You&Your health

With expert Pharmacist Andrew Watson of Good Measure Pharmacy Yeast & your body

Yeast is a naturally occurring living microorganism belonging to the fungus family which includes moulds and mushrooms.

Yeasts are all around us, in the foods and drinks that we consume and living in our bodies. Yeast has been used for over 5,000 years to make bread rise, in the traditional fermentation process for beer and vodka production and even to make food products like marmite - love it or loath it.

It is also present on the skins of sugar-rich fruit such as berries, grapes and peaches.

Within our bodies, the types of yeast that exist are called

candida and live on our skin, mouth, intestines and reproductive systems.

Health benefits A little yeast is beneficial to health. It is an excellent source of B vitamins which are important in keeping the skin and nervous system healthy. Also, the right balance of yeast and other bacteria present in the digestive system is necessary for successful absorption of vitamins and minerals and boosting the immune system. Taken as a supplement, yeast has several health benefits, as a result of its vitamin B, protein and fibre content. A popular product is Brewer’s yeast which is a by-product of the brewing of beer. Brewer’s yeast contains minerals including chromium which is helpful in lowering blood sugar

‘‘The strains of yeast in the body are candida, whereas those used for baking or brewing are saccharomyces’’

levels for the management of type 2 Diabetes. It is available in powder or tablet form.

A newer product is nutritional yeast, available as a powder, flakes or tablets. Less bitter than Brewer’s yeast, it tastes more nutty and is good sprinkled on food as an alternative to Parmesan cheese or made into a smoothie. It does not contain chromium or vitamin B12, although some forms have vitamin B12 added - good for a vegan diet. It is manufactured by cultivating yeast on molasses made from sugar cane or sugar beet, then heat treated to deactivate its rising powers.

Be wary of infections However, the downside of yeast is that it can overgrow in your body and create problems. The strains of yeast in the body are candida, whereas those used for baking or brewing are saccharomyces. We have many microorganisms in our bodies and under the correct conditions they work harmoniously together. If alien bacteria attack causing disease it may be necessary to take an antibiotic. Most antibiotics are broad spectrum and kill off friendly and alien bacteria. Under these conditions the yeast which is a fungus starts to take over and grows as thrush in the mouth, or genital areas. It appears as a white coating which is itchy, bumpy and produces a creamy discharge. Other areas where thrush may occur are warm, moist areas such as armpits, groin, under the breasts or between the fingers and toes. Your GP may give you an antifungal cream, powder, pessary or tablet to be taken orally. You can also obtain these over the counter in pharmacies.

10 Brewers Yeast Helpful hints

Candida overgrowth can also occur due to a weakened immune system perhaps after chemotherapy or poorly controlled Diabetes. Yeasts thrive on warmth, moisture and sugars so minimising these conditions helps.

Always dry affected parts well after washing and use an emollient cream rather than soap which is available from all pharmacies. Wear cool cotton underwear and avoid intercourse while the infection is present.

If the fungus is in the feet in the form of Athlete’s foot again dry them well and let the air get to them when possible. Use your own towel, wear clean cotton socks and alternate shoes, changing them every two days if possible.

An overgrowth of candida in the intestines may cause bloating, diarrhoea or constipation. This can be treated by reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, avoiding alcohol and limiting the amount of sugar rich fruits all of which feed the fungus. Supplements to consider are turmeric available as powder or capsules and garlic. The use of a good probiotic such as acidophilus helps friendly bacteria to grow. This can be taken after a course of antibiotics.

Andrew Watson

If you have any specific health concerns, please feel free to

contact me at Good Measure or email me at

In future editions of Aroundtown l hope to address your concerns.

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