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One Major Side Effect of Drinking Kombucha, Says Science

The fizzy drink is said to offer a host of health benefits, but there's one not-so-fun side effect.

The fizzy, sweet yet slightly sour beverage is believed to offer a few health benefits, with supporting digestion being at the very top.

Kombucha fans say that the beverage can help facilitate digestive processes, rid your body of toxins, and may even give you more energy. However, there is currently minimal scientific research to back up all of these alleged health benefits.

Here's what we know. Kombucha is made by adding specific strains of bacteria, yeast, and sugar to black or green tea. Then, the beverage ferments for a week or more. Amid this process, the bacteria and yeast form a blob called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). A SCOBY is a living culture that feasts on sugar and grows and evolves—and it's safe to drink.

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Kombucha

The beverage contains several species of lactic acid bacteria, which may act as gut-healthy probiotics in the body. The fermentation process also produces gases, which is what makes kombucha carbonated.

While all of this sounds great, (who wouldn't want a potentially gut health-boosting, bubbly beverage?) there is one not-so-fun side effect that you could experience from drinking too much kombucha: digestive upset.


If you drink the beverage on a daily basis, you could notice some symptoms such as nausea, gas, or even vomiting. However, some people may be more sensitive to drink and may not be able to comfortably drink it at all.

You may even just feel bloated after drinking kombucha, which could be due to the fact that it's carbonated. The beverage contains carbon dioxide and, after swallowing it, your body responds in one of three ways. You either burp the carbon dioxide out, it heads to the small intestine where it's absorbed into your bloodstream, or it hangs out in your stomach and causes bloating.

If it heads to your tummy, that's when you start feeling discomfort, such as nauseousness, bloating, and general gas pains. Those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may experience these symptoms to a greater degree, so keeping your consumption to a minimum may be best.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne
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