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Kombucha May Kick Start Fat Metabolism

4 weeks ago

2642  0
Posted on Apr 24, 2024, 2 p.m.

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink that is made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Supporters suggest that this beverage can help to prevent and treat a range of health conditions from weight loss to cancer and high blood pressure. Research suggests that it may provide benefits similar to probiotic supplements such as combating inflammation, preventing constipation, and supporting a healthy immune system. 

Kombucha is loaded with polyphenols, enzymes, acids, and antioxidants that may offer a lot of potential health advantages, but it is far from new, this ancient brew dates back to more than 2,000 years ago. However, within this decade worldwide sales of this fermented and slightly fizzy drink have exploded, with sales skyrocketing from the millions to billions placing Kombucha front and center on many store shelves. 

Many people are turning to kombucha while moving toward a healthier diet and lifestyle to help fight inflammation, support their gut health, overall health, and longevity. But it is worth noting that too much of anything, even if it might be good for you, can have the opposite effect. Kombucha is no exception, drinking too much can lead to adverse reactions such as headache, nausea, GI distress, and going into ketoacidosis. 

Lead toxicity is another concern if it is fermented in clay vessels or other containers that could leach lead into the beverage. Additionally, while most commercially packaged kombucha is fine, homemade batches could have sanitation issues, becoming contaminated with undesirable fungi and the overproduction of yeast making it very important to watch for odd colors and smells.

Recently, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill investigated the microscopic secrets of kombucha’s touted health-boosting prowess. Their peer-reviewed work has been published in the journal PLOS Genetics, finding that its cocktail of bacteria and yeast collectively known as Kombucha Tea-associated microbes (KTMs) provide similar benefits to health as fasting. 

To examine how these microbes interact with metabolism the researchers began with nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, cultivating them on a diet of Kombucha-related microbes, closely mimicking the microbial community that would be found in the fermented beverage. According to the researchers, led by Rachel DuMez-Kornegay, the worms feeding on the KTMs were found to have significant reductions in fat stores due to the KTMs reprogramming their metabolic machinery. 

The researchers report that the KTMs triggered sweeping changes in the worm’s metabolism, in particular in how fats are handled. Worms feeding on the kombucha microbes had an increase in the activity of certain enzymes that break down fat (lipophagy), similar to fasting, but this took place without depriving the worms of food. This finding suggests that the KTMs simulates the effects of fasting at a molecular level, remodeling metabolic pathways to kickstart the fat-burning process. 

“The host metabolic response to actively fermenting KTMs requires an increase in proteins that break down lipids paired with a reduction in a protein that builds triglycerides, which mirrors the events that occur during fasting. These findings are consistent with the reported human health benefits of Kombucha Tea and provide new insights into the host response to Kombucha-associated microbes, which could inform the use of Kombucha in complementary health care approaches in the future,” write the study authors.

“Kombucha is a popular fermented tea that has been purported to have many human health benefits, including protection against metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity,” the authors write. “Our results provide mechanistic insight into how the probiotics in Kombucha Tea reshape host metabolism and how this popular beverage may impact human metabolism.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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