Brewer's Yeast

Brewer's yeast, also referred to as brewing yeast, is prepared from a single-celled fungus known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Usually, brewer's yeast is used to prepare beer, seldom for baking breads. In fact, brewer's yeast and baker's yeast are different, but people often confuse one for the other. In addition, brewer's yeast may be prepared exclusively for use as a nutritional enhancement. Similar to any other yeast, brewer's yeast ferments carbohydrates when they interact with them yielding fizzes of carbon dioxide that causes fermentation of grains to produce beer.

Brewer's yeast encloses high amounts of different minerals and hence, when it is used as a dietary supplement, it supplies the body with these minerals and vitamins, particularly vitamin B. In fact, brewer's yeast contains high levels of chromium, a vital trace mineral that aids in maintaining the regular intensity of sugar in the bloodstream. Hence, brewer's yeast has been traditionally used as a nutritional supplement. In addition, brewer's yeast also encloses substantial amounts of B-complex vitamins, protein and selenium. Brewer's yeast is distinct from the baker's yeast torula or nutritional yeast as it has a bitter flavour. Besides, the other types of yeast do not enclose high levels of chromium like brewer's yeast.

Owing to the high levels of chromium, selenium and B-complex vitamins, the brewer's yeast is regularly used for the supply of these vital elements. The B-complex vitamins present in brewer's yeast aids in disintegrating the carbohydrates, proteins and fats, thereby supplying the body with the essential energy required for carrying out different functions. The B-complex vitamins comprise H or B7 (biotin), B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B5 (pantothenic acid). Additionally, these B-complex vitamins helps in reinforcing the nervous system, sustain the muscles that take part in the digestive process as well as maintains the health of the liver, skin, eyes, hair and mouth. At the same time, it is significant to note that brewer's yeast does not enclose vitamin B12 - a crucial vitamin present in dairy products and meat. It may be mentioned here that often many vegetarians consume brewer's yeast with the belief that it contains vitamin B12 and supplies the body with this vital ingredient. Hence, it is not surprising that such vegetarians usually have a deficiency of vitamin B12 in their diets.

As mentioned earlier, one should never mistake the brewer's yeast to be the baker's yeast that is made use of to make the breads and rolls rise. While the baker's yeast has a somewhat sweet flavour, brewer's yeast tastes bitter. The nutritional supplement prepared with brewer's yeast is actually a spin-off obtained from distilling beer and also has a bitter flavour. The dietary supplement may also be prepared by specially cultivating and developing the baker's yeast. Though brewer's yeast contains an assortment of nutrients, it is especially rich in mineral, protein and vitamin B-complex content. When brewer's yeast is exclusively developed for use as dietary supplement, it is treated with a number of specific vitamins and minerals, yielding a brewer's yeast blend possessing exclusive properties - rich in vitamin and mineral content. Tablets manufactured with the emulsions, after having been dehydrated and pounded, have proven to be more effective and bioavailable compared to the regular dietary supplements.

Therapists who practice naturopathy as well as practitioners of alternative medicines frequently recommend using brewer's yeast as a cure or help in the treatment of an assortment of diseases - constipation, eczema, high blood cholesterol, exhaustion, diabetes and even cancer. Some brewer's yeast products have been found to contain high levels of chromium, selenium, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, zinc and copper. However, the fact remains that it is yet to be established scientifically that the brewer's yeast offers exclusive health advantages that are in excess of what one would look forward to from the regular mineral or vitamin dietary supplements enclosing similar nourishing elements.

Brewer's yeast is commercially available in a variety of forms - tablet, powder and flakes. Since brewer's yeast has a somewhat bitter flavour, it is easy to take the nutrition in the tablet form. The only problem of taking the dietary supplement in tablet form is that the usual dosage of the nutrition may be as high as taking anything between 6 to 12 tablets daily. On the other hand, the flake form of brewer's yeast is most useful when they are combined with shakes and cooked dishes. It is important to note that adding brewer's yeast to any dish in excess may prove to be too overpowering and hence, it is advisable to use it in culinary preparations or foods that have a strong flavour. Presently, brewer's yeast is also commercially available without its bitter flavour, but the problem is that the process to remove the bitterness of brewer's yeast usually also removes some of its nutritional values. Therefore, a number of the brewer's yeast products that do not have the bitter flavour are reinforced with different nutrients. Usually, brewer's yeast that does not taste bitter is referred to as 'nutritional yeast' and is slightly more pleasant to taste compared to the standard brewer's yeast available in the market.

Consuming bitter yeast or the dietary supplements prepared with it has some minor side effects too. For instance, the most common after-effects of taking brewer's yeast supplements may result in gas, diarrhea and bloating. Therefore, it is advisable to begin with a small dosage of brewer's yeast - about one-eighth to one teaspoon of the nutrition daily, and later gradually increase the dose to one or two tablespoons every day. Some people using brewer's yeast or dietary enhancements prepared with the substance may also experience serious side effects, such as allergic reactions. However, it needs to be mentioned that brewer's yeast is distinct from Candida albicans - a living being that often results in yeast contagions.


A number of researches conducted on brewer's yeast have hinted that dietary supplements rich in chromium may be useful for people enduring diabetes, as this vital mineral has been found to regulate the intensity of sugar in the bloodstream. Diabetes patients basically confront two types of problems. Some of them are not able to produce insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas in the body to help convert the sugar and starch contained in the ingested foods into energy for the different functions carried out by the body. On the other hand, some diabetes patients do produce insulin, but are unable to utilize the hormone properly. Apart from regulating the blood sugar levels, chromium has been found to enhance glucose tolerance. In other words, this mineral lessens the quantity of insulin required by one's body and hence, it is especially helpful for those suffering from diabetes. Since, brewer's yeast encloses high amounts of chromium, scientists are of the view that it may be used to heal patients suffering from high blood sugar levels.

High blood cholesterol

Brewer's yeast is considered to possess other remedial properties too. A number of researches on brewer's yeast have put forward that this substance may also be useful in decreasing the intensity of LDL or 'bad cholesterol' as well as improve the HDL or 'good cholesterol' levels in the body. However, the scientists are yet to ascertain if this property of brewer's yeast is owing to the presence of vital mineral chromium or some other substance contained in brewer's yeast. At the same time, it is important to note that not all researches on brewer's yeast have found the substance to be beneficial for lowering LDL and improving the intensity of HDL.

Losing weight

While a number of researches have hinted that chromium enclosed by brewer's yeast is helpful in losing surplus body fat, it needs to be noted that compared to regular work outs and taking balanced diets, the amount of fat lost by ingesting dietary supplements containing brewer's yeast or chromium is not much. Nevertheless, since brewer's yeast is used as a vital ingredient in many protein supplements as well as energy enhancing formulations, it is likely that the substance helps in controlling the body weight by lessening some amount of surplus fat in the body.

Other uses

In addition to helping in controlling blood sugar, high cholesterol and weight reduction, findings of one research on brewer's yeast has discovered that the use of the substance may help in curing acne. Interestingly, another research has associated that the ingestion of dietary supplements containing brewer's yeast helps in lowering the risks of having a second skin cancer.

Side effects and cautions

As with any other dietary supplements, enhancements enclosing brewer's yeast may also interact with certain drugs or result in adverse after-effects and hence, one should always use such dietary supplements only after consulting with their physicians or healthcare providers. Nevertheless, the side effects caused by taking dietary supplements enclosing brewer's yeast are usually moderate, such as gas, and often does not require any treatment. It is important to mention here that individuals who are vulnerable to contagions caused by yeasts or have allergic reactions to yeast ought to keep off the brewer's yeast or dietary supplements prepared with it. It is essential for people suffering from diabetes or high blood sugar to consult their physicians or healthcare providers before using brewer's yeast as a treatment for their medical condition. This is important since it is likely that brewer's yeast will interact with drugs used for treating diabetes and may result in hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar levels).