Liver DAMAGE from Kombucha?

Commented on November 14, 2014
Created November 14, 2014 at 2:08 AM

Is there any evidence that regularly consuming well-fermented Kombucha could cause liver damage? 

Found this: A case of kombucha tea toxicity.

J Intensive Care Med. 2009. Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. 
Kombucha mushroom tea is touted to have medicinal properties. Here, we present a case of hyperthermia, lactic acidosis, and acute renal failure within 15 hours of Kombucha tea ingestion. A 22 year old male, newly diagnosed with HIV, became short of breath and febrile to 103 F within twelve hours of Kombucha tea ingestion. He subsequently became combative and confused, requiring sedation and intubation for airway control. Laboratories revealed a lactate of 12.9 mmol/L, and serum creatinine of 2.1 mg/dL. Kombucha tea is black tea fermented in a yeast-bacteria medium. Several case reports exist of serious, and sometimes fatal, hepatic dysfunction and lactic acidosis within close proximity to ingestion. While Kombucha tea is considered a healthy elixir, the limited evidence currently available raises considerable concern that it may pose serious health risks.


Unrelated question: how do the probiotic bacteria get "out"of the Scoby and into the water? Wouldn't you have to eat the actual Scoby to get the probiotics, since otherwise you're just drinking fermented sugarwater? 

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1 Answers



on November 14, 2014
at 12:35 PM

The scoby is made of bacteria and yeasts.  Just because you see a big blob of a colony doesn't mean they don't move around and out.  The same way that you might see liquid separate from yogurt, that liquid whey does contain some of the bacteria too.  They don't just all clump together, some move around; live cultures do that.


Someone with HIV has a compromised immune system.  ANY bacteria, virus, or yeast could kill them.



on November 14, 2014
at 01:36 PM

And that translates to liver damage from

kombucha how? 



on November 14, 2014
at 04:35 PM

You tell me, you posted part of a paper about kombucha causing infection to someone with a compromised immune system. :)  I certainly answered the other half of your question.

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