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Benefits of Brewers Yeast and Nutritional Yeast

Updated on February 1, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Image:Via Amazon
Image:Via Amazon

If you are new to nutrition and health foods then you may have wondered what the health benefits of brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast were. It is, after all, an odd looking substance; bright, mustard yellow flakes. What possible benefits to your health can this have? And what is the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast?

Although you may be eating a diet that is well balanced it is still difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. With the environmental toxins, stresses, and highly processed foods that are a part of life in the twenty-first century it is impossible to get the available nutrition that you need from diet alone. Supplementing your diet with high nutritional power-house foods like brewer’s yeast can give your body continual access to these nutrients.

The major difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast is the way it is made. Nutritional yeast is heated and has a slightly different texture and flavor. Most people find that nutritional yeast has a pleasant, cheesy flavor. Brewer's yeast can be bitter and have some of the flavors from the beer making process. The nutritional content is almost identical.

What Is Brewer's Yeast?

Brewer’s yeast is a by-product. It is created during the beer making process. This substance absorbs the vitamins and minerals from the other ingredients that the brewery uses when manufacturing beer. These ingredients are:

  • Malt
  • Grains
  • Hops
  • Other natural ingredients

It is impossible to give exact nutrition information on brewer’s yeast because it is not an exact science. The nutrients will remain the same but the level of vitamins and minerals will change from batch to batch. These levels can also vary according to the age of the yeast. For this reason brewer’s yeast should not be the only supplement that you use.

Unfortunately the brewer’s yeast also absorbs the flavors of these substances along with the nutrients. While no alcohol is left in the yeast there is almost always some level of bitterness. There is a process that can be used to remove the bitterness from the brewer’s yeast but it removes most of an important nutrient called chromium as a percentage of the other nutrients. If you decide to use debittered brewer’s yeast you need to be aware of this and add a chromium supplement.

Nutritional Content of Brewer's Yeast

ow that you know where brewer’s yeast comes from you may be wondering what vitamins and minerals are actually in it. This supplement is one of the best sources of the B vitamins.. For this reason it is a popular supplement among vegans and vegetarians. People with dietary restrictions like it because it is low in fat, calories, and carbohydrates.

The vitamins and minerals in brewer’s yeast are:

  • Nucleic acids
  • Potassium
  • Folic acid
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Chromium

Health Conditions that Benefit from Brewer’s Yeast

Different people have different responses to the use of nutritional supplements. You should stay with it for at least three months before you decide that it isn’t working for you. It has been used to improve the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Eczema
  • Anemia
  • Stress
  • Nervous conditions
  • High cholesterol
  • Fatigue
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

People who plan to use brewer’s yeast to help with diabetes control should be sure that it is not the kind that has gone through the debittering process. Chromium, the nutrient that is lost in this process, is also the nutrient that helps to control diabetes. The chromium in brewer’s yeast is more bio-available than in other supplements. This means that the body more readily absorbs it than from other sources.

Taking brewer’s yeast regularly can also help repel mosquitoes and biting insects when you are out in nature. Some people give it to their dogs to help repel fleas.

When NOT to Take Brewer's Yeast

While there are no known side effects to brewer’s yeast it is important that you not use it in the following situations. It can cause your symptoms to actually increase due to the nutritional components.

  • Candida
  • Gout
  • Kidney stones
  • High levels of uric acids
  • Mold or penicillin allergies
  • Yeast infections

In addition, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that Brewer's Yeast can interact with certain medications, including the following.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

  • Phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Selegiline (Ensam, Eldepryl)
  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)

Meperidine (Demerol)

Nutritional Yeast and Candida

How To Take Brewer's Yeast

Brewer’s yeast can be added to many recipes.  Meats, stews, soups, and breads all take the brewer’s yeast fairly well.  Some people like it sprinkled on popcorn and other snacks because of the slightly cheesy flavor.  Since heat destroys B vitamins be sure to stir it into hot foods just before serving.

Brewer’s yeast is an easy way to add important B vitamins to your diet.


Always Check with Your Health Care Provider

As with everything you should consult with your health care provider before taking any new supplements. Because of the chromium content taking brewer’s yeast can change the way that your body deals with insulin. It can also change your normal response to natural blood sugar, causing a problem if you are on insulin or other blood sugar medication.

It is best, no matter what dietary changes you are making, to do so over a period of a few weeks. Give you body time to adjust to your new eating and nutritional habits.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with Charles. This article is mostly about Brewer's yeast, with very little information regarding the difference between them. It is not true that the nutritional content is almost identical. Brewer's yeast lacks vitamin B-12, whereas nutritional yeast lacks chromium. Depending on your needs, these are important distinctions.

    • profile image

      denver wallen 

      6 years ago

      I can drink brewer's yeast even liver problem.example hipatitis B?

    • profile image

      Ope Alege 

      6 years ago

      I was wondering why most people don't use yeast in the food anymore, now is good to discover that it is a very essential nutrient for dieting. Kool.

    • profile image

      Linda lador 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for such a clear explanation. I suffer from hip bursitis and probably gout, so very interesting to learn that although very healthy, it is bad for me! I'd just started going vegan so was using it in some recipes to replace cheese. Oh well, any suggestions for me?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So, the only difference between Brewer's Yeast and Nutritional Yeast is that Nutritional Yeast has been debittered?

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Or you could read more carefully....

      "The major difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast is the way it is made. Nutritional yeast is heated and has a slightly different texture and flavor. The nutritional content is almost identical."

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      While I did get some facts about brewer's yeast, The title of this article is "Brewers Yeast vs. Nutritional Yeast," which is exactly what I wanted. Yet this article is 99% about brewer's yeast. I wanted a compare/contrast of the two. Did I miss something? Otherwise, you should rename the article: "Facts About Brewer's Yeast, Nothing or Very Little About Nutritional Yeast."

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I am in portugal and i can only find brewers yeast here, i have tried to find nutritional yeast as i was told that only that form contained b12, however the nutritional info on the package of the brewers yeast b12 is listed. I assume that it is possible to supplement so that the brewers yeast does contain b12.

    • Marye Audet profile imageAUTHOR

      Marye Audet 

      7 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Hilde you are correct.. It is a good source of all B vitamins except that. Thank you for pointing that out

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Brewer's yeast does not contain B-12.

    • profile image

      Janet Wakefield 

      7 years ago

      Over 30 years ago I learned about debittered brewers yeast while in college. my biology instructor told us to add it to shakes. recently I made a drink with brewers yeast, peanut butter, fat free milk, splenda, and crushed ice, I did not taste the brewer's yeast. I now can enjoy the drink without the bad taste

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hello i was just wondering, how many nutrients does debittered yeast have? does debittering it remove a lot of nutrients? because i cant find the bitter yeast anywhere!

    • profile image

      joyce johnson 

      8 years ago

      Bingo a health product that is marvelous. Information that is excellent. Good job!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      very good info except that brewers yeast will have no effect on candida or yeast infections. If fact brewer's yeast helps to grow good bacteria in the intestines. Brewer's yeast is a dead yeast, not a living organism like candida or yeast in yeast infection. Two different animals entirely.

    • tio12 profile image

      Rudy Herdyantio 

      8 years ago from Indonesia

      This post is very useful, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      nutritional and brewer's yeasts contain a high concentration of glutamic acid: 10% of the protein is glutamic acid, and the yeast cell is 50% protein, which means that the total product is approx 5% glutamic acid!!!

      both of these forms of yeast are pasteurized, which means that the protein structure is compromised, and there is most likely a high concentration of free form glutamic acid.

    • profile image

      cindy crowley 

      9 years ago

      I have recently heard about brewers yeast and thiroid problems. I take 2tbls. in the morining. I have just started because I was diagnoised with an autoamune thiroid problem. I am 49 and just wondering if this is a good thing to take for that?

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      9 years ago from Around the USA

      I always wondered about the difference between nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast, as I have taken brewer's yeast for years. I was too lazy to find out for myself. Now I know!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great post, lots of information am thinking of going out and buying some. I remember my mum putting in on my toast when I was little, can you believe it! She also used to mix it with orange juice, honey, brewers yeast (of cause) and cider vinegar for energy I think, will have to ring her about that one.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very informative post. I have been wondering about brewers yeast for some time. I have heard it is good source for different vitamines. This will help me to make a decision about using it. Thank you for the very useful information.


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