Kombucha Vs Kefir - Which Is Better For You?

By Rebecca Carden — November 25, 2020


We've had a few conversations with folks the last week about the merits of kombucha vs kefir and thought it best we share it here with you too.

Kombucha can be a real problem for folks with existing gut issues such as candida/ yeast overgrowth despite popular consensus. Many Naturopaths have shared with us that they are seeing many of their clients with candida struggle to get well only to find out that they are chugging back Kombucha on the daily.

Kombucha is produced through wild fermentation as are many Saurekraut brands. Wild yeasts can actually feed and fuel pre-existing candida overgrowth or bacterial conditions rather than help them as so many find out the hard way. A healthy human gut contains plenty of beneficial yeasts, as well as beneficial bacteria and other microbes. In order to get rid of the “bad” yeast, we need to replace it with “good” yeast such as saccharomyces.

Kefir is rich in lactic acid bacteria which Kombucha lacks and lactic acid bacteria are wonderfully supportive for rebuilding a healthy gut microbiome and vaginal microbiome for women.

When it comes to candida and yeast, we are far better off using culture-based fermented foods/ drinks than we are wild ferments. This way we can control what bacteria grow rather than letting a free for all take place.

It's definitely our preference and this is why Kefir is a safer option for those with candida. It's a controlled ferment using kefir grains which means we know exactly what is present in the end product. Kefir also has more lactic acid bacteria in it which is particularly powerful for building a healthy and diverse microbiome.

There are situations where Kombucha is the better option for folks. Numerous studies indicate the use of Kombucha as a powerful healing agent for restoring leaky gut/ intestinal permeability, as well as colitis. It is also wonderfully detoxifying.

For ourselves, we cannot tolerate Kombucha for the histamine content which is higher than that of kefir. It makes us sneezey, itchy, and sleepy - all classic histamine sensitivity symptoms.

Histamine is plentiful in fermented foods. For most, our body’s DAO enzymes will naturally digest them. However, some people don’t produce enough of these enzymes, you can do a genetic test to determine whether your DAO pathway is slow or fast. An insufficient DAO enzyme means histamine won’t be digested and will instead be absorbed into the bloodstream.

This can cause a range of histamine intolerance symptoms. The most common are itching, headaches or migraines, runny nose (rhinitis), eye redness, fatigue, hives and digestive symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. You may think you have hayfever but could it be histamine intolerance instead??

Histamine intolerance left unchecked can also cause more severe symptoms, including asthma, low blood pressure, irregular heart rate, circulatory collapse, sudden psychological changes (such as anxiety, aggressiveness, dizziness and lack of concentration) and sleep disorders.

If you notice any of the above symptoms and you have a diet rich in fermented foods, perhaps lay off them for a couple of weeks and see if those symptoms disappear. That's a dead giveaway you are histamine sensitive.

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