7

votes

Why do I feel drunk after a glass of kombucha?

Answered on February 17, 2015
Created December 16, 2011 at 6:26 PM

I've been brewing my own kombucha (and occasionally purchasing the expensive flavored stuff) for a long time, but lately I've noticed that if I don't have a completely full belly when I down a glass I feel really drunk. Could this be a histamine intolerance (explained here http://thatpaleoguy.blogspot.com/2011/04/histamine-intolerance.html )? If not, what the hell is going on? Here's what's happening:

After drinking a glass (even in the middle of it), I start feeling warm and a little woozy. My belly starts feeling weird (kind of like drinking alcohol on an empty stomach), and my balance gets a little off. This happens with the storebought stuff in addition to the homemade stuff I have continuously brewing, so I know that the alcohol content of my vat of kombucha can't be super high... which is what I'd suspect were I not having the same reaction to the Synergy/GTS stuff.

Is there any other possible explanation? Are histamines higher in kombucha than in, say, red wine? I don't think there's a huge amount of sugar in the stuff I brew myself because I let it go for quite a while before drinking it. I have been drinking kombucha for beneficial flora, but man... I'm about to stop if I feel inebriated. I'm just confused as to what is going on.

Thoughts?

22ff0f027308a3a9b32dc8a49611e11a

on February 16, 2015
at 08:38 PM

The Phenol in kombucha is mistaken as alcohol

pheNOL is NOT alcoHOL in the sense that it is not addictive nor intoxicating like traditional alcoholic beverages

The "buzz" may at first feel similar but no matter how much you consume, you do not get "drunker", it plateau's.

Phenol is negatively charged, so it DETOXicates and alcohol being positively INTOXicates, it's all in the PH.

Correctly cured kombucha should be bottled below 3PH but not below 2.7PH when it become too acidic for consumption. Then the kombucha must be incubated. YES, incubated in pressured glass. The bottle should not explode as most of the sugar is already depleted, then the PH will rise and the beverage will carbonate and deplete the residue sugars. You will end up with a beverage that is DRY, not so tarty and Paleo-friendly, Banting, Diabetes and Vegan accredited.

Enjoy!

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on May 17, 2013
at 12:32 AM

I've never been drunk. Right on ya!

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on May 16, 2013
at 10:35 PM

sure it aint sake..? :)

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 18, 2011
at 10:59 AM

I'm histamine intolerant and I feel accordant with grenadines answer. Food, heavily processed by microorganisms, is full of histamines. Kombucha would be food from hell for me.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I'll probably carry on until after the holidays. I've got some elimination stuff to consider anyway, so I might as well do everything at once! Bleh. Man, I hope yeast isn't the issue!

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on December 17, 2011
at 09:49 PM

Well I hope not, but i think the alcohol hypothesis has crumbled. Sounds like you have some good ol' N=1 experimenting to do! Food eliminations/trials! funfun! Or ignore it, and carry on. Be warned if you go the elimination/trial route: sensitivity may increase. This is a major bummer. Upside: knowing how to avoid BRAINFLAMMATION!

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 07:01 PM

I don't drink much now, but I did some in college. I know that drinking on an empty stomach gives me an almost immediate inebriation, and that's what I'm talking about here. The minute I drink a little kombucha (even a couple of sips), it's like I've had a shot of vodka with no food. I thought I was clear enough in my description, but if not I hope this helps. My balance gets wobbly, my brain foggy, and I just generally feel off. It's not particularly pleasant.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Grenadine, that's what I'm afraid of. But what would I be allergic to, the yeast? If that, then is all yeast going to kick my butt? Ugh.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Thanks. I don't do a lot of other yeasty things, so maybe I should keep a close eye on myself when I do have things like kraut/kimchi/etc.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on December 17, 2011
at 03:50 PM

blueballoon, this comment is really the most telling. Alcohol reactions are dose dependent, but allergies.... wellll, y'know. Not so much.

Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on December 17, 2011
at 01:20 PM

I would guess it is a yeast issue.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 10:10 PM

Interesting. I haven't had any major medication changes lately, but I did have a wicked cold virus hit me and then had a biopsy within the last two months. I haven't tracked my reactions, just noticed strong ones lately. Thank you so much! I'll try cutting it with water for now. I know my digestion is way better with ferments like kombucha, so if that'll fix it and/or this is a temporary detox type thing I'll stick with it a bit longer.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 09:39 PM

I typed up some instructions for making water kefir: http://ancestralcrone.blogspot.com/2011/12/brewing-water-kefir-part-1.html

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Thanks! I have not tried water kefir yet. I know a few people who make it, though, so I'll see if I can get my hands on some grains. I do have access to raw dairy kefir, which I might try once I give my system a little more time away from dairy.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:52 PM

Yeah, I've become very aware of serving sizes, but it doesn't seem to matter how small the glass or how slowly I drink it. (This is one reason I'm confused.) Maybe I'm just really, really sensitive to alcohol?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:51 PM

I haven't been, but I encounter the same reaction to the retail stuff as the kombucha I make at home, no matter how much I drink. (Lately I've stuck to less than 4 fl oz at a time because of my reaction.) I might check out a hydrometer. Thanks.

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15 Answers

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3
43cc03b7103f967b9758832ccbceb501

on December 16, 2011
at 09:43 PM

Try mixing it with water to cut the effects. Half and half is s good way to get the flavor and benefits but also the detox of the H2O.

Your case seems strange. Usually if someone is having that reaction they are new to the drink, not drinking it for years. Also, it seems strange that it happens with your Continuous Brew, which obviously you can control how long you let it ferment. I doubt your Kombucha is above 1% alcohol as suggested above.

Perhaps try a shorter brew cycle for a less intense brew? Or you could be experiencing a new round of detox. Have you taken medications recently? Other times the explanation is the Fermented Food/Probiotic/Enzyme/B-Vitamin rush, but again that's usually people who are new to the beverage.

Here's some info about a healing crisis, which happens with many fermented foods: What to do for a Herxheimer Reaction aka Healing Crisis.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 10:10 PM

Interesting. I haven't had any major medication changes lately, but I did have a wicked cold virus hit me and then had a biopsy within the last two months. I haven't tracked my reactions, just noticed strong ones lately. Thank you so much! I'll try cutting it with water for now. I know my digestion is way better with ferments like kombucha, so if that'll fix it and/or this is a temporary detox type thing I'll stick with it a bit longer.

6
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on December 16, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Are you keeping track of the ABV of your kombucha? You can ferment that stuff to however high you want, I think the last batch I made ended up at around 9% using a champagne yeast. Retail ABV is around .5-3%. Mayhaps you've got something boozy, in addition to being tasty, on your hands.

You just need a hydrometer to track it.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:51 PM

I haven't been, but I encounter the same reaction to the retail stuff as the kombucha I make at home, no matter how much I drink. (Lately I've stuck to less than 4 fl oz at a time because of my reaction.) I might check out a hydrometer. Thanks.

3
559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on December 17, 2011
at 03:08 AM

I used to brew my own.. but developed an allergy/intolerance (maybe i always had it? and it only became clear after dropping gluten?) and had to give it up. I really didn't mind the woozy flush when drinking it -kinda liked it actually :) - but the hangover/aftermath became killer, for me. (weird, right?) I'm attributing the intolerance to yeast, but honestly i don't know -- maybe histamines?

I do have to now avoid other yeasty stuff like kefir, kimchi, champagne, and hard apple cider; and i also go easy on vinegar. Also aged/blue cheeses. All of these things were previously favorites/staples in my diet. Just my experience, fwiw. I really hope it doesn't turn out to be yours! O, how I loved kombucha.

Bad3a78e228c67a7513c28f17c36b3cf

(1387)

on December 17, 2011
at 01:20 PM

I would guess it is a yeast issue.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 06:51 PM

Thanks. I don't do a lot of other yeasty things, so maybe I should keep a close eye on myself when I do have things like kraut/kimchi/etc.

50e94d7b6b01e6cb87889c6541adc90c

(813)

on December 18, 2011
at 10:59 AM

I'm histamine intolerant and I feel accordant with grenadines answer. Food, heavily processed by microorganisms, is full of histamines. Kombucha would be food from hell for me.

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 07:25 PM

If you know anyone who makes water kefir, you might want to try that. It runs only about 1% alcohol, so if you react to it you ARE really sensitive. I don't even notice it in mine.

If you find you can drink it, you have a strong probiotic drink and it only takes a day or 2 to brew it.

There's also dairy kefir made in milk but the water kefir would be more comparable to your kombucha.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on December 16, 2011
at 09:39 PM

I typed up some instructions for making water kefir: http://ancestralcrone.blogspot.com/2011/12/brewing-water-kefir-part-1.html

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Thanks! I have not tried water kefir yet. I know a few people who make it, though, so I'll see if I can get my hands on some grains. I do have access to raw dairy kefir, which I might try once I give my system a little more time away from dairy.

1
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on January 26, 2012
at 03:34 AM

The synnergy brand kombucha was not available for several months because its alcohol level was too high for the batch. Therefor by law they were not allowed to be sold in my state.

1
B479ce7bac731391b7f06653a839a6d0

on January 26, 2012
at 03:25 AM

I have the exact same reaction to kombucha, thought it was just me. And I do suspect that I have some sort of amine intolerance, since I have a terrible gut reaction to sauerkraut, Kimchi, champagne, and blue cheese.

It's not exactly a drunk feeling, more like a high feeling, but yeah, not very pleasant. Woozy, tired, trouble walking straight, fuzzy-headed.

I also have bad nasal allergies (dust mites and ragweed being the worst) and eczema - all of that being an auto-immune issue, so maybe the amine/histamine thing has something to do with that?

Let me know if you get any decisive answers on it (from a naturopath? Nutritionist? Not sure who to see about it)...

1
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:50 PM

I've noticed a lot of (understandable) variation in the commercial stuff. there could be enough to occasionally throw you off.

0
D21a151e4dc8998620511aeb273a5bd0

on February 17, 2015
at 12:44 AM

I feel the same way when I let my Kombucha go too long, which I've always attributed to alc content. Perhaps the storebought kombucha is high in alcohol too. I think Whole Foods stopped selling some because they couldn't monitor alcohol content. Are you generally sensitive to booze?

0
D05aef7527f0202c1832a559759a1a8f

on May 16, 2013
at 10:23 PM

i think it depends on how well you tolerate alcohol. if you are a light weight drinking beer or wine then you will be affected by kombucha.

0
77282f84b692d2d99792c7b221e99860

on April 15, 2013
at 11:11 PM

Look into yeast allergy. Kombucha and water keifer have yeast in them.

0
194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:22 PM

Sounds like sugar.

0
5397aae15aca8e82ea39c85c5973d944

on August 31, 2012
at 11:14 PM

Fermented foods can create an alcohol-type reaction via creation of yeast/candida. Just like carbs in high quantity eaten quickly can make you feel drunk.

I know fermented foods have become the darling of many gut-healing and other regimes, but they aren't good for everyone. Just like raw foods are fantastic for many people, while others just can't digest them well.

0
Fdf24438873afe226cac2cc357d017ee

on April 14, 2012
at 04:56 AM

I too get "woozy" with Kifer water. Others don't. It would be interesting to know why. But, I'm just going to keep drinking them cuz I really like the taste.

0
Medium avatar

on December 17, 2011
at 05:44 AM

You mention very little about your alcohol drinking history, hence it's hard to know what you mean about kombuchas having an alcohol-like effect.

Kind of like saying, "When I do X, I feel really warm, like I have felt at times in my life when I was in warm places."

It all floats. We can't land anywhere. Missing and necessary: specifics, details, distinctions, facts.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 07:01 PM

I don't drink much now, but I did some in college. I know that drinking on an empty stomach gives me an almost immediate inebriation, and that's what I'm talking about here. The minute I drink a little kombucha (even a couple of sips), it's like I've had a shot of vodka with no food. I thought I was clear enough in my description, but if not I hope this helps. My balance gets wobbly, my brain foggy, and I just generally feel off. It's not particularly pleasant.

0
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:38 PM

Kombucha, by virtue of its brewing process, contains a small amount of alcohol. If you're sensitive, after a large glass of kombucha, you'll have a reaction very similar to sipping on a glass of wine. I've gotten past this myself with fermented/brewed drinks like kombucha and cultured coconut water (like KyVita) by drinking it a LOT more slowly, and being very aware of my serving sizes.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 06:53 PM

Grenadine, that's what I'm afraid of. But what would I be allergic to, the yeast? If that, then is all yeast going to kick my butt? Ugh.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on December 17, 2011
at 09:49 PM

Well I hope not, but i think the alcohol hypothesis has crumbled. Sounds like you have some good ol' N=1 experimenting to do! Food eliminations/trials! funfun! Or ignore it, and carry on. Be warned if you go the elimination/trial route: sensitivity may increase. This is a major bummer. Upside: knowing how to avoid BRAINFLAMMATION!

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 16, 2011
at 06:52 PM

Yeah, I've become very aware of serving sizes, but it doesn't seem to matter how small the glass or how slowly I drink it. (This is one reason I'm confused.) Maybe I'm just really, really sensitive to alcohol?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on December 17, 2011
at 03:50 PM

blueballoon, this comment is really the most telling. Alcohol reactions are dose dependent, but allergies.... wellll, y'know. Not so much.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on December 17, 2011
at 11:09 PM

I'll probably carry on until after the holidays. I've got some elimination stuff to consider anyway, so I might as well do everything at once! Bleh. Man, I hope yeast isn't the issue!

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