The potential benefits of kombucha fermented tea for our physical health as well as our mental well-being are being tested by researchers at Aberystwyth University.

Scientists are working with industry partners to see how anti-inflammatory and other beneficial properties found in kombucha can be enhanced to promote people’s physical and emotional health.

Over an eight-week period, a group of healthy individuals is being monitored for cognitive and behavioural performance, with inflammation and metabolomics of blood and urine samples after drinking kombucha tested too.

The project is also exploring the feasibility of an innovative ‘make at home’ kombucha kit which is being developed by the team’s main commercial partner Conwy Kombucha Ltd.

The Head of the Department of Psychology at Aberystwyth University, Professor Nigel Holt, said: “We often talk about our ‘gut instinct’ but what we don’t always realise is that there is a direct link between our gut and our brain.

“Most of our serotonin is produced in the gut, for example.

“Our project is delving deeper into the microbiota gut-brain axis to measure the extent to which consuming a fermented product like kombucha can support our mental as well as our physical well-being and how we can help improve its health-related benefits.”

Dr Amanda J Lloyd from the Department of Life Sciences said: “This project builds on previous research on fermented, functional and other novel foods at Aberystwyth.

“Alongside our testing, Conwy Kombucha are using innovative fermentation technology to improve the nutritional quality of kombucha and helping to develop evidence-based, value-added products with functional health benefits.”

The project will also explore consumer preferences and barriers to consumption to inform the development and marketing of functional and fermented drinks like kombucha.

Professor Robert Nash of PhytoQuest Ltd, also an industry project partner, said: “As a company which uses science to innovate natural ingredients and compounds in foods and other products, we are excited to be part of this multi-disciplinary collaboration.”

Funded by Innovate UK, the project brings together researchers from Aberystwyth University’s Department of Psychology, Department of Life Sciences and Business School with industry partners Conwy Kombucha Ltd and PhytoQuest Ltd.