Yes, here we go again with how just a little bit of a plant can take our health a very long way towards optimal. This time we are talking about that powerhouse of a food, Nutritional Yeast! (ed: we know this is a processed plant food and accept that it is not technically part of a Whole Plant lifestyle).
In this article you will find a plethora of videos, information and studies sharing the amazing health benefits about nutritional yeast. Before we begin, however, let’s explore yeast in all its forms and glory.
There are three common types of yeast which we encounter in our normal lives:
Nutritional Yeast is a specific food grade product. During processing all active yeast cells are inactivated thus avoiding any digestive complications associated with other yeast products.
Brewer’s Yeast is used, well, look at the name and you may be able to figure it out; it is used to brew beer. It is safe for consumption as a food product, though its taste is quite bitter and can be a bit off-putting.
Baker’s Yeast, well again, the name says it all right? Yup, you guessed it – this is used in baking bread, more specifically in the leavening process.
Nutritional Information for 2 teaspoons (5 grams) of fortified Nutritional Yeast
Protein: 3 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Carbs: 2 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Fiber: 4% of the Daily Value (DV)
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 246% of the DV
Niacin (vitamin B3): 109% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 212% of the DV
Folate (vitamin B9): 59% of the DV
Vitamin B12: 313% of the DV
Iron: 2% of the DV
Potassium: 2% of the DV
Moerover, Nutritional Yeast is full of anti-oxidants which as we all know are super warriors for our health! Glutathione is just one of the powerful little anti-oxidants this nutty flake can provide! And if you are concerned about whole proteins and amino acids, well Nutritional Yeast, once more, has you covered, providing nine essential amino acids.
And the gifts keep on coming from golden, flakey, nutty treasure! Let’s not forget that Nutritional Yeast is high in a variety of B Vitamins like Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Pyridoxine (B6). AND! It also packs a powerful dose of Potassium and Zinc. Fortified Nutritional Yeast also provides Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid (B9), which help the body make and maintain healthy DNA and RBC’s.
Nutritional Yeast is an incredibly rich source of a variety of trace minerals like chromium, selenium and magnesium (1). Some yeasts also function as probiotics in the body and are more efficacious in their natural food forms than in the form of probiotic supplements (2). This probiotic effect from natural sources of yeast are particularly useful in fighting the terrible colonization of Clostridium difficile (C.diff). Yet another reason to ditch the pills and grab the plants!
Finally, Nutritional Yeast packs a fiber punch to our gut, providing vital β-Glucans (3) for our microbiome. You will learn all about β-Glucans from the experts in the videos that follow.
Is there nothing this little flake does not have? Well, do not take our word for it – check out the videos below and here from the experts. It is time to make some hot water with a little ACV and some Nutritional Yeast … ummmmm …. Umami!
Beginner’s guide to nutritional yeast
Naturopath Robyn Chuter and nutritionist Sarah Moore explain everything you need to know about nutritional yeast flakes.
“There is emerging evidence that supplementing your diet with nutritional yeast can significantly boost your health. Nutritional yeast, because of its high B vitamin content, is thought to be beneficial in improving energy levels, Chuter explains. “Furthermore research suggests that the beta-glucan fibre in nutritional yeast can have immune boosting effects,” she says.
A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that athletes who ate beta-glucan fibre derived from nutritional yeast for 10 days before strenuous exercise had higher circulating immune cells two hours after exercising, suggesting their immune systems recovered faster from the stress of exercise.
In another study which tested the effectiveness of beta-glucan in combating the common cold, participants given the beta-glucan supplements had a lower rate of infection with the common cold than those who received a placebo.”
Nutritional Yeast - Is It Ok To Eat Everyday?
“Dr. Klaper offers nutrition advice on nutritional yeast, nutritional yeast benefits, and how it is packed with b vitamins. Is nutritional yeast healthy? He says yes and it can be a good vegan cheese or nooch, as it is sometimes called. He cautions its use for some people who have Crohn's disease, colitis, and other gut health issues.”
And of course, Dr Greger has much to share on the topic of Nutritional Yeast - just check out all the videos below and then go and get yourself a cup of 'Yeast Tea' and let the powerful healing begin!
Note: we may have to find a better name for this drink!
“In Japan, there have been more than 20 randomized, controlled trials on the use of beta-glucans as an adjunct cancer treatment, which evidently show an enhancement of chemo or radiation therapy, resulting in “a positive effect on the survival and quality of life…” For example, there was evidently a study on taking a yeast beta-glucan supplement to help “cancer relapse after surgery. There were no relapses in the treated group compared to [about one in five] in the control group.” Even more intriguing, yeast beta-glucans for inoperable cancer patients—end-stage cancer, since only about one in 20 patients made it three months. And by six months, they were all dead, “whereas in the treated group, [most] survived for more than 3 months”—not one in 20, but most, “and 43% were still alive after 6 months … the amount of beta-glucan they used is what you’d find in a single pinch of nutritional yeast, which would cost less than a penny. And the only side effect would be tastier popcorn. So, why not give it a try?”
“Bragg’s says it’s even more potent at 563 percent per tablespoon; so, just a teaspoon three times a day should suffice. Dr. Fuhrman’s brand is explicitly unfortified; and so, contains zero B12, so that’s an important lesson. You can’t just assume nutritional yeast has B12. So, if you find it in the bulk section, you have no idea what it contains unless you actually see the package. Same with the Frontier Co-op brand: zero vitamin B12. KAL brand has 500 percent of the daily value of B12 per three rounded tablespoons; so, one rounded tablespoon should suffice as one of the servings. NOW brand has more, with two teaspoons sufficing. Red Star has 333 percent per one-and-a-half heaping tablespoons; so, a serving would be like one tablespoon; but note, only some of Red Star’s nutritional yeast varieties have any B12 at all. So, just remember to check the label. And finally, Trader Joe’s looks like 1.5 tablespoons could count as one serving. So, it looks like Bragg’s is the most potent currently available.”
“A new study, though, found that one can better maintain one’s level of circulating white blood cells after exhaustive exercise by consuming a special type of fiber found in baker’s, brewer’s and nutritional yeast. Brewer’s yeast is bitter, but nutritional yeast has a nice cheesy flavor. I use it mostly to sprinkle on popcorn. Anyway, normally two hours after cycling-your-brains-out, you can experience a dip in circulating monocytes—one of our first line of defense white blood cells. But, those who had been eating the equivalent of less than 3/4 of a teaspoon a day of nutritional yeast ended up even better than when they started, after strenuous exercise.”
“… a “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” was performed to see if just a dusting of nutritional yeast worth of beta-glucan a day could reduce the number of episodes of common childhood illnesses. “During the 12-week course of the study, 85% of children in the placebo group experienced one or more episodes of infectious illness.” Here it is, graphically: 85% got ill in the sugar-pill group, but just taking like an eighth of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta glucans, or even just a 16th of a teaspoon’s worth, appeared to cut illness rates in half. And, those on the yeast that did come down with a cold only suffered for about three days, compared to more than like nine days in the placebo group.
The researchers conclude that by giving kids the yeast beta-glucans, we “could decrease the incidence and severity of infectious illness during the cold [and] flu season,” and thereby benefit the parents as well.”
“Stressful life events can impair our moist membrane defenses, such that “psychological stress [has also] been shown to increase susceptibility to the common cold,” getting more colds, and worse colds, than people under less stress. So, let’s see if we can help. Indeed, in this study of healthy women under moderate levels of perceived psychological stress, those taking about a teaspoon of nutritional yeast a day worth of beta-glucans for 12 weeks were 60% less likely to report experiencing symptoms, like sore throat, stuffed or runny nose, or cough—strongly suggesting that baker’s, brewer’s, and nutritional yeast “beta-glucan is able to counteract the negative effects of stress on the immune system.” And, they experienced 41% greater vigor (which is a measure that encompasses “physical energy, mental acuity, and emotional well-being”). So, they just felt better, too. Put all the studies together, and yeast beta-glucans do appear to have immune-strengthening effects, at least in children, and those under physical or mental stress.”
“Now, for the vast majority of people, yeast is not a problem, but “in susceptible individuals [it may trigger] an abnormal immune response” in the gut. But wait, I thought it was the paratuberculosis bug that was considered a trigger for Crohn’s disease. Well, hey, maybe infection with paraTB is what “induces [the] hypersensitivity response to dietary yeast.” Who knows? The bottom line is that people with Crohn’s disease should not go out of their way to add baker’s, brewer’s, or nutritional yeast to their diet.”
USDA – Food Data Central
10 Natural Ways to Increase Your Glutathione Levels
The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians
Essential Amino Acids: Definition, Benefits, and Food Sources
B-Complex Vitamins: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage
1. Chapter 9 - Nutritional Yeast Biomass: Characterization and Application (Abstract Only)
2. Metabolic vitamin B12 status on a mostly raw vegan diet with follow-up using tablets, nutritional yeast, or probiotic supplements (Abstract Only)
3. Nutraceutical, Anti-Inflammatory, and Immune Modulatory Effects of β-Glucan Isolated from Yeast (FULL ARTICLE)
A note on article citations: there is a difference between ‘abstracts’ and ‘full articles’. When only an abstract is available for review without purchase it is impossible to know the parameters of the study nor the efficacy of the process and analysis. We use abstracts only as a guide to what information is actually out there however, we cannot CRAAP test the study as it is not available to us all. This ‘hiding’ of science highlights the inequities in the science community, allowing only the affluent access to the truth about our health.
In this series we explore new knowledge together. Information presented in this series is not intended to be used as medical advice, rather it is an effort to share what I am learning as I journey through life. Please share any corrections or additional knowledge in the comments below – together we will keep learning, growing and improving!