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Nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast have separate nutrient profiles and are produced in different ways. These two supplements contain many of the same beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin A, fiber, and folic acid. They contain differing amounts of the B vitamin complex, causing some individuals to choose nutritional yeast over brewer's for its added health benefits.
Nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast are both excellent sources of protein. These supplements are frequently recommended by doctors for those eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, which contains no natural forms of animal protein. Both types of yeast are manufactured from the fungus known as saccharomyces cerevisiae, which grows and ferments on sugar canes. Nutritional yeast is produced specifically for the purpose of becoming a nutritional supplement. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also used by brewers to ferment their beer, and brewer's yeast is harvested as a byproduct of this process.
Both nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast contain forms of the B vitamin complex. This complex includes thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as vitamin B6, all of which are important in converting different types of food into energy. These vitamins are known to boost an individual's energy and help improve the functioning of the immune system. Nutritional yeast, however, unlike brewer's yeast, also contains the vitamin B12. This vitamin does not naturally occur in brewer's yeast once it has been used in the making of beer and must be artificially added back in. It can be found naturally in nutritional yeast, and is vital in the functioning of the body's nervous system and in helping maintain healthy brain pathways.
Though it is lacking in vitamin B12, brewer's yeast contains the added nutrient chromium, which cannot be found in nutritional yeast. Chromium has been shown in scientific studies to lower the amount of glucose present in the blood stream, and can be beneficial for those suffering from certain types of diabetes. This supplement is frequently recommended by doctors for individuals with more serious forms of diabetes, in addition to regular medication, to help control their blood sugar.
Unique flavoring is a distinct characteristic of nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast. Nutritional yeast is similar to crumbled cheese or a whole grain in appearance. Its flavoring is mild and somewhat similar to cheese, making it a popular additive for popcorn, salads, and other food items by those who take it daily. Brewer's yeast is very strong and bitter in taste, and is typically sold in pill form or as a liquid that can be added to other beverages.