Brewer’s yeast

Brewer’s yeast is an ingredient that is used to ferment sugars to alcohol in the brewing of beer. It consists of the ground, dried cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a one-celled plant that is a variety of fungus.


Brewer’s yeast contains all the essential amino acids, 14 minerals, and 17 vitamins. It is one of the best natural sources of the B-complex vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folic acid. It is also high in minerals, including chromium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. Brewer’s yeast is also a good source of protein. It contains approximately 16 g of protein per 30 g of powdered yeast. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of RNA, an immune-enhancing nucleic acid that may help in the prevention of degenerative diseases and slowing the aging process.

Brewer’s yeast is an active yeast used to make beer and can also be grown specifically to make nutritional supplements. It is a rich source of minerals (particularly chromium), protein, and the B-complex vitamins. Brewer’s yeast is bitter in taste and should not be confused with baker’s yeast, nutritional yeast, or torula yeast as these forms of yeast are low in chromium. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. It occurs naturally in the environment and is an important contributor to human health. Some experts estimate that as many as 90% of Americans don’t get enough chromium in their diet.

Active dried yeast, a granulated form in which yeast is commercially sold

General Uses:

Baking:Yeast, specifically Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used in baking as a leavening agent, where it converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide.

Some yeasts can find potential application in the field of bioremediation. One such yeast Yarrowia lipolytica is known to degrade palm oil mill effluent,TNT (an explosive material), and other hydrocarbons such as alkanes, fatty acids, fats and oils.

Industrial ethanol production
The ability of yeast to convert sugar into ethanol has been harnessed by the biotechnology industry, which has various uses including ethanol fuel. The process starts by milling a feedstock, such as sugar cane, sweetcorn, or cheap cereal grains, and then adding dilute sulfuric acid, or fungal amylase enzymes, to break down the starches in to fermentable sugars. Yeasts are then added to convert the fermentable sugars to ethanol, which is then distilled off to obtain ethanol up to 96% in concentration.

A Kombucha culture fermenting in a jar Yeast in symbiosis with acetic acid bacteria is used in the preparation of Kombucha, a fermented sweetened tea. Species of yeast found in the tea can vary, and may include: Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Candida stellata, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Zygosaccharomyces bailii

Medicinal Uses
Vegetarians have used brewer’s yeast as a source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for many years. In addition to being an excellent nutritional supplement, brewer’s yeast is often recommended to regulate blood sugar levels, improve the health of the skin, control diarrhea, lower cholesterol, and repel insects.

Brewer’s yeast is one of the best sources of the mineral chromium. Two tablespoons of brewer’s yeast yields about 120 micrograms (μg) of chromium, an amount equal to the recommended daily allowance. Chromium is an important factor in regulating blood sugar levels. High levels of chromium increase glucose tolerance. Diabetes and hypoglycemia are two conditions in which blood sugar levels are unstable. Brewer’s yeast has been reported to help improve symptoms of diabetes and hypoglycemia, and may act to prevent diabetes from developing in persons with a family history of diabetes and in those who have problems with blood sugar metabolism. One Danish study reported that people with hypoglycemia showed an improvement in their symptoms after taking 2 tbsp of brewer’s yeast every day for one month.

B-complex vitamins are important for healthy skin and nails. Persons deficient in these vitamins may benefit from taking brewer’s yeast as it is rich in B-complex vitamins. A compound derived from brewer’s yeast, skin respiratory factor (SRF) reportedly has wound healing properties. SRF has been a component in over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedies for more than four decades. SRF also has been used to treat skin problems. Brewer’s yeast has been used in the treatment of contact dermatitis, a condition of the skin characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin.

Another component of brewer’s yeast also has wound healing properties. Glucan, a substance derived from the yeast, has been shown to improve wound healing in mice by activating macrophages and promoting the growth of skin cells and capillaries.

Brewer’s yeast may help to prevent constipation. Thirty grams of brewer’s yeast contains approximately 6 grams of dietary fiber (24% of the recommended daily amount). Fiber is an important part of the diet as it helps increase the bulk of fecal matter, thereby promoting healthy bowels and intestines. Brewer’s yeast has also been found to be helpful in cases of diarrhea. The yeast acts to encourage the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.

Studies show that brewer’s yeast may be helpful in decreasing cholesterol and raising HDL levels (the good cholesterol). A study performed at Syracuse University in New York reported that persons who consumed 2 tbsp of brewer’s yeast daily for two months reduced their cholesterol levels by 10%.

Pet owners have known about the ability of brewer’s yeast ability to repel ticks and fleas for many years. Wafers that contain brewer’s yeast can be given to animals for this purpose. Powdered brewer’s yeast may be sprinkled on the animal’s food also. The large amounts of thiamine in brewer’s yeast may act to repel mosquitoes from humans as well.

Generous doses of brewer’s yeast may help to prevent cancers such as prostate cancer. When combined with wheat germ, brewer’s yeast is helpful in preventing heart problems. Brewer’s yeast may also be helpful in the treatment of fatigue or low energy.

Brewer’s yeast is often used as a source of B-complex vitamins and chromium. The B-complex vitamins in brewer’s yeast include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), and H (biotin). These vitamins help break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which provide the body with energy. They also support the nervous system, help maintain the muscles used for digestion, and promote the health of skin, hair, eyes, mouth, and liver.


Some consider B-complex vitamins to be important during times of physical and/or emotional stress. Therefore, a healthcare professional may recommend using brewer’s yeast as a source of B vitamins for ongoing or recurrent illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome or depression.

Similarly, the B complex is considered an important nutrient following an injury. Therefore, sources of vitamin B may be recommended during recovery, for example, from a wound or a burn.

Some studies suggest that chromium supplements may help individuals with diabetes. This condition is characterized by abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin—a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life—or cannot use the insulin that their bodies produce. Chromium may reduce blood sugar levels as well as the amount of insulin needed by individuals with this condition. Given that brewer’s yeast is a rich source of chromium, this may prove to be a valuable nutritional supplement for people with diabetics, particularly because brewer’s yeast is more easily absorbed than other sources of chromium.

High Cholesterol
As stated earlier, brewer’s yeast is an important source of chromium. This mineral can help lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels in the blood and raise HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels. In addition, some experts suggest that other factors found in brewer’s yeast also help lower cholesterol.

Weight Loss
Although some studies suggest that chromium may improve lean body mass and reduce body fat, its effects are minor compared to those of exercise and a well-balanced diet.

Available Forms
Brewer’s yeast is available in powder, tablet, and liquid forms.

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How to Take It
There are no known scientific reports on the therapeutic use of brewer’s yeast in children.


4 Tbsp/day dissolved in juice or water. If this amount causes gas (which can occur in individuals with diets low in B vitamins), begin with 1 Tbsp/day and slowly increase dosage.

Because supplements may have side effects or interact with medications, they should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.

Individuals with frequent yeast infections should avoid taking brewer’s yeast as this supplement may aggravate symptoms.

Possible Interactions
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use brewer’s yeast without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Antidepressants, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Brewer’s yeast contains a significant amount of tyramine, a substance that should be avoided by individuals taking antidepressant medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine, tranylcypromine, pargyline, selegiline (also used for Parkinson’s disease), and isocarboxazid. This interaction may lead to “hypertensive crisis,” a rapid and severe increase in blood pressure that is characterized by nausea and vomiting, headache, and irregular heartbeat. This reaction may even result in a heart attack or stroke.

Narcotics for Pain
As with MAOI antidepressants, brewer’s yeast may also lead to “hypertensive crisis” if taken with meperidine, a narcotic medication used to relieve intense pain.

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