Saccharomyces boulardii is a true probiotic yeast superstar. It has potent beneficial effects on your body, as listed below, without the risks associated with some other probiotics. It's not a yeast to be afraid of, unless you're allergic to yeast, of course. Precautions have to be taken if you have any type of catheter, port or IV, or are immune-compromised, but if that situation applies to you, then please check with your doctor before using any probiotics.
One of the biggest advantages to using Saccharomyces boulardii, especially when taking antibiotics, is that it is not affected by antibiotics since it is a yeast. Therefore, it can help to keep pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes and yeasts such as Candida from overwhelming your body when the antibiotics kill most of the good bacteria and most, but not all, of the bad bacteria in your GI tract.
There are 7 other main areas where Saccharomyces boulardii shows effects based on research:
IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease):
Digestion and Nutrient Absorption:
This probiotic yeast used to be known as a separate species from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but researchers now say that boulardii is very similar to cerevisiae, so it is a strain of cerevisiae. That would make the technical name for it Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain (or “variant” as it is sometimes called) boulardii. But since you will see S. boulardii on product labels, that’s what I use here.
Saccharomyces boulardii is similar to S. cerevisiae in that both lack the ability to penetrate into tissues like Candida species can, so they are not invasive (so not scary like the fungi listed on the Saccharomyces page). S. boulardii is unable to form spores, so the chances of translocation to other parts of the body are reduced, too.
Unlike S. cerevisiae, however, S. boulardii 's optimum growth temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the same as your body temperature, and it clusters together differently making it able to persist in the body longer, at least in mouse studies. This yeast is a probiotic that, when given orally, achieves a constant flow through the GI tract within 3 days and is cleared within 3-5 days after it is stopped. Therefore, it does not colonize the GI tract.
Additionally, S. boulardii is also able to tolerate low pH, like the low pH of your stomach, and survive bile acids, so taking it as a supplement means that most, if not all, of it reaches the intestines.
However, since it's a yeast, anti-fungal medications can wipe out S. boulardii.
Saccharomyces boulardii was discovered by a French microbiologist in 1920 in IndoChina when he was searching for new strains of yeast for fermenting processes. A cholera outbreak was happening at the time, and he noticed that some people who were drinking a special tea did not get sick. The special tea was made from brewing the outer skins from lychee and mangosteen (tropical fruits). He was able to isolate the substance involved and named it “Sacchromyces boulardii.”
Side effects of thirst and constipation are rare and insignificant in healthy individuals and last only a few days. Diarrhea may occur as the population of your flora changes.
For suggestions on how to start taking it, go here.
To go back to the general page about Saccharomyces, see this page.
(References available upon request.)
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