Also, I have noticed that yeast is being maligned mostly by authorities in fields other than nutrition, who, nonetheless, pose as experts on the nutritional value of yeast. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Those who have distinguished themselves in the recent past by questioning or downgrading the value of yeast as a valuable supplement in human nutrition have, as a rule, only a fragmented knowledge of the complex sciences of nutrition and biochemistry.
Let's LIVE Magazine has been consistent throughout its long history in recommending brewer's yeast and specially grown nutritional yeasts as exceptionally valuable additions to the Optimum Diet. I have stated repeatedly in articles, books, and lectures that I consider brewer's yeast to be the most valuable supplementary food of all.
This article was prompted by numerous inquiries by our readers who are alarmed and concerned by the persistent anti-yeast propaganda. So let's objectively analyze the pros and cons of yeast as a food supplement. My qualifications to do it objectively are based on the fact that I have no personal interest in taking either side of the issue, since I am not connected in any way with the manufacturing, sale, or promotion of this product or any other health food, vitamin, or supplement, for that matter.
The cultivation and harvesting of the yeast plant is now done under controlled conditions where both the temperature and the composition of the seedbed where yeast is grown are regulated to produce the desirable content of vitamins, proteins, and minerals in the final product. The yeast is grown in large vats, then is dried at low temperatures so that none of the nutritional value is lost.
Finally, it is pulverized and made into a powdered, flaked, or tableted form. There are special advantages to each of these forms. Powder is more concentrated and most suitable for mixing with liquids, such as juices, mixed drinks, or shakes, or adding to foods in cooking. Flakes are better tasting and are favored for sprinkling on other foods. Tablets are more convenient for travelers and also preferred by those who do not particularly like the taste of brewer's yeast. But, while yeast would undoubtedly fail in a food taste contest, it would emerge as an indisputable winner in any food value contest!
Spurred by the original recognition of brewer's yeast as a valuable nutritional supplement, the enterprising food manufacturers have developed many ways of growing yeast plants that do not include hops and barley malt used in the production of brewer's yeast. They have learned that food yeast can be grown on many different cultures, such as molasses, wood pulp, whey (a highly nutritious leftover of the cheese making industry), and even on ethyl alcohol derived from petroleum refining.
The way a layman can distinguish between brewer's yeast and these other types of yeasts is that: 1) Only true brewer's yeast can be labeled as brewer's yeast; 2) Other types of yeasts are always referred to as "primary" yeast, "food" yeast, or "nutritional" yeast; 3) Occasionally, these primary (specifically grown for food) yeasts are labeled as "brewer's type yeast", which is somewhat confusing, but still a clear admission that it is not real brewer's yeast.
I am constantly asked: Are these primary or food yeasts inferior, just or better than brewer's yeast? The answer is: All nutritional yeasts are good food supplements. I cannot mention the brands, of course, but if you wish to be sure when you buy, read the labels and/or ask the health food store attendant and see that the yeast you consider buying is grown on either molasses, or whey, as some of the better alternatives. Although all nutritional yeasts have an approximately similar content as far as protein or B vitamins is concerned, I personally prefer genuine brewer's yeast, mainly because it is the best natural source of two very important trace minerals - selenium and chromium - as I will report later in the article. These minerals are either missing or are present in much lower potencies in primary grown yeasts.
Here is a short table to show you the tremendous amounts (per 100 grams) of two major B vitamins that brewer's yeast contains as compared to other rich natural sources of these vitamins:1
|Dried lima beans||600||790|
Brewer's yeast is also a good source of niacin, pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid, choline, inositol, folic acid, and even B12. There are some brewer's yeast brands sold in health food stores that are fortified with extra B12. Brewer's yeast contains about 3 times as much niacin as beef liver.
To give you some practical idea of how yeast can improve your nutrition, here's what just one large tablespoon of food yeast (10 grams) will supply in terms of recommended daily dietary allowances for adults: 2
B vitamins are extremely important to health. The lack of one or several B-complex vitamins in the diet may result in many serious health disorders. The lack of B1 may cause irritability, depression, personality changes, skin diseases, hives, muscular weakness, a condition known as beri-beri, premature ageing, digestive disorders, edema, and diabetes. Deficiency of B2 can produce bloodshot eyes, extreme sensitivity to light, sores around the mouth and tongue, oily skin, premature wrinkles, and vaginal itching. B3 is vital for effective circulation and the healthy function of the nervous system. Deficiency of B3 may lead to mental disturbances, mental dullness, nervousness, digestive disorders, and insomnia. Taking three or four tablespoons of brewer's yeast daily will assure that your diet will contain all the above-mentioned B vitamins in the amounts you need.
To give you some additional idea of the rich nutrient value of brewer's yeast, here are some comparisons. One tablespoon of brewer's yeast contains:
Brewer's yeast is also a good source of minerals. Calcium, iron, and potassium are well-represented. It is true, as yeast-degraders emphasize, that the phosphorus-calcium ratio in yeast is not ideal - too much phosphorus as compared to calcium. This imbalance can be (and should be) easily corrected by taking extra calcium supplement, such as calcium lactate, every time yeast is taken. Some yeasts sold in health food stores are fortified with added calcium to correct this imbalance and make yeast an even more fabulous food.
As we are beginning to realize the importance of selenium in our diets, we are also made aware that the amounts of available dietary selenium have been diminishing as our diets consist more and more of processed and refined foods. Selenium is present in sea foods, milk, eggs, whole grains, mushrooms, kelp, and garlic. But, by far the best source of selenium is brewer's yeast. The other food yeasts are lower in this important trace element.
But, perhaps the most important fact is not the yeast's high content of this wonderful trace mineral, but the safety and biopotency of the selenium as it appears in yeast. Selenium in brewer's yeast is totally harmless, 100% natural, and biologically useable and effective. Selenium in yeast is easily absorbed and put to immediate work for many vital functions in your body.
Now, recent studies suggest that this explanation was too simplistic. Namely, studies have shown that many diabetics produce normal levels of insulin, yet their sugar levels are not properly controlled. Researchers have found that such people usually suffer from a chromium deficiency. They concluded that chromium is needed for proper insulin function. 6
Given small amounts of chromium (up to 150 mcg. of trivalent - natural, biologically effective chromium) daily, as many as 50% of patients with faulty glucose metabolism were restored to normal glucose tolerance.
There are, of course, many other dietary factors associated with the development of diabetes, such as vitamin B6 deficiency, an exhausted pancreas due to an excess of refined carbohydrates in the diet (too much sugar and white flour), abnormal function of adrenal glands, etc. But chromium deficiency is definitely related to a large percentage of diabetic symptoms. Trace mineral researchers agree that there is a widespread chromium deficiency in our country - mostly caused by processed, mineral stripped foods and depleted soils. No wonder diabetes is on the increase.
Chromium is also needed for the synthesis of many enzymes and hormones. It is essential for the synthesis of heart protein and is important in cholesterol metabolism. The severe deficiency of chromium may not only contribute to the development of diabetes, but also of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, as well as hardening of the arteries. Natural chromium, as it is present in natural foods, is associated with Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF) which is believed to be responsible for its acknowledged therapeutic property. This factor is present in whole grains, mushrooms, liver, raw cane sugar, and hard, mineralized water, but by far the best natural source of chromium is brewer's yeast. Natural chromium, as it is present in yeast, is not only perfectly safe, but also is well assimilated and used by the body.
When we realize that in the majority of older people in the United States, glucose tolerance is impaired, it becomes clear that if we wish to enjoy our older years in good health, we should avail ourselves of the tremendous safeguard that brewer's yeast can give us.
Very remarkable recent studies show that nucleic acids have an ability to retard the onset of degenerative diseases, turn back the clock, recharge the batteries of your cells, and give you the look and feel of youth. Nucleic acids, DNA and RNA, are the normal cellular components which control heredity and the body's ability of reproducing its inherited patterns. For example, if the skin on the back of your hand becomes shiny and wrinkled, spotted or brittle, the reason for this is that the cells which contain the blueprint for the formation of the skin on your hands are tired and worn-out and no longer able to maintain the pattern they inherited. Dr. Frank's studies show that by supplementing your diet with enough viable nucleic acids and other metabolites that increase the assimilation, your body's DNA and RNA can renew themselves and keep their genetic patterns as clear and sharp as a new etching. Thus, symptoms of old age can be prevented and/or postponed for several decades. 10
Above all other foods, brewer's yeast is the supreme source of high quality nucleic acids. Only two to three tablespoons of yeast a day will supply you with a sufficient amount of nucleic acids to give you the greatest possible, scientifically proven, assurance that you are actually preventing the symptoms of premature aging and senility and are well on the way to enjoying the appearance, the vigor, and the feel of youth as long as you live.
"Sure! I believe you! But I just can't stand the taste of it, and, what's worse, it gives me terrible gas!"
Here's some advice, based on my life-long experience and observation, that will help you to overcome the problems of unpalatability and gas:
Brewer's yeast is one super food that is pure, 100% natural, and very stable. It stores practically indefinitely without any preservatives. It never turns rancid, even if stored without refrigeration. It is one food that does not need excessive processing, additives, preservatives, stabilizers, artificial flavors or colorings, or any other man-made "improvements". Yeast is a natural!
Any way you look at it, brewer's yeast is a super-nutritious food, and a fabulous supplement to anybody's diet.
Do not be confused by the downgrading statements of the "experts" who try to malign brewer's yeast or food yeast. Try to find out the underlying reasons for their anti-yeast campaign. Are they trying to sell you something else? Are they qualified as reliable authorities on nutrition?
Yeast is a storehouse of known vital nutrients with remarkable curative, preventive, and rejuvenative properties. We can almost bet that, when a new B-complex vitamin is discovered, or some trace mineral that turns out to be extremely important to human nutrition, it will be found in brewer's yeast.
When the present excitement over the tremendous importance of selenium, chromium, and nucleic acids broke out, those of us who have been using various kinds of yeast for years as a part of our regular diet, were pleased to know that we have been getting a plentiful amount of these miracle substances all along. We are only beginning to appreciate the many benefits we can derive from the regular use of this marvelous, super-nutritious, natural wonder food.
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