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Saccharomyces Boulardii: A Super Probiotic with Health Benefits


by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

If you’ve ever looked into probiotics or checked yogurt labels for live cultures, you’ve likely come across familiar names like Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, or Streptococcus thermophiles. These bacteria-based living cultures promote gut health by promoting good bacteria. But have you heard of Saccharomyces Boulardii?

If you answered no, you’re not alone. This unique probiotic stands out from the rest yet is not spoken about frequently.

Unlike bacteria-based probiotics, it’s yeast-based and derived from fruit skin. This “super probiotic” offers therapeutic benefits for various gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. It’s not just resilient against antibiotics but also possesses antimicrobial and anti-toxin properties. It aids in restoring the microbiome and regulates immune response.

With a plethora of probiotics in the market, Saccharomyces boulardii shines through its unique properties and potential to positively impact health.

In this article, we will dive deeper into what Saccharomyces boulardii is along with its many benefits.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your nutrition plan or supplement regimen.

What is Saccharomyces Boulardii?

Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic with a rich history, originates from tropical fruits like lychee and mangosteen. It was first identified by a French scientist named Boulard in 1923. His observation of Southeast Asians using the fruit’s skin to combat cholera led to the discovery of this yeast.

Over the past 30 years, Saccharomyces boulardii has gained recognition for its role in preventing and treating bacterial-induced diarrhea. Studies also suggest potential benefits for individuals suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What Are Some Potential Health Benefits of Saccharomyces Boulardii?

While Saccharomyces boulardii probiotics, like other supplements, lack FDA approval for specific health claims, the FDA acknowledges their potential clinical use by healthcare providers.

Here are some of its potential health benefits:

1.     Traveler’s diarrhea

A randomized study involving travelers administered either 250mg or 500mg of Saccharomyces boulardii daily, or a placebo, for three weeks before and throughout their trip.

Results showed that 43% of the placebo group developed traveler’s diarrhea (TD), compared to 34% in the low-dose Saccharomyces boulardii group and 32% in the high-dose group. This indicates a 10% reduction in TD incidence with S. boulardii treatment.

In a similar study involving 3,000 travelers, Saccharomyces boulardii demonstrated a dose-dependent effect on TD incidence. Among participants, 39% in the placebo group developed TD, compared to 34% and 29% in the lower and higher S. boulardii dose groups, respectively.

2.     Antibiotic-associated diarrhea

Antibiotics have the potential to disturb the balance of gut bacteria, often resulting in diarrhea during treatment. Moreover, they can induce dysbiosis, an imbalance in gut flora.

However, a 2020 review suggests that Saccharomyces boulardii could reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea and help restore healthy gut flora post-treatment. Unlike bacteria, antibiotics do not eliminate S. boulardii, allowing individuals to take both antibiotics and Saccharomyces boulardii together.

3.     It can withstand low pH of our stomach

It is true that the stomach presents a challenging environment for many bacteria-based probiotics due to its low pH. Consequently, certain probiotic ingredients or supplements may not be as effective as expected.

That said, Saccharomyces boulardii exhibits resilience against stomach acid, bile, and pancreatic juices encountered during digestion.

As a result, this probiotic strain can reach the colon in an active state, where it helps balance intestinal bacteria and promote healthy intestinal flora throughout the digestive system.

4.     It can improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms

In a study involving individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), participants were administered Saccharomyces boulardii at a dosage of 9 billion colony-forming units (CFU) per day or a placebo over a span of four weeks.

The group receiving S. boulardii experienced a reduction in the daily number of stools, with 87.5% reporting an improvement in IBS symptoms compared to 72% in the placebo group.

5.     It may affect colitis

Another potential benefit of Saccharomyces boulardii is its role in managing relapsing colitis. S. boulardii is involved in immune modulation within the gut, which can help suppress pro-inflammatory signaling.

A study conducted on mice examined the treatment of colitis using S. boulardii alongside the antibiotic doxycycline. The results demonstrated a reduction in intestinal inflammation, as evidenced by a decrease in the disease activity index, colonic tissue damage, and expression of inflammatory mediators.

This study suggests the potential therapeutic benefit of Saccharomyces boulardii in treating colitis.

6.     Crohn’s disease

In a randomized, double-blinded trial involving 34 individuals aged 19 to 54 with Crohn’s disease in remission, the group taking Saccharomyces boulardii showed improved gut barrier function compared to the placebo group after three months.

7.     H. pylori infection

Saccharomyces boulardii showed promise in reducing the colonization of H. pylori in the gastrointestinal system, but it wasn’t effective as a standalone treatment for eradicating the infection.

However, when used alongside standard triple therapy for H. pylori infection, it increased reduction rates and lowered therapy-related side effects, particularly diarrhea.

Additionally, when administered with proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy, it lowered the incidence of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in infected children.

Overall, Saccharomyces boulardii improved treatment tolerability and reduced post-treatment dyspepsia symptoms, regardless of H. pylori status.

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