What is yeast

The Truth About Yeast!

Because yeast is one of the oldest medicines in the world. Yeast was already recommended as a medicinal product in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, the first medical document. Paracelsus praised yeast as "divine medicine" and Hildegard von Bingen prescribed yeast-containing drinks as a cure for a wide variety of diseases.

The following questions and answers should calm down all 'yeast skeptics' and give them confidence in yeast - one of the oldest remedies in the world!

Yeasts are the smallest mushrooms in the world. They consist of only one cell and are therefore also unicellular microorganisms. Yeasts are very versatile organisms. Not only can they be used in the production of food and as a remedy - they also serve science as a model object for human life. The fascinating reason: the yeast cell is astonishingly similar to the human cell. In principle, the same reactions take place in yeast cells as in the human organism. The yeast proteins are also very similar to human proteins. In addition, the yeast genes have many things in common with the human genome. Medicine therefore uses yeast cells as ideal model organisms for genetic and cancer research as well as for understanding aging processes.

What types of yeast are there?

Yeasts have the generic term "Saccharomyces". It is made up of the Greek words sakcharon = sugar and mykes = mushroom. The genus Saccharomyces comprises the majority of the yeasts used by humans. The best known are baker's yeast and brewer's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). There are also the fake yeasts that are used for animal feed and technical productions, such as glycerine yeast or fodder yeast. Specially grown yeast strains are used for food supplements and medicinal yeast preparations. Just as there are fly agaric as well as mushrooms, there are a few types of yeast that have the ability to cause disease. These include e.g. Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans.

Is yeast used by humans harmful?

No. There is no evidence that yeast has any harmful effects on our organism. On the contrary. However, pure baker's yeast should not be consumed pure, this could lead to flatulence.

Which foods contain yeast?

Yeast is found in a great many foods. Avoiding yeast is therefore difficult, but is not necessary at all (except in the case of a very rare yeast allergy). Yeast is contained in most baked goods (bread, crispbread, cakes, yeast pastries, pretzels, baking mixes, cookies, rusks), in beverages such as wine, beer, malt beer and fruit juices and in dairy products such as buttermilk, kefir and cheese. Yeast can also be found in many other foods.

What does 'yeast extract' mean?

Yeast extract is the name for concentrated autolysates made from yeast. The yeast cultures are heated to 50 degrees, the enzymes remain active in the cell and can then dissolve the cell walls. Alternatively, hydrochloric acid can also be added. What remains is the breakdown product, the yeast extract, a yellow-brownish, water-soluble powder.

What Are Yeast's Health Promoting Properties?

Yeast contains an abundance of nutrients. That is why yeast preparations have long been used successfully as food supplements for
- for the supply of vitamins
- for the supply of minerals and trace elements
- as a tonic,
- and as a probiotic for the intestinal flora.
The last point in particular - yeast's very positive effect on intestinal health - is remarkable: yeast supplies important digestive enzymes such as lactase, sucrose and maltase. In addition, yeasts reduce the side effects of antibiotics, prevent diarrhea and have a probiotic effect, i.e. they settle in the intestine and help the local bacteria with digestion. In addition, they increase the immune system of the intestinal mucosa and thereby strengthen the immune system.

When should I not eat yeast?

There is no comprehensible reason to forego yeast products or to avoid foods that contain yeast - even if this is unfortunately repeatedly claimed by some supposed 'health experts'. The addition of "yeast-free" to some foods or dietary supplements therefore makes no sense at all. The only exception are people with a yeast allergy. However, this allergy occurs extremely rarely in Germany and can be determined in an allergy test. Gout patients should consider the purine content when consuming yeast products.

Can I eat yeast products if I have a fungal infection (e.g. Candida albicans)?