Yeast and its many medicinal properties were discovered by the human race thousands of years ago. Almost all forms of yeasts thrive on organic elements and thus are not dependent on the Sun’s energy. Yeast is a living organism and it requires either an acidic pH or a neutral environment to grow and develop. As yeast grow and form colonies of cells they indulge in the process of fermentation whereby they release carbon dioxide and alcohol as byproducts.
One of the most popular types of yeast used by man since ages is the Brewer’s yeast. Many people think that Brewer’s yeast is only required for baking breads and brewing beers however, it is also used as a nutritional supplement and offers many medicinal benefits too. In this article we research in detail about the various properties, benefits, sources and the right dosage of Brewer’s Yeast.
What Is Brewer’s Yeast
In scientific terms, Brewer’s yeast contains a fungus called Saccharomyces cervisiae that is actively involved in the fermentation of carbohydrates and releases carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide helps in the ‘brewing’ of the beer and the rising of the baker’s dough.
The most common use of Brewer’s yeast is for brewing beers. During the process of brewing the yeast is added to hops and malted barley to allow the fermentation process to initiate and to get it converted into alcohol. It takes more than one week for the yeast to ferment the beer completely and it is done under varying yet controlled temperature levels.
As mentioned above, apart from its culinary properties Brewer’s yeast is a known source of Vitamin B complex. The following B-Complex vitamins are found in the Brewer’s yeast – Vitamin B1 -Thiamine, Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin, Vitamin B3 – Niacin, Vitamin B5 – pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6- pyridoxine, Vitamin B7 – Biotin and Vitamin B9 – Folic Acid. However, it is important to note that Brewer’s Yeast lacks an essential Vitamin B component – Vitamin B12.
In total, Brewer’s yeast has the following – 17 Vitamins (including B-complex), fourteen minerals (including Chromium, Selenium, Iron, Zinc and Phosphorus), proteins and all essential amino acids.
Benefits Of Brewer’s Yeast
People consume Brewer’s yeast as a dietary supplement as it offers the human body with some very essential vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids. This type of yeast is especially helpful for those who do not consume meat (vegetarians) and thereby, are deficient in some very essential vitamins (read vitamin B) and proteins. The Brewer’s yeast offers a complete balance diet for vegetarians and those with vitamin B deficiency.
It is a known fact that consuming required amount of Brewer’s yeast aids in gradual weight loss (along with proper diet and exercise). Apart from Vitamin B, Brewer’s yeast contains chromium which helps in reducing the body fat. The protein in the yeast also reduces the urge to frequently eat as it makes one feel full for a longer period of time.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Brewer’s yeast can alleviate some of the common and painful symptoms associated with PMS in women if it is taken atleast a week before the start of the PMS symptoms.
Controlling Blood Sugar
Taking regular supplements of Brewer’s yeast helps in lowering the blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes. Chromium found in the Brewer’s yeast controls the insulin levels and thereby, helps in maintaining a good blood sugar levels in diabetics.
The Chromium present in Brewer’s yeast also helps in maintaining healthy blood cholesterol levels by reducing the LDL levels and increasing the HDL levels.
Good For Your Skin
Brewer’s yeast is also used to treat poor skin conditions and is known to fasten the wound healing process for skin cuts and injuries. The Glucan in the yeast is responsible for the growth of skin cells. It also helps in fighting contact dermatitis that leads to inflamed and itchy skin. Few studies have also pinpointed to the fact that Brewer’s yeast helps in controlling acne and may prevent skin cancer.
The RNA found in Brewer’s yeast helps in slowing down the aging process and prevents the occurrence of degenerative diseases.
Since Brewer’s yeast contains sufficiently good amount of dietary fiber, it can also be used to treat constipation problems. Also, Brewer’s yeast can also help in treating the following conditions in human – diarrhea, Hair and Eye issues, prostate cancer, fatigue and certain respiratory conditions. Apart from its many benefits on human beings, Brewer’s yeast can also be used in animal food to avoid problems related to ticks and fleas.
Brewer’s yeast is found in health foods and in stores dealing in natural supplements. This form of fungus is available in powder, tablet, liquid and in flake form. However, the quality of the yeast varies from store to store. For brewing process, manufacturers usually process the yeast to remove its by products and therefore, such type of yeast will not have much nutritional value. The bitter tasting type of Brewer’s yeast that is used as a nutritional supplement is usually cultivated on sugar beets and molasses.
Brewer’s Yeast Overdose
Just like allopathic medicines even natural supplements must be taken after getting the approval from a qualified medical practitioner and if not, should be taken in a limited dosage. Brewer’s yeast doesn’t require refrigeration and once bought can be stored in the house for a long period.
The daily dosage for Brewer’s yeast should not exceed 2 tablespoons per day and can be taken along with water/juice or can be added directly in food. Two tablespoons of Brewer’s yeast contains 120 micrograms of chromium which is sufficient to control the blood sugar levels. The dosage level is also applicable for lactating mothers and pregnant women (1-2 tablespoons).
For animals, the yeast can be sprinkled on the food in powdered form or can also be given in wafer form (available in stores). The dosage limit is one teaspoon per day for cats and dogs. For dogs the dosage also depends on the body weight of the animal (1 teaspoon is considered as a safe dosage level).
Side Effects Of Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast should only be used in its inactive form. Initially the yeast is likely to cause bloating and gas like symptoms. To avoid this, start with 1 teaspoon of Brewer’s yeast and gradually increase the dose.
This particular yeast should not be used in – infants and children, those suffering from any form of intestinal disease, people with poor immune system and those using Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) for treating depression and Demerol – a pain relieving medication – without a doctor’s prior approval.
Any Drug Interaction Of Brewer’s Yeast
Those who suffer from osteoporosis should also take calcium supplements along with Brewer’s yeast. Do not use the yeast if you are prone to frequent (candida) yeast infections. If you want to use Brewer’s yeast for reducing your blood sugar levels, then always consult your health care practitioner first. This is because Brewer’s yeast supplements will interfere with your daily insulin dose.