Nutritional Yeast to Prevent the Common Cold

Nutritional Yeast to Prevent the Common Cold
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Beta glucan fiber in nutritional yeast may improve immune function, but there is a concern about lead contamination in some brands.

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Natural immunomodulators, something that can help regulate our immune system without side effects, have been sought for centuries, and all the while they’ve been sitting in the produce aisle. Plants produce thousands of active compounds, many of which modulate our immune system enough to protect us from infection, but we can’t forget the fungi. Mushrooms have used for centuries as folk remedies, and for good reason—some have been shown to boost immune function as well. So much so, a type of fiber found in shiitake mushrooms is approved for use as adjunct chemotherapy, injected intravenously to help treat a variety of cancers by rallying our immune defenses.

More than 6,000 papers have been published on these so-called beta glucans, but almost all the data about preventing infections had come from petri dish or lab animal studies, until a few years ago when a series of experiments on athletes showed beneficial effects–but that was in marathon runners. What about the rest of us? We didn’t know, until now.

Beta glucan fiber, found in baker’s, brewer’s and nutritional yeast, helps to maintain our body’s defense against pathogens even in non-athletes according to this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Reducing the recurrence of infections with the common cold by 25% in those who ate the equivalent of about a spoonful of nutritional yeast a day, and had fewer cold-related sleeping difficulties if they did get sick.

What about half a spoonful a day’s worth? Still worked! Big drop in common cold incidence and a reduction in symptoms as well. Why though? This study found that not only were upper respiratory infection symptoms diminished, but that mood states appeared to improve like a significant boost in feelings of “vigor.” So they suggest that maybe the yeast fiber is able to counteract the negative effects of stress on the immune system.

In terms of side effects, two folks reported stomachaches, but they were both in the placebo group.

Unlike antibiotics and antivirals, which are designed to kill the pathogen directly, these yeast compounds instead appear to work by stimulating our immune defenses, and as such don’t share the same antibiotic side effects. They stimulate our immune defenses presumably because our body recognizes them as foreign. But if it’s treated like an invader, might it trigger an inflammatory response? Turns out it may actually have an anti-inflammatory effect, suggesting nutritional yeast may offer the best of both worlds, boosting the infection-fighting side of the immune system while suppressing the inflammatory component. So oral intake can be considered safe and effective. Note they said oral intake, though. I would not recommend injecting nutritional yeast into your veins, no matter how much you like the stuff.

Yeast is high in purines, so those with gout, uric acid kidney stones, and new organ transplant recipients may want to keep their intake to less than a teaspoon a day, but for everyone else, is there any downside? Well if you look at some packages of nutritional yeast, in California some are slapped with Prop 65 warning stickers suggesting there’s something in it exceeding cancer or birth defect safety limits. I called around to the companies and it turns out the problem is lead.

California state law says a product cannot contain more than half of a microgram of lead per daily serving, so I contacted the six brands I knew about and asked them how much lead was in their products. KAL originally said “<5 ppm,” but when we called back they said “<3 ppm.” But even if it’s 3 ppm, that translates into less than 45 micrograms per serving, nearly 100 times more than the California limit. But perhaps better than Bob’s Red Mill or Frontier Coop, who evidently didn't test at all. But at least they got back to me. Red Star brand failed to respond to multiple attempts to contact them. Now Foods said of course we test for lead–that’s nice–and claim that at least their recent batches meet the less than half a microgram California standard. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests, they would not provide me with documentation to substantiate their numbers.

My favorite response was from Bragg’s, who sent me the analysis certificate from the lab showing less than 0.01 ppm, which means at most less than half the California standard, which I believe is the most stringent in the world. To put the numbers in context, in determining how much lead manufacturers can put into candy likely to be frequently consumed by small children, the Food and Drug Administration would allow 2 micrograms a day in the form of lollipops, but as far as I’m concerned, the less lead the better.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Sergio Alvarez via Flickr.

Natural immunomodulators, something that can help regulate our immune system without side effects, have been sought for centuries, and all the while they’ve been sitting in the produce aisle. Plants produce thousands of active compounds, many of which modulate our immune system enough to protect us from infection, but we can’t forget the fungi. Mushrooms have used for centuries as folk remedies, and for good reason—some have been shown to boost immune function as well. So much so, a type of fiber found in shiitake mushrooms is approved for use as adjunct chemotherapy, injected intravenously to help treat a variety of cancers by rallying our immune defenses.

More than 6,000 papers have been published on these so-called beta glucans, but almost all the data about preventing infections had come from petri dish or lab animal studies, until a few years ago when a series of experiments on athletes showed beneficial effects–but that was in marathon runners. What about the rest of us? We didn’t know, until now.

Beta glucan fiber, found in baker’s, brewer’s and nutritional yeast, helps to maintain our body’s defense against pathogens even in non-athletes according to this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Reducing the recurrence of infections with the common cold by 25% in those who ate the equivalent of about a spoonful of nutritional yeast a day, and had fewer cold-related sleeping difficulties if they did get sick.

What about half a spoonful a day’s worth? Still worked! Big drop in common cold incidence and a reduction in symptoms as well. Why though? This study found that not only were upper respiratory infection symptoms diminished, but that mood states appeared to improve like a significant boost in feelings of “vigor.” So they suggest that maybe the yeast fiber is able to counteract the negative effects of stress on the immune system.

In terms of side effects, two folks reported stomachaches, but they were both in the placebo group.

Unlike antibiotics and antivirals, which are designed to kill the pathogen directly, these yeast compounds instead appear to work by stimulating our immune defenses, and as such don’t share the same antibiotic side effects. They stimulate our immune defenses presumably because our body recognizes them as foreign. But if it’s treated like an invader, might it trigger an inflammatory response? Turns out it may actually have an anti-inflammatory effect, suggesting nutritional yeast may offer the best of both worlds, boosting the infection-fighting side of the immune system while suppressing the inflammatory component. So oral intake can be considered safe and effective. Note they said oral intake, though. I would not recommend injecting nutritional yeast into your veins, no matter how much you like the stuff.

Yeast is high in purines, so those with gout, uric acid kidney stones, and new organ transplant recipients may want to keep their intake to less than a teaspoon a day, but for everyone else, is there any downside? Well if you look at some packages of nutritional yeast, in California some are slapped with Prop 65 warning stickers suggesting there’s something in it exceeding cancer or birth defect safety limits. I called around to the companies and it turns out the problem is lead.

California state law says a product cannot contain more than half of a microgram of lead per daily serving, so I contacted the six brands I knew about and asked them how much lead was in their products. KAL originally said “<5 ppm,” but when we called back they said “<3 ppm.” But even if it’s 3 ppm, that translates into less than 45 micrograms per serving, nearly 100 times more than the California limit. But perhaps better than Bob’s Red Mill or Frontier Coop, who evidently didn't test at all. But at least they got back to me. Red Star brand failed to respond to multiple attempts to contact them. Now Foods said of course we test for lead–that’s nice–and claim that at least their recent batches meet the less than half a microgram California standard. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests, they would not provide me with documentation to substantiate their numbers.

My favorite response was from Bragg’s, who sent me the analysis certificate from the lab showing less than 0.01 ppm, which means at most less than half the California standard, which I believe is the most stringent in the world. To put the numbers in context, in determining how much lead manufacturers can put into candy likely to be frequently consumed by small children, the Food and Drug Administration would allow 2 micrograms a day in the form of lollipops, but as far as I’m concerned, the less lead the better.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Sergio Alvarez via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

What a frustrating experience it was hounding these companies to answer simple questions about the safety of their products. Just as I finished recording this video, though, I had a revelation: why not do our own testing? Even if all the companies did get back to us, why should we believe what they say? So I am hereby announcing the NutritionFacts.org Research Fund. Do you eat nutritional yeast? Even if you don't, do you want to know if the companies were lying? Then donate to the Fund, and as soon as we’ve raised enough, I’ll send off samples from each of these brands to an accredited lab and we’ll find out. Any money left over in the Fund will go to future research projects. Want to know if there are heavy metals in popular brands of amla or turmeric? Should we check Eden Foods' preliminary bean results? Check for oxidation by-products in DHA supplements? You tell me! Leave your suggestions and comments on the Research Fund page, and we’ll post all the results when they come in.

Important to know since they don’t call it nutritional for nothing. See:

If you do have gout, there is a natural remedy that may help; see Gout Treatment with a Cherry on Top and Treating Gout with Cherry Juice.

Anything else we can do during cold season? See:

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

7/30/15 update: The results are in! See: Three Brands of Nutritional Yeast Contain Detectable Lead Levels But the Risk is Minimal. In short, we found detectable amounts of lead in samples of Frontier, KAL, and Whole Foods brand nutritional yeast, but the lead levels were so low that they all comply with the exceedingly (and justifiably) strict California Prop 65 standards. Still, I advise pregnant women who eat more than a third of a cup a day on a regular basis to choose a different brand. No detectable lead levels were found in Bob's Red Mill, Bragg's, Dr. Fuhrman, Red Star, or NOW Foods brand nutritional yeast.

221 responses to “Nutritional Yeast to Prevent the Common Cold

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    1. Put in smoothies, on popcorn, and in sauces where you want a cheesy unami flavor. There is a potato salad recipe on VSH that uses it.




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          1. butter? WTF? are you serious? What a TERRIBLE suggestion. “Pasture fed” LOL like that makes a difference in the nutritional profile? Butter is TERRIBLE for your health and morally wrong.




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              1. You mean that you want me to ignore the mountains of research showing that dairy products are harmful to health and promote certain cancers so that you don’t have to hear bad things about your bad habits? LOL. Get out of here with your brainwashed ignorance.




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                1. I understand commercial “milk” covers a multitude of sins. And language is a double-edged sword. In the 70s I was fine with drinking Alta-Dena Certified Raw Milk. ‘Certified’ meant met state hygiene standards. But I’ve been in another state for and haven’t touched milk in decades now. Commercial milk is as bad as you say. On the other hand, if I had the land, the unsprayed well-watered and healthy grass and foiliage and the cow, which I’d feed no GM grain whatsoever of course and 100% organic otherwise, then I would maybe partake of some of that milk or even make butter. What is CLA Ary? Are you a vegan?




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                  1. Ummm no, we were never evolved to consume mammary excretions from s pregnant cow. That’s why a larger percentage of people can’t even digest lactose, and consuming dairy results in the same Ill health effects as consuming meat.

                    Increased prostate and breast cancer risk, diabetes, obesity, acne. Yeah what a bad idea. Every nutrient we need is attainable from eating plants, why the hell would anyone in the right mind eat excretions from a cow who eats plants when we can just obtain the nutrient from the plants ourselves.

                    There really is no scientific or logical argument for defending a non vegan lifestyle.




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                    1. You may be interested in the book: The Devil in Milk. It describes A1 and A2 gene milk products and associated health issues resulting from A1 consumption. This may help clarify the disease connection to ‘milk’.




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                    2. I can confirm milk was 1 culprit food that caused my early stage breast cancer this year. I had a lumpectomy, 6 weeks radio, and taking Letrozole 2.5mg/day for 5 yrs. Then, I heard another testimony of a lady(Jessica Richards) who also loved drinking milk who also had breast cancer, but decided on going WFPB rather than chemo, etc… and still alive today (diagnosed from 10 yrs ago). I eat mostly veggies now, and fruits too, and wild caught fish a few times a week. WFPB make up 80 or 90% of my weekly diet. I also drink green powder drink, and just now learning to eat chillies (chilli padi).




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                  2. Jazzfeed, your okay. Those people responding are entitled to their opinion. You offered a suggestion, they don’t have to do it. Your okay by me. -Alexander-




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    2. I often use it with zucchini and quinoa. Cut the zucchini in pieces and put them in a pot with just enough boiling water to get them soft. Meanwhile you cook the quinoa. Once the quinoa is ready, and the pot in which zucchini is boiling doesn’t have too much fluids left, add the quinoa to the zucchini-pot. Now there should be little fluids left. Add lots of nutritional yeast. Depending on my sodium intake that day I will add some salt, which really makes a difference. (great with, but fine without)
      (For me alone I usually use 2 medium zucchini, 120-150g quinoa and about 50-70g nutritional yeast. I am a big eater though.)




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    3. The Forks Over Knives All Star cookbook has an amazing dish that has a creamy pasta sauce made from cashews and nutritional yeast. That is really the only time I use it, in pasta dishes.




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    4. I use it wherever I used to use parmesan, on tofu spaghetti sauce, for example. It is also great mixed with crushed walnuts as a topping for a lentil lasagna or a beany casserole.




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    5. Lately, I like it sprinkled into my oatmeal. I like savory breakfasts. Sprinkle it on anything – rice, popcorn, potatoes, pasta … Being Vegan, I use it a lot in cooking for example dairy free mac-n-cheese or in tofu scrambles.




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    6. I love it in my miso soup – tblsp of miso, sprinkle of liquid smoke, some nootch (nutritional yeast) and some low-sodium soy sauce mixed in warm water. Add hot water in which dry-sauteed shiitake mushrooms have been boiled (as well as the mushrooms) and any other veggies you fancy. Rich and delicious.




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    7. I love it in soup, especially potato soup. I also put it in my raw seed and nut bottles instead of salt, but shake before serving as it does settle.




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  1. FYI:
    Now Foods’ serving size is 16 g and Bragg’s is 5 g.
    No wonder Bragg can get a lower result of lead contamination per portion.

    And for whatever reason Now Foods have a Red Star logo on the label.




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    1. Weren’t the comparative lead content lab results in the video given in ppm (parts per million, rather than in amounts per serving? Maybe Bragg’s wins, after all? We’ll know better once NF is able to do its own analysis!




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      1. I do not know how parts per million relate to real grams but:
        According to Dr. Greger’s word – 0.01 ppm is 0.25 mcg per Bragg’s serving size or 0.05 mcg of lead to 1 g of yeast.
        According to Now Foods’ word 0.5 mcg per serving of 16 g or 0,031 mg of lead to 1 g of yeast.

        Afterall Now Foods win!




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        1. The wonderful thing about the metric system is that the maths are easy. ‘Micro’ means ‘one millionth’. So a microgramme is exactly one millionth of a gramme.

          1 g Bragg yeast < 0.01 mcg lead (per gramme)

          ? g Now yeast < 0.5 mcg lead (per day)

          I certainly wouldn't claim that Now wins. First of all, they seem to be intentionally deceptive. Per gramme? No. Per serving? No. Per day. Whatever that means!?!?!

          Let us assume the daily serving size is 16 g:
          16 g Now yeast < 0.5 mcg lead
          1 g Now yeast < 0.0312 mcg lead
          Still a bit more than Bragg. I'll be supporting Bragg for two reasons, most importantly transparent honesty and integrity.




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          1. Thank you for a math lesson here. Though I was not asking.
            Thankfully I’ve been using Metric system all my life.
            However I studied Physics not Chemistry at University here is my input.
            The wonderful thing about things around you that they do have a different weight.
            Thus 1 ppm is 1 mcg per 1 gram of the same matter.
            Here – 1 ppm is one lead part per million parts of the yeast (which is lighter than lead).
            So whatever simplification is used by chemistry weight of the matter (mcg(lead)/g(yeast)) is a more physical rationale.




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            1. Love it how you left the mole out of the discussion, you must have thought lets just tackle Metric first, 1 bird in the hand. :)

              Thanks for the kitty yeast tip BTW, mine likes it too.




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              1. Care to clarify so we all could laugh?

                As for the ppm – I was wrong cause it appears to be “Parts per million is the mass ratio between the pollutant component and the solution”. It takes into account the weight of the solution.

                Wonder then why Dr.G said that 0.01 ppm is the half of Calif allowed intake (0.25 mcg) for Bragg when the portion size is 5 g. For 5 g its 0.05 mcg of lead.




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                  1. I am Sorry for how I responded here. I just had a internal laugh which I just wanted to share.
                    Your comment made me be wrecked with doubt, and insecurity, I get overwhelmed by humiliation. This is the result of my father never in his life being able to say a single positive thing about me. Always to dumb for this or that, this on top of a world generally quite hostile to my ADHD. With after me showing him he couldn’t beat me physically anymore at quite an early age, he then commenced to intentionally triggering rage in me when he sensed I was overstimulated, humiliating me in public settings using his superior academia skills while I never had a chance in the schooling system.
                    My reaction was non the less childish and I apologize.




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                  2. Arjan, I have looked but see no definition of ppm anywhere in California statute nor test results. However, I understand the difference between mass/mass and mol/mol for solids is insignificant. We could worry they are using the bastardized mg/L “convention” (which must/should/could/we’d hope have units).




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                    1. Hi, I’m terribly brain foggy and can’t keep up today or yesterday possibly already, thanks for your gesture, its very kind.
                      I’m going to lie down for a bit ;)




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            2. The maths lesson is for anyone who wants to see that (if serving size = daily serving) NOW likely contains over 3x more lead than BRAGG.

              You’re right: mass/mass (mcg/g) is most rational. Density and volume of yeast would be inappropriate in this instance, the difference between mass/mass and mol/mol are insignificant with solids (gasses are another story) and mg/L is always inappropriate (though common).




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          2. Alex, I do not like dishonest and deception as much as you do.
            But you have to be careful here.
            Perception varies under the angle.

            We don’t know how exactly Dr.G asked them.
            1. If the question was if their product is safe under Cal law.
            Than Now Foods completely answered the question.
            Even more so they gave an answer for a regular consumer who does not want to calculate ppm to daily intake.
            And they indeed marked a _daily_ intake on the box.
            But Bragg did not care to clarify and just sent a lab result to save their time.

            2. If the question was to provide a lab results then you are correct.

            I’m not in favor of any these companies. I just buy whatever of that meets the standard and cheaper. Bragg is twice as expensive that Now Foods. I do not see a reason to pay more. But if you look on the comments under Dr.G youtube video you’ll see as of this video was an advertising for a Bragg. I just provide an information that Bragg is no better than any other product that meets the standard.




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            1. True: We both dislike dishonesty and deception. :)

              Thank you for clarifying “daily serving” (in this case same as “serving size”).

              Dr Greger stated that “despite repeated requests [Now Foods] would not provide me with documentation to substantiate their numbers” which implies your “2…provide lab results”. Most generously we could suggest they (and all food producers) be more transparent.




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    2. I believe when the tests are conducted the laboratory takes into account sample size. They are not testing the entire 16 grams of Now Foods, but only a sample. Same goes for Braggs, they are not testing how much is in the 5 grams, only a sample. Does that make sense? So even if the serving sizes on the packages vary, the testing methods are done similarly.




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      1. Sorry, Joseph – it does not.
        It does not matter what sample size is used in the lab.
        You have to use one: ppm or mcg per dose to compare.
        The concern is whether a single dose of the yeast will get you over California’s lead limit or not.
        Whether you buy Now Foods or Bragg you’ll stick to recommended daily serving size (if you are responsible consumer).
        So it very much matters both – lead concentration and a labeled serving size.




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        1. The labs actually needs way more than 5 or 16 grams to run the lead tests. I was incorrect in my above post. I assume they standardize the test and are able to reveal how much lead (whether ppm or mcg) was found, then based on the serving size we could know lead concentrations. Dr. Greger explained as soon as we’ve raised enough he’ll send off samples from each of these brands to an accredited lab and we’ll find out! I too am eager to learn the results. Let me investigate more. I agree with you both lead concentration and serving size is important! Thanks for catching my error. I am not an expert on this matter nor have I ever analyzed lead in the laboratory.




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        2. I think you’re both saying the same thing.

          Ppm is similar to percentage, except part per million (ppm) rather than part per cent (hundred). I haven’t found California’s definition of ppm anywhere (whether mcg/g, mol/mol, or mg/L, or whatever), but it does seem to be a percentage, not an absolute upper limit.

          “California considers candies with lead levels in excess of 0.10 parts per million to be contaminated.”

          ( http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/FDB%20Lead%20In%20Candy%20Program.aspx )




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    3. Bragg’s does the same thing with their liquid aminos serving size. Everyone thinks that Bragg’s is lower in sodium than low sodium soy sauce or tamari when it’s actually higher because of their smaller serving size.




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  2. There are other brands of nutritional yeast and if testing is undertaken I’d like to know about Karen’s Energy nutritional yeast, Foods Alive nutritional yeast, and Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional yeast as well. Interesting information. I will say that adding nutritional yeast to my diet has done nothing to alleviate my sinus and allergy issues. Darn!




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      1. Yeah, I asked an online retailer I frequent, who also will sell in bulk, about the B-12 status of the brewers yeast they sell a while back and was told “sorry, we don’t have that information” with no further assist. I may have to try again with yet more direct questions…and perhaps a nudge, as I am not real thrilled about not knowing about what I am ingesting!




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        1. I can’t imagine that it’s legal to not inform customers of the brand of a bulk product upon request for this information though I wouldn’t be too surprised if that’s the case. Regardless, any vendor who isn’t willing to inform customers… might need a good talking to. :)




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          1. I was always pleased with them, so I was really disappointed getting blown off like that, and I am trying not to dash off a cranky letter and over-react because to be honest, I am miffed. I don’t have disposable income to trifle with, but have fed their coffers with quite a few hard earned dollars over time based on trust, and so I feel abandoned. I know in these days of big biz and faceless commerce I shouldn’t take it personally, but I do! Especially because they supposedly pride themselves on their old-time (circa 1929) business ethic. Times have sure changed!




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            1. I think it’s a worthy fight, if you have the time and energy. Bioavailable B12 (as I understand) would be an additive. You have every reason to expect disclosure of all additives/ingredients in the foods you consume.




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            2. Bill Gates said, ‘A disgruntled customer is the company’s finest asset.’ You would be doing them a service if you politely convey your disappointment. Go for it!




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      2. Last time I looked, my coop (one of the associated coops, west coast) offered 2 different nutritional yeasts, both from Red Star, a “large flake” (much bigger pieces) that contained B12, and a “fine” that didn’t contain B12. The nutritional label info was on the inside of the bulk container lids. So there are 2 grades of Red Star to test for lead. I also think Red Star manufactures yeast that’s repackaged and sold by smaller food companies. Cronometer gives different values for Red Star, Frontier, and Whole Foods nutritional yeasts, so there are multiple manufacturers. No lead values for anything of course. I’d love to see what the CA coops offer and how they post lead levels… Can anyone “here” from CA do a little sleuthing? How wonderful that CA requires and posts this information.




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    1. I hope when Dr. Greger tests KAL’s, he will separately test their unfortified nutritional yeast as well. Their unfortified nutrional yeast is imported from Estonia. Does that mean it’s more contaminated than their fortified product? less?




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    2. Thanks for sharing. I think we tested some of those. Stay tuned for our results. Sorry to here no sinus relief, darn!




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  3. Prop 65 is a big pain in the rear. They seem to recently been increasing enforcement here in California. Now I can’t order cocoa, milk thistle or nettle root by mail order, apparently due to minute quantities of naturally occurring lead, while just a few months ago, I could. Funny thing is that those items are still available in stores in California- although not at the discount prices I use to get them by out of state mail order.




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    1. Lead in cocoa came across my radar recently. The levels reported seem high. Maybe it was a farce study. Anyway. I stopped with cocoa.




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      1. I don’t think cocoa is harmful in any way. In fact, the kuna Indians thrive on it: no high blood pressure and virtually no heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer. And they drink five cups of cocoa a day.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835452/

        After a lifetime of drinking so much cocoa, how has the lead in it harmed their health? I’ve got the feeling that either lead isn’t absorbed due to other factors in cocoa, it’s excreted from the body or there’s not enough lead in cocoa to worry about. We would do well to imitate the Kuna. I’d clean my radar screen, Toby and relax with a nice hot cup of cocoa.




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    2. Prop 65 seems to me to be a way to restrict and discourage use of natural health products. I think I read that food and drink products are exempted from the law. Otherwise many foods and drinks could also carry warnings or restrictions. That would of course be very costly and difficult to deal with. So this is an attack on the natural health industry with the intent to scare consumers away from using health-promoting natural products.




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  4. i have read that when you take away the bitter taste of the nutritional yeast also its loses some properties (b vitamins etc). is this true? we have to choose the bitter one or the sweeter one ? for me it could be because when you reheat you may lost some vitamins. but i don’t now the science behind this . so thank you!!




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      1. You are right Michael, I was confusing all this time.. Im Spanish speaker, so i was eating brewer´s yeast after exercise haha nothing serious ;) Thank you!!




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  5. I’ve read that nutritional yeast contains “free glutamic acid”—the same neurotoxic compound as monosodium glutamate (MSG) – check Dr. Russell Blaylock. According to Blaylock, Free Glutamic Acid (MSG) stimulates neurons, causing brain damage to varying degrees. MSG occurs as a direct result of the growth and processing of the yeast.

    I’ve also read that the high vitamin content in nutritional yeast is the result of adding vitamins to the yeast during processing, and if that’s true, then the value of nutritional yeast that has not been fortified with vitamins is what exactly?




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    1. True, some nutritional yeasts products, such as certain products from Red Star, are fortified, for example, with vitamin B-12. Beta glucan, however, is found naturally in the cell walls of yeast, so beta glucan should be present in all yeast products.




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    2. Hmmm not sure, carol p. Good questions. To my knowledge I have not seen any studies to support that claim. James posted a link that discusses 2 videos about MSG on NutritionFacts below. (thanks James!) I haven’t seen any negative associations with nutritional yeast and neuortoxins or MSG. Types of algae on the other hand may contain harmful components.




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    3. A few months ago I spent a week looking for a nutritional yeast that was not fortified with vitamins and couldn’t find one. And all had folic acid added, which (from my understanding) is a synthetic form of folate and can be carcinogenic. One brand claimed to add the natural folate and not folic acid, but many claims of folate are folic acid, and since I couldn’t tell and since the product was out of stock at the vitamin store, I just gave up.




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      1. Yes, lead is naturally found in soil; 10-16 ppm is typical. However, vehicle exhaust and paint from 1970’s and earlier contained lead. All of that goes into the soil, air and water. Many city’s have 1000+ ppm and extraordinarily higher levels do exist.




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      1. Dr. Gonzales, I’m grateful that we have you dedicated to the discussion boards, but I wince a little each time you say, “I assume…”, “I think that..” or “I believe..”. I’d feel more comfortable if instead of starting off with, “I’m not sure,..” you just let that be your whole post.
        Respectfully,
        Mark Garcia




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        1. Thanks for the suggestion, Mark. I wish I could know for certain but when discussing research I am “not sure” (again sorry) if studies are 100% replicable, therefore we need to be careful how we choose our language. You can always help me and our members by citing a study and adding your input.

          Best,
          Joseph




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      2. Hi Joseph. I guess it depends on what your definition of “naturally” is. In the case of organically grown food, my understanding is that it is a result of air pollution from factories, cars, and the like. So foods grown in hothouses, or far from urban centers or manufacturing facilities would have considerably less. If there still were some traces, you might have to chalk it up to the fact that air doesn’t stay in one place. For non-organic food, it is not uncommon to use recycled industrial waste, from steel mill and the like, which contain lead and other heavy metals, to make fertilizer. I kid you not; Google it if you don’t believe me!




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      3. What do you mean by the lead being “naturally occurring”? Do you mean within the yeast? Or do you mean within the medium that the yeast is grown upon? Also how is that one company able to keep their lead in the yeast so low?




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        1. Naturally occurring in the environment so yes naturally occuring in the medium perhaps as well. We’ll know more when we test more products and it may be they are all very low it’s just that some companies tests and other’s don’t.




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    1. Some foods get contaminated with lead because of the machines they are processed on have lead in them. For example, a few years ago an environmental organization put out a list of kids squeeze-packs of fruits, like apple-cause in those single serve little soft-bottles. The acid from the apples was dissolving the lead in the machine fittings and leaching it into the product. Lots of major food names and grocer chain brands were listed, including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Here is a similar article from the Environmental Law Foundation about packaged fruit products. http://www.inhabitots.com/85-of-kids-drinks-snacks-could-contain-high-levels-of-lead/

      Around the same time I read that the great exposure of lead come from wearing shoes in the house, because the shoes pick it up in “the streets” and outside environment and bring it into the home were is gets into the carpets and things. I don’t know how true it is, but it made me glad that I at my house, shoes always get parked outside the front-door.




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    2. In this article about chocolate, lead is thought to have come from contaminated air:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/02/11/lead-and-cadmium-in-chocolate-noooooooooooo/

      “The average lead concentration of cocoa beans was <- 0.5 ng/g, which is one of the lowest reported values for a natural food," they wrote. "In contrast, lead concentrations of manufactured cocoa and chocolate products were as high as 230 and 70 ng/g, respectively, which are consistent with market-basket surveys that have repeatedly listed lead concentrations in chocolate products among the highest reported for all foods. One source of contamination of the finished products is tentatively attributed to atmospheric emissions of leaded gasoline, which is still being used in Nigeria"




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  6. With one pretty large stone sitting in a “safe” place in my kidney, I guess eating Nutritional Yeast is not in my future. I don’t catch colds. My immune system seems ok. I do drink Braggs Apple Cider vinegar (with the Mother in it) in water in the mornings. Is THAT nutritional yeast?




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    1. Hi PamyCST. Apple cider vinegar is different from nutritional yeast. What does the science say about apple cider vinegar. Is apple cider vinegar good for you? Find out here.

      Thanks,
      Joseph




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    2. You don’t necessarily need to concern yourself with nutritional yeast, the video specifically mentioned uric acid kidney stones, and most stones I believe are composed of calcium…I know mine were! (Ouch!) Funny thing is, when I ate a SAD, I had 6 bouts of stones over maybe 15 years. Considering that the advice I was always given was to drink plenty of water and avoid food (mostly leafy greens) high in oxalates, I find it interesting that now that I consume way more of them then I ever did before, I’ve miraculously avoided the biennial agony! I don’t profess to know the specifics, but I know cleaning up our diets is key. I decided up front when I embarked on this path that nature knows balance, and if I eat a whole plant food natural diet, I will benefit from same. It’s been amazingly true in so many regards!




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      1. Thank you Charlie, and I totally agree about the SAD and the health promoting whole food mostly plant based nutrition. For the last five years I have eaten that way choosing no meat and occasional fish and minimal alcohol. No longer have two URIs each year, my body has totally changed shape, my energy increased, no Brain fog, and I sleep so well! And my skin….wow.




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  7. Since beta glucan is actually a class of types of fiber, of which there are multiple forms, I wonder if the immunomodulation benefit is specifically a function of yeast-sources beta glucan and perhaps not other forms, such as those present in oats or barely.




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    1. Good points, Steve! I believe all forms of beta-glucan may be beneficial as you mentioned. Don’t mushrooms too contain beta-glucan? I love mushrooms and agree with Dr. Greger that mushrooms are under appreciated.




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      1. Mushrooms (a mainstay of Traditional Chinese Medicine) indeed do contain beta glucans, but I believe in varying amounts and forms depending on the type of mushroom. And, of course, yeast, which was the subject of the video, is itself a fungus. While it is good practice to include all of these – barley, oats, mushrooms, yeast – in a healthy varied diet, it would be useful to know which sources provide an immunomodulation benefit.




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        1. Have you seen this Ask the Doctor Q&A? on reshi mushrooms? I have not combed thru the citations, but this type seems to have immunomodulatory effects in cancer patients. I suppose it would have the same benefits in healthy individuals.




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    1. Hi Dew Drop. I think I agree with WillCall. I haven’t seen any negative associations with nutritional yeast and neuortoxins. Types of algae on the other hand may contain harmful components.




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  8. I would like to see Dr. Greger’s and Joseph Gonzales’ take on the evidence regarding whether folic acid (vs folate from food) supplementation raises breast (and other?) cancer risk. Fortified nutritional yeast has added folic acid, but I was able to find only two unfortified brands (Kai and Foods Alive). Would like to know the lead content of these.

    In a similar vein, is there increased cancer risk from long-term supplementation with higher doses of methylated B12 and B9?




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    1. Hi pgyx, Thanks for your question. Dr. Greger has a video Can Folic Acid Be Harmful?. Please check it out if interested. Furthermore, on the Braggs label of nutritional yeast it shows 1 Tablespoon = 40% of daily folic acids needs. I think popping folic acid supplements at higher doses is different than using a bit of nutritional yeast. Some members are talking about folic acid free nutrition yeast, so that is an option for those worried about too much folic acid.




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      1. I appreciate your responses. The B12/B9(folic acid) concern is specifically for methylated forms (e.g., methylcobalamin). Those who have MTHFR mutations benefit from using these forms, but a physician-researcher at a conference I attended asserted that there is some evidence that high-dose methylated B12 and B9 may predispose DNA synthesis steps favoring cancer formation.

        However, he did not mention that we also know that hypomethylation in DNA synthesis, which can occur with inadequate folate intake, can also cause DNA synthesis errors and chromosome breakage, which can initiate cancer formation.

        I will contact him to see if he can direct me to the references for his comment and post more here if I learn more.




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        1. Good call! For those folks maybe cyanocobalamin is a better choice? I agree that lower B12 is more risky than higher. Seems nutrients tend to have a double edge sword!




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          1. Dam!
            Everything I’ve read says that methylcobalamin is the most natural and absorb-able form of B12 available. I’ve been taking a weekly 5000 mcg sub-lingual lozenge since I went veg four years ago.

            Not that I need worry about breast cancer, but it seems that substances that promote breast cancer in women, invariably lead to higher prostate cancer rates in men.

            Is there cause for concern?




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    1. I have heard Red Start, but cannot guarantee until you ask! It is probably whole foods brand, come to think of it. Thanks, Devin




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      1. Thanks Joseph! Good call, probably best to ask them directly :) What a shame that even with healthy foods there is risk of contaminants!




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      2. Update: My local Whole Foods uses RedStar in their bulk bins, which unfortunately did not provide information to Dr. Greger, so I will have to find a new source! Anyone know a good online vendor that is clean?




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    2. All of the Whole Foods stores by me in San Diego, CA carry the Red Star fortified brand of nutritional yeast in their bulk bins. I do not like the fortified version because of the added cancer promoting folic acid. I do not think Red Star makes any that is unfortified…I know KAL brand does, although it is hard to find.




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  9. Actually, aside from lead I recommend paying attention to the amount of toxic AGEs in nutritional yeasts. Many brands dry their yeast at very high temperatures – often intentionally high so that they have a toasted flavor, which many people like. As yeast has a very high protein content, and as high temperatures will make AGEs in high protein foods (and I hate to think how high temperatures might chemically modify the RNA/DNA also present) , I avoid using yeast processed at high temperatures. I contacted a number of companies about their processing temperatures, and most used high temperatures. I only found one brand that used a low temperature, Lewis labs, who informed me by email that their yeast “is drum-dried at very low heat (no higher than 60 C) .” I do not know how much lead their product contains, although their label does not have any warnings or other information as to lead content.




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  10. I once had a very extended conversation with the chief scientist of a major brand of vitamins, the first time I received a bottle of supplements from the company with a warning label stating that according to California Prop 65 it had to be labeled for lead. What he told me, and I can only pass it on with no real way to validate his claim, is that Prop 65 is so strict that if vegetables grown in open fields, not hothouse, were to be tested, they would also have “background levels” of lead in excess of the standard.




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    1. That sounds about right. A typical plant contains 0.1 ppm if grown in soil with 1.4 ppm lead (7% absorption; leafy greens absorb even more; dried food/herbs will be more concentrated). Ancient indigenous rock and uncontaminated soil typically contains 10-16 ppm lead. I happen to know that lead levels above 100 ppm are common in Boston/Cambridge (MA, USA). The US EPA limits at 400 ppm. The human body has about 2 ppm overall while our bones contain about 30 ppm.




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  11. I take 500 mg/day of RNA derived from brewers yeast….so there might be other benefits from nutritional yeast?

    ” After them take only 500–1,000 mg of RNA daily, he began to notice an improvement in skin tone and elasticity after

    about two to three weeks. At daily dosages of 5 g, these changes were evident within a week. Also within two weeks, his patients

    would report that they were no longer suffering from fatigue, nor did they have any a shortness of breath during exertion or angina pain.

    Then sometime between one to two months after supplementing with RNA, their skin began to smooth out and fine lines and

    wrinkles began to diminish, typically starting on the forehead. After two months, liver spots often disappeared, and after two to four

    months, senile keratoses (the common wart-like skin lesions associated with aging) lightened in color and decreased in size. This is when

    patients typically saw a drop in any abnormally high cholesterol levels.”

    From Dr. Frank by way of Alternatives newsletter.




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  12. Is there any herb or root or anything that can be added to the diet that increases estrogen in women with low estrogen/pcos? What are your thoughts on evening primrose oil?




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  13. I would love to see NutritionFacts start doing independent lab testing. Maybe a new video series or section called “The Results Are In!” to present lab results of things just like todays topic, nutritional yeast. Do a comparative analysis of the important things like lead, iron, B12, zinc, selenium, folic acid, etc… of each brand.




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  14. I don’t suppose anyone knows (including doctors on here) about a possibility of being allergic or extremely sensitive to Yeast?

    I have a lot of fungal issues.

    Toenail, skin, etc.

    I also have a lot of unresolved things that no doctor can figure out why my body won’t heal them.

    Flat warts that have spread everywhere and I have had for almost 15 years. They are typically seen in adolescence and pretty much resolve themselves by adulthood. I got mine at 27 and they have spread from there.

    My feeling is that my gut flora is all wacked and out of balance, but I eat healthy, been a vegan since 2008 and a vegetarian since 2006. Since 2012 I have become a WFPD eater, so many more fiber rich foods have been added.

    When I eat anything with Yeast in it, it seems to affect me in severely adverse ways. If I eat Nutritional Yeast or any of the other kinds I feel just awful. It was recommended I eat Brewers Yeast for some of my issues at one point, and it made me so sickly ill.

    Drinking beer back in the day seemed to give me terrible skin issues, Wine gave me terrible Acid Reflux, I believe even bread isn’t great on my system.

    I cannot find anywhere that breaks down if yeast is actually a good or a bad thing, but most doctors prescribe it, Naturopaths LOVE it, almost any “health food” site or book pushes it, fake cheese and fake meats are loaded with it.

    I cannot understand or figure out what is up with it.

    I cut out every kind of food with yeast or added yeast in it for the last 9 months, and it had exactly NO effect on my skin or health.

    The only thing all these Allopathic and Naturopaths point to is CANDIDA or LYME’s. Both of which just seem to be catch-all’s for things no one can explain.

    I have cut way down on my sugar, or eliminated it (except fruit). I have limited my fruits at times. But to no positive effect, and none of that limitation or stopping has helped my FUNGAL issues at all.

    I really, really, really don’t want to ever take an ANTI-FUNGAL med again, because I don’t want to take a chance with the health of my Liver and Kidneys.

    Isn’t there something I can do Food wise to help this Fungal, Yeast issue? Or is EATING Yeast actually going to HELP my Yeast problems, instead of eliminating it from my diet, which has seemed to make the yeast problems WORSE?

    I also suffer from extreme PTSD and Stress Fight or Flight issues 24/7 all day every day. I know there is a direct link between how my body deals with the stress and the overproduction of fungus and yeast in my system. The few times I have felt TRULY happy and not stressed, the fungal issues disappeared.

    Thank you.




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    1. I suggest avoiding if it makes you feel worse. The yeast is inactive so I am not sure there is concern with candida. Dr. Greger has many videos on gut flora that may be helpful, but it sounds to me your doctor and health care team need to weigh-in (and they are). One thing struck me in the end of your note, how once you avoided or properly managed stress the symptoms subsided. There is definitely a connection between the brain and gut. Gut Feelings: Probiotics and Mental Health. Wishing you the best, Joseph




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  15. I just got the Nutritionfacts.org research fund mail, that I applaud wholeheartedly!
    Lets grab those WFPBD unanswered questions issues by the cojones. :)

    Big thumbs up!




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    1. I would love them to test some of the products at Trader Joes for GMO. Trader Joe’s claims that any of their house branded products are GMO free, yet they do not have that stated on any of the labels. I’d be really curious about their corn tortillas.




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  16. Is there anything in particular about the Beta Glucan in Nutritional Yeast that makes it so valuable as a anti- inflammatory? I eat oats which is more “famous” for its BG content and presumably there is more BG in a cup of oatmeal then in a TBS of Nutritional Yeast- Does anyone know? I also enjoy Nutritional Yeast but as a condiment. In addition, I eat a lot of Barley ( Hulled) which has even more fiber than oats and presumably more Beta Glucan. If one wanted to maximize their ingestion of Beta Glucan, should one eat Nutritonal Yeast, oats or barley? Is there any difference in the chemical make up of the Beta Glucan in Nutritional Yeast that makes it more “valuable” than the Beta Glucan in oats or barley?




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  17. I’ve been working in at least a tablespoon of baker’s yeast daily since this video came out. I have yet to go to the store to score some nutritional yeast and I have a pound of Red Star active dry yeast from Costco in an air tight container in the refrigerator so that’s what I’ve been using.

    I quite like the taste of it on cooked vegetables. It’s very savory and really good.

    Not so good in a green and fruit smooth. Savory and green smoothies don’t really work for me taste-wise, and I can taste the sodium from the yeast in the smoothie as well.

    It’s not my thing.
    YMMV, BTW, no colds yet ;)
    jc




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    1. Red Star “active” yeast? Sorry joe just read your comments and I saw the word “active”. I believe all the nutritional yeast is inactive. Thanks for you posts! I appreciate it.




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  18. Each of the nutritional yeast brands listed above have FOLIC ACID listed in their ingredients. From previous Dr G videos we learn that FOLIC ACID, the synthetic of FOLATE is a cancer promoter. Please help me with this confusion. Are you now recommending these brands are ok with the FOLIC ACID? The only brand I have found that does NOT include FOLIC ACID is the Whole Foods Market Brand of Nutritional Yeast. Please advise.




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    1. Our Whole Foods bulk yeast is Red Star and does contain synthetic folic acid. I’m in the San Diego, CA area. I do not believe Red Star even makes an unfortified version, I know KAL does.




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      1. Thank you for the information about BULK nut. yeast at WFM. I was speaking about the nutritional yeast that is in a large CAN in the supplement aisle. There is NO folic acid listed as an ingredient. All the others listed in Dr G video DO LIST folic acid. Ingredients say NUTRITIONAL YEAST. (only… no additional additives allegedly)… and it lists 190 mcg of FOLATE (and NOT folic acid) on the label.. So I have chosen to get this one – NO FOLIC ACID…. Am I incorrect? Is there FOLIC ACID in the WFM N. Y. in the can?




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    2. Thanks to your posts, Tom, Yesterday I went to WF supplements aisle and found Their brand with no enrichment, just Nutritional Yeast on ingredients, and folate in label. Now what about their heavy metals? I hope we don’t have to worry about that.




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  19. According to WebMD, “Early research shows that taking a specific brewer’s yeast product (EpiCor by Embria Health Sciences) reduces the risk of the common cold or flu in healthy people who recently received flu shots. This product also helps symptoms resolve faster.” See http://tinyurl.com/p3qhcw3 under “Uses” tab.




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  20. Finally heard from Redstar! Just waiting to see if they’ll give me permission to post their test results, but they sent me two 3rd party reports saying <0.02 mg/kg (ppm). Looks like we're finally getting somewhere! Keep an eye on the Research Fund page to see the results of the head-to-head tests we’re doing ourselves (thanks to your support!)




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    1. Please see the “guest” posts above to Joseph Gonzales. The un-fortified nutritional yeasts are, ironically, not free of synthetic vitamins. The companies are able (and do) to grow/manufacture these un-fortified products by using synthetic vitamins, they just are not allowed to “add” them to the product at the end stage, whereas nutritional yeasts that are “fortified” have the synthetic vitamins introduced in the beginning stage of growth of product, as well as at the end (the fortified stage). This is a loop-hole, whether intentional or not, to be able to label your product un-fortified. How do I know? I have it all in writing, and I went to the top of the food chain at these companies, inquiring about the manufacturing of these products (“Now just how do you get the vitamin levels even in the un-fortified versions to be so high?”) Well, I just explained.

      This should be a big deal, as it seems likely that one is ingesting synthetic vitamins in the “un-fortified” products. Hope this makes sense. Suggestion: ask for the actual engineer/chemist/ etc. at the company to answer your questions. And get it in writing. Let them know your life depends on avoiding synthetic vitamins in any shape and form.




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    1. Not sure the research? I always like to stick to whole foods when possible. So in this case, oats, grains, mushrooms, and a bit of nutritional yeast.




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    1. Good question about Vegemite and one that another member gave me permission to post. Here is the question:

      “Vegemite: This Austrailian product contains yeast, but it doesn’t say whether it is nutritional, or if it offers the same benefits as you state in your article… I would appreciate it if you would tell me if you think Vegemite has benefits….
      I checked with Vegemite and learned that it is brewers yeast, not nutritional, but still don’t know whether it has positives, besides vitamin b.. Sincerely, Your avid follower, Phyllis Fitzgerald”

      My Response: There only 3 papers published on vegemite I could find and unfortunately none mentioned anything on health benefits. As I scope the ingredients the only potential villain is sulfites (used as a preservative), which could be problematic for some. I think if there is brewers yeast in vegemite and folks like it than consuming a serving a day would be fine, perhaps even advantageous? I am unsure sodium content and other nutritional facts. If others are users of the stuff please chime-in and let me know if I am thinking correctly. Thanks!




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      1. they add synthetic vitamins to vegemite, don’t they? I remember seeing a label stating a bunch of chemicals on it (another name for unnatural vitamins, don’t you think?




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  21. What about the fact it contains free glutamic acid in it and so its the same as msg which is a neurotoxin that kills brain cells. I mean I eat nutritional yeast but im just curious, I guess its pretty low and in any dried foods there will be some protein that begins to degrade, breaking down into the amino acids that originally formed it making them free and in the case of glutamic acid a neurotoxin?




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    1. Hi Jessey. Not sure about free glutamic acid in nutritional yeast. I did a quick search on pubmed (glutamic acid + toxin + nutritional yeast ) and nothing seems to address the potential free glutamic acid in nutritional yeast. Have you seen Dr. Greger’s videos on MSG? It may not be as strongly linked to neurotoxicity as some thought.




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      1. Nutritional yeast is grown using synthetic vitamins. Even the majority of nutritional yeasts that say “un-fortified” were still grown with synthetic vitamins, it is just that these synthetic vitamins (and minerals) were not added to the product after the growth. Sort of a loop-hole for them to claim that the products is natural and un-fortified. I have checked and verified this with the major manufacturers.




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        1. Interesting! Can you enlighten us where you heard this information and what companies you targeted? I thought nutritional yeast was grown from molasses, but I am not aware of synthetic vitamins added.

          Thanks,
          Joseph




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          1. I got this information firsthand: I emailed and called the companies. All the major ones. I suggest you do so yourself. And I have it all in writing. My suggestion, if you do so: ask for a senior representative who will take you seriously, someone who has direct knowledge of the engineering of the product. Not an employee reading from the company literature. And let them know you are allergic to synthetic vitamins (life and death situation) or they might not take you seriously. Once again, all my facts are in writing. And also consider, look at the sky high vitamin and mineral counts in the “un-fortified” nutritional yeasts. They are still way higher than would occur naturally without adding synethics to the growth stage of the product.

            The nutritional yeast that you buy in the store at Whole Foods, and other reputable health food stores, if the products says “un-fortified” on it, this just means that they did not “add” synthetic vitamins” after the product was grown. But, they did use synthetic vitamins in the growth or processing of the ingredients.

            The possible exemptions to this are some (but not all) of the “brewer’s yeasts” that one can sometimes find at Whole Foods and other stores. It seems (so far to me) that some of these are not grown with synthetics.

            Everyone here, Dr. Greger, and all the others who take nutritional yeast take note: you are ingesting synthetic folate (folic acid) every time you use the un-fortified nutritional yeast. Such irony but it is true. A manufacturing loophole. This should be a warning to all here.




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    2. Glutamic acid present in natural foods is NOT the same as MSG. It is completely different. I’d compare it to the sugar you get from eating a cup of berries to eating a cup of refined white sugar and calling it the same thing. It’s explained here:

      “Does Nutritional Yeast Contain MSG-Like Compounds?

      It’s sometimes said that nutritional yeast contains compounds similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), an excitotoxin that overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage. MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid, the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas, and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body.

      Yeast is a natural source of umami flavor, or natural glutamic acid (glutamate). This is what gives it its rich, satisfying, almost meat-like flavor. It’s also what triggers the MSG fears, but they are unfounded.

      The glutamic acid found in nutritional yeast is “bound” to other amino acids or proteins. The glutamic acid that is MSG is not. When you eat glutamic acid in real foods, your body controls how much is absorbed. Excess glutamic acid is passed off as waste, not stored in your body. As reported by Smithsonian magazine:7

      ‘Glutamates that occur naturally in food come intertwined with different chemicals or fiber, which the body is naturally inclined to regulate, explains Amy Cheng Vollmer, professor of biology at Swarthmore College. MSG, however, comes without the natural components of food that help the body regulate glutamic levels … ‘The bottom line here is context is everything,’ Vollmer adds.'”

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx




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      1. AH Gayle, I don’t quite remember much of it… we blend everything up in the blender… We use chick pea flower to help hold things together and then bake them… Looks like I need to cook more bbb’s so I can better answer this question!




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  22. Having read through all the comments, I still wonder which Nut Yeast is best, with least lead, without folic acid? Whole Foods in box in supplement aisle? IF WF Bulk is really Red Star… would it not be Red Star in supplement aisle?




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    1. see the guest post just below. All nutritional yeast, to my knowledge, is grown with synthetic folate (folic acid). The companies that claim they are not fortifying are telling the truth, but what they are telling you is that they do add folic acid after the yeast is grown, yet they do grow the yeast with the synthetic/folic acid. The companies that fortify the nutritional yeast do both processes: they grow the yeast with folic acid and they add it at the end as well. Either way, fortified and un-unfortified, you are still getting the synthetic/folic acid that you actually do not want, and want to avoid.

      I’ve got this in writing from every major brand in whole foods. The un-fortified versions at Whole Foods have been grown with the synthetic, but are not added afterwards. It is a loop-hole, whether intentional or not. I hope this makes sense. I avoid all nutritional yeast completely as a result of this thorough research on my part.




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  23. I’ve recently switched to Sari foods unfortified Nutritional Yeast. This stuff is full of Zinc (>20% DV) and is not grown on gmo beet sugar. I haven’t check to see if there is lead in that brand yet. I wonder how the lead is getting in the yeast in the first place.




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  24. I’ve heard that the naturally-occurring MSG in nutritional yeast can cause brain lesions. Do you have any info on this? Is it a concern?




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    1. Hi Sarah. I have not, sorry. If you come across any research please post! I mentioned MSG in a below comment if interested.




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    2. It does not contain MSG or act like MSG at all. Glutamic acid is naturally present in a variety of natural foods but it is COMPLETELY different than MSG which is explained here: “Does Nutritional Yeast Contain MSG-Like Compounds?

      It’s sometimes said that nutritional yeast contains compounds similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), an excitotoxin that overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage. MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid, the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas, and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body.

      Yeast is a natural source of umami flavor, or natural glutamic acid (glutamate). This is what gives it its rich, satisfying, almost meat-like flavor. It’s also what triggers the MSG fears, but they are unfounded.

      The glutamic acid found in nutritional yeast is “bound” to other amino acids or proteins. The glutamic acid that is MSG is not. When you eat glutamic acid in real foods, your body controls how much is absorbed. Excess glutamic acid is passed off as waste, not stored in your body. As reported by Smithsonian magazine:7

      ‘Glutamates that occur naturally in food come intertwined with different chemicals or fiber, which the body is naturally inclined to regulate, explains Amy Cheng Vollmer, professor of biology at Swarthmore College. MSG, however, comes without the natural components of food that help the body regulate glutamic levels … ‘The bottom line here is context is everything,’ Vollmer adds.'”

      full article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx




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  25. This study referenced was using brewers yeast, not nutritional yeast. They’re not the same thing. When are they going to do a study on “nutritional yeast” and immune system?




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  26. Can you address the candida overgrowth issue. Some professionals say it is nothing, others prescribe radical diets and drugs and / or supplements.




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    1. Probably the myth of the free glutamate thing someone mentioned here. If it had a neurotoxin, Dr. Greger wouldn’t recommend it and would caution against it like he does spirulina and blue green algae for that reason (which was so disappointing to learn about but very glad I did). Back to the nutritional yeast concern, you can learn about that here (I don’t normally like Mercola but some of the articles can be helpful on his site): http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx




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  27. The only nutritional yeast available here (Belgium) is a German brand called Dr.Ritter. I’d be happy to send a package to your lab ;-)




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  28. rather than call myself vegan I prefer to be known as a
    vegetusian. vegetus is Latin for healthy, so I follow a healthy
    plant-based diet–vegetusian. “vegan” sounds like a
    self-abnegating Jain who won’t swat a mosquito that is biting him–I
    am not that stoic. otherwise I respect animal rights but I don’t
    hesitate to eliminate varmints.




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    1. Vegan simply means to abstain from the exploitation of fellow animals and in short, respect all life. Swatting a mosquito who’s feeding off you or ridding your fur baby of fleas is definitely not going against veganism. Hopefully by “varmints” you only mean parasitic worms, fleas, or bugs presently feeding off of you (mosquitos, ticks, lice) and not just anyone you find annoying, because that would be horrible.




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    1. No it doesn’t. You can read about that here (I don’t particularly like Dr. Mercola as he still advocates the use of animal products which is archaic among other things, and that’s putting it nicely, but sometimes there’s some informative articles on this site, such as this):

      “Does Nutritional Yeast Contain MSG-Like Compounds?

      It’s sometimes said that nutritional yeast contains compounds similar to monosodium glutamate (MSG), an excitotoxin that overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage. MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid, the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas, and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body.

      Yeast is a natural source of umami flavor, or natural glutamic acid (glutamate). This is what gives it its rich, satisfying, almost meat-like flavor. It’s also what triggers the MSG fears, but they are unfounded.

      The glutamic acid found in nutritional yeast is “bound” to other amino acids or proteins. The glutamic acid that is MSG is not. When you eat glutamic acid in real foods, your body controls how much is absorbed. Excess glutamic acid is passed off as waste, not stored in your body. As reported by Smithsonian magazine:7

      ‘Glutamates that occur naturally in food come intertwined with different chemicals or fiber, which the body is naturally inclined to regulate, explains Amy Cheng Vollmer, professor of biology at Swarthmore College. MSG, however, comes without the natural components of food that help the body regulate glutamic levels … ‘The bottom line here is context is everything,’ Vollmer adds.'”

      here’s the full article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast.aspx




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  29. Hi there! I couldn’t find any articles or videos on vaginal yeast infections- the diet/lifestyle connection. I want to be proactive but I am having a hard time finding proper information on the subject. My MD didn’t seem to know what to say. Any help would be so much appreciated! Thank you.




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  30. I have checked with Merigold (Engevita Nutritional Yeast Flakes) and they have also send me their technical data sheet for all of their nutritional yeast products and they are all below 1 ppm (Arsenic < 2 ppm, Lead < 1 ppm, Mercury < 0.1 ppm, Cadmium < 1 ppm)




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  31. Thank you so much for all your hard work. The information you share is priceless….so glad you don’t charge for this, we could never afford to pay for its true worth. We bought your book (what a value) Thanks for that too, it is amazing. Now we are learning “How Not To Die” like everyone else. I don’t mind dying, just don’t want it to be my fault. ;-) We love you! Thank You! Thank You!




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  32. I have concern about nutritional yeast and the folic acid it is fortified with in just about every brand I see. I absolutely love nutritional yeast, but am concerned that I may be harming my health in other ways due to large intake of the synthetic folic acid. Are there brands of nutritional yeast that do not have folic acid supplementation? Or is the folic acid in nutritional yeast not as much of a concern when compared to other supplemental or fortified sources of synthetic folic acid?




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    1. I’d love to hear what Dr. Greger has to say about this, but I can’t imagine it’s a concern due to the fact that he talks about the benefits of nutritional yeast and even when the question of side effects come up, that isn’t mentioned. Also, just looking at all the studies on those taking nutritional yeast daily goes to show that it seems to greatly improve health, not harm it.




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        1. Thanks for the link! Will check it out. I’m not sure if this is the same brand you’re referring to, but I recently came across Sari brand nutritional yeast which does not fortify and is certified non GMO which is cool too. I’d like to try them in the future. I sent them an email asking about lead as they weren’t listed on Dr. Gregers list of nutritional yeasts and lead contents, and their results came back 0.02 which is good, not as good as BRAGGS and a couple others who came back 0.001 or something like that, but still good according to Dr. Greger’s article on this site. I was also pleased that they sent me a copy of their report in response to my question.




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  33. I can’t find any figures (if anyone finds any …), though internet consensus seems to say the highest source is barley. That may be among the reasons of its value as a staple and/or main or most important grain of antiquity.




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  34. If you want to make it even tastier. Put a 1 1/2 of cashews or so, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, some garlic powder and sea salt. Mix in a food processor till its all small granules. I also will do 1/2 and 1/2 of almonds and cashews. Its sooo good. I sprinkle it on so many things.




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    1. Quoting Pam Holt from earlier in this thread: “How much is a spoonful? A level teaspoon (5 ml)? A level tablespoon (15 ml)? A rounded tablespoon (22 ml)? Specificity helps!”

      That’s my question, too.




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  35. Does yeast extract contain the same beneficial active constituents? In the U.K. we have quite a few popular yeast extracts, the nutritional/brewers yeasts are things you’d buy at a premium from specialist health food stores. The universally well known yeast extract brand in the U.K. Is Marmite. Supermarkets often have their own brands, and a health food store one is Meridian. Would these be just as effective in boosting our common cold fighting immune system as the nutritional yeast, etc. .?




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    1. Hi Ann, thanks for this interesting question. As an American I have no experience with yeast extracts or Marmite. Here is a link to a wikipedia article on yeast extract https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast_extract By my interpretation of this, in order to product the extract the yeast undergo some extreme processing to breakdown the yeast cell walls either by heat or heat and high salt concentration. Both of these processes would inactivate many of the proteins / enzymes that would be active in an active yeast culture as one would find in yogurt. It appears that all of the extracts are used for flavoring and not any other purpose so by that it would seem that the benefits from an active yeast culture are not present nor are they meant to be by the manufacturers. I hope this is helpful.




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  36. Dr. Greger states,

    In California some packages of nutritional yeast are slapped with prop 65 warning stickers, suggesting there’s something in it exceeding cancer or birth defect safety limits. I called around to the companies and it turns out the problem is lead. California state law says a product cannot contain more than half of a microgram of lead per daily serving . . .

    Under Prop 65, nearly everything is supposed to cause cancer or birth defects; as such the proposition is far too alarmist to be taken seriously. To get an idea of just how absurd this 0.5 mcg limitation is, consider that almost everyone is exposed to far higher amounts of lead than this in the normal course of their daily lives. For example, the amount of lead in 4 ounces of boiled brussels sprouts is 7.9 mcg, in a 4-ounce freshly baked sweet potato, 7.2 mcg., in 4 ounces of boiled spinach, 7.0 mcg, in 4 ounces of avocado, 4.5 mcg. In California, there are 7 mcg of lead in 16 ounces of safe drinking water. There are 17 mcg of lead in each 3 cubic feet of indoor air, and 55 mcg in each 3 cubic feet of outdoor air,

    Here are the FDA’s conservative recommendations for daily Lead Intake:

    For Whom Amount Known to Cause Health Problems FDA’s Recommended Safe and Tolerable Daily Diet Intakes
    Children Less than 6 60 mcg 6 mcg
    Children older than 7 150 mcg 15 mcg
    Pregnant Women 250 mcg 25 mcg
    Other Adults 750 mcg 75 mcg

    I wouldn’t obsess over the lead that you might be getting in any of the brewer’s yeasts currently on the market. You might as well obsess over the lead in your daily diet or in the air that you breathe. We have become a hypersensitive society only because our technology now enables us to detect minute amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals that we otherwise wouldn’t even know exist.




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  37. Dr. Greger states,

    In California some packages of nutritional yeast are slapped with prop 65 warning stickers, suggesting there’s something in it exceeding cancer or birth defect safety limits. I called around to the companies and it turns out the problem is lead. California state law says a product cannot contain more than half of a microgram of lead per daily serving . . .

    Under Prop 65, nearly everything is supposed to cause cancer or birth defects; as such the proposition is far too alarmist to be taken seriously. To get an idea of just how absurd this 0.5 mcg limitation is, consider that almost everyone is exposed to far higher amounts of lead than this in the normal course of their daily lives. For example, the amount of lead in 4 ounces of boiled brussels sprouts is 7.9 mcg, in a 4-ounce freshly baked sweet potato, 7.2 mcg., in 4 ounces of boiled spinach, 7.0 mcg, in 4 ounces of avocado, 4.5 mcg. In California, there are 7 mcg of lead in 16 ounces of safe drinking water. There are 17 mcg of lead in each 3 cubic feet of indoor air, and 55 mcg in each 3 cubic feet of outdoor air,

    Here are the FDA’s conservative recommendations for daily Lead Intake:

    Amount Known to Cause Health Problems
    Children Less than 6: 60 mcg
    Children older than 7: 150 mcg
    Pregnant Women : 250 mcg
    Other Adults: 750 mcg

    FDA’s Recommended Safe and Tolerable Daily Diet Intake
    Children Less than 6: 6 mcg
    Children older than 7: 15 mcg
    Pregnant Women : 25 mcg
    Other Adults: 75 mcg

    I wouldn’t obsess over the lead that you might be getting in any of the brewer’s yeasts currently on the market. You might as well obsess over the lead in your daily diet or in the air that you breathe. We have become such a hypersensitive society only because our technology now enables us to detect minute amounts of potentially hazardous chemicals that we otherwise wouldn’t know exist. Let’s keep things in perspective!




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  38. Hi Susan, I’m Dr Renae Thomas, one of the medical moderators :) Candida infection usually occurs when one has decreased immune function or post antibiotics. It can be tested for by swabbing the affected area, and sending to pathology. Many people seem to believe they have candida, when there is no evidence to suggest so. I have read that nutritional yeast is de-activated, so the yeast extract cannot reproduce and infect the person consuming it, nor can it be used for leavening or fermenting, as it is no longer an active yeast. It is also made from a different yeast type (S.cerevisiae) as opposed to a Candida sp.
    However if you are concerned, perhaps consider trial and error-see if removing it from your diet heals the candida, and if adding it back in causes a relapse… then you know for sure!

    If it is vaginal yeast infections you suffer with, this may interest you too-
    http://nutritionfacts.org/questions/how-do-i-treat-a-recurrent-yeast-infection/




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  39. I have a question: what do you think about Nutritional Yeast, and its bad rep because of glutamic acid and its neurotoxic effects like MSG?




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