Brewer's Yeast

Other name(s):

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

General description

Brewer's yeast is made from different yeast (Saccharomyces) species. It’s collected during the process of brewing beer. It can also be grown in a nutrient broth. This can change its mineral content.

Brewer's yeast is a good source of protein. Protein makes up 52% of its weight. It’s also a good source of B-complex vitamins. The mineral content of brewer's yeast can be controlled by adding minerals to the solution in which the yeast is grown. For example, adding chromium increases the chromium content of the yeast, and adding selenium increases its selenium content.

Medically valid uses

Yeasts have been used for centuries in a variety of ways. They’ve been used to raise bread, brew beer, and make wine and alcoholic drinks. Brewer's yeast has been used as a supplement of B vitamins. More recently, it’s been used as a supplement for minerals. These include chromium and selenium.

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

Yeast may help treat eczema, gout, infectious diarrhea, and some heart problems. It may help lower cholesterol and boost the immune system. It may also improve physical and mental health. Brewer’s yeast may also help control diabetes. It does this by aiding in sugar metabolism (yeast with a high chromium content only) and reducing appetite. It also reduces the side effects of contaminants and pollutants.

Dosing format

The suggested dose varies. 

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should ask their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Brewer’s yeast may cause gas. If you are prone to migraines, taking brewer's yeast may cause them.

Brewer’s yeast may interact with medicines to treat depression called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). People with gout or Crohn's disease should not take brewer’s yeast.

Additional information

There are differences between brewer's yeast, baker's yeast, nutritional yeast, and torula yeast. Brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast have many of the same nutrients.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2023