Brewer's Yeast

Other Name(s):

Faex medicinalis, medicinal yeast, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, Saccharomyces uvarum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae

General Description:

Brewer's yeast is produced from a number of Saccharomyces (yeast) species. Brewer's yeast is "harvested" during the beer-brewing process, or it can be specifically grown in a nutrient broth for improved yield and to modify its mineral content. It is naturally a good source of protein (52 percent of its weight) and B-complex vitamins. The mineral content of brewer's yeast can be controlled by adding various minerals to the nutrient solution in which the yeast is grown. Adding chromium increases the chromium content of the yeast, while adding selenium increases the selenium content.

Medically Valid Uses:

Domesticated yeasts have been used for centuries for raising bread, brewing beer and making wine and alcoholic beverages. Brewer's yeast has been used as a nutritive supplement for providing B vitamins and, more recently, minerals such as chromium and selenium.

Unsubstantiated Claims:

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Yeast may also be useful in the treatment of chronic acne and eczema, gout, infectious diarrhea and some heart disorders. It may possibly play a role in lowering cholesterol, improving the immune system and increasing mental and physical capabilities. It may help control diabetes by aiding in sugar metabolism (yeast with a high chromium content only), reduce appetite and lessen the negative effects of contaminants and pollutants.

Dosing Format:

Suggested dosage for diarrhea is 250 to 500 mg daily. Suggested dosage when used as an adjuvant for chronic acne is 750 mg daily.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a physician before taking any dietary supplements.

Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:

Brewer's yeast may cause flatulence. It can also cause itching and other skin-related problems.

Brewer's yeast may produce a reaction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (drugs used to treat depression).

Additional Information:

There are distinct differences between brewer's yeast, baker's yeast, nutritional yeast and torula yeast. Brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast contain many of the same nutritional attributes. People suffering from candidiasis or other yeast infections should refrain from the use of all yeast products.

Click here for a list of reputable Web sites with general information on nutrition.


  1. Inouye K, Mae T, Kondo S, Ohkawa H. Inhibitory effects of vitamin A and vitamin K on rat cytochrome P4501A1-dependent monooxygenase activity. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999;62(2):565-9.

  2. Gervot L, Rochat B, Gautier JC, Bohnenstengel F, Kroemer H, de Berardinis V, Martin H, Beaune P, de Waziers I. Human CYP2B6: expression, inducibility and catalytic activities. Pharmacogenetics. 1999;9(3):295-306.

  3. Phaff HJ. My life with yeasts. Annu Rev Microbiol. 1986;40:1-28.

  4. Mortimer RK, Contopoulou CR, King JS. Genetic and physical maps of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Yeast. 1992;8(11):817-902.

  5. Dilsiz N, Celik S, Yilmaz O, Digrak M. The effects of selenium, vitamin E and their combination on the composition of fatty acids and proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cell Biochem Funct. 1997 Dec;15(4):265-9.

Connect with MLH

New Appointments

 Well Ahead Newsletter


Copyright 2014 Main Line Health

Printed from:

The information provided in this Web site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. See additional Terms of Use at For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.