Yeast has so many species (1500) that it is impossible to say it is good or bad. Some species are quite beneficial to humans, while others can cause serious health problems. Also, some yeast is found in food while some is found naturally in the body.
Yeast is a fungus and is comprised of 1,500 species. More than 80 species occur naturally in the human body and most are deemed harmless. The notable exception to this is candida albicans - which we will discuss below. Yeast has long been featured in the history of human consumption. The type of yeast used depends on the purpose. Three of the most common uses for yeast are to make alcoholic beverages (brewer’s yeast), in baked goods (baker’s yeast), and yeast for health benefits (nutritional yeast). The rest occur naturally in the body.
All three are strains of saccharomyces cerevisiae, with brewer and baker’s yeast being live, and nutritional yeast no longer living. Brewer and Baker’s yeast are rich in B vitamins that help the body convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy. They also contain a high amount of selenium, which is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Nutritional yeast often contains vitamin B-12, which occurs naturally only in animals, and therefore is common among vegans.
Candida albicans is a yeast (pathogenic microorganism) residing in the body - it does not come from food. Normally, it is harmless and lives in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract as part of normal gut flora. When allowed to grow too much, candida albicans cause oral and genital infections. Other species of pathogenic yeast that should be mentioned are Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. These species are responsible for cryptococcosis, which accounts for well over half a million deaths annually. One common cause of yeast infections is allowing areas where yeast is present to drop in acidity. Diets high in sugar, obesity, and certain hygienic products can all contribute to this. Click here to read more about the cause of yeast infections.
In rare cases, people may have an allergic reaction to yeast. This may appear to be a yeast infection, however, an allergic reaction is often characterized by difficulty breathing, joint pain, dizziness, and fatigue. If you suspect you may have had an allergic reaction after eating yeast, it's best you speak with a doctor to confirm the reaction was indeed from yeast.
Possible short-term side effects
- upset stomach
- genital infection
- oral infection
- allergic reaction
- increased thyroid function
- convert carbs to energy
- convert protein to energy
- convert fats to energy
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Written by Jeff Volling | 12-29-2015
Written by Jeff Volling
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