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Brewer's Yeast

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What other names is Brewer's Yeast known by?

Baker's Yeast, Dried Yeast Fermentate, Faex, Faex Medicinalis, Levadura de Cerveza, Levure, Levure de Bière, Levure de Bière Inactive, Levure de Boulangerie, Levure Fermentée, Levure Médicinale, Levure Sèche Déshydratée, Medicinal Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, S. cerevisiae.

What is Brewer's Yeast?

Brewer's yeast is a kind of yeast that is a by-product of brewing beer. Dietary supplements containing brewer's yeast often contain non-living, dried yeast. People use brewer's yeast to make medicine.

Brewer's yeast is taken by mouth for respiratory problems, including the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections, influenza, seasonal allergies, and swine flu. Brewer's yeast is also taken by mouth for diarrhea, swelling of the colon (colitis) due to the bacteria Clostridium difficile, high cholesterol, loss of appetite, acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), recurring boils on the skin (furunculosis), and type 2 diabetes. It has also been used as a source of B vitamins, chromium, and protein.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Early research shows that taking 500 mg of a specific brewer's yeast product (EpiCor by Embria Health Sciences) for 12 weeks reduces nasal symptoms associated with seasonal allergies during high pollen counts. However, the product doesn't seem to improve eye symptoms. Also, it doesn't seem to improve nasal or eye symptoms during allergy season if the pollen count is lower.
  • Swelling of the colon (colitis) due to the bacteria Clostridium difficile. There is a report that taking brewer's yeast by mouth for 4 months along with vancomycin for 30 days may help treat colitis caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile and prevent recurrence.
  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking brewer's yeast containing chromium by mouth for 8 weeks can reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. It may also reduce the need to use certain diabetes medications.
  • High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking brewer's yeast containing chromium by mouth for 8 weeks decreases blood levels of total cholesterol and increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
  • The common flu (influenza). Some early research shows that taking a specific brewer's yeast product (EpiCor by Embria Health Sciences) for 12 weeks reduces the possibility of getting the flu in people who have not received the flu vaccine. But it doesn't seem to reduce the duration or severity of flu symptoms in these people who do get sick. However, other early research shows that taking this same brewer's yeast product reduces the risk of the common cold or flu and helps symptoms resolve faster in healthy people who recently received flu shots.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Taking a specific brewer's yeast preparation (Sillix Donna by Giuliani) that also contains vitamins and minerals by mouth might decrease distress symptoms of PMS.
  • Acne.
  • Boils.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Other Conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of brewer's yeast for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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