Medications That Could Have Negative Interactions With Kombucha

Kombucha has dominated the health and wellness world over the past several years. This popular fermented beverage is a mixture of tea, yeast, bacteria, and sugars, according to Mayo Clinic. The drink is high in B vitamins and probiotics, as well as other compounds, including a colony of yeast and bacteria. Kombucha is commonly made with green or black tea, Healthline reports.

There are numerous anecdotal health benefits of kombucha, from improving digestive health to increasing energy to decreasing your risk for heart disease (via Healthline). Other possible benefits include higher ingestion of antioxidants, bacteria-fighting components, and healthier levels of cholesterol. Note that these benefits lack clinical evidence, Mayo Clinic reports. And amongst the sea of positive benefits, are there any side effects of kombucha or medications that interact with the fermented tea beverage? Here is what you need to know about which medications can negatively interact with kombucha, as well as general side effects to be aware of before consuming the drink.

Potential interactions with kombucha

WebMD reports that there are a handful of medications that might interact with kombucha. Since kombucha is a fermented beverage, it contains alcohol, and thus, it could be dangerous to drink while taking medications that inhibit the breakdown of alcohol in the body. The prescription medication disulfiram (Antabuse) is one specific medication that can be negatively impacted by kombucha since it decreases the body's breakdown of alcohol. Side effects of drinking kombucha while taking disulfiram include flushing of the skin, vomiting and upset stomach, and a severe headache.

Medications for diabetes are also at risk of potentially interacting with kombucha (via WebMD). Because medications that treat diabetes are intended to lower blood sugar, and kombucha can also result in a decrease in blood sugar, taking both at the same time could result in blood sugar that is lower than desired. Among medications used to treat diabetes that may have negative interactions with kombucha are insulin, metformin (Glucophage), rosiglitazone (Avandia), glimepiride (Amaryl), pioglitazone (Actos), and glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase PresTabs), though this list is not exhaustive. If you choose to drink kombucha while taking medication for diabetes, you should keep a close eye on monitoring your blood sugar and consult with your doctor to ensure that your blood sugar remains healthy.

Side effects of kombucha

Even if you aren't taking medications that interact with kombucha, it's good to know which side effects are possible from this fermented beverage. Healthline says that drinking it in excess can lead to an upset stomach, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. If kombucha is made at home, note that there is a higher risk of contamination or excess bacteria being introduced to the liquid that could lead to adverse side effects.

Being mindful of the ingredients in kombucha is important too, especially when you're consuming the same ingredients in other parts of your diet. What you should be aware of is the amount of sugar, caffeine, and calories in the kombucha you drink (via MedicalNewsToday). If you drink kombucha alongside a morning cup of coffee, green tea, or any other form of caffeine, you may be getting too much. Common symptoms include anxiety, increased heart rate, inability to sleep, and feeling shaky. If you are concerned about how kombucha may affect your health, always consult with your healthcare provider.