Written by Dan Jackowiak Nc, HHP
Brewer’s yeast is a nutritious ingredient that is made from a one-celled fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is known for its strong fermentative characteristics. It is bitter in taste and used as an ingredient in the production of bread and beer. It is packed with B-complex vitamins, proteins, trace minerals, particularly chromium and selenium.
It is often used as a nutritional supplement under the commercial name Saccharomyces Boulardii. Brewer’s yeast is used to treat diabetes, common cold, flu, diarrhea, and other associated health problems. It is used to promote digestive health. Chromium helps in regulating blood sugar levels by improving glucose intolerance. (1)
One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 57 calories. (2) Brewer’s yeast is an excellent choice for boosting energy. It is enriched with nutrients, strengthening the immune system of your body. It is a rich source of proteins, trace minerals, and B vitamins.
One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 6.5 grams of carbohydrates, 2% of an adult’s required daily intake (RDI) of carbohydrates. (2) Brewer’s yeast has a very low glycemic index which means it is suitable for maintaining blood glucose levels in diabetic people. Moreover, it improves glucose tolerance and prevents type 2 diabetes. (3)
Dietary fibers are necessary for regulating bowel movements and prevent constipation. One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, 12% of an adult’s required daily intake (RDI) of dietary fiber. (2) They help people with type 2 diabetes in maintaining blood glucose levels. These fibers also aid in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Brewer’s yeast is a good source of proteins. One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 7 grams of proteins, 14% of an adult’s required daily intake (RDI) of proteins. (2) Protein is necessary for maintaining and repairing cells throughout your body.
One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 0.8 grams of fats. (2) It is a minute amount of fats per serving. It is very low in saturated fats. One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 0.3 grams of saturated fatty acids and 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids. (2) Consuming foods high in unsaturated fatty acids content can improve blood cholesterol levels, which leads to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Vitamins and Minerals
Brewer’s yeast is a good source of chromium, magnesium, selenium, iron, potassium, sodium, and zinc. One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 0.45 milligrams of iron, 4.95 milligrams of sodium, and 21 micrograms of selenium. (2) Chromium maintains the blood glucose levels in your body.
Brewer’s yeast is a good source of B vitamins. One tablespoon of brewer’s yeast (15 grams) contains 0.2 milligrams of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), 1.05 milligrams of thiamin (vitamin B1), 0.35 milligrams of riboflavin (vitamin B2), and 4 milligrams of niacin (vitamin B3). (2) It is used as a nutritional supplement, elevating energy levels.
The body contains free radicals that are unstable molecules disturbing the body's normal functioning when accumulated at high concentrations. These accumulated free radicals must be removed; antioxidants are the potent molecules that help to remove them. Brewer’s yeast contains potent antioxidants that protect the cell from damage by binding to free radicals and destroying them.
Selenomethionine and glutathione are the powerful antioxidants in brewer’s yeast. These antioxidants eliminate free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Accumulation of free radicals leads to oxidative stress, which in return can cause various chronic diseases, including cancer, macular degeneration, and cardiovascular disease. (4) (5)
Brewer’s yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins; thus, it plays a significant role in boosting energy. Consumption of brewer’s yeast prevents your body from fatigue and weakness. It supports healthy pregnancy. As folic acid (vitamin B) is necessary to prevent congenital abnormalities in the fetus, it is recommended to add brewer’s yeast in the diet plan of pregnant women. (6)
Brewer’s yeast is nutritious, providing enough energy to promote and maintain the health of hair and nails. It can prevent hair loss and nail brittleness. In addition, it has a role in improving skin health by reducing acne and other associated skin problems.
Brewer’s yeast has anti-diarrheal activity and probiotic characteristics, making it effective in treating various stomach and digestive tract disorders. It helps in fighting against bacteria that are responsible for intestinal infections. In the intestine, brewer’s yeast increases the release of an enzyme that helps prevent diarrhea. (7)
Brewer’s yeast effectively treats irritable bowel syndrome, characterized by diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, and constipation. It is also used to treat Costridium difficile colitis, lactose intolerance, and traveler’s diarrhea. (8)
Brewer’s yeast is also effective in treating upper respiratory tract infections such as common cold, flu, and other viral infections. It prevents these infections by stimulating the immune response of the body in patients. It is also believed that brewer’s yeast reduces the severity of upper respiratory tract infections. (9) It reduces inflammation resulting from infections. Thus, it supports the immune system and enhances the defense system of your body. (10)
Brewer’s yeast regulates the blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The presence of chromium in brewer’s yeast maintains the blood glucose levels by improving glucose sensitivity. (3)
Short-term use of brewer’s yeast is considered safe, and its side effects are generally mild. Excessive intake of brewer’s yeast may cause bloating, gas, stomach upset, and severe headaches.
People who are sensitive to yeast should avoid brewer’s yeast. It may cause an allergic reaction in such people. Allergic reactions to brewer’s yeast are characterized by difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and pain.
Brewer’s yeast supplementation should not be taken without consulting your healthcare professional. It may interact with certain drugs and cause complications. People on diabetic medications must avoid brewer’s yeast supplementation as it may result in an abnormal drop in blood glucose levels.
People with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis should avoid brewer’s yeast supplementation. It is reported that brewer’s yeast may increase the severity of inflammatory bowel disease in such people. (11)
Brewer’s yeast is a rich source of B vitamins, but it lacks vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of your body; inadequate consumption of vitamin B12 may cause anemia.
Although brewer's yeast has many health benefits and does work well for chronic diarrhea and other digestive illnesses; as this study points out, people do get infected by it. However, Saccharomyces cerevisiae does have anti Candida effects and could be beneficial for those individuals that know for certain that they do have Candida over growth in their gut... have you been stool tested?
Many people with chronic yeast infections or chronic Candida infections in the gut, may have allergies to brewer's yeast; for these people consuming brewer's yeast on the Candida diet is not advised.
Bottom line, please proceed with caution or avoid brewer's yeast altogether. It would also be helpful to consult with your healthcare professional before taking it.
Please be aware that Saccharomyces Boulardii is the commercial name for Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
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9. Dharsono T, Rudnicka K, Wilhelm M, Schoen C. Effects of Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-Beta-Glucan on Severity of Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study in Healthy Subjects. J Am Coll Nutr [Internet]. 2019 Jan 2;38(1):40–50.
10. Moslehi-Jenabian S, Pedersen LL, Jespersen L. Beneficial effects of probiotic and food borne yeasts on human health. Nutrients [Internet]. 2010/04/01. 2010 Apr;2(4):449–73.
11. Herbrecht R, Nivoix Y. Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fungemia: An Adverse Effect of Saccharomyces boulardii Probiotic Administration. Clin Infect Dis [Internet]. 2005 Jun 1;40(11):1635–7.
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