As the winter season approaches and the chances of being prescribed an antibiotic increases, I’d like to shed some light on a particular yeast probiotic, Sacchromyes boulardii, which could be helpful.
So first, what is a probiotic? Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast that confer positive health benefits to the body and live in our intestines. Probiotics are found in some foods such as yogurt and fermented items like kefir, tempeh, kombucha, or kimchi to name a few. It can also be taken as a supplement in either the inactive or live form.
A Powerful Yeast Probiotic
Now, what is so special about Sacchromyces boulardii? It is a yeast probiotic, first identified in the 1920s and is one of the most studied probiotics available. S. boulardii has been noted to contribute to three important functions.
Notable Functions of this Yeast
First, it has been shown to improve immune function by increasing the level of a protective immunoglobulin (secretory IgA) in the digestive tract that functions as the first line of defense against foreign invaders.
Secondly, it has also been shown to decrease the space between intestinal cells allowing for proper absorption of nutrients and elimination of toxins.
Thirdly, S.boulardii has been shown to compete against pathogenic (“bad”) bacteria and yeast in the intestines. In particular it has been shown to effectively compete with organisms such as E.coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium difficile bacteria as well as Candida, a fungus.
E.coli is a common culprit of traveler’s diarrhea, Salmonella is found in contaminated foods and both C. difficile and Candida tend to flourish with antibiotic use. C.difficile overgrowth can lead to a serious intestinal infection and Candida overgrowth manifests commonly as vaginal yeast infections.
Two Specific Uses
Two particular favored uses of S.boulardii include use in conjunction with antibiotic therapy to both decrease the chances of developing a yeast infection as well as protecting against C.difficile overgrowth. Given S.boulardii is a yeast probiotic it is not impacted by antibiotic therapy, which is directed at eradicating harmful bacteria.
In addition, I encourage the use of S.boulardii during international travel when the risk of traveler’s diarrhea from E.coli is increased. The dosing for S.boulardii varies. I typically recommend 5 billion twice a day throughout antibiotic therapy and 5 billion once to three times a day during international travel.
If during this winter season the need for antibiotics arises, consider adding S.boulardii during your treatment to maintain a healthy immune function and intestinal balance. There are some instances where S.boulardii may not be advisable, such as a compromised immune system so be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider before starting.
Interested in learning others ways to boost your immune system and balance your intestinal flora? Please call the office at 813-644-9384 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule an appointment. Reshma Patel, M.D. is Board certified physician in both Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine.
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