The Truth of Kombucha for Nausea

This drink can work as a remedy or preventive for several health problems, even relieving some symptoms of disease, but it can also generate different effects in certain groups of people that may not be as beneficial.

The properties and sensory characteristics of kombucha can generate different reactions in consumers, such as generating nausea during consumption or as a possible aid to relieve it.

Although, its benefits have not been directly demonstrated in this, they have not been shown that it can be a cause, and in this article, we will describe in detail the reason for each hypothesis.

Does drinking kombucha help for nausea?

Although there are no studies that demonstrate a direct relationship between the consumption of kombucha and the relief of nausea, the possible effects that its components may have have been considered, which in isolated studies have shown that they can generate or prevent the onset of nausea.

Gastrointestinal infections are one of the most common causes of nausea and vomiting,[1] and one of the ways to control and prevent it is with the consumption of probiotics in adequate amounts.

It has been shown that probiotics can be more useful to relieve them than to cause them, they are able to significantly reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain due to stress, in addition to eradicating Helicobacter pylori infections that cause peptic ulcer that among its side effects is the appearance of nausea. [2]  [3]

The latter is corroborated by a study with sixty people treated with random probiotics with or without doses of Lactobacillus, where nausea, diarrhea, and changes in taste for H. pylori decreased as a result.2

Also in another study it was shown that the use of vitamin B6 or the use of ginger can work as prophylaxis. [4]

Kombucha, although it has these characteristics, it is possible that other components can impair some positive effect against nausea, depending on its concentration.

Some consumers reported dizziness and nausea, although kombucha was not proven to be responsible, that possibility is not ruled out that may depend on its composition or the individual reaction of the person. [5]

Can the taste and smell of kombucha cause nausea?

It is possible that for some people the different flavors that characterize kombucha as sweet and sour, mild vinegar or fruity flavor, with a certain taste of alcohol if it is high or «fermented» are unpleasant and can even generate both nausea and headaches just by smelling or tasting them[6]

Depending on its composition, the sensory characteristics of the drink can change generating the acceptance of some consumers as the rejection of others.

The sweet taste of kombucha changes to a sourer one as fermentation takes place, because the residual sugars, which give the sweet taste of the drink, are used by acetic acid bacteria producing organic acids, forming its characteristic sour taste.  [5]  [7]

Although sour foods may be easier to digest, this strong bitter taste can stimulate the onset of nausea, unlike sweet or salty taste that does not generate such a reaction. It is possible that carbon dioxide, polyphenols and residual ethanol are involved in mouthfeel[6]  [8]

It should also be noted the strong smell that is perceived from kombucha, which could bring some rejection since it is shown that strong odors can generate nausea, although there is still little data on the smell in kombucha. [6]  [9]

What characteristics of kombucha affect the onset of nausea?

A very cold kombucha with lower residue content (clear liquid) may be more tolerable in the presence of nausea compared to those found at room temperature, and some clear liquid drinks served this way such as tea, ginger ale (ginger) and apple juice can be used as ingredients for kombucha fermentation. [7]

Carbonated drinks can help reduce acidity and relieve nausea while in others it is not recommended as too much can worsen these symptoms. For this reason, your recommendation may still be in doubt with certain groups of people.

Acidic drinks can generate gastrointestinal changes that are negative or annoying for the consumer, one of these is the appearance of heartburn and acid reflux which are associated with the appearance of nausea and vomiting. A kombucha that is too acidic or consumed in excess can aggravate these symptoms. [10]

Kombucha contains organic acids beneficial to the body such as acetic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid, which in excess can irritate the tissues due to the marked decrease in gastric pH. [11]

So in some analyzes it has been pointed out that kombucha can stimulate the appearance of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and therefore stimulate the symptoms of nausea. [11]  [12]

What reaction can caffeine and alcohol have to kombucha?

The alcohol and caffeine in kombucha can be found in different concentrations, so it is possible to consume products with very low doses, but they can also become elevated,  although the truth evidence suggests that it is unlikely that consumers can be affected, but excessive intake of kombucha could generate the adverse effects of these compounds.

The percentages of alcohol can vary in kombucha, being able to generate the side effects of drunkenness and hangover such as nausea, headache, stress, and anxiety, if consumed in excess or by histamine intolerant. [13]  [14]

He told you that we looked at this issue when we saw the possibility of drinking kombucha at work, and to a much greater extent in the alcohol content of kombucha.

In the case of caffeine, it has to exceed the amount of 15 mg per kilo of weight to generate the mildest side effects such as nausea, irritability, nervousness, palpitations, tremors, etc. So regulating kombucha consumption can avoid the negative symptoms of caffeine. [15]

Therefore, you must be attentive in the choice of kombucha product, making sure that it is in the conditions you need, in addition to consuming the recommended amounts to avoid health risks and symptoms of discomfort, but the truth is  that it is very unlikely that any of these components can have a negative effect on nausea.

What effect can kombucha sugar have on nausea?

It is possible that sugar can prevent or stimulate nausea depending on its concentration in food, so a very sugary kombucha can generate nausea while another with a low percentage of sugars can work as relief from this.

It seems that the consumption of a small amount of carbohydrates can reduce nausea generated in fasting, in addition they are considered the most effective protein predominant foods compared to the consumption of carbohydrates and calorie-free meals for nausea.  [16]  [17]

While consuming an excessive number of sugars can exacerbate nausea at rest and during exercise. This situation also includes high protein intake.

Even so, it has been proven that gastrointestinal disorders generated by this excess of carbohydrates can be mitigated by consuming products that contain a mixture of fructose and glucose instead of glucose alone.  [18]

In this sense, it is much more likely that the sugars in kombucha help prevent nausea than cause it, since its sugar content is relatively low, and it also has these 2 monosaccharides.

And well friends, we have reached the end of this post on the effectiveness of kombucha for nausea, which we will update in the future as new research appears, for now, there is uncertainty about the answer, but the recommendation is to experiment and recognize if kombucha can effectively help your nausea.