What is Yeast?
Yeast is a micro organism that is a fungus. Yeast and mold are two different fungi. Yeast is used in making certain food items and beverages such as in the baking of breads and in the fermentation of beers, wines, and distilled spirits before the distillation process. Yeast consumes sugars converting them into ethanol and emits carbon dioxide gas. Wine is made due to yeast consuming the sugars of the grapes and leaving behind alcohol, and bread rises due to the carbon dioxide gas the yeast emit as they consume sugars in the flour. Yeasts can be found most anywhere, they live along our intestinal tract, and normally are not an issue unless allowed to proliferate.
What is Yeast Intolerance?
Yeast is fungus consumed in the normal diet. It is common in production of fermented alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer. Yeast is also an ingredient used in bread to cause bread to rise. Yeast consumes sugars and emits carbon dioxide as a byproduct which causes bread to rise and also produces alcohol as a byproduct of consuming sugars thus turning grapes to wine and grains to beer.
Yeast is a microorganism so it can contaminate many foods that normally might be considered yeast free. Yeast is not mold. Both yeast and mold are fungi, but yeast is not mold and mold is not yeast. Yeast as disease is most commonly experienced as vaginal yeast infection or thrush infections of the mouth and throat caused by proliferation of the yeast Candida albicans.
An intolerance to yeast can occur suddenly due to other arising physiological conditions such as an immune system that is compromised by other issues. Yeast in the body is normally kept in check by a healthy digestive system. If the system is compromised by an immune issue, prescription antibiotics and possibly other upsets to the digestive tract yeast can begin to proliferate to the point of causing symptoms. Though antibiotics can be a lifesaver, they also cause upset of the natural gut flora by killing good bacteria in the gut along with the bacteria the antibiotic was prescribed for. When the good bacteria are killed off, organisms such as yeast can become opportunistic and thrive in the new environment to the point of causing unwanted physiological symptoms.
There is no difference between brewer’s yeast and baker’s yeast as far as intolerance issues are concerned. Symptoms most likely will manifest in individuals who are intolerant no matter which type of food yeast is consumed. Since yeast normally is present along the digestive tract, it is likely that intolerance is due to the proliferation of yeast.
Proliferation of yeast can be mediated by promoting the good bacteria of the gut known as probiotics. Probiotics can be acquired by consuming foods such as yogurt or may be prescribed in pill form. Taking steps to avoid proliferation of yeast is the best way to avoid symptoms.
Avoidance of consuming fermented beverages, breads, bagels, doughnuts and other foods known to contain yeast is a positive step to mitigating yeast intolerance symptoms that manifest as other food intolerance with pain in the gut, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headaches, skin issues, fatigue and nasal congestion.
A concomitant step in eliminating symptoms of yeast intolerance is to stop providing in abundance sugar that yeast lives off of. Refined sugars are over-consumed as part of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Stop fueling the proliferation of yeast in the body by eliminating sweets in the form of candies, cakes, pies, sugared beverages, puddings, ice cream and many of the other sugary foods.
Yeast needs to be controlled in the body. The human body is a complex system that works best when all segments of the system are in balance. An imbalance in one part of the system can upset another part of the system. Yeast proliferation in the body can be lowered back to levels below the threshold where yeast begins to cause symptoms. If yeast proliferation is a concern, inquire of your healthcare provider about consuming more probiotics, avoiding sources of yeast in the diet, and drastically cutting down the consumption of refined sugars in processed foods.
What is a Yeast Allergy?
A true allergic response to yeast is not common. A yeast allergy would have to involve the immune system. There would be evidence of an immune system reaction to an allergen that can be determined by blood tests or other methods such as the scratch test (where allergens are scratched into the skin). Since yeast normally exists in the body what should be considered first is something else going on in the body allowing yeast to proliferate to the point of causing symptoms from infection.
Some yeast such as Candida albicans are opportunistic in that they will change the way and the rate of growth when opportunity in their environments allows. An example of creating an environment for opportunistic growth of yeast is when prescription antibiotics are taken to rid the body of a bacterial infection. The antibiotics of which the word means â€œagainst lifeâ€ are not absolutely selective in the microorganisms they kill. Antibiotics also kill the good bacteria within the gut that keep opportunistic invaders such as yeasts from proliferating.
How Common is a Yeast Intolerance?
A yeast intolerance is an interesting issue due to how it may manifest. Yeast is normally in the gut. If the balance of the gut flora is in optimal ranges, there would be no symptoms of yeast intolerance due to yeast populations being kept in check. However there can be many issues that arise from the proliferation of yeast. Yeast can cause damage to the lining of the gut depending on how they are growing in the gut. When yeast is taking advantage of its environment to begin growing in a way that it is no longer reproducing as single cells but rather growing as hyphae in long filaments, those filaments dig into the lining of the gut making it more porous or hyperpermeable.
Normally the gut only allows certain nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. If it becomes more porous due to yeast, the gut can allow larger food particles and other toxins to get into the bloodstream. These particles will provoke an immune response bringing white cells to kill the invaders. This causes inflammation which then makes the cycle worse. Yeast itself can then become a systemic infection.
How Common is a Yeast Allergy?
Yeast allergies are not common. However that does not mean that yeast cannot cause an allergic response that is serious. Yeast can change their growth patterns from single-cell reproduction to reproduction that allows them to grow into filaments that are tougher for the immune system to attack and destroy if necessary. A change in the growth environment in the gut such as taking antibiotics can cause yeast to grow in those long filaments that dig into the lining of the gut, making it more porous which causes a leaky gut.
An increased porosity of the gut (leaky gut) allows larger things to pass through into the bloodstream than normal. The larger particles can be food or toxins that the body then recognizes as invaders. The immune system then sends white cells to kill the invaders. The white cells cause inflammation. Symptoms then develop and a cascading cycle perpetuates of an immune system issue allowing yeast to grow pathogenically allowing a continued immune system response.
How Common is a Bakerâ€™s or Brewer’s Yeast Intolerance?
An intolerance to the yeast itself is not common. The issue is the proliferation of yeast in the body that causes symptoms. There could very well be intolerance or allergy to yeast proteins, but since yeast is present to some degree in and on all of us, the problem logically seems to rest with intolerance and immune system activation causing allergy to be related to proliferation.
Yeast change their way of growth from single cell reproduction to reproducing in long filaments (hyphae) that dig into the lining of the intestinal tract. This â€œdigging inâ€ causes the gut to be more porous which then leads to a condition known as leaky gut. Having a leaky gut is to have a gastrointestinal tract that allows toxins and larger than normal particles to pass into the bloodstream. The toxins and larger proteins are recognized by the immune system as invaders. White cells rush to the area to kill the invaders. This causes inflammation. An upset to the gastrointestinal tract can lead to more yeast proliferation so the cycle continues.
What is Autolyzed Yeast?
Cellular lysis is to cut or break open cells. Autolyzed yeasts are yeast cultures that have been exposed to salt which allows enzymes in the yeast to cause self-digestion of the yeast microorganisms. The leftover matter is used to derive other ingredients such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) and to make a strong flavored extract. Glutamic acid in the extracts gives it a flavor similar to meat. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is known to trigger headaches in susceptible individuals. Popular yeast extract products in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand are Marmite, Vegemite and Promite. Yeast extracts may trigger intolerance symptoms by the same mechanism that causes those sensitive to MSG to manifest symptoms of which glutamic acid is suspected to be the cause. Due to the flavor enhancing ability MSG imparts, it can be found in many processed foods and may appear on food labels under such names as natural flavoring (depending how it is processed or derived and at what level of refinement to pure glutamic acid it is).
Why is Yeast Added to Breads?
Yeast is the ingredient added to breads that causes them to rise. A lump of dough that does not contain any yeast will produce a flat bread. Yeast eats sugar and emits carbon dioxide gas. Yeast in combination with dough that is high in gluten will make dough rise because the sticky gluten traps the carbon dioxide gas allowing the yeast to blow up the dough like a balloon.
Why is Yeast Added to Other Foods?
Yeast can be used to flavor foods or may be one of the main components of a food product. There is a product made from yeast extract known in the United Kingdom and New Zealand as Marmite and in Australia as Vegemite and Promite. It is yeast used in beer making is processed through proprietary methods and made into a food product high in the B vitamins.
What is Candida?
Candida is Candida albicans which is a yeast that normally exists in the mouth and all along the gastrointestinal tract. It is an opportunistic yeast that can become a pathogen when conditions are appropriate for it to begin to overgrow. The infection can become systemic and cause death if not successfully treated. Those who already have a compromised immune system are at higher risk for Candida albicans infection.
Does Vinegar Contain Yeast?
Yes. Vinegar is made from yeast consuming sugars in such raw materials as apples to make apple cider vinegar. The yeast eats the sugars in the apples leaving behind alcohol that another present bacteria known as acetobacter turns into acetic acid. Distilled vinegar could possibly still contain some parts of yeast sufficient enough to produce a reaction in intolerant individuals.
If I am Yeast Intolerant, What Foods Should I Avoid?
Leavened breads, wine and beer would be a good place to start. Also be aware that yeast can live on and in many foods. Since there are over 1,500 species of identified yeast, it is possible for yeast to be in or on many foods that normally might be considered yeast free. In order to assist in reducing the proliferation of yeast in the body it is important to stop consuming yeast rich foods such as bread, beer and wine.
What Are the Different Varieties of Yeast?
There are over 1500 species of yeast that are currently identified. The most common form of yeast used in the making of foods and alcoholic beverages is Brewer’s and Baker’s yeast which in most instances are the same species of yeast. In brewing alcoholic beverages and in wine making there are varieties of yeast that are known as bottom and top fermenting. Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces pastorianus are two common yeasts used in the food and beverage industry.
Yeast can be purchased in stores for home use in foil packets and jars or as fresh cakes of yeast. The baker and brewer types are normally variant strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The dry yeasts do not require refrigeration for storage and posses a reasonably long shelf life. Active-dry yeast needs to be activated in a bit of warm water before mixing into the recipe where dry yeast can be added along with the other dry ingredients of a recipe.
Do Alcoholic Beverages Contain Yeast?
Many alcoholic beverages are fermented to gain their alcoholic content through the fermentation process of yeast-consuming sugars present in grapes or other fruits and grains used to make the beverages. It is believed that none of the yeast proteins can survive the distillation process of whiskeys, bourbons and other such alcoholic beverages. There is a concern of additives used to flavor distilled beverages after the distillation process is complete.
Is There Yeast-Free Wine and Beer?
Yeast is what gives the alcohol content to wine and beer. Yeast eats the sugars and leave behind alcohol. Sweetness is determined by how much of the sugars the yeast is permitted to consume before fermentation is halted. Since grain whiskeys, beer and wine all use yeast in fermentation there is no yeast-free alcoholic beverage that hasn’t derived from yeast, but the proteins of yeast are not suspected of being able to survive or be transferred in the distillation process.
Can Yeast be Beneficial?
Yes because yeast is high in B vitamins. Though B vitamins can be taken in synthetic pill form, it is always best to obtain necessary vitamins through consuming natural foods. The bioavailability, or the ease of which vitamins can be absorbed, is higher through ingesting foods high in vitamins rather than taking synthetic versions.
If there is an intolerance to yeast due to an immune system or other cause that allows yeast to proliferate, it is best to take steps to avoid consuming yeast containing foods.
What Are the Causes of a Yeast Intolerance?
An intolerance occurs when yeast proliferate. Proliferation of yeast occurs when the body creates an environment conducive to yeast growing in a pathogenic-like manner. Oral contraceptives and prescription antibiotics are two of the main culprits in allowing a yeast infection (overgrowth of yeast) to occur. When the amount of yeast in the gut grows beyond an optimal amount due to other gut flora being incapable of controlling the yeast population, symptoms of infection such as leaky gut, inflammation and candidiasis (Candida albicans infection) occur.
What is Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is inactivated yeast used as a flavoring. The yeasts are inactivated and can no longer grow. It has a cheesy or nut-like flavor and is usually available as flakes. The product is popular amongst those who live on a strict vegetarian diet known as the vegan diet.
What Should I Avoid on a Yeast-Free Diet?
Mainly breads, cakes, doughnuts, vinegars and foods made from yeast such as Marmite, Vegemite, and Promite.