It was effervescent and alive, and it left me feeling totally energized. I
drank two bottles back to back, and I was convinced I had the strength
to lift a car.
Like me, many people enjoy kombucha, and there is a lot of hype in
the media and on the Internet about its health benefits. People tell me
that drinking kombucha helps their digestion, makes them feel more
balanced, and gives them energy. But how does kombucha achieve all
of this? I decided to investigate.
Kombucha is a drink made by fermenting tea and sugar with yeasts and helpful
bacteria called probiotics. Taking in more
probiotics from kombucha increases the
numbers of probiotics, so they outgrow
the harmful bacteria. Many types of bacteria are considered probiotics. The two
most common species are Lactobacillus,
found in yogurt and almost all fermented
foods, and Bifidobacterium, present in
some dairy products.
Probiotics have been shown to reduce
acne flare-ups and allergies and to
improve oral health and brain function.
Some scientists speculate that probiotics
help maintain a healthy sealed barrier lining the walls of the intestines, so
that toxins, undigested food, and bacteria do not leave the intestines and
cause infection and tissue swelling in other parts of the body. According
to this theory, if harmful bacteria outgrow the beneficial ones, toxins,
undigested food, and harmful bacteria are released, causing inflamma-
tion, which can lead to acne, allergies, and other health problems.
What is known is that the
intestines and the brain are con-
nected by a long tube, called the
enteric nervous system, which
is one of the main divisions of
the nervous system and
consists of neurons
that are embedded
in the lining of the
beginning in the
to the anus.
Studies have shown
that probiotics release
chemicals, called neurotransmit-
ters, which cause cells in the
The Probiotics inside our Guts
Your digestive system is full of probiotic bacteria—about 100 trillion of
them help move food through your
molecules also help cells absorb vita-
mins and minerals from our food.
14 ChemMatters | FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 www.acs.org/chemmatters
By Beth Nolte