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The Benefits of Kombucha

GUEST INTERVIEWEE: Seth

One of our senior posters on the Peak Testosterone Forum, Seth, had a life changing experience taking Kombucha and sauerkraut. I've read enough of Seth's posts to know he lives a healthy lifestyle overall, but he was almost cut down by antibiotics.  Of course, antibiotics save tons of lives - been there! - but they also cause a multitude of problems, especially in the gut where they clear out both good and bad bacteria.  Seth experienced a lot of these issues and this is Kombucha's sweet spot:  gut health.

If you read about Kombucha much, you'll see that reports abound of its ability to provide the following benefits:

  • Improvement or cures from autoimmune disease
  • Relief for arthritis
  • Control of appetite and food cravings
  • Decrease in upper respiratory and urinary tract infections
  • Weight loss
  • Now, at first glance, the above benefits of Kombucha (and other fermented foods) might seem completely random and likely just the effect of chance. However, those of you who poke around the health world enough notice something immediately: these are all benefits of improved gut health. It's hard to believe improving the health of your colon could make such a difference to your health, but study after study has shown this and this is one of the more active branches of current health research. The fact is that your interestine is actually a highly sophisticated, finely tuned organ on par with the heart or kidneys or any other organ of your tuning. It controls a multitude of metabolic and immune functions on top of providing you with most of your nutrients!

    Of course, gut health is very dependent on your "intestingal bacteria," i.e. the composition and number of the bacteria living down in that underworld.  Even if you are not experiencing any major issues, I highly recommend that you give my interview with Seth a read:  it's just fascinating in my opinion just how many health benefits of Kombucha he experienced:

    NOTE:  Many of you men have less love making nights, because your woman is plagued by UTI's (Urininary Tract Infections).  Antibiotics have mixed success in treating these, so you may want to pay particular attention to what Seth wrote below about the subject.  (Do not make any change without discussing withyour doctor first.)

    CAUTION:  A small percentage of men have rather serious gut (intestinal) issues and probiotics and fermented foods can cause overgrowth.  Consult with your doctor if appropriate.

    Q1. You mentioned that you were on a lot of antibiotics and that these gave you UTIs and poor colon health? Can you give us a little history?

    I have BPH which was causing urinary retention. Even with this the doctors were baffled at the amount and the veracity of the UTI's. So I had to go through a whole host of exams including some very invasive ones. Turns out it was only urinary retention and not that much urine. Their only solution is antibiotics.

    I believe any round of antibiotics will upset your balance of bacteria in your system. I found that after the first rounds of antibiotics I was getting severe heartburn. (I have never had heartburn in my life) and very watery bowel movements which also was a first for me.

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    Q2. Are you still on the antibiotics?

    Currently no but, if I have a UTI, I have to go on them since I go into Urinary Sepsis easily and that could become fatal if left untreated. I haven't been on antibiotics for 6 or 8 weeks I believe. That is the longest I have been antibiotic free in the last 3 years.

    Q3. So you tried probiotics to help with these issues and what results did you achieve?

    Yes. At first I tried the pill form with 50 billion active bacteria. These were ok. They slowed down the infections but only by a few weeks. Then I did some research online and I learned that many people were having success with fermented foods, especially Kombucha. I added Kombucha and Sauerkraut along with a multivitamin that contains probiotics. This has slowed down the bad bacteria up to this point that I go months without a UTI. I am hoping I can go at least 4-6 months without one. Two a year is manageable but zero would be the best.

    Q4. Did you try any conventional therapies to help with the UTI's and other antibiotic-related issues? If so, did these help at all?

    Yes, I tried the "candida" diet which limits fruits and sugar. This didn't work. I added back fruits but I don't eat artificial sugar or sweets. I don't believe fruits hurt UTI's. In fact citrus fruits seem to help . I don't eat dairy so I didn't need to cut that out.

    I also used D-mannose which works great if the bacteria is the E.coli bacteria. 90% of people get the E.coli in UTI. I am not that lucky. Sometimes it's E.coli (twice in my experience) but other times it's other bacteria. D-Mannose is ineffective against them.

    Q5. You mentioned that fermented foods have really helped you. What fermented foods are you talking about? Can you give a little detail as to how much and how often you eat them?

    I take a Fermented Kombucha by Botanica. I take 20 ml a day of this. This brand was recommended by a few people. I also eat a few cups of Sauerkraut a day. On top of this I use a Vitamin C multivitamin that also contains 2 billion CFU. These are called C-Punch by Trophic and it comes in individual pouches. I believe that fermented foods have helped me more than the pill forms.

    Q6. How do you know if you are getting "the good stuff?" Are there brands/types, etc. that guys should watch out for?

    That is a tough one. The brands I mentioned above seem to be high quality and were recommended to me. I would avoid any Kombucha "Sports" drinks and only buy a fermented pure kombucha from a reputable brand. Of course you can also make your own fermented stuff which isn't that hard. I have never tried but I know people who have. Most fermented foods should be high quality since they are either fermented or not. It's the fermentation process that creates the "good stuff".

    CAUTION: A few people have hurt themselves making Kombucha, so it's probably better to buy your own from a reliable brand.

    Q7. What did these fermented foods do for your UTI and other symptoms?

    They have slowed them down (maybe even stopped them - we'll see about that). Also, due to the numerous antibiotics that were killing off my good bacteria I was suffering other issues. I suffered from heartburn and bad bowel movements. These occurred, for the first time in my life, after the battery of antibiotics I took. This has been cured with my regiment of probiotics. No more heartburn and good bowel movements.

    Q8. How did you get the idea to try fermented foods to treat antibiotic side effects? Did you just stumble onto that?

    Actually it was from the "women" online. Men rarely suffer UTI so the women know them better. I stumbled across a few boards where women discuss them and the same recommendations came about: D-Mannose, Uva Ursi (never tried it) and fermented foods. It wasn't until I had an online chat with a moderator of a soon to be mother's forum that turned me onto fermented foods. She told me to drop the pills and eat fermented foods especially kombucha. I was skeptical but it couldn't hurt. I am glad I tried it. It has been a godsend for me not only with UTI but general health. The general consensus is that antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria so when you get off them there really is no "natural defense" to the bad bacteria so you end up in a cycle since bad bacteria grows faster than good bacteria. The fermented foods repopulate your stomach so nature can take over. I don't have the science behind this, but I honestly believe this is what happens.

    Q9. Have you read any explanation out there as to why fermented foods might be superior in many cases to probiotics? I know that Paleo theory is that our physiology is used to fermented foods. Is that the gyst of it?

    I have no clue and have not read any science behind it. The research in this area is lacking as I have tried to see what is happening. I could only make an educated guess and agree that our physiology is geared towards fermented foods. It's like taking Vitamin C in fruit form or pill form. Food is always better. Another theory that a lady (she was a naturopath I met online) stated to me about Kombucha is this:

  • 1) It contains beneficial yeast along with bacteria
  • 2) contains acetobacter
  • 3) contains gluconic acid which regulated PH levels which is very important in people with recurrent UTI
  • 4) contains acetic acid which makes your body inhospitable for bad bacteria.

    I never seen any science to back that but I don't doubt it at all. From what I understand other fermented foods (i.e. Kefir etc.) are similar to Kombucha. I don't eat diary so I don't use that.

    Q10. Any other tips/comments out there for guys that have been on antibiotics, struggling with UTIs, etc.?

    For anyone who takes antibiotics for any reason I would strongly suggest you take probiotics in the form of fermented foods. You need to balance your bacteria ASAP and want the good bacteria before the bad bacteria takes over. If you are a man and have UTI you need to find out the cause. It's rare for men to get them but if you do I would suggest fermented foods ASAP, high doses of Vitamin C (it makes your urine acidic and bacteria doesn't like that), a lot of water and a very clean diet. Cut out all sweets and sugar (not fruit ) as I have talked to many people who state that eating sweets and sugar laden foods speeds up a UTI infection. I also am very strict with my diet and about 80% of my diet is fruits and vegetables and the rest lean protein. This seems to agree with my body. So far it's working so I won't change it. Hopefully I never get a UTI but time will tell. Even if I get one I have at least slowed them down from constant UTI's to some breathing room in between.

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