Published 12/16/2014. Updated 1/4/2014.
Now we turn specifically to Saccharomyces boulardii – generally regarded as a powerhouse in the group of probiotics that keep our guts and bodies in good balance. This amazing probiotic yeast, along with dietary changes and other probiotics, helped restore my health from a nasty Clostridium difficile infection, when my mast cells were going wild, and most recently when I had a Morganella infection and needed to take antibiotics for it. S. boulardii is a yeast with digestive benefits that support the immune system by nourishing the cells in the intestinal walls, which are a front-line defense against invaders.
S. boulardii works in several ways, including as an antitoxin, an antri-microbial and an anti-inflammatory. It is highly useful for adults and children in the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders with a predominant inflammatory component – including antibiotic-associated diarrhea, C. difficile and Helicobacter pylori infections, traveler’s diarrhea, and enteral nutrition-related diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, parasitic infections and HIV-related diarrhea.
No adverse reactions have been seen in clinical trials with S. boulardii but increased risk of complications from probiotic products have been noted in some immuno-compromised subjects and patients with severe general or intestinal disease who have in-dwelling catheters. (Kelesidis & Pothoulakis, 2012)
I take S. boulardii regularly as a supplement (Jarrow’s Saccharomyces boulardii+MOS) – one, three times a day. It also occurs naturally in the tasty, fermented drink kombucha, which additionally provides folic acid, various antioxidants and organic acids, plus an assortment of B vitamins (which have the added benefits of nourishing your adrenals and controlling your mood). (Schwenk, 8/24/2013)
Note: Kombucha may contain trace amounts of alcohol, a by-product of the fermentation process. So if you’re buying commercial brands and want to avoid all alcohol, it would be good to check the labels.
Another very helpful thing to know about S. boulardii is that it’s a probiotic yeast, not a bacterium, so it isn’t killed off by antibiotics. Should you get a big infection that truly requires a pharmaceutical antibiotic, S. boulardii will help your gut flora stay strong through the 7-14 days you’re taking the drug. Then continue taking it for six weeks after you’ve finished the antibiotic – two, three times a day. (Miller, 2013)
For lots of useful information on probiotics in general, I recommend a visit to nutritionist Jo Pankyo’s website Power of Probiotics. This is the page specifically about the probiotic yeast superfood Saccharomyces boulardii: http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/Saccharomyces-boulardii.html (Panyko, 2012-2013)
Kelesidis, T. & Pothoulakis, C. (2012). Efficacy and safety of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii for the prevention and therapy of gastrointestinal disorders. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 5:2, 111-125.
Miller, D. (2013). Personal communication.
Panyko, J. (2012-2013). Power of Probiotics. See http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/JoPanyko.html
Panyko, J. (2012-2013). Saccharomyces boulardii – The Probiotic Yeast Superstar. See http://www.powerofprobiotics.com/Saccharomyces-boulardii.html
Schwenk, D. (8/24/2013). Is Happiness in Your Gut? See http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/is-happiness-in-your-gut/
A version of this page content will appear in my forthcoming 2014 Oriental Medicine Journal article THE MICROBIOTA-GUT-BRAIN AXIS: The constant two-way communication between our guts and our brains.
© Copyright 2013-2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.