Interview: Patrick O’Connor introduces the benefits of Kombucha
Today, we wanted to introduce Patrick O’Connor, the founder of PJ Kombucha (Marie’s new favourite drink). In this exclusive interview, he explains how this drink can significantly improve your health and the appearance of your skin.
G: Can you tell us a little bit who you are and what you do?
P: My name is Patrick O’Connor (from Ireland in case you couldn’t tell) and I brew delicious PJ Kombucha, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
G: How did you get interested in good bacteria? #pyodermagang
P: I have a background in research science and have always been interested in health and well being, and particularly my microbiome. But like most people, I didn’t sit up and take notice until I contracted a skin infection #pyodermagang. I was prescribed Antibiotics and surgical scrub and the treatment went on for just under 9 months.
Because of this onslaught, I started to become bloated all the time, have really irregular bowel movements and started having minor issues with some foods, which I have never had before. I knew my gut and skin microbiota had taken a massive hit and went on a personal mission to restore the little buggers. I made changes to my diet and started taking probiotic tablets. But the real change started when I came across Kombucha in Australia, almost 7 years ago now.
I starting drinking it regularly and within two days, my bloating vanished. Within about two weeks, everything came back into regular working order and after about 6 weeks or so, the issues I had with some food disappeared. Given my background, I dove heavily into the research behind Kombucha and began to make it myself, testing batches until I came to the method I still use today at PJ Kombucha.
G: What’s so special about kombucha, and especially about pj kombucha?
P: One of the main benefits of Kombucha is the live bacterial cultures present. These cultures help to diversify your gut microbiota, creating a strong sustainable gut ecosystem, which impacts positively on every system in the body, from your nervous system to your endocrine system.
PJ Kombucha is so special because we do not heavily alter our Kombucha to extend the shelf life dramatically. It doesn’t necessarily spoil as it’s low pH acts as a natural preservative. The issue with shelf life is continued fermentation (rise in alcohol past the non-alcoholic 0.5% mark) due to the yeasts present. To extend the shelf life, past three or four months, you need to heavily filter or fine the Kombucha, to strip out the yeasts. However, in the process, the bacteria are also removed, reducing the beneficial culture count drastically.
We don’t do this! Which means you are getting the full microbial bang for your buck! But the benefits continue. Kombucha is packed with antioxidants which are substances that inhibit oxidative reactions in the body, that are known to cause cell damage and mutations, that can lead to a compromised immune system, cancers and even damaged, aged skin. During the fermentation process of Kombucha, the primary antioxidants in tea leaves, such as catechins, break down from their larger molecules to smaller ones, essentially increasing the concentration of antioxidants in Kombucha compared to a normal cup of tea. These then bind to free radicals in the body, inhibiting their damaging effects.
G: Outside of kombucha, how do you get your daily dose of bacteria?
P: With gut health, you want to diversify your microbiota, inside and out! To do this, I drink Kefir, eat crouts, ensure that I consume an array of plant veges (containing the fibres your beneficial bacteria feed on), and use Gallinee’s complex of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to repair and restore my skin microbiome after using surgical scrub for so long.
G: What is your favourite pub quiz fact about the microbiome?
P: Microbes outnumber our human cells 10:1. So we are more microbe than human if you think about it.
G: How does the future look like for you? Can you share anything that you find particularly exciting?
P: We have lots of plans for PJ Kombucha, but our main focus at the moment is to share our Kombucha with as many people as possible and to help them understand that not all of them are created equal. There are a lot of massive brands coming into the UK market and we want everyone to actually benefit from Kombucha, as I did and not be potentially mislead.
Thank you Patrick! Click here to discover PJ Kombucha website.