluoride per gallon of kombucha estimated by OraWellness translates to 25 mg of fluoride per 16 oz serving. While this is indeed high, two other sources measured significantly less even when commercial tea was used.

The Weston A. Price Foundation measured an even smaller amount of fluoride when organic black tea was used to brew the kombucha.

So does a 16 oz serving of kombucha contain as much fluoride as 6 gallons of fluoridated water?

No, not if organic black tea is used.

And, if organic white tea is used, the already low levels of fluoride are reduced even further as white tea is made up of the buds and very young leaves of the tea plant and contain less fluoride than even organic green or black tea.

Strategies for Consuming Kombucha Safely

The Fluoride Action Network says that the ideal goal of consuming tea safely without excessive levels of fluoride is an attainable objective.

The key is for consumers who drink tea and fermented teas like kombucha to be aware of how to source and brew these healthful beverages.  This is not such a different task than learning to source quality meats, vegetables or dairy.

With enjoyment of the many anti-oxidant, enzymatic, and probiotic properties of fermented kombucha tea while minimizing excessive fluoride exposure the goal, here are ways to brew your kombucha and drink it too:

  • Source high quality organic tea. It is important to avoid commercial tea grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides and commercial fertilizers that contain potentially high levels of toxic fluoride from industrial waste sources. Tea grown organically will only take up natural fluoride present in the soil which will be at much lower levels. Traditional cultures have consumed tea and kombucha grown in organic soil where the natural fluoride is in balance with other minerals for hundreds of years safely and with no ill-effect.
  • Consider using mostly organic white tea. Older tea leaves not only contain less anti-oxidants but they also contain  up to 20X more fluoride! Making kombucha with higher quality, young tea leaves will boost the health effects of the fermented tea while also minimizing fluoride. White tea is made with the leaves and buds of the tea plant and would be the highest quality of all and also lowest in fluoride.  In my experience, approximately 20% of the tea used to make kombucha needs to be black tea to achieve optimal fermentation, so using a small amount of high quality organic black tea with the rest organic white tea and filtered water would be a very low fluoride strategy. Click here for the brand I use.
  • Check the country of origin where your tea was grown.  The World Health Organization lists areas of the world where the groundwater is naturally high in fluoride such that it affects the fluoride levels of crops. These areas include large parts of Africa, China, the Middle East and southern Asia (India, Sri Lanka). If you aren’t sure of the source of your tea, call the company and ask and only buy from areas where the tea is not grown in a known fluoride belt.
  • Steep your tea water for no longer than 10 minutes.  Longer steeping times appear to increase the fluoride content of the tea water. The minimum time for steeping is 5-10 minutes in my experience, so set the timer and remove the tea from the tea water immediately when time is up.
  • Avoid bottled kombucha from the store.  There is no way to know if the kombucha purchased at the store is made with high quality, young tea leaves or not.  Most likely it was not as older tea leaves are cheaper than young ones. In addition, it is unknown how long the tea was steeped in the sugar water. As a result, it is best to make your own kombucha where you can control the quality and reserve the bottled kombucha for an infrequent occasion.
  • Use only nonfluoridated water for making kombucha.  This recommendation goes without saying, but I have come across people who make kombucha with tap water that is filtered with a device that does not remove fluoride, so it bears mentioning.
  • Maximize fermentation time.  Ferment your kombucha as long as possible as it seems likely from early test results that the fermentation process itself removes some of the fluoride from the tea.  The suggested time for fermentation is 7-10 days under home temperatures between 65-80F, so opt for a longer fermentation time rather than a shorter cycle. Longer fermentation results in a stronger drink, but you can dilute with a bit of filtered water or bubbly spring water if necessary to cut the taste.
  • Drink kombucha in moderation.  Drinking kombucha with abandon is not a good idea.  I personally do not allow my children to drink more than 8 oz per day.  I myself do not drink more than 12-16 oz per day.  Even healthy beverages should not be consumed to excess.  Addiction to any food or drink even a beneficial one that has been consumed for generations by traditional cultures is not a healthful practice.  Also, remember that fluorosis from tea has only been found in excessive tea drinkers, with bottled and instant the absolute worst likely because old, low quality, commercial tea leaves were used.
  • Learn to make other fermented beverages.  Kombucha is not the only game in town when it comes to fermented beverages.  Water kefir, beet kvass, fermented lemonade, orangeade, and ginger beer are just a few of the others.  Learn to make other healthful beverages that your family will enjoy and then you won’t be dependent on just drinking kombucha for the probiotic and enzymatic benefits it confers.

I will stay abreast of any further testing on the amount of fluoride in various types of tea and kombucha as it becomes available.  For now, I consider home brewed kombucha made with organic tea to be an extremely safe beverage.  The benefits of kombucha far outweigh any risks from fluoride provided proper precautions to source high quality tea and brew it properly are taken.

Want to learn to make kombucha?  Click here for two beginner and two advanced videos on this healthful and delicious traditional beverage.

More Information

Want to know more about kombucha?  These articles provide more detail for your research.

Can Candida Sufferers Drink Kombucha?
Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha
Have You Tried Kombucha?
Safe Traveling with Kombucha
Kombucha: Drink It and Wear It?
Kombucha:  What it is and How to Make it

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Sources:

Why We Don’t Drink Kombucha

Water Sanitation and Health

Fluoride Content in Black Tea, White Tea, Oolong and Green Tea

Top Ten Sources of Fluoride

The Phosphate Fertilizer Industry: An Environmental Overview

Kvass and Kombucha

Organic Consumers Association: Toxic Fluoride

Fertilizer abstracts

Picture Credit

 

Comments (103)

  1. You can also decaf your tea, which removes some (not all) caffeine and some (not all) aluminum and fluoride. Steep loose organic tea for 20 seconds or 30 seconds and throw it out, then re-steep as usual. this will remove some flavor as well, but not too much. A longer first steep removes more caffeine and fluoride, but also more flavor. I use 20 seconds, always, which removes about half the caffeine. A 30 second first steep removes about 75% of the caffeine. I use a large mug for the first steep, and a teapot for the one we drink.
    Blessings!

    Reply
  2. I was wondering if you only use the white tea to brew now or do you still use the black or green as well? In your video you said you used 2 black and 2 green. Thank you for your help and research on our behalf.

    Reply
  3. how can I test for Fluoride….and why are the dental schools teaching that fluoride gel is a matter of concentration….so small that it is not bad for you….are they being subsidized by the fluoride industry????

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  4. I think it is also important to mention to use loose leaf tea as opposed to tea bags, store bought tea bags are the lowest quality of the plant (dust and fannings) Loose leaf tea has more nutrients, and essential oils and less fluoride

    Reply
  5. From GT Synergy on their Kombucha:
    “It is true that green and black teas contain some amount of fluoride.
    However, Kombucha is very unique because it is actually no longer a
    green or black tea after the fermentation. Most of the chemical
    make-up of the tea has been converted or consumed by the Kombucha
    culture. The last time we tested our product for fluoride, the
    results were that it contained a ‘negligible’ amount. In laboratory
    language that means ‘lower than the smallest measurement for that
    testing method’. I apologize that I do not have an exact measurement
    to give you.”

    Reply
  6. Sarah,
    I have a friend who is just beginning chemo therapy for his lymphoma… He really likes my Kombucha, but he became little concerned about drinking it when his doctor advised him that maybe he should stay away from it…. what are your thoughts on Kombucha for cancer patients undergoing chemo?

    thanks

    Reply
  7. I have been brewing kombucha successfully with organic yerba mate for over a year now. My SCOBYs are healthy as can be. Do you know of the difference in Fluoride content there?

    Reply
  8. Happy Herbalist, a “master knombucha brewer” who I get my new SCOBY’s from, has tested different kinds of teas ( several kinds of black,green and jasmine infused, at least two kinds of white, several kinds) and found that white tea actually makes the most glucuronic acid rich kombucha — besides the higher antioxidant levels. I have made kombucha from white tea before, and I agree with Sara that the fermentation process is stronger with black tea (much thicker mushroom, and more fizz, whereas white tea makes a sometimes paper thin mushroom and is much less fizzy USUALLY, I am being general) but I like it a lot, and it is a good alternative to black tea if you are worried about fluoride exposure.

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  9. Hello Readers,

    I am curious as to those out there who have been long term kombucha drinkers. Has anyone noticed any symptoms related to fluoride and had them diagnosed as directly resulting from consuming it? I have only heard of the wonderful effects of drinking kombucha. Has anyone had any negative results? Your replies would be appreciated by all of us I’m sure. Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’ve been making it and drinking it for probably 5 years. No issues that I’m aware of. And I let the tea bags steep overnight as the pot cools. I only drink about 3-4 ounces a day – a wile glass full, flavored with something like elderberries from the garden or fresh ginger slices.

      Reply
  10. Sarah, since this is about tea and I, like you, do not handle the caffeine well… do you still drink Red Tea (Rooibos)? After reading one of your bloggings about caffeine even in decaf, I purchased “Twinings, Herbal Tea, Pure Rooibos Red Tea; naturally caffeine free” – is this one alright? Thank you, Mar.

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist July 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Yes, I drink red tea all the time. Love it! :) Note that the caffeine in kombucha is gone via the fermentation process .. despite being sensitive to caffeine, I don’t have a problem with it.

      Reply
  11. What do I do if I feel like the water in my city is dangerous?
    Recently, the residue left in the distiller went from chalky white to pink/beige, and my entire body started reacting negatively to it. I’d been concerned about something being formulated that will bypass distillation and I think that’s what this is.
    I was getting itchy all over, and havoc has been wreaked on my digestion – things have been in disarray.
    When I first came to this city, I drank a large cup of tap water and I got explosive diarrhea; problems in that area (not the same but problems nonetheless) had begun to show, so I switched to buying other kinds of water.
    This is a disaster. I’m afraid to talk to the city about it, because it would seem they would have been the very people to have implemented such a thing.

    Reply
  12. I found out about fluoride when I was pregnant, being a big tea drinker, I limited my tea and switched to organic only. I was so upset about fluoride herbacide residue and insecticide on so many great, unassuming foods/beverages….like wine and grape juice and produce. thank you for bringing organic tea to the attention of everyone, it IS important to drink organic tea to avoid fluoride as much as possible!

    Reply
  13. They also say that they have seen it cause extreme tooth (enamel) decay as well due to the acidity, correct? Do you have any opinions or research on this? I am slightly concerned with this because my children are 3 and 5. When they get their permanent teeth, I don’t want to jeopardize their oral health.

    Reply
  14. This article has some serious problems. If “studies on fluoride levels in organic tea are sparse” it should not be concluded that fluoride levels in organic tea are different from those in non-organic tea. The figure of 3.37 ppm fluoride in commercial black tea is an average value, and there is a lot of variation. No verifiable reference is given for the values of 0.94 ppm for organic tea or 0.9 ppm for kombucha brewed with organic tea. These concentrations are in the range of those used for artificial water fluoridation, anyhow, and are not safe. Measurements of fluoride concentration in tea can also seriously underestimate actual concentration, especially if using a fluoride ion sensitive electrode because only free fluoride ions are measured, not fluoride ions bound to aluminium and other species, as the following journal article shows.

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12161-012-9514-3/fulltext.html

    The presence of high levels of aluminium in tea is also of concern, because aluminium fluoride complexes activate certain G proteins, with various biological effects, and have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

    The calculation that 0.94 ppm fluoride is equivalent to 0.385 mg/L is incorrect. 0.94 ppm fluoride is the same as 0.94 mg/L, because one litre of water weighs 1 kg. The parts per million unit of measurement is by weight, not a ratio of number of fluoride ions to number of water molecules.

    The article says “The Fluoride Action Network says that the ideal goal of consuming tea safely without excessive levels of fluoride is an attainable objective.” No it doesn’t. The Fluoride Action Network merely says that drinking white tea, which is made from younger leaves with less fluoride and more antioxidants, is less risky than drinking tea made from older leaves. Switching to yerba matte is also suggested.

    It may technically be true that “fluorosis from tea has only been found in excessive tea drinkers”, but that is almost certainly due to insufficient research. The third, crippling stage of skeletal fluorosis has been found in excessive tea drinkers. It is highly likely that many moderate tea drinkers suffer from the second stage of skeletal fluorosis, which also causes serious joint problems. Alcohol and tobacco have also been “consumed for generations”, and they aren’t good for health either.

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  15. Do you have any recommendations on organic brands of kombucha that are ok to use. I don’t have the time or really want another thing brewing in my kitchen so I buy kombucha from our co-op. Thanks

    Reply
  16. I too figured you would have a response Sarah… Thank you, it was how I was thinking you would respond.
    Thanks for your research, and your input!!

    Reply
  17. This post was so very helpful! Can you please tell me what type of organic black, white and green tea you use?

    Reply
  18. The fluoride that is found in tea leaves is Calcium fluoride, while the stuff they put in water is Sodium fluoride. The first is natural and you can actually be deficient if you don’t get trace amounts in your diet (which is fine, because it’s in a lot of things, not just tea) while the second is a toxic industrial waste not fit for human consumption. Too much Calcium Fluoride CAN cause problems, just like excessive iron or copper, etc. can be bad for you. So don’t drink gallons of tea every day.

    Reply
  19. I’m disappointed that you didn’t do research on the different types of fluorides and include it in your article. Almost any type of fluoride that is a by product of some manufactoring process is not a healthy kind, such as the kind you mentioned affecting the cattle in FL. Please do the research on the natural fluoride, (I know there isn’t a whole lot, but it can be found) Start by the natural fluoride that is in the water in NM.

    Reply
  20. Thanks a million, Sarah. I knew we could depend on you and I have anxiously waited for
    the news that I was sure would be ok. I’ve never heard of Kombucha killing anyone.
    You Rock!

    Reply
  21. Jeff Dovalovsky via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Not only is Calcium Fluoride less likely to be absorbed by the body, but the biggest danger relating to Calcium Fluoride is that it’s formed in the body when aqueous Potassium Fluoride dissolves your bones. It’s primarily a result of harm, not a cause of it.

    Reply
  22. Terry Albrecht July 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Sarah, I’m never sure what “filtered” water means since there are so many types of filters and filtering processes for water. I’ve been using CG bottled spring water. It comes in gallon size plastic jugs. Is this type of water safe to use for making Kombucha as this is what I use.
    Thank you for all u do for us:)

    Reply
    • Terry, was this answered by Sarah yet? Sorry, I am new here, so I do not know if Sarah answered you personally without a post. I too would like to know what Sarah means about “filtered water”… I have an idea, but I do not want to assume. If Sarah answered, would you give me the answer? Thanks! Mar.

      Reply
    • Marianna, there are lots of other choices for brushing your teeth rather than toothpaste with fluoride. I use a product called Earthpaste (all natural) and I’ve used other herbal/natural toothpastes, as well. Or just baking soda and/or a good real salt. Lots of people have come up with their own recipes for natural toothpastes. We got more interested in not using toothpaste with fluoride in it some years ago when my mother suddenly had her gums go black and start sloughing off. Scared us – thought she had some kind of mouth disease. She finally figured it out. When she switched to a toothpaste without fluoride (Tom’s), her gums healed up. When she tried a different brand (from what she used before) with the fluoride, her gums went black again. Her dentist just could not believe it. She went back to no fluoride and she’s been fine ever since. She’ll be 80 on her next birthday. She has always lived in areas where the drinking water was not fluoridated so she’s not getting any from that source, either. My dad is going on 93, still driving, and has beautiful teeth. No cavities or fillings. They’ve mainly lived in desert areas in California and Oregon.

      Reply
  23. Hrh Ronnie Cruz Bernardo via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    not all flouride are the same, I guess some people get neurosis when they hear the word flouride, there is naturally occuring and the toxic waste flouride that they dump into water and toothpaste .

    Reply
  24. The fluoride that is found in tea leaves is Calcium fluoride, while the stuff they put in water is Sodium fluoride. The first is natural and you can actually be deficient if you don’t get trace amounts in your diet (which is fine, because it’s in a lot of things, not just tea) while the second is a toxic industrial waste not fit for human consumption. Yes, too much Calcium fluoride can be bad for you, just like too much iron or copper etc. can be bad for you. Don’t over do it.

    Phew! I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled cup of tea/kombucha. =D

    Reply
    • You can’t be deficient in calcium fluoride or any other form of fluoride, because it isn’t an essential nutrient. The body can’t absorb calcium fluoride anyway, unless it is broken down by something such as stomach acid, but then it isn’t calcium fluoride any more, it’s separate calcium and fluoride ions.

      Reply
  25. I was just wondering what water filters people recommend to remove fluoride (among all the other “stuff”)..? I just discovered that the filter we currently use doesn’t remove fluoride, and our water does have fluoride in it. : ( I feel terrible, and want to find a new filter ASAP.

    Thanks to any who take the time to answer!
    -Liz

    Reply
    • We have a Berkey water filter and since our city water is fluoridated we added the fluroride filters to ours. We are very happy with it.

      Reply
    • Reverse Osmoses the only one removes nearly all fluoride. All other filters may remove only up to 50% or less. We use RO and Vitalizer Plus ( http://www.ewater.com/Products/VITPLUS110/ ) for our drinking water. I only drank such good water from best springs, though our city water is most terrible water ever and it tastes like puke. Our RO gets clogged up frequently because of it, so I am really happy that my filter gets it all out. It is pricy, but it is the best filtering system out there. We spend years and lots of money to find the best way to get our water clean and healthy. I am not affiliated with ewater.com

      Reply
  26. Jeeeze…
    Green and Black tea are good, now they’re bad in what we all thought were therapeutic doses. I thought this stuff was to be on par with “holy water”?? How can 4 billion+ Asians be wrong for so many years??

    W.T.Fudge??

    Nelson Mandela lived in a jail cell for some 20 years, eating only lord knows what, being beaten regularly, surviving extreme unimaginable stress for 50+ years of his life and he’s alive a 94 years of age.
    Maybe we are trying to tinkering to much…
    As others have note above, ignorance may just be bliss…….
    I think by now people in this sphere know the basics, it could be approaching a time to tune out, turn off and live life…. ???

    What’s next to be proven incorrect and way off base?

    Reply
    • I agree. Microanalyzing everything is not helpful. Eat like your grandparents, as natural as possible and include a lot of variety. If you’re in good health, the body will handle the toxins.
      All my family members who lived longest (80s and 90s and without degenerative disease) were happy and easygoing – the worriers were the ones who went first. (And they all ate traditionally.) There is something to be said for trusting in our maker and enjoying the time we have on this Earth.

      Reply
      • “If you’re in good health, the body will handle the toxins.” No, not necessarily. Approximately 50% of ingested fluoride accumulates in the body. Your health can be slowly wrecked by fluoride, which is what happened to me.

        Reply
    • This was not careful research. Total fail on mentioning the fact that this is calcium fluoride that naturally occurs in the soil, and can be found in a great deal of the food available, organic or not.
      There is NO relation to the sodium fluoride that is manufactured for the water and dental industry.

      Reply
      • Actually, I am pretty sure that the issue is contamination of the tea leaves with sodium fluoride from, well, sodium fluoride pollution of the air, water, soil, etc. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

        Best article yet Sarah — very level headed and thorough, and aligns with the conclusions I’d already made on the issue. Use organic younger leaves, don’t steep long, try to find a source from a lesser polluted area… drink in moderation… and enjoy some store bought GT’s every now and then without worrying about it!

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  27. Thank you Sarah, I was researching this a couple of nights ago myself and came to the conclusion to brew kombucha with white tea and some herbal teas (without oils). Your article added another dimension though with fluoride belts in the world. I live in India and we have access to SO much wonderful organic tea but now I’m thinking I need to source it elsewhere…

    Reply
  28. Glad I live in Portland, Oregon– no fluoride (we just voted it down again), and some of the best water in the country. I make my own kombucha and *try* to limit its deliciousness to 16-20 oz per day.

    Reply
    • I saw someone somewhere opinionating that Portland’s “crazy” because Seattle has lower dental caries rates. I said, “Yeah, and there are probably a lot more vegans living in Portland.” I mean… come on. I had a tooth fall apart on me while I was still using fluoride toothpaste (which I have not done in MANY years now). Dental health comes down to nutrition, and no one *needs* to ingest fluoride.

      Reply
  29. I remember reading an article some time ago regarding different types of fluoride. Calcium fluoride seems to be present in food, where as fluoride added to the water system (and used in toothpastes) is sodium fluoride. my question is which kind of fluoride is the kind being absorbed by the tea leaves, and if calcium fluoride is present in foods, is it something we should be mindful of.
    thanks

    Reply
    • Good question Michael. I am confused on the same thing. Sara can you specify? (avoiding tea from the “flouride belt” where groundwater has high flouride leads me to believe its naturally occurring….)

      Is it the synthetic or naturally occurring that is toxic? Which one is present in high levels in the tea?

      Reply
  30. Laura Kay Ripley Motyer via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I’ve been making my Kombucha from barley tea for years. It’s delicious & my SCOBY grows better than it did with black tea. My family prefers the taste & I love the added health benefits of good whole grain barley.

    Reply
    • Please, what do you mean by “barley tea?” How do you make it, and if you are referring to the grain (as opposed to the leaf), then this would be a problem for those who can have no gluten?

      Reply
  31. Hi Sarah-
    I follow the 1/2 black, 1/2 green tea instructions explained in your video. Do I replace the black with white? Replace the green with white? Use only white?
    Thanks for the info.!
    Blessings,
    Mary

    Reply
  32. Thanks so much for the post. Since I read this I have been on my co-op page and Amazon looking for an organic white tea. But I’m having a hard time figuring out where they are grown. And then so many of them our from China. Would you care to share what brand you like to use? Thanks for all the great information!

    Reply
  33. Thank you for your timely post. I saw the articles posted against kombucha and I was troubled. Now, I am not.

    Reply
  34. Oh my goodness……doesn’t this all get so exhausting? I too have been concerned about this news since I received the email from ora-wellness. I am 5 months into booch brewing and I absolutely love it. So to read that it now may not be as safe as we thought frustrates the crap out of me.

    I don’t know if I simply subscribe to too many blogs or what, but every week I feel like I learn that something I thought was good is no longer good. No,this is not a dig at Sarah. She is an amazing source of info. I am simply speaking in general. Eat carbs, don’t eat carbs, eat this but don’t eat that. The following week we will learn that is wrong too; we should be eating that over there.

    Its tiring! Not that I would ever go back to eating the way I used to, but I do have to admit I miss the “ignorance is bliss” part of eating like that. I had no idea I was eating crap and I was so happy. Now I switch to real food and its, dont eat peanut butter, its filled with mold. Don’t eat fruit, too much sugar. Nope, this week that’s wrong, eat plenty of fruit. Don’t eat carbs, do eat carbs. Its all so stressful! Now they want to mess with my booch, too???

    I think I’ll go sit in the corner and sulk. This is all too frustratingly annoying!

    Reply
    • Agreed! (Although, I am still thankful to Sarah for the service she provides to us all.)
      I found myself with the same frustration. I decided that I am going to do my best and not let worry take over. Sometimes this means not letting myself read too much or get “too educated” because I can get way too wrapped up in what is right. That’s all you can do. Also, I don’t think that we give genetics and stress enough credit in how it affects health. Simply said, I think there is fuller picture of all that affects our health. Ultimately, we have influence over our health but we don’t have control. If we fool ourselves into thinking we have control, we will lose our minds and be filled with guilt when something goes wrong. Peace of mind will take you far!

      Reply
      • HermiticWonderer July 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        While it IS frustrating to learn that past main stream information isn’t as truthful as it should be, the alternative of being miss-educated or uniformed would be much worse. I am very thankful for people like myself who research, research, research in order to find out these things, as well as, just who is benefiting from this kind of incorrect information floating around. I think that roughly 100% of the time the hidden factor is money and the profit from keeping an entire population in the dark in regards to preventative health is substantial.
        So, while it is extremely irritating I believe we should point that accusatory energy not at those doing the research, but those avidly concealing the truthful information from the public in the first place.
        Great article!

        Reply
  35. Roseann Ligenza-Fisher via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Believe me Michael…we are trying as best as we can to NOT consume the contaminated stuff, but our government makes it difficult when it keeps dumping toxic carcinogenic fluoride in our drinking water in the name of dental health. Nothing is 100% safe, but we try to avoid the bad stuff as much as we can. Sites such as this keeps us well informed in making our choices for our health and our children’s health. So if this irritates you, then go right ahead and eat and drink whatever you want.

    Reply
  36. Karen Peterson Douglass via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 11:05 am

    That’s what I was thinking, Malgorzata! I had learned this somewhere but am having a hard time finding sources.

    Reply
  37. There are two types of fluoride: naturally occurring in tea is calcium fluoride and in drinking water and fertilizers is potassium fluoride. Calcium fluoride doesn’t dissolve in water very well, while potassium fluoride dissolves and becomes highly reactive.

    Reply
    • The two main forms of fluoride found in liquid tea are free fluoride ions and aluminium fluoride complexes. The fluoride compounds used for artificial water fluoridation are hexafluorosilicic acid, sodium hexafluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. All three are highly water soluble.

      Reply
        • You’d have to add a lot of calcium to bind all of the fluoride ions. Seawater has high concentrations of calcium and magnesium, but even so about half of the fluoride in seawater is in the form of free fluoride ions. Also, up to half of ingested calcium fluoride is broken down by stomach acid, with almost complete absorption of the resulting free fluoride ions, mostly after binding with hydrogen.

          Reply
  38. Thanks for this, Sarah. I’d really be interested in how much increase in fluoride there is with long steeping of organic teas. I usually leave my tea in the brew until it cools. The levels are so low that it’s hard to believe steeping it longer would make a major difference.

    Reply
  39. Andrea Barr via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

    My thing is, every so often somebody comes out with something like, “don’t eat the yolks in eggs – they’re high in cholesterol. Don’t eat fish – they have mercury” and then we find out that the cholesterol in the egg is not harmful and the selenium in the fish detoxes you of the mercury.It would not surprise me if we hear of some study finding out something good about the fluoride in tea. My point is, people have consumed kombucha and teas for hundreds of years with good results.Trust traditional foods. Believe that the fruits of the earth are good. Buy organic tea…and stop worrying.

    Reply
    • Yes, people have been drinking tea for centuries, and also eating beef and fish, but the earth is not the same as it was centuries ago. There are toxins in the air, the ground and the sea, so you can’t compare yesterday with today. However, you can strive to avoid toxins or take things that can cleanse your body. Take chorella supplements before eating fish. Look into apple pectin to pull out toxins. Brush your skin. Sit in a dry sauna. Take organic sulfur flakes. I’d rather do this than get sick.

      Reply
    • cyndi phillips July 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Fluoride is a poison, there will never be anything good about it. I believe it caused my thyroid problem which went untreated for many years. You just don’t know how that alone affected my life, robbing me of energy so I could not do simple things like clean house and wondered what was wrong with me. It could also be the cause of my infertility and I have no children because of that. I know someone that had their horses die because of fluoride in the water. No, there is no good about it, no how no way. Fluoride played a huge very negative role in my life and countless others.

      Reply
  40. Michael- They aren’t telling you to stop doing anything. They’re giving people the information so they can make an educated decision on what they do and don’t want to put into their body. Don’t like the information their giving you? Don’t read it or take it to heart! Still wanna drink your tea? Good, drink it! Nobody’s stopping you.

    Reply
  41. Michael Hoess via Facebook July 1, 2013 at 10:26 am

    OH, just stop eating and drinking anything.. really.. is anything safe? Make sure your article says to just stop drinking tea altogether.. and heaven forbid you actually eat food of any kind.. it’s all tainted.. don’t breath the air either.. it’s contaminated too..

    Reply
  42. Thank you so much Sarah for your careful research into this matter. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!!!!

    Reply

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