Information On Brewer's Yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae) - Helping Vitamin B Uptake

Brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is an inactive yeast, meaning the yeasts have been killed and have no leavening power. It is the yeast remaining after beer making. It is used as a nutrient supplement to increase the intake of B vitamins. Brewer's yeast comes powdered (the most potent form), in flakes (best for health shakes), and in tablets.

Brewer's yeast and torula yeast are frequently confused with nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a primary grown food crop, which means it is cultivated specifically for use as a nutritional supplement. This yeast is dried at higher temperatures than baking yeast, rendering it inactive. Unlike the live yeasts used in breadmaking and brewing, nutritional yeast has no fermenting or leavening power.

Brewer's yeast has been a staple of the health food industry since its inception. The famous health teachers all advocated brewer's yeast in one form or another because it is rich in the B-complex vitamins and other nutrients that were not available as purified nutrients in the past. Brewer's yeast still may contain nutrients that we have yet to discover. Just about every ailment imaginable can be cured by brewers yeast, according to some. There are many who say they couldnt get through the day without a tablespoon of brewers yeast mixed with tomato juice. Recently there have been negative claims, as well.

Some say yeast is the cause of a multitude of problems ranging from chronic fatigue, memory disorders, immunodeficiency, endocrine abnormalities, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, cancer and much more.

Don't confuse this with baker's yeast, which is used to make yeast breads. Uncooked baker's yeast can rob your body of valuable B vitamins. Beneficial nutritional brewer's yeast does not contribute to yeast infections such as Candida albicans. Food yeasts are not infectious. Nutritional yeasts are not live yeast cells.

Brewer's yeast, which has a very bitter taste, is recovered after being used in the beer-brewing process. Brewer's yeast can also be grown specifically for harvest as a nutritional supplement. Beer yeast are contaminated with beer flavor compounds, most notably hops, and are limited in their application for yeast extract production. They can, however, be used in some qualities of commercial yeast extract. These extracts are used both to provide specific nutrients to human and animal food, and also to enhance flavor. The nutritional value of yeast extracts makes a good bacterial growth medium. In some markets, particularly Australia and the UK, specific human foodstuffs (Vegemite and Marmite) have been developed from brewer's yeast and have provided a convenient sink for surplus yeast.

Brewer's Yeast is a good source of Chromium and has been studied extensively for its medicinal properties. Chromium works to lower insulin levels and in fighting diabetes. It also has several other minerals including selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is often used for loss of appetite. Supplement for chronic acne and furunculosis. Symptomatic treatment of acute diarrhea and prophylactic treatment of diarrhea during travel.

The artificial beta cell (ABC), a closed-loop insulin delivery system, was used to determine insulin sensitivity. Progressively increasing glucose loads were administered after initial stabilization of the blood glucose at euglycemic levels such that the serum C-peptide was suppressed. The amount of insulin required to maintain euglycemia was considered a measure of sensitivity to insulin. Six stable maturity onset diabetics were studied before and after supplementation with chromium-rich brewer's yeast. All patients demonstrated an increase in sensitivity to insulin as indicated by a decrease in the fasting blood glucose concentration and a decrease in insulin requirement during the glucose challenge (P less than 0.02). The data obtained support the hypothesis that chromium or some other factor(s) present in brewer's yeast potentiates the peripheral effects of insulin. It remains to be established whether this effect occurs at the receptor or post-receptor level.

Twenty-four volunteers, mean age 78, including eight mildly non-insulin-dependent diabetics, were randomly allocated to one of two groups and were fed (daily for 8 wk) 9 g of either chromium-rich brewers' yeast (experimental) or chromium-poor torula yeast (control). Before and after yeast supplementation, the serum glucose and insulin response to 100 g oral glucose was measured at 30 min intervals for 2 h. Fasting serum cholesterol, total lipids, and triglycerides were also determined. In the total experimental group (normals + diabetics) and in both the diabetic and nondiabetic experimental subgroups, glucose tolerance improved significantly and insulin output decreased after supplementation. Cholesterol and total lipids fell significantly after supplementation in the total experimental group. The cholesterol decrease was particularly marked in hypercholesterolemic subjects (cholesterol > 300 mg/dl). In the control group, no significant change in glucose tolerance, insulin, triglycerides, or total lipids was found. Cholesterol was significantly lowered in the nondiabetic but not in the diabetic group. Thus, chromium-rich brewers' yeast improved glucose tolerance and total lipids in elderly subjects, while chromium-poor torula yeast did not. An improvement in insulin sensitivity also occurred with brewers' yeast supplementation. This supports the thesis that elderly people may have a low level of chromium and that an effective source for chromium repletion, such as brewers' yeast, may improve their carbohydrate tolerance and total lipids. The improvement in serum cholesterol in some control subjects, as well as in the total experimental group, also suggests the presence of a hypocholesterolemic factor other than chromium in both brewers' and torula yeast.

Epidemiologic observations and laboratory research have suggested that dietary selenium reduces the risk of colon cancer. Selenium-enriched brewer's yeast as a dietary supplement reduces the incidence of and mortality from cancer of the colon in humans. It is not clear whether the observed inhibitory effect is due to selenomethionine, or to other forms of selenium, or to a mixture of the selenium compounds present in selenium-enriched brewer's yeast...This study suggests that other forms of selenium or a mixture of selenium compounds present in selenium-enriched brewer's yeast need to be evaluated for their chemopreventive efficacy.

It is also a good source of protein as has been shown in this study. The purpose of this study was to increase the protein quality of tortillas supplementing them with a protein concentrate obtained from the yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cream from an alcohol distillery. Rupture of the yeast cell wall was studied, and a procedure for obtaining a high percentage of broken cells from the yeast was developed. A protein concentrate was obtained from the cell-wall free portion. Techniques were developed to obtain the protein concentrate with a low level of nucleic acids. The latter were reduced 91%, and the protein increased 55% with respect to the initial yeast. Different levels of protein concentrate were added to dough made from corn of the Nutricta variety. The resulting tortillas were submitted to a taste panel for sensory evaluation, and the results were statistically analyzed. The highest level of supplementation that did not affect negatively acceptation by the panel was 18% dry weight. In the tortillas with the highest acceptable level of supplementation, protein content increased 60% when compared to the control tortillas, and a significant improvement in lysine content was observed. Nucleic acid content was low, having been reduced to levels which did not represent a limiting factor for the use of yeast in a product destined for human consumption.

Known Hazards: Not to be used in case of yeast allergies.

Sensitive individuals may experience migraine-like headaches. Some individuals with intolerance may experience itching, urticaria, local or general exanthemas, and Quincke's edema. Oral intake of fermentable yeast may cause flatulence.

May cause an increase in blood pressure with simultaneous intake of monoamine oxidase inhibitors. Simultaneous intake of antimycotics can affect the activity of the brewer's yeast.

  • Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D. Yeast, brewer's. The Notebook of Food and Food Safety Information, The National Food Safety Database .
  • Use of the artificial beta cell (ABC) in the assessment of peripheral insulin sensitivity: effect of chromium supplementation in diabetic patients. Gen Pharmacol (ENGLAND) 1984, 15 (6)
  • Offenbacher EG, Pi-Sunyer FX. Beneficial effect of chromium-rich yeast on glucose tolerance and blood lipids in elderly subjects. Diabetes 1980 Nov;29(11):919-25
  • Reddy BS, Hirose Y, Lubet RA, Steele VE, Kelloff GJ, Rao CV. Lack of chemopreventive efficacy of DL-selenomethionine in colon carcinogenesis. Int J Mol Med 2000 Apr;5(4) :327-30
  • de Arriola MC, de Zepeda M, Rolz C. A protein concentrate from distillery yeast, and its application to supplement corn tortillas. Arch Latinoam Nutr 1989 Dec;39(4) :565-75
Discuss It!

pam ·

I have Celiacs disease should I be concerned about taking Brewers yeast

martin ·

PLEASE remove your recommendation in the above page that diabetics eat YEASTS as a source of chromium! brewer's and nutritional yeasts are pasteurized (damaged protein structure) and contain a high concentration of glutamic acid (5% of the total product) which can negatively impact the pancreas. these yeasts are also loaded with tyramine which can have a negative impact, especially if coupled with or MAOIs. cinnamon is a safer source of chromium.

Jessie ·

Is brewers yeast know to help with concentration?

Glenn ·

I have been taking a solid tablespoon of Lewis Labs brewers yeast every morning for years. I enjoy the taste and always heard its great super food. I sure cant say anything negative, but i have no proof its doing good things. Though people always think I am way younger than I am. I am 53 now. I did watch a partner heal a cat in real bad shape with it. This stray had major fur loss and crippled walk, but after several months has glowing thick fur and robust running. I never stopped ordering my cans of this yeast since I saw that first hand.


Lots of cross-information on this subject. It seems that we're in the dark ages of knowledge about nutrition and supplements.



chris ·

Is brewer yeast Halal (suitable for Muslim)

Doug ·

Martin, are you sure your information is correct and accurate, could you elabourate further about the pancreas and glutamic acic

Guy ·

Bio-Strath Elixir is live and contains 80% brewer's yeast

Mike ·

Do Brewers Yeast Unbittered Tablets or the powder contain Hops which due to its high estrogenic effect lowers Testosterone in the male and can cause impotency?

jeff ·

A friend,who is in the 'health' business,swears that B.Yeast causes Candida and is very bad for the gut generally.Your thoughts ?

Jennifer ·

Is Brewers yeast considered to be alkaline or acidic? I am unable to find it on a list of alkaline/acidic foods.