Probiotics are supplemental live microorganisms that offer health benefits. While most probiotics are bacterial in origin, one strain of yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii has been found to be a particularly effective probiotic. It should be on your radar, and here is why.
Although Saccharomyces boulardii (aka S. boulardii for short) has long been pigeonholed into the category of effective treatment against antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection, we know now that this probiotic yeast does much more.
The main ways that probiotic yeast differs from probiotic bacteria:
-Yeast makes up less than 0.1 percent of the gut microbiota but is 10 times larger than bacteria, so it can outcompete the ecological space for bacteria
-Yeast is more pH-resistant than bacteria (it survives caustic stomach acid)
-Yeast, and Saccharomyces boulardii in particular, are antibiotic-resistant (great to take during oral antibiotics to maintain microbial ecology of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract)
Key findings from clinical studies performed using Saccharomyces boulardii:
– Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to cut antibiotic-associated diarrhea by over 50 percent
– Around 1 in 10 antibiotic-associated diarrhea cases is the result of Clostridium difficile infection. Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to cut C difficile infection by over 50 percent
– Travelers’ diarrhea was cut by over 11 percent in subjects taking Saccharomyces boulardii
SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII NEUTRALIZES BACTERIAL TOXINS
Saccharomyces boulardii has been shown to neutralize bacterial toxins, such as toxin A from C difficile. Saccharomyces boulardii also produces a phosphatase enzyme that breaks down endotoxins (lipopolysaccharide or LPS) common to cholera and Escherichia coli (E coli). These bacterial-endotoxin particles break the tight junctions causing intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and GI inflammation.
SACCHAROMYCES BOULARDII AND SHORT-CHAIN FATTY ACIDS
Another reason why Saccharomyces boulardii may provide health benefits is because it increases the production of short-chain fatty acids, particularly the anti-inflammatory butyrate. This may be why many studies have found Saccharomyces boulardii helps to decrease the cytokines (TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma) released from stimulated T helper cells. Studies have associated these cytokines with inflammation linked to bacterial endotoxin absorption, insulin resistance and autoimmunity.
Saccharomyces boulardii has also been shown to increase secretory IgA and stimulate the activity of intestinal brush border enzymes in animals.
In sum, Saccharomyces boulardii offers many attractive attributes, from increasing gut immunity to providing protective antibacterial and anti-endotoxin features to increasing levels of anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the gut.
Most importantly Saccharomyces boulardii is safe for both children and adults.
When choosing a Saccharomyces boulardii formula, look for one that is manufactured using controlled temperature and low vacuum. This drying procedure does not shock the organism through freeze-drying and does not modify the water content of the preparation. It also slows down aging, cell deterioration, and contamination, all of which lead to increased stability and greater resistance to gastric acid.
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