Brewer's yeast, which is a by-product of the beer brewing process, is a type of fungus that is rich in the B-complex vitamins, as well as proteins--the essential amino acids--and minerals. Nutritional yeast, otherwise known as torula, is not brewer's yeast. Torula is low in chromium whereas brewer's yeast has a very active form of chromium, called glucose tolerance factor (GTF), in it. According to Peacehealth.org, brewer's yeast is very bitter tasting. If you purchase yeast that doesn't taste bitter than it's likely not brewer's yeast.
If you are on medicine for diabetes be aware that the chromium in brewer's yeast could possibly enhance the effects of your medicine, particularly insulin, which could lead to hypoglycemia. Do not take brewer's yeast while on diabetes medication unless you have the full approval of your physician. According to Mothernature.com, brewer's yeast has been used in the treatment of diabetes and is effective in regulating blood sugar; however, it is possible that the yeast's impact on your medicine will be too strong so be sure to discuss this thoroughly with your doctor before using it.
Allergies to brewer's yeast have been reported; however, keep in mind that although it is a fungus, brewer's yeast is not related to the Candida ablicans fungus, which often results in yeast infections. An allergic reaction could manifest itself through breathing problems or tightness in your chest or throat, skin hives, chest pain, itchy or swollen skin or a rash in general.
Impaired Immune System
If you are suffering from a dangerously impaired immune system, do not take brewer's yeast unless instructed by your doctor.
You can experience bloating and extreme gas while taking brewer's yeast as well as migraine headaches, according to Pdrhealth.com.
When to Avoid Brewer's Yeast
According to Mothernature.com, brewer's yeast should be avoided if you have high levels of uric acid or gout. If you have an existing allergy to mold, brewer's yeast might not be for you. If you are pregnant or nursing, ask your health care provider if you should be taking brewer's yeast.
If you are taking drugs for depression that are considered monoamine oxidase inhibitors, do not take brewer's yeast, according to Staywellsolutionsonline.com. Furthermore, if you have yeast infections or candidiasis, it may be advisable to play it safe and not use any kind of yeast product.