Does Brewer’s Yeast Lower Cholesterol?

People with high cholesterol are increasingly interested in the possibility that brewer's yeast may be a useful addition to their cholesterol management regimen. Today we'll take a look at the benefits of brewer's yeast, particularly as it relates to high cholesterol.

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Disclaimer: This article isn’t intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. You should check with your doctor before taking brewer’s yeast for cholesterol.

About Brewer’s Yeast

Aside from its use in the production of beer, brewer’s yeast used as a dietary supplement, particularly because of its high content of chromium, protein, selenium, and B-complex vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B9 – not B12). It is made from the one-celled fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

It is believed, based on some studies, that  brewer’s yeast may help lower your “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and triglycerides, while raising your “good” cholesterol levels (HDL).

Brewer’s Yeast For Cholesterol

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:

A few studies suggest that brewer’s yeast may help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in the blood and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Researchers aren’t sure whether that is due to the chromium in brewer’s yeast or another substance, and not all studies have found positive results.

Dose

The recommended dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons per day, added to food or dissolved in water. Although tablets are available, the powdered form appears to be the choice for most people. This could be in part because a “serving size” of 500mg tablets of brewer’s yeast is typically 8 tablets. Taking 8 to 16 tablets a day may not be desirable for some people.

Bitter Taste and Beer Smell

Brewer’s yeast has a bitter taste, so mixing it with food or drink may not be palatable for everyone. If you wish to use the powdered form, you may want to mix it with something with a strong flavor to offset the bitter taste. Some manufacturers offer “debittered” brewer’s yeast which reduces the bitterness, but this may also remove some nutritional value. There is also a beer smell to brewer’s yeast which may be unpleasant to some people. For those unable to handle the bitter taste or beer smell, tablets may be preferable.

Where can i find brewer’s yeast?

Brewer’s yeast can easily be found online and in health shops. Most brands only cost about $10 to $20. We checked at a local GNC, and found both powder and 500 mg tablets on the shelf.

Brewer’s Yeast Benefits

Aside from the potential of lowering cholesterol, brewer’s yeast has been used and studied for the following purposes:

  • Acne
  • Common cold
  • Diabetes – The chromium in brewer’s yeast may lower blood sugar levels which improves glucose tolerance, reducing insulin requirements. 
  • Diarrhea
  • Influenza
  • PMS – WebMD states brewer’s yeast is “possibly effective” for PMS when taken with vitamins and minerals.


Studies

Research dating back decades has attempted to show a connection between consumption of brewer’s yeast and the improvement of cholesterol levels. While some studies have shown positive results, not all studies have reached positive conclusions. (See the extensive list of studies cited by the University of Maryland link below)

brewers-yeastPossible Side Effects

  • Allergic reaction – Particularly in those sensitive to yeast.
  • Exacerbation of Crohn’s disease
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Stomach discomfort

 

Brewer’s yeast interacts with MAOI’s taken for depression and may interact with medications used for fungal infections. It is also not recommended for children or nursing mothers.

Bottom Line

Brewer’s yeast is safe for most people, and may provide some medical benefits, including a reduction in cholesterol. After checking with your doctor, you may want to consider adding it to your daily cholesterol reduction regimen to see how it works for you. Keep in mind that the taste and smell are not for everyone.

Sources

 

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