A glass of kombucha a day keeps diabetes away. In fact, this seems to be the effect of this delicious drink, as emerges from a very recent research published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition by a group of American scientists from Georgetown University's School of Health, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and MedStar Health (Mendelson et al. al, Frontiers in Nutrition, Aug 2023).
Kombucha, what it is and properties
Kombucha is a tea, black or green, which is fermented by a culture of yeasts and bacteria, called SCOBY. For the fermentation to take place, sugar is added to the tea. This sugar, however, is not to make the drink more appreciable but to allow fermentation to take place. The sugar is in fact then "eaten" by the SCOBY. Sometimes, other ingredients, such as spices or herbs, may be added to add more flavor to the drink. The result is kombucha, which is a very popular, slightly fizzy beverage that can now be found in grocery and specialty stores around the world. The fame of kombucha has become worldwide only a few years ago even if the origin of this fermented tea dates back to 200 BC, in China. Kombucha is now a much loved and consumed drink also thanks to the fact that it is considered a real health drink, capable of strengthening the immune system, reducing the risk of anxiety and depression, cellular degeneration and bacterial and viral infections. Today we will see that kombucha can also become an ally against diabetes.
Kombucha against diabetes, the study
The study we are talking about is very small. In fact, it only involved 12 people. It is more than anything else a preliminary study to be followed by other works, but certainly the results reported, even if on a very small sample of people, are so noteworthy as to echo in the scientific world. This is the first study performed in people with type 2 diabetes to look at the effects of kombucha on blood sugar. Before this study, only one other research had shown that in healthy individuals without diabetes, drinking kombucha during a carbohydrate meal helps keep the glycemic peak under control. The volunteers, all with type 2 diabetes, were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to drink 230 ml of kombucha every day for one month. The other group had to consume a placebo. Well, what emerged is that those who had consumed kombucha also had significantly lower blood sugar levels than the group who had taken the placebo. In particular, the intake of kombucha made it possible to reduce fasting blood sugar from an average value of more than 160 mg/dL to 116 mg/dL.
Conclusions and warnings
Drinking a glass of kombucha every day for a month has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Kombucha can therefore be a valid ally to keep blood sugar under control and counteract the risk of diabetes both in healthy people, in people in prediabetes and, as we know from today, also in people with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. In the latter case, however, if you intend to start a treatment with kombucha, contact your doctor to evaluate your personal situation and avoid an interaction between diet, medication, and the kombucha drink. It should be stressed, however, that this is preliminary research and should be followed by a larger study, on a larger number of people, to verify these results.