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8 Brewer's Yeast Benefits & Uses

You may say yuck, but this single-celled fungus boasts many health benefits. Yes, brewer's yeast plays a key role in the process of brewing beer, but it's also packed with B vitamins and other nutrients. In fact, the USDA now identifies it as nutritional yeast (saccharomyces cerevisiae, for you technical folks). That's because brewer's yeast contains protein, fiber, selenium, riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, copper, potassium, and folate. So you can image the many brewer's yeast benefits hiding in this humble food. (1) Historically, brewer's yeast has been used as a natural remedy for such ailments as insomnia and migraines. Research also shows that brewer's yeast benefits include the ability to improve blood sugar levels, enhance eye health, protect brain health, and give the immune system a natural boost.

Brewer's Yeast Benefits

1. Improves Blood Sugar

Brewer's yeast benefits include the ability to naturally improve blood sugar levels. According to the research, brewer's yeast is able to significantly lower blood sugar levels in adults with diabetes. It can also help to improve insulin sensitivity. Because brewer's yeast contains fiber, it helps to slow the absorption of sugar in the blood. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral known to improve insulin sensitivity and boost blood sugar control in patients with diabetes. (2)

2. Boosts Immunity

Brewer's yeast benefits the immune system, as well. In one study, researchers found that giving brewer's yeast to mice helped to decrease the levels of some inflammatory markets and normalize immune response. (3) Brewer's yeast benefits also include the ability to enhance the health of the immune system by providing the body with selenium. Selenium has powerful antioxidant properties that help boost immunity and fight off infection. (4)

3. Enhances Eye Health

Thanks to the vitamins it contains, brewer's yeast benefits include the ability to enhance eye health. It contains a small amount of riboflavin, a vitamin that research has linked to a reduced risk of vision problems. (5) Brewer's yeast also contains thiamin and niacin. Low levels of thiamin in the body have been linked to eye conditions such as glaucoma. The antioxidants in brewer's yeast also play a protective role by fighting free radicals that can cause damage to the eyes. For example, these B vitamins protect against glaucoma, in particular. (6)

4. Prevents Migraines

Do you suffer from migraines? Well, studies have shown that brewer's yeast may work as a natural remedy for migraines, thanks to the riboflavin it contains. In one study, researchers treated migraine patients with riboflavin capsules for six months. The patients experienced a reduced headache frequency. They were also able to reduce their use of migraine medications by 64%. (7) brewer's yeast benefits

5. Protects Brain Health

And what could be more important than brain health? In fact, brewer's yeast can help protect your brain health, too. It's loaded with B vitamins that support healthy cognition, including riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, Vitamin B6, and folate. Brewer's yeast helps to prevent a thiamin deficiency, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive problems. (8)

6. Treats Diarrhea

Really? Yes! Brewer's yeast benefits include the ability to treat diarrhea. Studies have also shown that brewer's yeast may be able to reduce the risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics. You see, as a type of probiotic, brewer's yeast can help promote healthy gut bacteria and counteract the negative effects of antibiotics. Research has shown that brewer's yeast can also help treat diarrhea associated with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. (9)

7. Aids in Digestion

Similar to its benefits for diarrhea, brewer's yeast also aids in digestion. In an analysis of over 1,793 participants, researchers found that probiotics like brewer's yeast helped to reduce pain and severity of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. The probiotics in brewer's yeast can also help prevent inflammation in in the intestines and improve overall digestive health. (10)

8. Prevents Anemia

Thanks to the B vitamins it contains, brewer's yeast benefits include the ability to help prevent anemia. How? While it does contain its fair share of iron, the riboflavin in brewer's yeast works to boost the metabolism and absorption of iron in the body. Folate also helps prevent anemia. Therefore, brewer's yeast may be a vital part of anemia prevention. (11)

Are there side effects?

Brewer's yeast, like everything, is not a cure-all. This supplemental food source--as a fungus--may, in fact, create an imbalance in your gut microbiome. Use it wisely as a food supplement, not as a main source of B vitamins and fiber and protein. Dark leafy greens dusted with nutrition yeast makes a great snack. Just be sure to monitor your reactions to brewer's yeast, as well as any new food you try. (12)