Brewer's yeast consists of the dried, pulverized cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of fungus. It is a rich source of the B-complex vitamins, all essential amino acids, and minerals, particularly chromium. It is considered a superior form of chromium, both in terms of quantity and bio-availability. High-quality brewer's yeast powder or flakes contain as much as 60mcg of chromium per Tablespoon (15gm).
Brewer's yeast is generally regarded as a "health food" because it is easily digested and has a high nutrient content.
There a variety of sources of what is often called "nutritional yeast". One of these – and usually the best choice – is certified brewer's yeast, a complete food, left over from the process of creating alcohol.
Brewer's yeast should not be confused with other forms of yeast like baker's yeast, other nutritional yeasts, or torula yeast, which are low in chromium. When in doubt, enquire about the chromium content.
When using brewer's yeast, start with 1 to 2 teaspoons daily because it may cause gas in some individuals. As you tolerate it, gradually increase your dose to 1 to 2 tablespoons, watching how you feel as you do. If symptoms improve, you have a new power-packed food that may provide considerable health benefits.
Side-effects have not been reported from the use of brewer's yeast, although allergies to it exist in some people. It is not related to Candida albicans fungus, which causes yeast infection. Certain medications may interact with brewer's yeast and it is recommended that you discuss the use of brewer's yeast and your current medication(s) with your doctor or pharmacist.
If symptoms worsen, you may have a chronic Candida infection in which case this supplement is not right for you.
Reference: Bassetti S, Frei R, Zimmerli W. Fungemia with Saccharomyces cerevisiae after treatment with Saccharomyces boulardii. Am J Med 1998;105: pp.71-2.
A thoroughly researched yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, has been used in Europe for control of nonspecific diarrhea for several decades. Controlled studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile colitis.
Brewer's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, perhaps by changing the bacterial flora in the large intestine, may be helpful in the treatment of some cases of infectious diarrhea, but to a lesser degree.
High-chromium yeast is known to improve glucose tolerance and enhance insulin sensitivity [Diabetes 1980:29, pp.919-25]. Although there is no difference in blood glucose tolerance tests between patients with and without acne, skin biopsies revealed that the acne patients' skin glucose tolerance is significantly impaired. Based on this it would be appropriate to describe acne as "skin diabetes" [Can Med Assoc J 1959:80, pp.629-32]. High-chromium yeast has been reported in an uncontrolled study to induce rapid improvement in patients with acne [Med Hypoth 1984:14, pp.307-10].
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