Important tips for consuming kombucha to avoid candida flare-ups and why some people who drink it experience worsened symptoms temporarily.
I’ve been asked more than once recently if kombucha is beneficial for those who are battling candida overgrowth. There is evidently a school of thought making the rounds that candida sufferers best avoid this healthful, traditionally fermented beverage.
Is avoidance truly a good course of action? Or, can this probiotic rich beverage actually help gut healing?
What Exactly Is Kombucha?
For those of you new to this delicious beverage, kombucha is a traditional Russian drink that is made from fermenting plain black tea (or a combination of black and green tea) and sugar. It has been consumed for hundreds of years and, through extensive testing in Russia, proven to be an effective overall detoxifier through the binding of the organic acids to toxins present in the body.
Once tightly bound to the organic acids, the toxins are then rushed to the kidneys for excretion.
Russian communities that drink a lot of kombucha do not suffer from cancer at the high rates that plague folks who live near that country’s toxin spewing factories — even when the local flora and fauna are dying!
During the years of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union used kombucha as one of its secret weapons in the training of its Olympic athletes — the athletes would drink up to 1 quart of kombucha per day to help them train harder.
The popularity of kombucha in North America has been steadily growing for the past 20 years or so. I’ve been brewing kombucha in our home since 2001, and it has proved to be an integral part of our family’s overall wellness strategy.
Do Kombucha and Candida Mix?
We’ve established that kombucha is a healthy, traditional beverage. But, what if a person has candida overgrowth? Will the fact that kombucha contains beneficial yeasts as well as bacteria in the final brew aggravate the situation?
The key is that kombucha contains beneficial yeasts, not pathogenic ones like candida.
Therefore, when someone with candida starts drinking kombucha for the first time, there may indeed be a flare up of symptoms that may confuse the person into thinking that the kombucha is actually making the problem worse.
In fact, this flare up of candida symptoms is more than likely only temporary as the beneficial yeasts and probiotics in this traditional fermented drink begin to rebalance the gut environment.
Rebalancing of the gut environment involves die off of possibly large amounts of pathogens which causes symptoms to flare up temporarily.
How Fermented Tea Discourages Yeast Overgrowth
This short term aggravation of symptoms is sometimes referred to as “a healing crisis” and is necessary if improvement in the gut environment is to occur over the long term.
A healing crisis can occur not only with kombucha, but with other fermented beverages such as kefir or even yogurt.
A friend of mine noticed when she started drinking kefir awhile back that her eczema flared up. I told her to keep on with it and it would eventually go away on its own as the die of symptoms from the aggressive probiotics in the kefir lessened. Sure enough, her eczema went away and her overall health improved considerably from the introduction of raw kefir into her diet.
Even though kombucha can be enjoyed by candida sufferers, it is certainly possible for some folks to not react well to kombucha regardless of whether they suffer from gut imbalance or not. There is no food or drink even if traditional and nourishing that works well for absolutely everyone.
On a personal note, my husband and I both used to suffer from candida overgrowth years ago prior to our introduction to Traditional Foods and kombucha in particular. We have found over the years that drinking kombucha on a daily basis does in fact help considerably in keeping the problem at bay by working to maintain a balanced gut environment.
So drink up and enjoy your kombucha even if candida is something you are working to resolve at the moment. Just be aware that you may get worse before you ultimately get better.
Watch Out for Commercial Brands!
Please note that the kombucha that is safe to drink if you have candida is only plain kombucha ideally brewed yourself. Watch out for commercial kombucha, however!
Store kombucha consumption presents a very real candida flare-up risk. Many if not most commercial brands are loaded with sugar. Definitely avoid them if you have candida issues!
Want to know more about kombucha and candida? These articles provide more detail for your research.
Fluoride in Kombucha
Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?
Jun Tea: Kombucha Champagne
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha
Have You Tried Kombucha?
Safe Traveling with Kombucha
Kombucha: Drink It and Wear It?
Pau d’Arco: Best Herb for Treating Candida
Biofilms: Overlooked Step in Treating Candida
Is it okay to use black tea for kombucha if I have Candida or is an herbal tea recommended? I read something about black tea and mold. Also, I let my kombucha sit a month usually. It never tastes too strong/vinegar-y. Is that okay? Thanks!
Sarah Pope MGA
Black tea or a 50-50 combination of black and green tea is best. You won’t have any mold issues if you use the proper amount of starter.
Sarah, thanks for the article. How long can a “only temporary” flare up last? Obviously it’ll vary for every person, but I’m wondering to know how long your eczema friend’s kefir flare up lasted and a rough idea if a flare up could mean days, weeks, months, or years?
Sarah Pope MGA
I don’t know how long her flare-up lasted. I believe that she backed off from using so much until the symptoms subsided, and then gradually increased as her digestive system slowly adjusted in a positive manner.
Donna A Arnold
I’d just like to add my experience with Kombucha (in particular Brew dr.) I loved kombucha. I drank one bottle each day. I began to notice that after a few weeks I would be bloated and develop constipation, which I’ve never had any problems with before. I stopped drinking it, got back to normal, and thought maybe it was something else so I went back to drinking it. All the symptoms started up again only it was worse than before. I believe I have either a histamine intolerance or candida, which is exasperated by drinking Kombucha.
I recently started brewing kombucha, and after two weeks, my kombucha gets cloudy during it’s brewing season. Is this unhealthy to drink?
Sarah Pope MGA
Sometimes the kombucha will brew up a bit cloudy. There is quite a bit of variation season to season.
I thought Kombucha comes from Eastern Asia
I have FATTY LIVER, Biliary cirrhosis, and chronic pancreatitis along with diabetes and a history of Candida. I enjoyed kombucha daily for about 2-3 weeks. Then I developed a pancreatic inflammation flare up and realized I had to stop kombacha because of the alcohol content. Alas. I know this is a unique reaction.
For the record, my ENT diagnosed me with Candida overgrowth in my throat and esophagus. Not sure how far it’s gotten, gut-wise… I read your early blog post about the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse- and within an hour of the first dose — my stomach started churning and it was off to the restroom. All I can say is, YEAH, THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Granted, it gave me a fit of diarrhea for a few hours but I’ll take it if it means expelling these toxins from my body.
Thank you so much for the Lady Soma recommendation! I took 2 pills, popped a probiotic, and now have finally have that horrible thing out of my throat. . .