Saccharomyces boulardii is a type of yeast that is commonly used as a probiotic supplement. S. boulardii was first discovered by French microbiologist Henri Boulard in the 1920s, who extracted it from the skin of lychee and mangosteen fruits in Indochina. S. boulardii is a non-colonizing yeast that does not adhere to the gut mucosa, and it is considered a transient microorganism that acts as a probiotic, meaning it can help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. It has been used traditionally as a remedy for diarrhea, and it is now being studied for its potential to help with a variety of other digestive and immune-related conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Clostridium difficile infections.
It is believed to support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and may help to improve digestion, boost the immune system, and reduce the risk of certain types of diarrhea. The yeast is typically taken in the form of a capsule or powder, and can be found at most health food stores or online retailers. It is also used in some products like yogurt. It is generally considered safe for most people to use, but it should be avoided by those with compromised immune systems or yeast allergies. It is also not recommended to use it with antibiotics as the yeast will be killed by the antibiotics and it will not provide the intended benefits.
How does it differ from brewer’s yeast
Saccharomyces boulardii and brewer’s yeast are both types of yeast, but they are different strains and have different properties and uses.
Brewer’s yeast is a type of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast that is used in the production of beer, bread and other fermented foods. It is also commonly used as a dietary supplement, primarily as a source of B vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Saccharomyces boulardii, on the other hand, is a non-pathogenic yeast that is not used in brewing or baking. It is specifically used as a probiotic supplement to support gut health, and it is also considered safe for consumption.
While both yeasts are considered to be safe for consumption, S. boulardii is a more targeted supplement and it is generally recommended for specific conditions like diarrhea, whereas brewer’s yeast is a more general supplement with a broader range of benefits.
It is also important to note that some people may have an allergic reaction to brewer’s yeast, while S. boulardii is generally considered safe for most people.
Is there evidence that it could help with IBS?
There is some evidence to suggest that Saccharomyces boulardii may help to alleviate symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a common digestive disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea. Studies have shown that taking S. boulardii supplements may help to reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea in IBS patients. It is also thought to help in regulating the immune system’s response in the gut and improving gut barrier function.
What is a Clostridioides difficile infection and how can saccharomyces boulardii potentially help with C. difficile infection?
Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infection, also known as C. diff, is a type of infection that affects the colon. It is caused by a bacterial strain called Clostridioides difficile. The bacteria produce toxins that cause inflammation and damage to the lining of the colon, leading to a range of symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. C. difficile infection most commonly occurs in people who have recently taken antibiotics, as these drugs can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, allowing C. diff to overgrow. Other risk factors include being older, having a weakened immune system, and being hospitalized or receiving medical care in a long-term care facility.
Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of C. diff infection. It is thought to work by competing with C. diff for nutrients and space in the gut, and by stimulating the production of antibodies and other substances that inhibit the growth of C. diff. Additionally, S. boulardii may also help to restore the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can be disrupted by C. diff.
Saccharomyces boulardii and anxiety
One study found that treatment with S. boulardii reduced gastrointestinal dysmotility, which is a common symptom of IBS. Gastrointestinal dysmotility refers to a dysfunction of the muscles and nerves in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that controls the movement of food and waste through the digestive system. This can cause problems with the normal coordinated contractions (peristalsis) of the muscles in the GI tract, leading to abnormal movements and transit of food and waste. The study also found that S. boulardii treatment reduced anxiety-like behavior in the mice, which suggests that it may also have a positive impact on the psychological symptoms of IBS.
How to take Saccharomyces boulardii as a supplement
- Take the supplement with a meal, as the food can help to protect the probiotic yeast from stomach acid and increase its survival in the gut.
- Start with a lower dose and gradually increase to the recommended dose over a period of a few days to a week.
- Follow the recommended dosage on the supplement label
- Take the supplement consistently, at the same time each day, to maintain a consistent level of S. boulardii in the gut.
- Continue taking the supplement for at least 2-4 weeks for best results.
It’s important to note that probiotics are considered safe for most people. However, if you have a weakened immune system or a serious illness, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.