Nutritional Yeast: Health benefits and Side effects

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati

Nutritional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) is undoubtedly the most important deactivated yeast widely used in the form of powder, granules or flakes (yellow color). Nutritional yeast is derived from expired yeast or dust yeast (by heat killing). This yeast is available in various forms and commonly used as wine yeast, brewer’s yeast, distiller’s yeast, baker’s yeast, single cell protein, vitamin production, synthesis of recombinant proteins, and biological control (1). 

In 1850, commercial use of yeast for baking purposes started and since then, yeast technology has grown into a highly productive and economic industry after discovered in the last century by Pasteur (2).

High Economical value of Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains high economic value and used for the annual production of an estimated 60 million tons of beer, 30 million tons of wine, 800,000 tons of single cell protein, and 600,000 tons of baker’s yeast (3). Here are two primary sources from which nutritional yeast is grown

1) Brewer’s yeast is grown from hops (a by-product of brewing beer) 

2) Primary grown yeast is grown from whey, blackstrap molasses or wood pulp.

Nutritional value of Nutritional yeast

The taste of nutritional yeast is nutty, cheesy and creamy flavors which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes (4). 

Nutritional yeasts are an excellent source of amino acids, single cell proteins, several minerals such as chromium, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and the B vitamins (5).

Compound                                                                          Amounts/100 g
Energy                                                                           400 kcal
Protein 53.33 g
Total lipid (Fat)s 3.33 g
Carbohydrates 33.33 g
Dietary Fiber 20 g
Calcium 40 mg
Iron 6.67 mg
Potassium 1760 mg
Sodium 167 mg
Niacin 306.66 mg
Riboflavin 64.66 mg
Thiamin 79 mg
Vitamin B-6 39.33 mg
Vitamin B-12 117.33  µg

Health benefits of Nutritional yeast

1. Nutritional yeast is rich in nutrients

Nutritional yeasts are favorable for vegans, vegetarians, athletes as well as young people during the puberty period. It contains a high amount of nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B12, which is an essential part of vegans diet and spread over children’s meals (e.g., pasta, soups) for an additional source of zinc intake which attracts modern’s consumer shopping basket (6).

2. Immune boosting nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of β-glucans, nucleic acids as well as mannan oligosaccharides which is known as immunostimulating compounds and enhance immune function (7).

3. Increase appetite

Nutritional yeast improved nutrient (protein) digestibility which further enhancing feed intake due to increased fish appetite and improves growth (8).

4. Manage diabetes

Nutritional yeast is a rich source of B vitamins and nutrients, especially chromium and selenium which is beneficial for the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels and enhance immunity (9).

5. Antimicrobial properties

A research study suggested that nutritional yeast can be used as a natural and safe agent to increase the growth of good bacteria and reduce harmful coliform bacteria growth in the intestine. Thus, the use of yeasts arises as a natural and safe for the biocontrol of bacterial growth alternative (10).

6. Having nutritional yeast in pregnancy is beneficial 

Vitamin B12 found in nutritional yeast is an essential nutrient for infant growth and development. Thus pregnant and lactating vegans should be advised to consume an adequate amount of vitamin B12 in their diet (11).

7. Nutritional yeast is rich in antioxidants

Nutritional yeast may synthesize bioactive compounds such as glutathione and selenomethionine can act as natural antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals and slow down the progress of many chronic diseases (12).

The side effect of Nutritional yeast

The nutritional yeast has no side effect because practically No clinical study has reported, therefore it is safe, and no one really knows its long-term effects on a person’s health.

How to use nutritional yeast?

Well as we know that nutritional yeast is high protein and energy source,  can be used in the place of cheese because of its nutty, cheesy and creamy flavors for many hot and cold dishes such as pasta, soup, bread and sprinkle over popcorn to make it delicious. It can also be used as an instant energy source and mixed with dog’s or cat’s food to provide extra nutrients.

Where to buy nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast is widely available in conventional supermarkets or grocery store, healthy food shop as well as online like Amazon, 1mg or iherb.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here