Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast, which is a type of fungus. A popular medicine today in dietary supplement form, it was previously identified as a unique yeast species but is now believed to be a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast). It was first isolated from lychee and mangosteen fruit in 1923 by the French scientist Henri Boulard. (1)
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This medicine is used for treating and preventing diarrhoea, including infectious types such as rotaviral diarrhoea in children, diarrhoea caused by gastrointestinal (GI) take-over (overgrowth) by “bad” bacteria in adults, traveller’s diarrhoea, and diarrhoea associated with tube feedings. It is also used to prevent and treat diarrhoea caused by the use of antibiotics.
Moreover, Saccharomyces boulardii is used for general digestion problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis), Lyme disease, a bowel disorder called relapsing Clostridium difficile colitis as well as bacterial overgrowth in short bowel syndrome. It is also an effective remedy for lactose intolerance, urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginal yeast infections, high cholesterol levels, hives, fever blisters, canker sores and teenage acne. (1)
This popular supplement is widely available for purchase online and is sold in shops retailing natural food, drugstores and stores specializing in dietary supplements.
How it works
It is used as a “probiotic” (beneficial bacteria for enhancing the immune system and digestive health) to introduce beneficial microbes into the large and small intestines and offer protection against pathogens.
Saccharomyces boulardii helps to fight off disease-causing organisms in the gut, such as bacteria and yeast. When consuming this medicine in a capsule form, the release of the yeast cells will occur within half an hour. (2)
The appropriate dosage for any patient depends on various factors such as their age, gender and medical history. The concerned doctor is the best bet for personalized advice. (3)
Possible side effects
Like other supplements, little is known about its safety or long-term use owing to a lack of research. (3)
- Saccharomyces boulardii may cause certain side effects (such as gas and bloating).
- There is also concern that use of this probiotic may lead to fungemia (a condition marked by the presence of fungi in the blood).
- Older adults, infants, immunocompromised or seriously ill patients, and people with colitis, cancer, central venous catheters, and any chronic condition should avoid this supplement or use it only after consulting their primary care provider.
- Since Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast, people with yeast allergies are advised to refrain from using it.
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Anzen Export’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical team strive to provide relevant information through such articles. To be best informed, we advise consulting a doctor about an ingredient or medicine prior to taking it.
- RxList [online]
- WebMD [online]
- Verywellhealth [online]