Friday, January 13, 2012

Kombucha Benefits for Pregnancy

Natural and alternative remedies and treatments abound. While some are safe, others lack the research to prove their efficacy and safety. Kombucha is one of these items. Although kombucha has been consumed for centuries in other parts of the world including Germany, Sweden and Russia, it has only recently begun to gain popularity in the United States. Many women who drink kombucha are faced with the dilemma of what to do once a pregnancy is discovered.

Kombucha is a fermented, tea-like beverage. It can be purchased commercially in some health food stores, or made at home. Kombucha is made from a SCOBY, or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This SCOBY is often referred to as a kombucha mushroom because of its appearance, but it is not a true mushroom.
Reported Benefits
Kombucha has not been proven to offer any health benefits in formal medical studies. Individuals who choose to consume this beverage report many health benefits. Some reported benefits of drinking kombucha include intestinal regularity and decreased bloating, fat reduction, headache and migraine relief, acne relief and improved health of the hair and nails. During pregnancy, some women report benefits of decreased morning sickness and improved digestion to prevent constipation.
Possible Dangers
Kombucha is slightly alcoholic, depending on the length of time the beverage is left to ferment. Alcohol is contraindicated during pregnancy because it crosses the placenta and can cause damage to the developing baby. The amount of alcohol in kombucha, though trivial in some cases, is still a cause for concern for pregnant women. Kombucha may also have a detoxifying effect on the human body. Introducing toxins into the mother's bloodstream poses a potential danger to the unborn baby because substances in the mother's blood can easily cross to the baby. When made at home, kombucha could become contaminated with harmful bacteria that may cause illness in a pregnant woman whose immune system is already compromised.
Warning and Considerations
Due to a lack of research proving the safety of kombucha during pregnancy, it should be avoided. Proponents of the beverage, however, state that women who have been consuming the beverage prior to pregnancy can continue to do so safely throughout the pregnancy. Consult with your doctor or midwife who is knowledgeable regarding natural and alternative remedies prior to drinking kombucha during your pregnancy.

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