Kombucha: The Importance of B12 and Electrolytes
We talk a lot about all the good stuff that’s in your booch. But do you know what all that stuff really does? In the next couple of articles, we’re going to break down some of the things kombucha is known to contain, and tell you how much of it you can find in your bottle (more or less, sometimes it varies, or is unclear), and what these little components you see on your label do, and even where they come from. We tend to geek out about this stuff, and want you to join in on the fun with us.
B12, aka cobalamin, does a ton for your body – DNA synthesis, helps mature the red blood cells in your bone marrow, is extremely important in your nervous system’s neurons, and fatty acid metabolism. Some vegetarians and vegans have concerns about getting B12 in their diets because one of the most common and dense sources of this vitamin are animal products.
B12 is a really special vitamin because the only two things that produce it are bacteria, and a really weird subclass of organisms called archea, but we’d have to go into a lot of Bio 101 to tell you what those are. What we care about is this bacteria thing, because that’s how the B12 gets in your bottle, with some help from the yeasts. As you know, kombucha contains tons of probiotic bacteria and yeasts, and these are the little construction workers that make it happen. Furthermore, if you pour them into your gut, there’s reason to believe that probiotic bacteria make it happen for your body too.
Kombucha also contains electrolytes, which get a lot of lip service, but many would be hard pressed to tell you what these things are. So, it’s ok, you’re not alone.
Very simply, electrolytes are molecules in your body that have an electric charge. This electric charge is really important though, because it helps your body carry out way too many functions to even name. If you were to say they do “everything”, you wouldn’t be too far from the mark. While you might not be familiar with the term, you surely know some electrolytes well – calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium are some famous ones. These minerals help regulate the water balance all throughout your body, as well as the pH of it, which is extremely important because it affects the movement of nutrients into your cells, helps the wastes out of your cells, and makes sure all the muscles and neurons in your body work they way they should (this includes your brain and heart).
You can lose electrolytes through just regular exercise, or going to the bathroom too much when you’re sick, or affected by medication. It’s extremely bad if you have an electrolyte imbalance because this can cause things like irregular heartbeats, muscle spasms, blood pressure changes, and even seizures. However, if you have concerns about all of this, we’re not doctors, and we just like to tell you how your body functions, so check with your doctor if you become too concerned.
In the course of day to day, though, sometimes we just work out, or its really hot, or we had the flu and are trying to recover a bit. In this case, grabbing some ‘booch might be helpful. Commercial sports drinks, energy drinks, and ‘recovery’ beverages that are touted to contain electrolytes often contain something else – tons of sugar. You can replenish without the candy. It’s debatable whether plain kombucha contains electrolytes by itself, but thankfully we have some delicious fruits and flowers we ferment ours with that certainly do. Pineapples and blueberries contain significant potassium, pomegranates contain sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, lemons also have all of the above, and our favorite power flower hibiscus also packs some potassium.
Stay tuned for our other blogs coming that break down some other cool stuff your body needs, that kombucha may have, but you never knew to ask about. Now go impress your friends.