Some people are calling kombucha a health elixir because it allegedly helps blood sugar and digestive health.
In can be found in a number of grocery stores around Houston, from Whole Foods to Walmart and some local coffee shops or gyms.
One brand of the all-natural, energizing tea is brewed in south Houston off Lawndale. Kickin Kombucha brews 11 popular flavors.
The owner, Robert Lopez said he's experienced the health benefits first-hand after he broke his leg.
“I felt like it was helping me in my training but also helping me heal up quickly so I could kind of get back out there,” Lopez said.
Much like the bacteria in probiotics, Lopez said you can drink fermented kombucha for the same purpose.
“So when people think about probiotics they think about, you know, yogurts. So, this is kind of a liquid version of that,” he said.
With that belief in the beverage, his business was born.
However, some kombucha drinks are unpasteurized, which doctors warn may not be safe for pregnant women or people with chronic illness.
Kelsey Seybold Dr. Richard Harris said kombucha contains antioxidants and there is a health benefit in fermented foods.
“However, there is not enough research to back up the health claims with kombucha. There is a wide variation in the type of bacteria that are present based on how long the leaves are fermented, the type of tea used,” Dr. Harris said.
Kickin Kombucha said they test their products for bacteria before selling it.
“It's absolutely safe, we've been making it for seven years but that's just here in Houston, it's a drink that's been around for a very, very long time,” Lopez said.
Dr. Harris said, “It may be safe for a healthy adult to drink in reasonable amounts, however, those with compromised immune systems, allergies, intestinal issues, pregnant women, the young or the elderly could be at risk for severe complications.”