Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Is drinking kombucha tea healthy for a breast cancer survivor taking Letrizole?
Suzanne, Newburyport, Massachusetts
A: Scientific evidence does not yet support the proposed health benefits of kombucha tea.
It is often used with the intent of strengthening of the immune system and metabolism and to help hair grow back.
This tea is often expensive, up to $4 per bottle. Given the evidence supporting the health benefits of fruits and vegetables, your money may be better spent at the farmer's market.
There are some adverse reactions that may be associated with drinking kombucha tea. It should not be prepared in a lead-glazed ceramic container because that can result in lead poisoning. Orally, use of kombucha tea can cause stomach problems, yeast infections, allergic reactions, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, and head and neck pain.
It is also worth mentioning that fermented tea contains alcohol, so it may be contraindicated with prescribed medications. It is also important for breast cancer survivors to limit alcohol intake.
During the summer of 2010, some varieties of kombucha were pulled from grocery shelves due to too high alcohol content.
We recommend that you contact your physician or oncologist before making or purchasing this kind of tea. It may pose some health risks associated with its interaction with Letrozole and other medications you may be taking.