Brewer's yeast: benefits, side effects, dosage, interactions


Brewer's yeast is a type of yeast that forms during brewing. It is often used in alternative medicine to aid digestion. It is also used to treat a number of conditions, including colds, flu, diarrhea, and diabetes.

Brewer's yeast are dry, inactivated cells of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae fungus. It is a rich source of B vitamins , proteins, and minerals. Brewer's yeast contains the mineral chromium , which can help your body better control blood sugar levels.

Also know as

  • bakery yeast
  • Fermented dry yeast
  • Medicinal yeast

Brewer's yeast is not the same as yeast used to make beer or baked goods. These types of yeast are active. Brewer's yeast cells are not alive. They cannot be reactivated.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also different from Saccharomyces boulardii , a type of yeast that is used as a probiotic .

This article looks at some of the health benefits of brewer's yeast. It also describes some of the possible side effects, as well as how brewer's yeast can affect other medications you may be taking.

Get Medication Information / Gary Foerster

Health benefits

There is not much research to support the health benefits of brewer's yeast. Still, alternative health experts argue that the nutrients in brewer's yeast can help with:

This is some of what the current study says.


There is not much evidence that brewer's yeast can relieve diarrhea. Researchers once thought it could treat diarrhea caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile (also known as C. diff ).

However, more recent studies have shown that only S. boulardii, another type of yeast, is effective against C. difficile infection.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Brewer's yeast can help irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a digestive disorder that often causes stomach pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

According to a 2017 research review in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, people with IBS who drank brewer's yeast were 51% more likely to reduce at least 50% of their IBS symptoms compared to a placebo . A placebo is a treatment that does not contain active ingredients.

Importantly, this review of studies included only two trials and a total of 579 participants.

Upper respiratory tract infections

Some people use brewer's yeast to treat colds, flu, and other upper respiratory infections .

It is not clear how brewer's yeast fights these infections. Some advocates argue that brewer's yeast enhances the immune response by helping the body "heal itself." There is some evidence for this effect, but it is not very strong.

A 2012 study in Utah found that women who took a daily brewer's yeast supplement called Wellmune had 60% fewer upper respiratory infections after 12 weeks than women who took a placebo.

There is also some evidence that brewer's yeast supplements can reduce the severity of upper respiratory infections in those who are already sick.


Brewer's yeast contains a form of chromium called glucose tolerance factor (GTC). GTC has been shown to improve insulin response . Insulin is a hormone that helps cells use sugar for energy.

GTC can help your body absorb insulin from your bloodstream. This action can help people with insulin resistance , a condition that can lead to diabetes.

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that adults with type 2 diabetes who took 1,800 milligrams of brewer's yeast per day had a 9% drop in blood sugar after 12 weeks. People who took a placebo had a 7% increase in blood sugar.

A 2015 study found that brewer's yeast had a small positive effect on blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes.

A 2013 study in Iran found that daily intake of 1,800 milligrams of brewer's yeast improved blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. Their systolic (upper) blood pressure dropped by an average of 4.1 mm Hg. His diastolic (lower) blood pressure dropped by 5.7 mm Hg.

Possible side effects.

Brewer's yeast is generally considered safe for short-term use. For some people, brewer's yeast can cause headaches, an upset stomach, and gas.

However, brewer's yeast is not for everyone. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Brewer's yeast should not be used if you are allergic to yeast .
  • Brewer's yeast should be avoided if you are taking diabetes medications . This can cause your blood sugar to drop too low ( hypoglycaemia ).
  • Some research suggests that brewer's yeast can make conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn 's disease worse.
  • Brewer's yeast can harm people with weakened immune systems , such as organ transplant recipients and people with advanced HIV. This can lead to a yeast infection .
  • There isn't much research on the safety of brewer's yeast, so children and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should probably avoid its use.

Brewer's yeast can increase the risk of women with recurrent yeast infections . The chances are slim. However, you can avoid brewer's yeast if you have an active yeast infection.

Drug interactions

Brewer's yeast can interact with some medications. For example, it can interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) used to treat depression . This includes:

  • Marplan (isocarboxazid)
  • Nardil (phenelzine)
  • Emsam (selegiline)
  • Parnat (tranylcypromine)

MAOIs work by preventing the body from breaking down a substance called tyramine. Brewer's yeast is high in tyramine. Taking brewer's yeast with MAOIs can increase tyramine levels and trigger a sudden increase in blood pressure known as a hypertensive crisis .

A hypertensive crisis can also occur if you take brewer's yeast with the narcotic Demerol (meperidine), which is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Brewer's yeast can also interfere with the use of antifungal medications such as Diflucan (Fluconazole), Lamisil (Terbinafine), and Sporanox (Itraconazole) to treat yeast infections.

Dosage and preparation

Brewer's yeast comes in tablets and powders. The tablets are usually available in doses ranging from 250 to 1000 milligrams. There are no set rules for the safe and effective use of brewer's yeast.

Powdered brewer's yeast is often mixed with water or other beverages. Most manufacturers recommend 1 to 2 tablespoons a day. Because brewer's yeast tastes bitter, which some people dislike, it is often helped to blend it into a smoothie or juice.

It is recommended to start with smaller doses and gradually increase them over several days or weeks. Never use a dose that exceeds the recommended dose indicated on the product label.

What to look for

Not all brewer's yeast products are the same. This is especially true of powdered brewer's yeast, the amount of which varies from brand to brand. Powders can be cheaper than pills, but the nutrient content of a pill can be higher. Check the label to be sure.

Try to choose 100% brewer's yeast without fillers, additives, or sweeteners. Make sure the package contains all the nutritional information, including the daily allowance for vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and fat. Many products do not.

Brewer's yeast can be found online and in many health food stores.

Other questions

Is Brewer's Yeast The Same As Nutritional Yeast?

Brewer's yeast is made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a by-product of brewing. Yeast cells are killed, pasteurized, and inactivated.

Nutritional yeast is also Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but not brewer's yeast. Rather, it is grown on corn, rice, or other grains.

Although they are almost the same, brewer's yeast has a bitter taste. Nutritional yeast has a nutty and cheesy flavor and a flaky texture. Vegetarians and vegans often sprinkle it over a paste like Parmesan cheese or add it to a creamy or cheese sauce.

How to distinguish brewer's yeast from brewer's yeast?

Brewer's yeast is sold in pharmacies and health food stores. Brewer's yeast is generally only found in establishments that serve the brewing industry.

Despite this, brewer's yeast is often referred to as brewer's yeast. Unlike brewer's yeast, it is still active and can bloom (grow) to keep brewer's yeast carbonated.

The same applies to the term "baker's yeast". Some people use this term to describe brewer's yeast. Others use it to refer to the active dry yeast used to make bread.

Since the names can be confusing, store brewer's yeast alongside vitamins and medications rather than in a pantry or spice cabinet.

If you consume brewer's yeast or active dry yeast, you may experience digestive problems as the yeast cells begin to grow and release gas. If you accidentally eat any of these, call your doctor immediately.


Brewer's yeast is an inactive form of fungus that is used in the production of beer. This is not the same as the active form of yeast used in brewing and baking.

Some health experts recommend taking brewer's yeast in pill or powder form to help with ailments that cause digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea, or infections like colds, flu, and hay fever. Some people also use it to treat long-term health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.

There is not much evidence to support the use of brewer's yeast as a treatment. And it's important to remember that brewer's yeast can interact with certain medications and cause dangerous side effects.

If you are considering trying brewer's yeast, it's important to speak with your doctor first. This way, you can be sure that the benefits outweigh the associated risks.

Frequently asked questions

  • No, most yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans overgrowth. Brewer's yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae .

  • At just 60 calories per 2 tablespoons, brewer's yeast alone probably won't cause weight gain. It can be used as a protein supplement and energy booster and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Maybe. There are personal reports and animal studies showing that the brewer's yeast strain can aid in milk production. But no human studies have been done to confirm this.

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