Kombucha Benefits Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests


A pilot study suggests that kombucha consumption reduces blood glucose levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

The sample size was too small for statistical significance.


Prospective, randomized, double-blinded, crossover study at a single-center urban hospital system.

A total of 12 participants with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to consume 240 mL of either a kombucha product or placebo daily with dinner for 4 weeks.

After an 8-week washout, they were switched to the other product for another 4 weeks.

Fasting blood glucose levels were self-determined at baseline and at 1 and 4 weeks, and questionnaires were used to assess secondary health outcomes.

Questionnaire data were analyzed for all 12 participants, but only seven who completed the study were included in the analysis of fasting blood glucose.


Kombucha significantly lowered average fasting blood glucose levels at week 4 compared to baseline (164 vs 116 mg/dL; P = .035), while the placebo was not associated with statistically significant change (162 vs 141 mg/dL; P = .078).

Among just the five participants with baseline fasting glucose >130 mg/dL, kombucha consumption was associated with a mean fasting blood glucose decrease of 74.3 mg/dL, significantly greater than the 15.9 mg/dL drop with placebo (P = .017).

On cultural enumeration, the kombucha contained mostly lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid bacteria, and yeast, with molds present.


“Kombucha is a growing part of the beverage market in the US and the world, driven, in part, by the wide range of suggested health benefits. However, nearly all of these benefits are based on in vitro or animal studies, and human clinical trials are needed to validate biological outcomes.”


The study was conducted by Chagai Mendelson, of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, and colleagues. It was published August 1 in Frontiers in Nutrition.


The number of participants was small, and attrition was high.

Glucose levels were self-reported.

Only one kombucha was studied.


One author is a co-founder of Synbiotic Health and another has a financial interest in the company. The other authors have no disclosures. Kombucha and placebo drinks were donated by Craft Kombucha, but the company did not have access to the data, and no authors have financial ties with that company.

Miriam E. Tucker is a freelance journalist based in the Washington DC area. She is a regular contributor to Medscape, with other work appearing in the Washington Post, NPR’s Shots blog, and Diabetes Forecast magazine. She is on Twitter @MiriamETucker.

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