Before we can answer this question, firstly we need to ask the following:
Can we change our gut bacteria?
The answer is yes, with good old fashioned dietary changes.
Our diet and lifestyle choices greatly affect the balance of our gut bacteria, so, if we eat a diet rich in plants, fermented foods, good quality proteins, fats, and wholegrains, our gut microbiome would look very different to someone who was consuming fast foods, sugar-laden snacks and living a sedentary lifestyle. The reason for this is our gut bacteria feed on our diet which creates the internal environment that will either promote good health or illness.[i]
The good news is, we can restore the composition of our gut bacteria and getting to that all important balanced gut by adapting what we eat on a daily basis to what our beneficial bacteria need. Pretty cool eh!
What the science says
Research consistently shows that a healthy microbiome is illustrated by the diversity of our gut bacteria.[ii] We have seen shifts in gut bacteria within as little as 5 weeks, after making dietary changes, which included a plant-rich approach,[iii] alongside fermented foods and an overall abundance of fibre.[iv]
These foods can enrich our overall gut health, and if we’re consistent with these changes, we can see a difference in not only our digestion, but a plethora of symptoms and conditions that can manifest from an imbalanced gut, such as poor immune function, metabolic health, skin conditions and much more.[v]
So how long until we see benefits from drinking kombucha?
Back to our original question. Factoring in all of the above, making fermented foods part of our routine, alongside a plant-rich diet means we could potentially see a difference within a few weeks. With that being said, it should be noted that there are more immediate benefits we could also expect.
Shorter term benefits of Kombucha
- Maintains a healthy gut by providing live bacteria in an easy and delicious form.
- Due to the polyphenols found in green and black tea, you could potentially see benefits to our heart health, inflammation and blood sugar levels.[vi]
- By promoting beneficial bacteria, you could see improvements in your immunity and overall energy.[vii]
- Green tea as well as natural fruits are packed with antioxidants, which can provide heaps of benefits from encouraging healthy skin, heart health, and immunity.[viii]
- The low natural caffeine content from fermented tea can make this a great alternative to your afternoon cuppa.
On top of all of that it’s a refreshing drink, add some ice and you’re good to go!
[i]The human microbiome project consortium. (2012). Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome.Nature. (486, 207–214).
[ii] Muegge B et al. 2011. Diet drives convergence in gut microbiome functions across mammalian phylogeny and within humans. Science. 332(6032)970-4.
[iii] Ghosh TS, et al. 2020.Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries. Gut. 69(7):1218-1228.
[iv] Vandeputte D et al. 2017. Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut. 66(11): 1968–1974.
[v] Greenhill, C. 2015. Gut microbiota, host genetics and diet interact to affect the risk of developing obesity and the metabolic syndrome.Nat Rev Endocrinol11, 630.
[vi] Heber D, Zhang Y, Yang J, Ma JE, Henning SM, Li Z. 2014. Green tea, black tea, and oolong tea polyphenols reduce visceral fat and inflammation in mice fed high-fat, high-sucrose obesogenic diets.
J Nutr. 144(9):1385-93.
[vii]Jäger R, Mohr A, Carpenter KC, et al. 2019. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Probiotics. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 16:62.
[viii] Katiyar SK, Matsui MS, Elmets CA, Mukhtar H. 1999. Polyphenolic antioxidant (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate from green tea reduces UVB-induced inflammatory responses and infiltration of leukocytes in human skin. Photochem Photobiol. 69(2):148-53.