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Is Kombucha good for hangovers? If you're asking this question, then chances are you've tried a few hangover cures in your time that haven't worked and wondering if Kombucha is the answer.
Kombucha is a traditional Asian tea that is said to have many different health benefits. Some even recommend it as a hangover cure after a big night out.
But is kombucha actually good for hangovers?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the health benefits of kombucha tea and whether it can help reduce hangover symptoms.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha has been used for centuries in Asia and is made by adding strains of yeast and bacteria to black or green tea.
Adding the bacteria and yeast kickstarts the fermentation process which produces acetic acid (what vinegar is made of) as well as very small amounts of alcohol.
The drink is then filtered leaving behind the by-products of the fermentation process which is what is perceived to have positive health benefits.
In summary, kombucha is basically fermented tea!
Next up, we’ll look at what the reported health benefits are and whether these can be useful for hangovers.
Kombucha health benefits
A quick search online will tell you that Kombucha is a probiotic, antioxidant and can even kill bacteria!
Can kombucha really have such powerful health effects?
Let’s dig deeper into the claims next.
The antioxidant properties of Kombucha mainly come from its origin as a tea. For example, green tea is known to have high concentrations of antioxidants known as polyphenols. Polyphenols are naturally occurring substances that neutralize free radicals.
Kombucha is made by adding bacteria to tea. Therefore, it will naturally contain bacteria in it and this is where it gets its reputation as a probiotic. That said, the probiotic action of Kombucha has not been proven.
Acetic acid is one of the by-products formed whek kombucha is produced. This is essentially vinegar which has mild antibacterial properties. (Apple cider vinegar is another popular hangover cure which is also just acetic acid. You can read more about this here.)
A study showed that kombucha killed certain types of bacteria when put alongside one another in a petri dish. However, given that kombucha contains acetic acid, this is to be expected and does not mean it has antimicrobial properties when ingested.(1)
In summary, there is very little evidence for Kombucha having any real health benefits. At the time of writing Kombucha has only ever been studied in one human trial.(2). Therefore, any health claims should be taken with a pinch of salt.
So, with the basics about kombucha out the way, let's take a closer look at whether it's good to drink for hangovers.
Is Kombucha good for hangovers?
Now on to the all-important question, is kombucha actually good for hangovers?
Before we get into this answer, we first need to go over the ways in which alcohol causes hangovers. After all, it'll be hard to tell if kombucha works without knowing the root cause of a hangover.
Alcohol is a diuretic. That means it makes your kidneys flush out water making you dehydrated.
When alcohol is broken down in your liver, toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde are formed. These are highly volatile and react with your cells causing inflammation.
Poor sleep quality
Alcohol blocks your brain from reaching the REM stage of sleep. This is the deepest stage of sleep and is essential for waking up feeling fully rested. That's why sleep quality is never as good after a few drinks compared to being sober.
Kombucha is essentially just fermented tea. It may be argued that it contains more nutrients than regular tea, but overall the difference is negligible. Therefore, it's highly unlikely to have any other benefit for a hangover.
Is Kombucha a hangover cure?
You've probably guessed the answer to this question by now. Unfortunatley, Kombucha is not a hangover cure.
Can Kombucha make hangovers worse?
If you’re considering trying Kombucha as a hangover remedy, there are a few potential negatives to be aware of.
The most common side effects include abdominal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea. The acidity and high sugar levels of some kombucha brands can be unsettling .
Because kombucha is made from fermented green tea, it will naturally contain caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you feel more on edge shaky. So, it may not be the best drink to have when hungover. you can read more about this in our article about caffeine for hangovers.
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a sign from your body that you've been drinking too much alcohol for it to handle. Trying to "cure" a hangover by drinking kombucha is not the best approach.
Prevention is always better than cure. Drinking plenty of water on your night out, having a meal before going out, and sticking to lighter colored drinks will go a long way to prevent the worst hangovers.
In addition, you may want to consider sticking to lighter colored alcoholic drinks that contain a lower concentration of congeners. That's because congeners have been shown to make hangovers more severe.
Kombucha for hangovers – final verdict
That brings us to the end of our look into Kombucha for hangovers. Although marketed as a health drink, there is very little evidence that it has any benefits.
When it comes to hangovers, Kombucha is unlikely to be particularly beneficial. At the end of the day, it's just fermented tea!
With that said, there are other hangover teas that could be more helpful, like ginger tea. You can read more about this in our article about the best teas for a hangover.