During my huge flair, I of course was battling many digestive issues, one of many was an over growth of a possibly pathogenic yeast called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (more commonly known as Nutritional Yeast or Brewer’s Yeast). I did test after test of blood work from different doctors and labs, and they all came back with no sign of infection. But obviously I wasn’t “fine” and something was wrong. So I paid to get an intense blood and stool study done from Genova Diagnostics where they look at things a little differently than the normal labs. Low and behold, the results showed a number of many disturbing things I won’t go into right now, but one severe overgrowth they detected was Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. It wasn’t just an overgrowth, it was basically taking over my entire body and the results (per the result consultation) were off the charts and one of only a few they’ve seen that were this high and severe. After a long, 3 month special and VERY intense and strict diet to “purge” yeast (see my 10 Steps To Heal Your Gut) I was then able to START the road to recovery AFTER the yeast cleared. (this post is not about that however so I will digress).
If you do have a yeast overgrowth, read THIS POST on how to get rid of it naturally!
Prior to the overgrowth, I was incorporating nutritional yeast into my diet: Adding it to soups, topping my salads with it, and using it in recipes. Everywhere you read you’ll find only positive reviews like “It’s loaded with B vitamins for energy” and “It contains tons of plant based protein.” Way back then, I just believed anything I read…and most of it I’m sure was from others thinking they were giving the correct information and no fault on their part. But sadly I was mislead as so many others are still to this day.
Ever heard of Fungemia? (note, I don’t typically use Wiwipedia as a source of info, however I am using it here just to state the definition)
Fungemia or fungaemia is the presence of fungi or yeasts in the blood. The most common type, also known as candidemia, candedemia, or systemic candidiasis, is caused by Candida species, but infections by other fungi, including Saccharomyces, Aspergillus and Cryptococcus, are also called fungemia. It is most commonly seen in immunosuppressed or immunocompromised patients with severe neutropenia, cancer patients, or in patients with intravenous catheters. It has been suggested the otherwise immunocompetent patients taking infliximab may be at a higher risk for fungemia.
If you notice, Saccharomyces is one of the fungi included in the infection in the blood. Here’s proof to back this. Oh, yea…..Fungemia is SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE BLOOD IN YOUR ENTIRE BODY! It is said to be rare, and so I don’t want to scare you, however I do want to inform you that this is what I believe happened to me and can happen to others if you’re not careful, especially if you are prone to infections, have a weak immune system, or have had yeast infections in the past as are prone to yeast overgrowth. This is the main reason I stay away from Nutritional Yeast and any foods containing it.
Common food products that contain Nutritional Yeast are:
• Kale chips
• Vegan / dairy free cheese alternatives
• Chips and crackers that are “cheese flavored”
• Premade soups (canned, boxed, even “fresh”)
I always check ingredients in not only food, but also supplements (you’d be surprised).
By now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with probiotics. Ok, here’s where all the above ties in…
Lately, many companies have been introducing and praising a probiotic strain called Saccharomyces Boulardii. Sound familiar? It’s of the same gene as Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and so whenever I see the word “Saccharomyces” my heart skips a beat because of my near death experience with the yeast takeover of my body (that name is engraved in my mind!). So after researching more in depth, claims all over are stating that the probiotic Saccharomyces Boulardii has been proven to help people with digestion, in particular people with IBS, Crohns, and UC. Now that’s great news, right? Of course I would want to jump on the wagon and reap the benefits, however my past experience with it’s little cousin still had me wondering.
After more research, come to find out that many 3rd party sources (i.e. NOT from a company that sells a product) there have been disclosures stating that Saccharomyces Boulardii can been associated with Fungemia and “Caution should be taken in patients with risk factors for adverse events, such as immunocompromised patients.” (see the Conclusion)
See all these precautions from separate sites below stating basically the same thing that Fungemia (yeast taking over the entire body through your bloodstream!) has occurred in weakened immune system / immunocompromised bodies and this probiotic strain hold that risk factor.
Do you see where I’m going with this? By now you’ve already grasped that this probiotic strain (Saccharomyces Boulardii) is the one I stay away from, despite all the positive test results, studies, claims, and testimonies. I’m not saying it can’t help you, in fact, if it can then GREAT! But for me, having a weak immune system, a history of yeast overgrowth, having gotten the shingles twice in my lifetime (all before the age of 25), and the mere fact that I did have an overgrowth of S. Cerevisiae (S. Boulardii’s “cousin”) that took over my body, it’s not worth it to me. There are plenty of other probiotcis out there that have been shown to help with IBS, Crohns, UC and digestion in general, so why take the risk if I have other options?
Now, I may be bias a little here, but that’s only because of my past. If you are a healthy human being with a strong immune system, no history of yeast, and feel you have a pretty good health history then you may benefit immensely from this specific probiotic strain. But again, I personally stay away from it (along with nutritional yeast). I am solely explaining what I look for (or more so, what I say away from) when choosing a probiotic and giving you the facts so that you can make an informed decision yourself.
Probiotics I recommend are:
First, getting them from high quality cultured yogurt. Cultured yogurt was the first thing my holistic dr advised me to load up on and I still consume it on a daily basis (about 1 cup per day at least).
In addition to yogurt, I also highly recommend my probiotic protein powders because they contain the probiotic Bacillus Coagulans. Bacillus Coagulans can actually fight off candida and has been one of the few probiotics to stand firm against the yeast, as well as one of the only probiotics that DO NOT need to be refrigerated (if you are buying a non-refrigerated probiotic that is not bacillus coagulans, you are wasting your money!).
And lastly, if you are looking for probiotics in pill form, below are a few I would recommend. Note, just because one brand sells a bottle NOT containing S. Boulardii and S. Cerevisiae (yes, some companies put in S. Cerevisiae as well) does not mean that all the bottles they sell don’t contain them. So look at each type of bottle. For example, Garden Of Life has probiotics that contain these strains and also ones that do not.
Again, I must emphasize this is why I PERSONALLY stay away from the Saccharomyces family and that many have also benefited from it. Now that you know where I stand and why, feel free to make your own informed decision when choosing a probiotic, the type, AND form. I hope this post was helpful for you as you decide on the right probiotics for YOUR OWN body. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts/comments on THIS Instagram post. See you there!
Side note: Did you know stress can affect yeast overgrowth?! I talk about it HERE …so make sure to de-stress yo!