Nutritional yeast is a yeast extract made as a nutritional supplement, food additive and flavoring. It is an excellent source of nutrients, especially protein. Nutritional yeast is quite different from brewer’s yeast, baker’s yeast and pathogenic, or disease causing, yeast. It cannot cause or contribute to Candida yeast infections because it is derived from a different species that has been deactivated.
Nutritional yeast is often made from the deactivated yeast species S. cerevisiae. Deactivated yeast cannot reproduce and infect you. Nutritional yeast extract is essentially the contents of the yeast with its cell wall removed, which is done primarily by adding salt and heat. Nutritional yeast extract can be consumed as liquid supplements, within food spreads such as Vegemite and Marmite or as powdered capsules. Nutritional yeast tastes a little cheesy and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Safety and Concerns
Nutritional yeast is the extracted contents from dead and deactivated species that cannot be used for leavening or fermenting and certainly cannot infect you. Yeast extracts do not contain any Candida species, which are the most common cause of pathogenic yeast infections in people. Nutritional yeast is also gluten-free, although if you are allergic or sensitive to yeast products, such as beer, you should be cautious. Allergic reactions to yeast and Candida yeast infections produce very different symptoms.
Candida Infection Symptoms
Yeast infections are often caused by the species Candida albicans, although there are a few other ones that can cause you problems too. Candida albicans prefer moist, warm parts of your body to proliferate, such as your mouth, genitals, intestines and underarms. Candida species can morph between yeast and fungal forms. The yeast form spreads out on mucous membranes and appears like melted cheese. The yeast form causes irritation, inflammation and itchiness, which can be especially bothersome with vaginal candidiasis. Once established, the yeast form can change to the fungal form, which burrows into tissue and releases toxins. Candida infections can become systemic and life-threatening. In contrast, allergic reactions to nutritional yeast are more localized to the mouth, lips and face and involve swelling due to the release of histamine. Breathing problems are also common with allergic reactions.
Candida Infection Causes
Candida infections cannot be caused by consuming nutritional yeast, although they can be “fed” with diets high in refined sugars. People with compromised immunity are most susceptible to Candida infection, which can be the result of infections, cancer, over-medication, excessive stress and poor nutrition. Candida species are within healthy people normally, but they are kept in check. Disruption of the friendly bacteria in your gut combined with weak immunity greatly increases the risk of Candida proliferation and infection.
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- “Human Biochemistry and Disease”; Gerald Litwack; 2008