Which One? Pros & Cons of Probiotics: Kombucha Vs. Kefir

Kefir (cute) vs. Kombucha (scary mushroom!)I’m all for probiotics as part of a healthy diet for anyone. But which probiotic might be preferable? Let’s talk about “Water Kefir” and “Kombucha” today, since those are two probiotics you can brew at home from simple ingredients. They’re economical too, since they aren’t based on dairy. If you go so far as to get organic milk to make your own milk kefir, the pricing goes up, you know?

Laurie from Common Sense Home spells it out in detail; basically, this is the simplified version:

Kombucha is great for the digestion, but it’s also a cleanser, detoxifying the liver too.

Kefir is also great for digestion, and doesn’t contain the caffeine Kombucha can have (although it does have a touch of alcohol). But it’s not really a cleanser and detoxifier.

The Heal Thyself Forums mentions that the detox Kombucha might bring on is not ideal if you’re pregnant or nursing. or for anyone with a lot of excess mercury stores.

Heal Thyself also includes this word of caution: “Kombucha has Saccharomyces boulardii which displaces and replaces candida albicans in the gut. Candida binds mercury to keep it out of circulation. When you kill off candida in the gut, stored mercury is released back into circulation to redeposit into other organs and the brain.

That last paragraph concerns me! I ended up spending a day researching how to deal with mercury toxicity in the system. Read Dr. Mercola’s article, “Revised Protocol to Detoxify Your Body” for more info. Also, Dr. Mark Hyman mentions many of the complications that might be connected to mercury toxicity. Meanwhile, I┬áhave come to a few conclusions:

1. Drinking kefir is a no-brainer. Of course it’s good for you! And you don’t have to worry about going into some heavy detox mode.

2. Kombucha might be good for you (if you’re not pregnant or nursing), but do be prepared to deal with the candida/mercury issue, as your body might start freeing up it’s mercury stores. Metals need to leave the system, not just roam free!

3. Amalgam silver fillings aren’t cool. Though being used less often now, many of us still have silver fillings which leach mercury into our system. Apparently, the mercury constantly emits vapors that are carried from our mouth, on down through the digestive system, wreaking havoc along the way.

4. If you want to detox from mercury, you shouldn’t keep exposing yourself to the metal. Which means, if you have silver fillings, you should get them removed by a trained biological dentist (not by the average dentist that doesn’t know how to deal with this toxic substance).

5. I’m probably not getting my fillings removed any time soon.

6. But I can avoid shark, swordfish, tuna and other big fish that contain more mercury. Alaskan salmon and smaller fish contain less- I’ll stick to those.

7. I can keep taking my chlorella, since Dr. Mercola mentions that it’s helpful for getting rid of mercury and other toxins in the body. I’ve bought mine from Nuts.com, here. (They offer organic chlorella, which I really like.) But Amazon has a good deal on 1.1 lb. of the powder; find that deal here.

8. This whole mercury problem depends a lot on genetics. Some folks have a certain gene which discourages natural detoxification from heavy metals. So, while some people can get more exposure to toxic metals with no adverse effect, there are others who may ingest less, who suffer for it due to the inability of their system to process and eliminate the metals from their body.

9. Those more sensitive to mercury, due to their genetic makeup, might suffer from autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and/or depression. And more!

10. My dad’s trying out certain nutritional supplements on my mom, to see if that might help her release stored mercury. Meanwhile, I think I’ll try brewing some Kombucha, adding a bit of that to my diet. Should it cause me to release some stored mercury, I’m hoping the chlorella will help me weather the detox successfully. I don’t like taking supplements (unless they’re food-based), but I always feel safe using super foods. If I notice anything, I’ll be sure to report back!

If you’ve experienced any symptoms after beginning a Kombucha regimen, please share it with us below in the comments section!

9 Responses to “Which One? Pros & Cons of Probiotics: Kombucha Vs. Kefir”

  1. Reply jessica

    Most of organic chlorella on the market are from China, which is the most contaminated. “The Health Ranger” from naturalnews.com, he only promotes chlorella from either Taiwan or Korea. I always double check with nuts.com customer service (email to them. By the way, great customer service.) if the stuff is product of China. I do not buy anything from China even its organic. Taiwan’s chlorella is the cleanest, but most expensive. Thank you for the great article.

    • Reply Jennifer Cote

      Jessica, thanks for clearing that up for me. I was wondering… there is a lot of organic chlorella around- talking to our source people is a good idea. Yes, I think nuts.com has great customer service too1

  2. Reply Jeannie Heredia

    I am drinking a kombucha that has the chlorella and spirulina, and blue green algae–(GT’s). Its called “multi green” Organic Raw Kombucha. I am also thinking of making my own. th

    • Reply Jennifer Cote

      Sounds pretty handy, having the blue green algae already in it- I didn’t know they made that. It does seem cheaper to make your own though- it’s worked for me. But I drink my algae separate first (don’t want it to ruin the flavor of the smoothie I make using the kombucha or kefir!)

  3. Reply Sarah

    Try taking bentonite clay on the same day (around the same time) if you drink the kombucha tea. I was also worried about detox. Free roaming metals and toxins aren’t good and I found the bentonite clay will bind with the metals and toxins for safe removal from your body through your waste. Also, I would recommend the kombucha to remove Candida yeast. Candida is a bad little guy that replaces some of the good bacteria that you need. Candida can also lead to leaky gut syndrome and increase inflammation in your body. From all my research online, this is what I have found. I want Candida gone so I am drinking kombucha tea to help remove it. I found this website today. It might help. http://thehealthyhoneys.com/i-killed-candida/

  4. Reply lorna

    I have mercury filling- introduced some kombucha, kefir and fermented foods to my diet- I know feel that I have memory problems

    • Reply Jennifer Cote

      I’m so sorry. Lorna. Not sure what that suggests- that mercury fillings and/or kombucha were contributing factors ?. But I hope it doesn’t get a lot worse ?

  5. Reply Amber

    I would highly recommend finding websites like Cultures for Health or Cultured Food Life for information with this journey. They follow studies and can answer any questions or concerns you may have. On some forums out there, there is a lot of fear and misinformation going around. Kombucha is well known for detoxing heavy metals AND killing off candida and bacteria imbalances. That means, it removes it and isn’t going to have it floating around your body. Use it to cleanse and it will do its job. It will rid your body of the mercury so there’s no need to fear it roaming. You may have a healing crisis moment, but trust it to do its job. Oh and it will. Also, it’s a common misconception that we aren’t already 100 of trillions of bacteria. We are more bacteria than we are cells. The only issue is that we go into environments, eat American diets and our good bacteria balance leans more on the bad side verses the good. Homemade kefir from grains have trillions of bacteria with about 20-30 strains and does great with restoring the balance. Kombucha has strains that kefir doesn’t. Both have benefits, especially when used together. Basically, it’s already what we are. Don’t fear. We also all have candida so it’s impossible to rid ourselves of it completely through these. It’s needed in our bodies, it’s only a problem when it’s out of balance. They are there to restore the balance. And our bodies are smart enough to “bind” to what it needs.

    Also, all fermentation has a trace amount of alcohol including kefir. I would say there are no “cons”, there are however, cleansing reactions that occur as your body is flooded with good bacteria and detoxing symptoms. You can slow this by easing into it and slowly increasing amounts. I just wanted to say, if it causes you to release mercury, it does so to remove it from your body. Be calm and carry on.

    • Reply Lynnette

      Thanks, Amber. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge on this topic. I nearly panic when I started reading posts previous to yours. I’m trying to loose weight, address diabetes, and simply improve my health overall and while doing so, I certainly do not want to exacerbate the issues I’m already dealing with.

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