Brewer's yeast is a by-product of brewing beer. Health supplements containing brewer's yeast often contain non-living, dried yeast.
Additionally, brewer's yeast seems to stimulate chemicals (intestinal enzymes) that could help relieve diarrhea.
It also might help fight bacteria that cause infections in the intestine, as well as improve the body’s defenses against viral lung infections such as flu and the common cold.
Brewer's yeast is a source of B vitamins and protein. Brewer's yeast is used for diarrhea, the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections, influenza, swine flu, loss of appetite, acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), recurring boils on the skin (furunculosis), and type 2 diabetes. It has also been used as a source of B vitamins, chromium, and protein.
Brewer's Yeast and Diabetes
Some studies suggest that chromium supplements may help people with diabetes control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin -- a hormone needed to change sugar, starches and other food into energy -- or cannot use the insulin that their bodies make. Chromium may lower blood sugar levels as well, improving glucose tolerance and reducing the amount of insulin needed. Because brewer's yeast is a rich source of chromium, scientists think it may help treat high blood sugar.
Brewer's Yeast and High Cholesterol
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. Not all studies have found positive results.
Brewer's Yeast and Weight Loss
Although some studies suggest that chromium may help reduce body fat, the amount of fat lost is small compared to what can be lost with exercise and a well-balanced diet. Brewer's yeast is also used as a protein supplement and energy booster. So it may help maintain a healthy weight.
Brewer's Yeast and Other Uses
At least one study has found that brewer's yeast may improve acne. Another linked it to a reduced risk of a second skin cancer. One large, preliminary study found that taking a specific kind brewer's yeast product (EpiCor) may help prevent colds and flu.