6 Health Benefits of Brewer's Yeast
Brewer's yeast is a rich source of B vitamins, the biologically active form of chromium, as well as potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and proteins. It can increase the energy and resistance of the body, improve digestion, glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes, may help for beautiful and healthy skin and hair.
Author: Rositsa Tashkova, Master of Molecular Biology and Microbiology
Brewer's yeast contains single-celled fungi of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae species, which are also used for making bread and fermentation of beer.
But brewer's yeast as a dietary supplement usually contains dead, dried yeast that cannot be reactivated. It is available in various forms, but most often as tablets or flakes.
Vitamins and trace elements in brewer's yeast
Brewer's yeast is a rich source of B vitamins, as well as a biologically active form of the the trace element chromium, known as glucose-tolerance factor (GTF).
It also contains: potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and proteins.
Brewer's yeast contain the following B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9). But it does not contain vitamin B12 and therefore can not be used to treat anemia caused by the deficiency of this vitamin - pernicious anemia.
Read more about anemia in the article Anemia: how many species exist, what to eat, how to combine foods.
Is there brewer's yeast in beer
Even beer contains potassium, calcium, thiamine, iron and zinc. The content of B vitamins and minerals is a result of the fact that beer is made from cereal grains and yeast. That's a good excuse when you're asked how many beers you've had. :)
You probably noticed the whitish sludge at the bottom of a bottle of weiss beer - these are the yeast that were involved in its fermentation. They remain active in the so-called "live beers", but are not present in the standard pasteurized and filtered beers. Not every beer with sludge contains live yeast, however - sometimes the beer is pasteurized, but not filtered.
Whether the yeast in the beer are alive or not, the useful substances of their activity remain in the refreshing drink.
Health benefits of brewer's yeast
It is believed that brewer's yeast can increase the energy and resistance of the body, improve digestion, improve glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes sufferers, help maintain beautiful and healthy skin and hair.
Brewer's yeast is taken as a dietary supplement for respiratory problems, including the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections, influenza, seasonal allergies.
It is used to treat diarrhea, colitis, loss of appetite, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, frequent appearance of boils on the skin (furunculosis), high cholesterol, premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Brewer's yeast - an alternative to synthetic products for active sports
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the proper functioning of the body, and B vitamins, of which brewer's yeast is so rich, are used to convert proteins and carbohydrates into energy and to restore and produce new cells.
These vitamins (and especially thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid) are also relevant for lovers of active sports. Sometimes the diets they undergo (and especially women) can deprive them of these vitamins.
Research data support the thesis that athletes and those who exercise often or at high intensity may have an increased need for riboflavin and vitamin B6, which can be offset by brewer's yeast intake. It also contains proteins.
Brewer's yeast for gastrointestinal problems
Brewer's yeast can be used to support the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders, including:
- Diarrhea - due to taking antibiotics or when traveling;
- Irritable bowel syndrome - can help constipation, but it is necessary to take 500-1000 mg daily for at least a month; [ref.1]
- Colitis induced by the bacterium Clostridium difficile - as complementary to the antibiotic treatment and for a long period of time (4 months), it is good to keep in mind that according to more recent studies another, similar type of yeast, is more effective in this case - Saccharomyces bouldardii.
Read more in the article Fermented foods - natural probiotics for healthy health.
Brewer's yeast in type 2 diabetes
High chromium content in brewer's yeast can be used to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Chromium can help the body use insulin more effectively. This may lower blood sugar levels. [ref.3]
Attention, attention! Since brewer's yeast can lower blood sugar levels, taking it in combination with diabetes medicines can put you at risk of hypoglycaemia (too low blood sugar).
Brewer's yeast may alleviate allergic rhinitis symptoms
According to a 2010 study. [ref.4] intake of 500 mg of brewer's yeast for 12 weeks can reduce the secretions and itching in the nose associated with seasonal allergies, when there is a large concentration of pollen in the environment, but not at low concentration.
Unfortunately, no improvement in eye irritation has been observed.
Read more about allergic rhinitis in the article Hay fever - what causes it and is there an effective treatment.
Brewer's yeast may help against cold, flu and other respiratory infections
There is evidence that taking brewer's yeast for 12 weeks can reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections - such as colds, flu and other respiratory infections - by having as yet unexplained effects on the immune response against the pathogens that cause them.
According to one study, brewer's yeast can alleviate symptoms and reduce severity of an already started respiratory infection. [ref.2]
Brewer's yeast may lower high cholesterol
Some preliminary studies have shown that the intake of brewer's yeast for 8 weeks reduces the levels of total cholesterol in the blood and increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL or "good" cholesterol) in people with high cholesterol. And in this case, the high chromium content is important. [ref.5]
Side effects of brewer's yeast intake. Drug interactions
In general, brewer's yeast is considered a safe dietary supplement. In some people, brewer's yeast can cause headaches, stomach discomfort and flatulence.
Brewer's yeast is not suitable for people suffering from: Crohn's disease, frequent fungal infections, yeast allergy, significantly weakened immune system (patients with HIV / AIDS, cancer or people who have taken drugs to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ).
In addition, brewer's yeast may interact with several different types of drugs:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO), e.g. selegiline and isocarboxazid, which are used to treat depression. A large amount of tyramine in brewer's yeast can cause a hypertensive crisis when mixed with MAO, and hence a heart attack or stroke.
- Meperidine - a pain-relieving drug, the interaction of which with brewer's yeast can also lead to a hypertensive crisis.
- Drugs for diabetes - as we said, brewer's yeast can lower blood sugar levels, and in combination with other drugs of the same action, this can lead to dangerous hypoglycemia.
In general, brewer's yeast is a safe and healthy dietary supplement that can enrich your diet with minerals and B vitamins. If you decide to take brewer's yeast for the first time, start with small doses to see how your body will react.
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3856 in irritable bowel syndrome: An individual subject meta-analysis, 2017, World J Gastroenterol
- 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, 2018, J Am Coll Nutr
- Brewer's yeast improves glycemic indices in type 2 diabetes mellitus, 2013, Int J Prev Med
- Immunogenic yeast-based fermentation product reduces allergic rhinitis-induced nasal congestion: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 2010, Advances in Therapy
- Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on glucose, HbA1C and lipid variables in individuals with newly onset type-2 diabetes, 2011, Journal of trace elements in medicine and biology : organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements (GMS)
👩 🔬 Rositsa Tashkova-Kacharova has a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Master's degree in Microbiology and Microbiological Control. She completed her Master's thesis at the University of Nantes, France. At that time she painted a Christmas tree of bacteria and inspired the announcement of the first competition for drawing with microorganisms Agar Art. For 3 years she was the editor of the journal Bulgarian Science and continues to write about science and medicine.