Brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is included in a class of probiotics or biotherapeutic agents defined as “live microbial supplements,” which beneficially affect a host by improving its natural microbial balance. Brewer’s yeast is produced as a byproduct of beer-brewing, using an extract of grains and hops. Other agents in the probiotic class include lactobacilli (found in some natural “live” yogurts) and lactic-acid-producing enterococci.
Brewer’s yeast contains at least 40% protein, B complex vitamins, folic acid and nicotinic acid, besides minerals like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium and Chromium and Amino acids like Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Cystine, Phenylalanine, Tyrosine, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Alanine, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Glycine, Proline, and Serine.
Use of Yeast in nutritional supplements
Yeast is used in nutritional supplements, where it is often referred to as “nutritional yeast”. It is deactivated yeast, usually Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is an excellent source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, whose functions are related to metabolism as well as other minerals and cofactors required for growth. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium.
Use of yeast in Probiotic supplements
Some probiotic supplements use the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii to maintain and restore the natural flora in the large and small gastrointestinal tract. S. boulardii has been shown to reduce the symptoms of acute diarrhea in children, reduce bowel movements in diarrhea, predominant IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) patients, and reduce the incidence of antibiotic, traveler’s, and HIV/AIDS associated diarrheas.
Brewer’s yeast and Diabetes
A high content of chromium is found in brewer’s yeast. This mineral has been found to be beneficial to diabetics because of its ability to improve glucose tolerance.