Health Bloggers Still Push Kombucha Despite High Levels of Fluoride

Are you still drinking kombucha? If so, you really should stop. It's so five years ago. Sadly, many health bloggers are still pushing kombucha even though it is loaded with fluoride. Fluoride causes lots of health problems, from acne to cellulite to hormonal disorders to migraines, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, PCOS, and infertility and cancer.

Why Do Health Bloggers Keep Promoting Kombucha  Despite High Levels of Fluoride?

Why Are Health Bloggers Still Promoting Kombucha?

This is a long post, but as they say, if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. In this post, I will cover the recent explosion of kombucha love, how it has been promoted by health bloggers, and talk about why it's actually really bad for you. I will also uncover why health bloggers are not motivated to tell the truth about kombucha and fluoride.

Kombucha: A Recent Trend

Kombucha has become very trendy over the past decade, largely due to health bloggers who actively promote it. The health blogosphere is an echo chamber of information that is repeated over and over… look what happened with the fermented cod liver oil scandal…something very few health bloggers covered. We are seeing a similar story play out with fluoride and kombucha. Bloggers have personal reasons and financial ties that keep them from investigating information… and then it gets repeated across the blogosphere like a virus.

Fake News

The news about fluoride in kombucha has been brewing on the internet for years… but it has been ignored by most health bloggers.

As a fellow health blogger, I'm disturbed by the massive amount of misinformation on the web. In today's age of “fake news,” there is so much garbage online, it's hard to know what to believe. People who are struggling with health challenges seek out these websites because they are looking for good advice. Anyone can blog in this day and age, and in my opinion, most bloggers don't take this responsibility as seriously as we should.

I have been guilty of posting bad information in the past (I used to promote FCLO and kombucha). We all make mistakes. No one is perfect, that's for sure. I know I will continue to make mistakes but I will do my best to correct them. I take my role very seriously, as I think anyone with a health blog should. My hope is that people share this post with people who need this information. I pray that many of these health bloggers will take action to correct their posts.

Before I cover the bloggers who continue to push kombucha and get into why I think this is happening, I first want to highlight a few individuals who wrote articles warning people about fluoride in kombucha. I am grateful for these people who speak out — they are a gift to us all.

Donna Gates Of Body Ecology

The first post I found warning about high levels of fluoride in kombucha was written by Donna Gates of Body Ecology. I love Donna and had the honor of interviewing her a few years ago. I am very grateful to Donna for all the work she has done and continues to do to help people.

Back in 2012, Gates wrote a post warning about fluoride in kombucha. She wrote:

“Kombucha may contain heavy metals and fluoride. The tea fungus (or SCOBY) floating around in your kombucha is biosorbent. Like a magnet to iron, it binds to contaminants and heavy metals… If you’re concerned about fluoride, a 2008 study published in Food Chemistry found kombucha to contain as much as 3.2 mg/g of fluoride. (13) This is significantly more than what’s found in unfermented black tea.(Source)

I actually read the study Gates is referencing. They tested kombucha and found that it has 3 times more fluoride than black tea.

If you're wondering why the kombucha had more fluoride than black tea, I am thinking maybe it has to do with what Gates said in her article: “The tea fungus (or SCOBY) floating around in your kombucha is biosorbent. Like a magnet to iron, it binds to contaminants and heavy metals.”

This is why I don't recommend making kombucha with any kind of tea (even yerba matte, which has been found to be low in fluoride) — because the SCOBY itself contains a lot of fluoride and aluminum.

Granted, this is just one study, but I find it very interesting. And this should underscore the fact that we just don't have much information on kombucha — we just don't know how much fluoride or aluminum is in it.

Will and Susan Revak of OraWellness

A year later, in 2013, Will and Susan Revak, who run a company called OraWellness, wrote an article saying they quit drinking kombucha due to high levels of fluoride. They speculated that there may be as much as 25 mg of fluoride per 16-ounce serving.

Will and Susan Revak of OraWellness

So, is there 25 mg of fluoride in 16 ounces of kombucha? I don't think so… In this article, the Revaks wrote:

“A website by a pro-fluoridation infant medical group states that a cup of black tea contains 7.8 mg of fluoride.(1) However, according to Andreas Schuld in his article titled “Fluoride – What’s Wrong With This Picture?”, “Recent analyses have revealed a fluoride content of 22.2 mg per teabag or cup in Chinese green tea, and 17.25 mg of soluble fluoride ions per teabag or cup in black tea. Aluminum content was also high—over 8 mg.”

I went to try to find the source for the first claim that there is 7.8 mg of fluoride in a cup of black tea — it was from an article on Babycenter which has since been taken down. I did find the original article on the Wayback Machine. It was just a claim with no evidence to back it up.

The second claim they make is that there is 22.2 mg per teabag or cup of green tea. I traced this to the original source and there is no study to back it up. So I don't trust that either.

To their credit, the Revaks did not use those numbers, they went with the numbers quoted by the Linus Pauling Institute:

“That said, for the sake of balance, we also have to quote the Linus Pauling Institute and their figures on the content of fluoride in various teas, which is much lower… They suggest that the amount of fluoride in green and black teas ranges from .3 – .5 mg fluoride per 8 ounces of tea.”

I think that is likely to be much more accurate (and possibly even too conservative), as you will see below.

How Much Fluoride is Actually In Tea?

Is there a lot of fluoride in tea? Yes. Is there 22 mg per cup of tea? No evidence of that.

There are many studies online that show different amounts of fluoride in tea. In a 2010 study, they found that the old way of testing for fluoride might not be accurate, and there may be anywhere from 2-9 times more fluoride in tea than they thought:

“Most published reports show 1 to 5 milligrams of fluoride per liter of black tea, but a new study shows that number could be as high as 9 milligrams.”

When they used the diffusion method to test for fluoride, they got much higher readings of fluoride from the tea:

“Most published studies about black tea traditionally have used a method of measuring fluoride that doesn't account for the amount that combines with aluminum to form insoluble aluminum fluoride, which is not detected by the fluoride electrode. Whitford compared that method with a diffusion method, which breaks the aluminum-fluoride bond so that all fluoride in the tea samples can be extracted and measured.

He tested seven brands of store-bought black tea, steeping each for five minutes in deionized water, which contains no fluoride. The amount of fluoride in each sample was 1.4 to 3.3 times higher using the diffusion method than the traditional method.” (Source)

So, how much fluoride is in tea? We don't know. But it's somewhere between 1-9 mg per liter. There are 4.2 cups in a liter, so that means there is anywhere from .2 mg to 2 mg of fluoride in a single cup of tea.

The limit for fluoride in drinking water, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is .7 mg per LITER. Which means that one cup of tap water with added fluoride is not allowed to have more than .17 mg of fluoride.

So, however you measure it, and whatever study you read, we know for a fact that tea is high in fluoride. Doesn't matter how long you steep it or what kind it is. Yes, some teas are lower than others, but ALL tea is high in fluoride unless it is herbal tea. It's not the water you brew it with — it's in the tea leaves.

How Much Fluoride is In Kombucha?

How much fluoride is in kombucha? Again, we don't know.

We only have one study showing that fluoride is three times higher in kombucha than in tea. However, since the process of making kombucha involves steeping the tea for several days with a SCOBY that is probably loaded with fluoride and aluminum (since it is a bisorbent fungus that soaks up and retains heavy metals — read this study and this study,) it is very feasible that the fluoride in the tea increases during the process of fermentation.

Regardless, we know all tea (unless it is herbal tea) is high in fluoride. Therefore, kombucha tea is also high in fluoride.

Top 5 Sources of Fluoride (It's Not Your Toothpaste or Drinking Water)

How Much Fluoride Should We Be Consuming?

Finally, we need to keep in mind that the recommended daily intake of fluoride in the UK is .05 mg per kg of body weight, or 4.2 mg for men, 3.2 mg for women, and 1.2 mg for children. (Source)

The United States has the same recommendations as the UK, however, they say that if your water is fluoridated, optimal fluoride intake is HALF that, or 2.1 for men, 1.6 mg for women, and .6 for children. And, according to the CDC, “In the United States, water and processed beverages (e.g., soft drinks and fruit juices) can provide approximately 75% of a person's fluoride intake… Foods and ingredients used in food processing vary in their fluoride content.” (Source)

Most areas of America are fluoridated, and many crops are sprayed with fluoridated pesticides (cryolite), so unless you eat everything made at home from scratch from all organic, you're getting your fair share of fluoride in your diet, even if you only drink filtered water. Adding more fluoride via kombucha can't help and can only hurt.

Bloggers Who Promote Kombucha

Now, let's take a look at some of the bloggers who continue to promote kombucha despite the extremely high levels of fluoride… and I'll share some of my theories about why I think this is happening.

I chose a few bloggers to highlight in this post… why these specific bloggers? Two of them wrote articles downplaying fluoride in kombucha. The other one I included because she has one of the top ranking posts for kombucha (top 5 search results on page one of Google). I also happen to know these bloggers from my old days in the Real Food Media blog network, so I have more understanding of their bias.

That said, there are plenty of other bloggers out there who promote kombucha… If I dig around on Google a little deeper, there is a long list of health blogs that tout the magical wonders of kombucha and neglect to warn their readers about the high levels of fluoride: Dr. Axe, Wellness Mama, Mark's Daily Apple, Food Babe, Robb Wolf, Primal Palate, The Kitchn, Autoimmune Wellness, Stupid Easy Paleo, Green Med Info, Authority Nutrition, Whole Lifestyle Nutrition, Phoenix Helix, Weed 'em & Reap, The Paleo Mom, and Balanced Bites. (There are many, many more — if I tried to list them all, I'd never get this post up.)

The Healthy Home Economist

In 2013, Sarah Pope of the Healthy Home Economist, wrote a blog post rebuttal to the OraWellness post. This post comes up at the very top of the Google search results when you search for “fluoride in kombucha”.

Sarah Pope of the Healthy Home Economist

In her rebuttal, Pope disputes the OraWellness assertion that kombucha is high in fluoride. She says kombucha is not high in fluoride as long as the tea is organic, you use the right kinds of tea, and you don't steep it very long. And she says, the longer you ferment the kombucha, the less fluoride it will have.

She points to two sources of evidence: (1) A study quoted by the “Linus Paul Institute” (sic — should be Linus Pauling Institute) and (2) A study done by the Weston Price Foundation.

Chinese Study Referenced By Linus Pauling Site

First, let's talk about the quoted study from the Linus Pauling Institute

Pope doesn't refer to the study quoted by the Linus Pauling Institute directly. She only quotes what they say about the study.

Here is the section she is referring to:

The study they are quoting is this one from China (1998). I went and read the study and found this chart, which is more detailed than the one they made on the Linus Pauling Institute site:

As you can see, all the teas they tested in the first column, with the exception of Oolong, registered higher in fluoride than the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends for fluoridated water (.7 mg per liter). So all these teas are high in fluoride except the oolong.

Furthermore, if you read the actual study, it shows that the amount of fluoride in the different tea samples varies widely depending on which region of China the tea came from:

And you can't just say “oolong is lower in fluoride so you should make your kombucha with oolong” because it depends where the oolong comes from…

This is because different areas have different amounts of fluoride in the soil. Also, fluoride in tea varies depending on how mature the plants are. So it's really impossible to know what you are getting. For this reason alone, I say, if you are trying to avoid fluoride, you should avoid drinking all tea unless it is herbal tea. (Or unless you run it through a reverse osmosis filter before you drink it. Kidding, but not.)

Weston A. Price Study Re: Organic Tea

Pope goes on to say that organic tea is lower in fluoride.

Her only evidence to support this claim is one study allegedly done by the Weston A. Price Foundation that showed that “the levels of fluoride in organic tea were found to be very low compared with commercial tea and even lower in kombucha brewed with organic tea.”

Well, she doesn't even link to that study. I also tried to find it on the WAPF website and they don't link to it either. It's not anywhere online as far as I could tell. We have no idea what kinds of teas they used, or how the study was done.

And, yeah, I'm really not feeling too confident about what the WAPF says, especially because we have a long history of their studies showing data that's clearly wrong and cherrypicked.

This whole “organic tea is lower in fluoride” myth was also debunked back in 2011 by Melissa Gardner, author of [easyazon_link identifier=”069272155X” locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The End of Acne[/easyazon_link] in her blog post, Fluoride Content of Organic vs. Non-Organic Tea.

Sarah's Recommendations to Reduce Fluoride in Kombucha

Kombucha apologist that she is, Sarah gives her recommendations for how to continue brewing and drinking kombucha to minimize the fluoride.

1. Source Organic Tea

Sarah says we will have less fluoride in our kombucha if we use organic tea.

There is no evidence of this, other than what Sally Fallon says. There is no study available.

It's not logical anyway, because all camellia sinensis plants take up fluoride via the roots and store it in the leaves. Why would it matter if the plants were organic?

2. Check the Country of Origin

Pope says that we should check the country of origin and avoid buying tea from a “fluoride belt”.

This is bogus because in the Chinese study she referenced, the fluoride in the soil varies greatly within different regions of China. So checking the country of origin is meaningless.

3. Limit Steep Time

Sarah says we should limit the time we steep the tea to reduce fluoride.

However, according to the study she's quoting the biggest spike of fluoride absorption is in the initial 5 minutes. With the exception of the cheap brick teas, they didn't see a big increase in fluoride in any of the teas after 5 minutes.

So this doesn't really solve anything.

4. Maximize Fermentation Time

Sarah suggests that we increase fermentation time in order to reduce the fluoride in the kombucha.

This statement has zero evidence to support it: “it seems likely from early test results that the fermentation process itself removes some of the fluoride from the tea.”

Pope is parroting something Sally Fallon published on the WAPF website. She claims that the SCOBY somehow magically removes the fluoride from the kombucha the longer it steeps:

“Researchers looking at the toxic effects of fluoride have recently raised concerns about kombucha because most commercial tea is very high in fluoride. Fortunately, kombucha made with organic tea contains very little fluoride. We had fluoride levels tested in organic black tea and in the kombucha made with the tea. The levels in the tea were only slightly higher than those in the filtered water from which it was made and actually slightly lower in the kombucha than in the black tea. These results suggest that the process of fermentation actually removes some of the fluoride from the tea and may explain why the kombucha “mushroom” eventually gets black. These older, darkened “mushrooms” can be replaced with the newer, cleaner “babies” that grow on top of the original “mushroom” during the fermentation process.” (Source)

Researchers? Which researchers? Again, that mythical study the WAPF allegedly did — but there is no evidence of it online. So I guess we should just trust Sally Fallon?

As Tucker Carlson would say…

This claim that the kombucha SCOBY removes fluoride directly contradicts the two studies Donna Gates presented in her article showing that kombucha fungus actually absorbs fluoride and the one lab test that showed that kombucha had 3 times more fluoride than tea. (Scroll up to the section above about Donna Gates's article.)

Sarah Pope's Bias

I'd like to examine why Pope wrote this post because it's relevant when looking at her bias… When I looked at Sarah's rebuttal post, it's clear to me why Sarah wrote it… she's obviously an affiliate for OraWellness (see the image below). Sarah Pope never mentions the fact that her blog contains affiliate links, which is a violation of FTC regulations… so you wouldn't know that that's an affiliate link. But I know what affiliate links look like.

If I had to take a wild guess, I'd say Sarah felt she needed to write the OraWellness rebuttal… since she didn't want to have to give up her affiliate relationship with OraWellness, but wanted to continue to promote kombucha.

Sarah is a board member of the Weston A. Price Foundation and is intensely loyal to Sally Fallon. So loyal, in fact, that she named one of her children “Fallon”. She once told me, “When Sally says jump, I say how high?”

Sally has been unrelenting of her support of kombucha, despite anything anyone says. We've see Sally demonstrate this same behavior throughout the FCLO scandal. She continues to champion FCLO, despite mounting evidence that it is not safe for consumption.

So it's clear that Sarah Pope has financial and business ties to organizations that influenced the post she wrote. And it's also clear that the post she wrote does not provide adequate evidence that kombucha is low in fluoride, nor does it adequately show that we should feel confident drinking kombucha if we want to avoid fluoride.

The saddest part is, many people are reading Sarah's blog and taking her advice.

In this heart-wrenching post by Eileen Lard of the Phoenix Helix blog, she talks about how she had to start back on medication for arthritis after 4 years on one of the most restrictive diets on the planet, Auto Immune Paleo.

Fluoride should absolutely be strictly avoided by anyone with arthritis. But kombucha apologists like Sarah are not telling their readers about how much fluoride it has.

And sadly, Eileen from Phoenix Helix is now spreading this misinformation to her readers:

This whole fluoride issue may explain why people say things like “the GAPS diet didn't work for me so I switched to AIP” and “I was on AIP for 4 years and had to start back on medication.”

If fluoride is not addressed and removed from the diet, especially for people who have hormonal issues like hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease, many people will not get well even if they are eating a super-restricted, nutrient-dense diet.

Nourished Kitchen

One of my readers recently brought a post to my attention by Jenny McGruther at Nourished Kitchen. She defends brewing and drinking kombucha despite the fact that it is high in fluoride.

Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen

This post is very similar to the Healthy Home Economist post. She makes a couple different points… which I'll highlight…

Wine and Black Pepper Have Fluoride

Jenny says her readers are worried, but she reassures them by saying lots of things have fluoride — like wine and black pepper.

It's true that wine is very high in fluoride, but not all wine is. It depends where the wine is produced and whether or not it is organic.

This is due to the fact that cryolite, a fluoride-based pesticide, is what adds the fluoride to the wine. (Source)

And Jenny's point about black pepper? Um… wow. Black pepper? How much black pepper does one person eat in a day? An eighth of a teaspoon at most? Yeah, not sure why she even brought that up.

Jenny's Recommendations to Reduce Fluoride in Kombucha

Like Sarah Pope, Jenny has a number of ideas for how you can reduce the fluoride in your booch. It's mostly cribbed from Sarah's post… but she does have one difference.

Avoid Drinking “Quarts of Cheap Tea”

In Jenny's post, she basically tells people it's fine to keep drinking kombucha as long as you don't drink “quarts” of kombucha made with “cheap tea”.

While Sarah says she drinks up to 12-16 ounces a day and lets her children have up to 8 ounces per day, McGruther says that she recommends only drinking “a few ounces” a day. So what, like 3 or 4 ounces? Half a cup? I don't know about you but I don't drink half a cup of anything… especially if I'm going to the trouble of brewing my own kombucha, which she recommends.

And as I said above, if you live in America, the optimal amount of fluoride recommended for an adult woman is only 1.6 mg per day. And a cup of tea has anywhere from .2 mg to 2 mg of fluoride. We don't know how much fluoride kombucha has… it could be as much as 3 times the amount in black tea.

So, you could be getting as much as 3 mgs of fluoride in half a cup of kombucha, which is double the recommended daily amount for adult women.

Needless to say, this is supremely bad advice!

Jenny McGruther's Bias

Jenny has a lot of affiliate links in her post, which is fine, I don't begrudge anyone that. Almost all bloggers use affiliate links. Jenny also has a long-standing relationship with the Weston Price Foundation and the Kombucha Mamma, Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp.

Ah, well what do you know? There's that affiliate link to Kombucha Kamp. Like I said, I don't care if people use affiliate links. I think it's great that bloggers make money from educating people about health.

But when health bloggers ignore the health of their readers in order to make money off them (and these bloggers do make very good money, trust me,) this is really unethical.

Especially when you see comments like this one…

This reader, Donna, tells Jenny she has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, a disease that is directly linked to fluoride exposure. Donna even tells Jenny that she can't consume fluoride.

Watch how Jenny answers:

The black pepper again. Oh, yeah, and all the parsley we eat on a daily basis.

Really, Jenny?

Food Renegade

Kristin Michaelis of Food Renegade also promotes kombucha… her post on the health benefits of kombucha ranks very high, in the top 5 results for kombucha on the first page Google. I know this because I taught her all my SEO (search engine optimization) tricks back in the day, which I learned from one of my husband's friends who is one of the top SEO guys in the world. She used those tips to write this article.

Michaelis' kombucha post has been up for several years, but it doesn't mention anything about fluoride.

And when one of her readers asked in the comments section, “what about the fluoride in tea?” she never answered. I'm sure this is not the only time she has been asked this question.

Kristen Michaelis' Bias

I'm sure Michaelis probably doesn't want to stop promoting kombucha because it would definitely hurt her search engine traffic to take that post down or modify it. She probably makes a lot of money from her affiliate links.

Maybe after Michaelis sees my post, she'll consider doing the right thing, and updating her post to inform people of the dangers of fluoride in kombucha. I hope so!

Conclusion

It's clear that tea and kombucha are high in fluoride. Health bloggers who downplay this fact and who continue to promote kombucha as a “health tonic” are doing their readers a big disservice.

We know that fluoride has a 20 year half life. That means that if you stopped consuming fluoride right now, half of the fluoride that is in your body will be there for another 20 years. It is not easy to get rid of fluoride that has accumulated in the body (mostly in bones and teeth but also in the thyroid, ovaries and breasts). For those of us struggling with health issues such as thyroid disorders, cysts in the breasts or the ovaries, bone loss, cavities, migraine headaches, arthritis, infertility (and many more) adding MORE fluoride to our diet will only aggravate and worsen these conditions.

It is extremely important that we health bloggers educate our readers about the dangers of fluoride consumption. I hope that this post will help to spread the word.

Fluoride in Kombucha? Why I Stopped Drinking Kombucha and Tea

If you want to learn more about fluoride in kombucha (because you that post wasn't LONG ENOUGH — LOL), you can watch this short video I made:

You can also read my post about fluoride in kombucha and why I no longer drink kombucha or tea.

Share Your Comments Below

Do you have experience with fluoride in kombucha or tea? Please share below.

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

49 thoughts on “Health Bloggers Still Push Kombucha Despite High Levels of Fluoride

  1. I'm reminded of the quote by Upton Sinclair:
    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    Thanks for what you do Anne, you're the only old school WAPF/healthy food blogger I can stomach to follow anymore. All my health problems disappeared when I started doing Trim Healthy Mama, so I don't have need of any of that noise.

  2. Nice article. I have wondered myself about health bloggers and the information they share. I wonder if they ever go back and correct wrong or old information. But if their posts are riddled with affiliate links I can see why they wouldn't change a thing.
    I always check the dates of blog posts, but now (because of your article) I will be more cautious and aware of affiliate links and their alterior motives.
    Most bloggers are annoying anyway. I do enjoy your blog, it's not filled with annoying fluff. I trust you. You're my go to source for current top of the line products / best practices!
    Thanks ??

  3. I'm just tired of finding out that everything is bad for us. If you are drinking kombucha you are likely someone who is eating differently than most people. Then you find out your kombucha is harming you, your cod liver oil, you're brushing your teeth the wrong way, your kale is raw instead of sauteed and harming you, your flax and chia iyou sprinkled on your bone broth are giving you leaky gut. It's just depressing. I wonder if people just shut down at some point.

    1. Please state why chia seeds and flax give you leaky gut because you are sending me now on a google chase and it’s just throwing things into the mix without saying why

  4. We brewed our own kombucha last year, faithfully every 7 days. We (me & my husband) had about 16, 16 oz bottles each batch and drank them by the time the next batch was ready.
    We recently moved and I just couldn't get into making kombucha. Then I read your article and was happy to never drink kombucha again.
    However last year (before we moved) I started to develop pain in my wrist. I ignored it for a while, but it got to the point where I couldn't put any pressure on my wrist. Which was annoying because I couldn't do handstands anymore. I checked with doctor Google and came to the conclusion it was a cyst.
    I just put two and two together and I must have developed the cyst from drinking kombucha! The cyst wasn't very big (but it was painful). Now 8 months later it's starting to go away. I can finally put pressure on my wrist but I have to do lots of prehab.

  5. This article is just plain rediculious! The biases are so evident I don't understand how anyone can even begin to think it's based off of just data of which there is little anyway.

  6. Unless I am way off somehow here you just contradicted yourself. You state Sarah says to limit steep time but ferment longer and then when you talk about Jenny you said "Wait…didn't Sarah Pope say we should steep our tea for a longer period of time?" With Jackie Chans picture under for effect. Do you see what I'm taliking about? You never quote Sarah on longer steep times just longer fermenting times. It's not the exact opposite. It's the exact sane. Steep shorter.

  7. I am really torn about this and want to make a truly informed decision about serving this to my family.

    So…just some honest questions that come to mind… Is it not true that kombucha has been consumed for hundreds of years? If so, did our ancestors have fluoride in their kombucha and they had health problems resulting from it? If not, why?

    Also, is it not true that kombucha is detoxifying? Is it possible that kombucha eliminates the very ingredients (fluoride and aluminum) that are ingested?

    1. Hi, Bethany,

      Thank you for your questions.

      I don't know if kombucha has been consumed for hundreds of years or not. I've found that Sally Fallon makes a lot of stuff up… so who knows?

      But even if it's true, it doesn't mean that it's healthy. People have also been drinking tea for hundreds of years but that's also full of fluoride.

      It's odd to me that Sally doesn't even MENTION wine but we know the Swiss villagers Price studied drank wine – it was their fermented food. This is according to the Price Pottenger Foundation.

      Again, Sally cherrypicking data. She doesn't like wine for some reason (her family is in the wine business oddly enough) and she doesn't drink at all.

      Anyway, she does say in NT that wine is OK — but then she never talks about it. It's odd.

      I don't know if kombucha is detoxifying. Again, I don't have data for that — if you have a study, I'd love to see it.

      1. I'm over the whole "people have been doing X for thousands of years" being a good reason to do anything. Some cultures have been performing female genital mutilation for thousands of years. Doesn't make it right. We can judge things by better standards nowadays. Scientific progress has made our lives better in most ways (emergency medicine, work that no longer shortens lifespan due to its backbreaking nature, clean water).

  8. Weary….that's how I feel after reading this post. A lot of the attraction of traditional foods is the common sense factor, that if a food is real/has been consumed for centuries, it is worthy of including in our diets. Throughout the years, Almighty Science has told us that Earth is flat, that margarine is good, and eggs are bad…in other words, it's not foolproof. And recently the real food movement seems to be subject to the same "eat this, not that" studies that wear people to a frazzle..

    How did our ancestors decide what was good food? Likely by intuition and by how they reacted to the food–whether they died, became ill, or felt great. And they must have done an adequate job, because we're here.

    I'm not an expert on kombucha, or advocating for or against it. I don't have a vested interest in it, frankly; I haven't had any in ages. But fluoride in tea is not a new discovery. I mentioned it to someone years ago and she said that natural fluoride, such as found in tea is not the same as what is added to our drinking water. I don't even pretend to know if she is right or wrong, but it has caused me to wonder.

    At the end of the day, I think we need to start relying on our own guts a little more. (Pun intended!) 🙂

      1. By the way I wanted to respond to your friend's comment that sodium fluoride is different from calcium fluoride — they are both toxic to humans and animals.

        I just posted about this on my Facebook page…

        I had a few people question me about naturally occurring fluoride and synthetic fluoride — are they both toxic? Calcium fluoride (naturally occurring) is found in groundwater and is absorbed by the roots of tea plants, which is why tea is so high in fluoride. Sodium fluoride is what they add to drinking water.

        Both forms of fluoride are toxic and cause bone loss, dental decay, and hormone disruption.

        This woman lives in a village in India where they have high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in their groundwater. Her bones are bent so badly from the fluoride, she can no longer feed herself. I have similar articles and photos from Africa and China.

        Source: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/oct/29/the-indian-village-fighting-fluoride-poisoning-with-vitamins-and-clean-water

  9. First, I just want to say that I love reading your blog and following you on Facebook. I admire your gutsy reporting! 🙂

    As I am researching kombucha (and tea) and fluoride, there are just some things that are coming to mind. Mainly that tea has been consumed for centuries, and kombucha has also been consumed for hundreds of years (and this is corroborated by sources other than WAPF), so why has there been no concern about adverse health effects before? Tea, especially green tea, has been shown to have many benefits, so I am confused by this.

    Tea is high in antioxidants, which mitigates the oxidative effects of fluoride (and other heavy metals). Additionally, kombucha, which is even higher in antioxidants than plain tea, has been shown in lab studies to reduce the harmful effects of another heavy metal, lead. In fact, if you do a scholarly article search on google, you'll find all kinds of studies noting kombucha's ability to prevent oxidation (which is how fluoride is harmful).

    Is it possible that if you are using good quality tea and filtered water, that any fluoride present is prevented from causing damage, and that the abundance of antioxidants, along with its high probiotic and vitamin content (most notably the B vitamins), that kombucha is still a beneficial beverage to consume? Are there any studies actually linking kombucha consumption to fluoride caused health issues, such as dental and skeletal fluorosis, arthritis, thyroid issues, lowered IQ, etc…? Just some things I've been wondering.

    1. I apologize – your comment got stuck in the spam folder.

      Yes, tea has been consumed for centuries, but it is only recently that we have been exposed to lots of fluoride from a multitude of sources. Right now we are being hit from all sides…

      Teflon cookware increases fluoride in food by 3x, cryolite (a fluoride based pesticide) is now sprayed on fruit and vegetable crops, and it is on the grain that is fed to animals (and is stored in their bones). Fluoride is also added to the water so we are getting fluoridated water in any processed food that we eat from canned beans to sodas and juice.

      "Tea is high in antioxidants, which mitigates the oxidative effects of fluoride (and other heavy metals)."

      Fluoride also causes oxidative stress. So you need more antioxidants… so it may cancel itself out.

      https://fluoridealert.org/studies/oxidative-stress/

      "Additionally, kombucha, which is even higher in antioxidants than plain tea, has been shown in lab studies to reduce the harmful effects of another heavy metal, lead. In fact, if you do a scholarly article search on google, you'll find all kinds of studies noting kombucha's ability to prevent oxidation (which is how fluoride is harmful)."

      My article is about fluoride, not lead… so that's a separate issue.

      "Is it possible that if you are using good quality tea and filtered water, that any fluoride present is prevented from causing damage, and that the abundance of antioxidants, along with its high probiotic and vitamin content (most notably the B vitamins), that kombucha is still a beneficial beverage to consume?"

      I think there are too many sources of fluoride in our food supply.

      "Are there any studies actually linking kombucha consumption to fluoride caused health issues, such as dental and skeletal fluorosis, arthritis, thyroid issues, lowered IQ, etc…? Just some things I've been wondering."

      Not to my knowledge but I did find a study which I linked to above showing that kombucha had 3x more fluoride than black tea. Considering that black tea is already high in fluoride, I think it's not a good idea to consume kombucha for most people, but particularly for people who have health issues that are caused by fluoride.

  10. Thanks for this article. Unfortunately, although I suspect you are correct, this reinforces the exhaustion that I and many others have experienced with natural health bloggers. I'm afraid you'll also get thrown out with the natural health bathwater. It's just too hard to believe in any more. Again, thank you – you are brave to tell the truth. As we know it for now. 🙁

  11. I really appreciate your articles. It can be frustrating to wade through what is good for you and what is not. As far as kombucha goes, I can say from personal experience that after I stopped drinking it my gums stopped receding and bleeding. My son who eats a predominantly whole food diet was getting a huge cavity, it has greatly improved since we stopped drinking kombucha. It was hard for me to read your first article because I loved komucha. The truth is that I had been wondering if the carbonic acid in it was harming our teeth, when i found out about the flouride it really was a relief. Why? Because I knew that I could alleviate the problems that we were having. Empowerment! Knowledge is power and instead of getting overwhelmed, which yes, it is easy to do, we learn and move on. So thanks again for writing this article. By the way we had a small window where we were drinking kombucha again and my sons teeth regressed. That was the only change we had made. The best test is to stop consuming it ans see if you feel better and can get rid of bad health symptoms, its that simple.

  12. I don't drink Kombucha but I have refrained from drinking tea.

    Most teas (unfortunately) that are store bought (even organic) have tested positive for mineral oils from packaging and various levels of PA and PAH here in Europe.

    This concerns me enough to make me hesitant to drink tea regularly. I do when I'm sick though because somehow coffee doesn't taste as good with a sore throat! haha! 🙂

    Thanks for the well thought out article.

  13. Hi there,

    I tried commenting before but may not have pushed "save". Anyway, I want to thank you f your article: I am a tea drinker with hypothyroidism so this is important info for me to have (it may take some time to wean myself off though!). I also love to read health blogs (obviously 😉 and am wondering if you have any trusted favorites you recommend. Yours is just wonderful.

    1. I apologize – your comment got stuck in spam for some reason. Thank you for your comment!

      Not a lot of health blogs I can recommend… I do like The Family That Heals Together… https://www.thefamilythathealstogether.com/

  14. I can see that affiliates could cause conflict of interest with some people. One blogger bashed brands of cod liver oil but promoted another. Of course she was an affiliate of that brand!

  15. During the past decades heavy metal saturation has dramatically increased via atmospheric dispersion. The disgusting, clandestine chemtrail agenda has poisoned all of us. There is no truly organic status anywhere in the world. In reality there probably hasn't been for several centuries.

    The body is, however, superbly adapted to tolerate toxicity to a certain degree. Wisdom is to minimize exposure and engage in daily cleansing as a lifestyle.

  16. Thanks for this article, Ann Marie. I've been using kombucha for years, sometimes home-brewed, mostly store-bought. Recently I've found a variety of fermented drinks that aren't tea-based. Some are coconut water-based, or sarsaparilla, etc. Are the scobys for these also high in fluoride?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  17. How do ypu respond to folks who bring up the centuries-old high dietary intake of tea by Asians and their relatively good health stats?

    1. There are lots of Asian countries that have a history of fluoride related bone loss…

      https://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/fluoride-hazardous-your-health/2013/mar/21/fluoride-from-tea-can-cause-bone-and-tooth-damage/#

      https://fluoridealert.org/studies/tea03/

  18. Thank you for all your hard work on bringing us the truth! I really appreciate this article. No more kombucha for me. And I don't feel deflated or weary about it (even though I bought my family a kombucha brewing kit just over a year ago) – on the contrary, I'm grateful to know the truth and feel empowered by it.

  19. I would love it if you did a similar exploration of bone broth and lead content. I know at least one study has been done on chicken bone broth that showed high levels of lead (the chicken was pastured and organic).

  20. Is it at all possible that the SCOBY is high in Flouride because it is absorbing the Flouride from the kombucha and thus lowering the actual flouride in the kombicha as opposed to its original tea state? Would be interesting to see a study done on that!

    1. That's not what the study above showed… I'll link here… in the study Donna Gates referenced, they tested kombucha and found that it has 3 times more fluoride than black tea.

      The study is here: https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/elsevier/determination-of-anionic-minerals-in-black-and-kombucha-tea-using-ion-VXtbjyt8KM?

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