- With Mayo Clinic internist
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.read biographyclose window
Brent A. Bauer, M.D.Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Brent Bauer, M.D., is board certified in internal medicine. He is a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine and director of the Department of Internal Medicine's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Bauer, a native of Madison, Wis., is also a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and a graduate of Mayo Medical School.
He serves on the editorial board of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and is medical editor for EmbodyHealth Newsletter. He has been on staff at Mayo Clinic since 1992, first practicing at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., before joining Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., in 1996.
Dr. Bauer's principal research focus is the scientific evaluation of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies that patients and consumers are using with increasing frequency. He has authored several book chapters and papers on this topic, and is the medical editor of the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine." Dr. Bauer also spearheaded collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Gaiam in the creation of a series of 10 DVDs (Mayo Clinic Wellness Solutions). These DVDs address common health problems (for example, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure) with integrative medicine approaches that empower people to take charge of their health. His work is at the forefront of the emerging field of integrative medicine which combines the best of conventional medicine with the best of evidence-based complementary therapies.
Dr. Bauer has served on the NIH-NCCAM study section and is currently collaborating on over 20 studies being conducted at Mayo Clinic evaluating CAM therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian. He is also a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; the American Federation for Medical Research; the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and other professional organizations.
Consumer health basics (5)
- Osteopathic medicine: What kind of doctor is a D.O.?
- What is compassionate use of experimental drugs?
- After a flood, are food and medicine safe to use?
- see all in Consumer health basics
Alternative medicine (28)
- Does prickly pear cactus have health benefits?
- What is reflexology?
- What is hot yoga?
- see all in Alternative medicine
- Grapefruit juice: Beware of dangerous medication interactions
- Antibiotics and alcohol: Should I avoid mixing them?
- Aspirin allergy: What are the symptoms?
- see all in Medications
Kombucha tea: Does it have health benefits?
What is kombucha tea? Does it have any health benefits?
from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.
Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Although it's sometimes referred to as kombucha mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom — it's a colony of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha tea is made by adding the colony to sugar and tea, and allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting liquid contains vinegar, B vitamins and a number of other chemical compounds.
Health benefits attributed to kombucha tea include stimulating the immune system, preventing cancer, and improving digestion and liver function. However, there's no scientific evidence to support these health claims.
There have, however, been reports of adverse effects such as stomach upset, infections and allergic reactions in kombucha tea drinkers. Kombucha tea is often brewed in homes under nonsterile conditions, making contamination likely. If ceramic pots are used for brewing, lead poisoning might be a concern — the acids in the tea may leach lead from the ceramic glaze.
In short, there isn't good evidence that kombucha tea delivers on its health claims. At the same time, several cases of harm have been reported. Therefore, the prudent approach is to avoid kombucha tea until more definitive information is available.Next question
Do infrared saunas have any health benefits?
- Kombucha tea. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 29, 2011.
- Kole AS, et al. A case of Kombucha tea toxicity. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine 2009;24:205.