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Kombucha and Mold Illness: Understanding the Risks and Precautions for Those Sensitive to Fungi and Mycotoxins

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on December 19, 2023

Kombucha, a popular fermented tea drink, has gained a reputation for its potential health benefits, which are often attributed to its probiotic content. However, for individuals with mold illness or sensitivity to fungi, there are important considerations to be mindful of before including kombucha in their diet.

Understanding Kombucha and Its Composition

Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This fermentation process produces a variety of organic acids, enzymes, and probiotics. While these components contribute to kombucha's health appeal, they also raise concerns regarding the presence of fungi and potential contaminants like mycotoxins.

Mold Illness and Sensitivity to Fungi

Individuals with mold illness, also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), are particularly sensitive to environments and substances with mold or fungal elements. Exposure to mold or mycotoxins can trigger an array of symptoms in these individuals, ranging from respiratory issues to cognitive disturbances.

The Fungal Element in Kombucha

During the fermentation of kombucha, the SCOBY can sometimes become contaminated with unwanted molds or fungi. These contaminants may not always be easily identifiable by the naked eye, especially in the early stages of contamination. The presence of such molds or fungi in kombucha can be a concern for those with mold illness or fungal sensitivities.

Mycotoxins: A Hidden Threat

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by certain types of molds. They can be present in various foods and beverages, including fermented products like kombucha. Ingesting mycotoxins, even in small quantities, can exacerbate symptoms in individuals with mold illness or compromise their immune function.

Considerations Before Consuming Kombucha

Source and Quality: Opt for commercially produced kombucha from reputable brands that adhere to strict quality control measures to minimize the risk of contamination.

Homemade Kombucha: If brewing at home, ensure a clean and controlled environment to reduce the risk of mold contamination. Regularly inspect the SCOBY and the kombucha for any signs of mold.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body reacts to kombucha. If you notice any adverse effects, it might be best to avoid it.

Consult Holistic Healthcare Providers: If you have mold illness or a history of fungal sensitivities, consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating kombucha into your diet.


While kombucha may offer health benefits to some, individuals with mold illness or sensitivities to fungi should approach its consumption with caution. The potential presence of molds and mycotoxins in kombucha can pose health risks for this specific group. Always prioritize safety and personal health needs when considering fermented foods and beverages like kombucha.


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