Protective effect of kombucha on rats fed a hypercholesterolemic diet is mediated by its antioxidant activity

Pharm Biol. 2015;53(11):1699-709. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2014.1001408. Epub 2015 Apr 9.


Context: Kombucha (KT) is claimed to have various beneficial effects on human health, but there is very little scientific evidence available in the literature.

Objective: The present study investigates the effects of Camellia sinensis (GT) Linn. (Theaceae) and KT, two natural drinks, on cholesterol and antioxidant status using a hypercholesterolemia rat model.

Materials and methods: The present study compared the free-radical scavenging abilities and polyphenol levels of GT and KT. Wistar rats fed cholesterol-rich diets were given KT or GT (5 mL/kg body weight per day, po) for 16 weeks, then fasted overnight and sacrificed. The plasma lipid levels, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) serum levels, antioxidant activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and creatinine and urea rats were examined.

Results: KT had a phenolic compound of 955 ± 0.75 mg GAE/g) followed, by GT (788.92 ± 0.02 mg GAE/g). The free radical scavenging activity of KT was higher than GT. Compared with GT, KT induced lowered serum levels of TC, TG, VLDL-C, and LDL-C by 26, 27, 28, and 36%, respectively, and increased the serum level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). KT induced a 55% decrease of TBARS level in liver and 44% in kidney, compared with those of rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet alone. Moreover, CAT and SOD activities were reduced by 29 and 33%, respectively, in liver and 31 and 35%, respectively, in kidney, after oral administration of KT, compared with those of HCD-fed rats.

Conclusion: The findings revealed that KT administration induced attractive curative effects on hypercholesterolemic, particularly in terms of liver-kidney functions in rats. Its effect on humans needs to be studied further.

Keywords: Green tea; histological studies; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Camellia sinensis*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Hypercholesterolemia / chemically induced
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy*
  • Kombucha Tea*
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Plant Extracts