Kombucha and Gout: Fermented Goodness for Joint Health?

In recent years, the popularity of kombucha - a fermented tea drink - has skyrocketed in many countries. Here in the UK, an estimated 440 million litres of the stuff was consumed in 2023 - an 800,000 litre increase on the year before!

Consumers are drawn to its punchy flavour, low calories, and presumed health benefits. But what exactly are those benefits? And could kombucha be good for gout?

What is Kombucha?

As mentioned above, kombucha is a sparkling fermented drink made from tea. Humans have been producing and enjoying kombucha for thousands of years, with the drink thought to have been first savoured by the ancient Chinese around 200 B.C. Prized for its perceived healing properties, kombucha began to spread throughout Asia. It is said it gets its name from a Korean physician, Dr. Kombu, who brought the drink to Japan.

By the early 20th century, Europeans were also drinking kombucha. Following a dip during World War II, a 1960s Swiss study comparing its health benefits to those of yoghurt once again boosted its popularity.

How is Kombucha Made?

It’s made from sweet tea infusion, to which a disc of symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or SCOBY, is added. This helps the fermentation process which can take between 1 and 4 weeks. The bacteria and yeast break down the sugars in the tea, converting them into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and acids. The result is a sparkling tea (and often a variety of other flavours) drink with a tangy kick provided by the fermentation process.

While all kombuchas contain alcohol, this is often at low levels - around 0.5% ABV - meaning they are still classed as non-alcoholic beverages. However, “hard” kombuchas with higher alcohol content are growing in popularity.

What are the Health Benefits?

Throughout their centuries-long history, many health claims have been made about kombuchas. It is often said that the fermentation process boosts kombucha with probiotics, live bacteria and yeasts that are good for us - particularly our digestive systems. This has led many to suggest that kombucha could be good for our overall health and even be effective in preventing gout and rheumatism.

However, it has not been confirmed whether the bacteria in kombucha are indeed probiotic. Moreover, many of the health claims made about the fermented drink are anecdotal, with little controlled research conducted on the subject.

Nonetheless, health experts do suggest that the tea used to make kombucha may well have significant health benefits. For example, tea contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that can have anti-inflammatory properties, among other benefits. This is one of the reasons drinking herbal teas could be beneficial for gout.

What About Kombucha for Gout?

So, let’s get to the important question: Is kombucha good for gout? Well, the internet is full of anecdotal reports from people with gout - some who say it helps them to prevent gout attacks and others who swear it causes flare-ups…


The fact is, there currently isn’t enough research for us to know for sure either way. Furthermore, different people may react differently to kombucha. Thankfully, there are other things you can do to help manage your gout symptoms. Staying hydrated, eating a gout-friendly diet, and taking regular supplements can help stave off painful gout attacks. A professional nutritionist will be able to guide you on the best foods to eat to prevent gout attacks - including kombucha.

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