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Brewer's Yeast

Other name(s):

Faex medicinalis, medicinal yeast, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, Saccharomyces uvarum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae

General description

Brewer's yeast is produced from a number of Saccharomyces (yeast) species. Brewer's yeast is "harvested" during the beer-brewing process, or it can be specifically grown in a nutrient broth for improved yield and to modify its mineral content. It is naturally a good source of protein (52 percent of its weight) and B-complex vitamins. The mineral content of brewer's yeast can be controlled by adding various minerals to the nutrient solution in which the yeast is grown. Adding chromium increases the chromium content of the yeast, while adding selenium increases the selenium content.

Medically valid uses

Domesticated yeasts have been used for centuries for raising bread, brewing beer, and making wine and alcoholic beverages. Brewer's yeast has been used as a nutritive supplement for providing B vitamins and, more recently, minerals such as chromium and selenium. One study of brewer's yeast showed that it improved acne symptoms.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Yeast may also be useful in the treatment of eczema, gout, infectious diarrhea, and some heart disorders. It may possibly play a role in lowering cholesterol, improving the immune system, and increasing mental and physical capabilities. It may help control diabetes by aiding in sugar metabolism (yeast with a high chromium content only), reduce appetite, and lessen the negative effects of contaminants and pollutants.

Dosing format

Suggested dosage varies. 

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Brewer's yeast may cause migraine headaches in people susceptible to them. It may also cause flatulence.

Brewer's yeast may produce a reaction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (drugs used to treat depression). People with gout or Crohn's disease should not take it.

Additional information

There are distinct differences between brewer's yeast, baker's yeast, nutritional yeast, and torula yeast. Brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast contain many of the same nutritional attributes.

Click here for a list of reputable websites with general information on nutrition.