The Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
As described by Greger, under normal circumstances heavy exertion results in a dip in circulating monocytes — white blood cells that act as your body’s first line defense against invaders.
However, athletes who ate 3/4 of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast per day ended up having higher amounts of circulating monocytes two hours after intense exercise — higher in fact than their pre-workout numbers, which is quite surprising.
To assess whether this actually translates into fewer illnesses, researchers tested nutritional yeast on marathon runners. Compared to placebo, the runners who ate nutritional yeast cut in half the number of days they were sick over the following two plus weeks after the race.
Those who took nutritional yeast also reported feeling better, both physically and emotionally, compared to the placebo group. The treatment group reported feeling less fatigued, less confused, less angry, and less tense. They also reported significantly increased vigor.
Nutritional Yeast — A ‘Superfood’ High in B Vitamins
Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins, especially B6, but also B12, folate (B9), thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5).1 One serving (2 tablespoons) contains nearly 10 milligrams (mg) of vitamin B6, and nearly 8 micrograms (mcg) of B12.
It’s also a good source of protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, copper, manganese, and zinc. I love the taste of nutritional yeast and personally take a tablespoon with most meals. It is the highest food source of B vitamins that are important for mitochondrial health.
Not to be confused with Brewer’s yeast or other active yeasts, nutritional yeast is made from an organism grown on molasses, which is then harvested and dried to deactivate the yeast.