Articles, Blog

Nutritional Yeast for the Common Cold

August 21, 2019

natural immunomodulators something that can help regulate our immune system without side effects has been sought for centuries and all the while they’ve been sitting in the produce aisle plants produce thousands of active compounds many of which modulate our immune system enough to protect us from infection but we can’t forget the fungi mushrooms have been used for centuries as folk remedies and for good reason some have been shown to boost immune function as well so much so a type of fiber found in shiitake mushrooms is approved for use as adjunct chemotherapy injected intravenously to help treat a variety of cancers by rallying our immune defenses more than 6000 papers have been published on the so called beta glucans but almost all the data about preventing infections has come from petri dish or lab animal studies until a few years ago when a series of experiments on athletes showed beneficial effects but that was in like marathon runners what about the rest of us we didn’t know until now beta glucan fiber found in baker’s brewers and nutritional yeast helps to maintain our body’s defense against pathogens even in non athletes according to this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial reducing the incidence of infections by the common cold by 25% those that ate the equivalent of about a spoonful of nutritional yeast a day and had fewer cold related sleeping difficulties if they did get sick what about half a spoonful of day’s worth still worked big drop in comical incidents and reduction in symptoms as well why though this study found that not only were upper respiratory infection symptoms diminish but that mood states appeared to be improved like a like a significant boost in feelings of vigor so if they suggest maybe the yeast fiber is able to counteract the negative effects of stress on the immune system terms of side effects two folks reported stomachaches but they were both in the placebo group unlike antibiotics and antivirals which are designed to kill the pathogen directly the yeast compounds instead appear to work stimulating our immune defenses and as such don’t share the same antibiotic side-effects they stimulate our immune defenses presumably because our body recognizes them as foreign but if it’s treated like an invader might it trigger an inflammatory response turns out it may actually have an anti-inflammatory effect suggesting nutritional yeast may offer the best of both worlds boosting the infection fighting side of the immune system while suppressing the inflammatory component so oral intake can be considered safe and effective note they said oral intake though it would not recommend injecting nutritional yeast into your veins no matter how much you like the stuff yeast is high in purines so those with gout uric acid kidney stones a new organ transplant recipients may want to keep their intake to less than a teaspoon a day but for everyone else is there any downsides well if you look at some packages as nutritional yeast in California some are slapped with prop 65 warning stickers suggesting that there’s something in it exceeding cancer or birth defect safety limits I called around the companies it turns out the problem is LEED California state law says a product cannot contain more than a half a microgram of lead per daily serving so I contacted the six brands and knew about and asked them how much lead was in their products Cal originally said lessen the five parts per million but then when we call back they said less than three parts per million but even if it’s three that translates into less than 45 micrograms per serving nearly a hundred times more than the California limit but perhaps better than Bob’s Red Mill or frontier co-op who evidently didn’t test at all at least they got back to me red star brand failed to respond to multiple attempts to contact them now Foods said of course we test for lead that’s nice unclaimed at least their recent batches meet the less than half a microgram california standard unfortunately despite repeated requests they did not provide me with documentation to substantiate those numbers my favorite response was from Bragg’s who sent me the analysis certificate from the lab showing less than 0.01 million which means that most less than half the California standard which I believe is the most stringent in the world to put the numbers in context in determining how much lead manufacturers can put into candy likely be frequently consumed by small children the Food and Drug Administration would allow like 2 micrograms a day in the form of lollipops but as far as I’m concerned the less lead the better you


  • Reply Calvin March 25, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Bragg it is then.

  • Reply Vegan Gardener March 25, 2015 at 11:28 am

    So its Braggs yeast on mushrooms tonight then 🙂

  • Reply watchtheskies March 25, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Hi could you tell us why the lead is there in the first place?

  • Reply Christopher Vaughn March 25, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I use bragg's nutritional yeast every evening over 2 cups of beans, a cup of portobello mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves, 2 cups of green leafy vegetables, and a sweet potato.

  • Reply Beyond Unknown Ⓥ March 25, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Braggs will be bragging!

  • Reply mark smith March 25, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Why is there ANY lead at all ?

  • Reply Andréas Remis March 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    This is why IIFYM (if it fits your macros) is NOT conducive to optimum health. 

  • Reply a privileged vegan March 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Great news, I knew that my obsession with nutritional yeast was healthy 🙂 And it just so happens Bragg is my favorite brand. YAY

  • Reply daniel tuitt March 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Great to have you back

  • Reply houndjog March 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I haven't had a cold/flu in 3 years?  Hydrogen Peroxide is GOLD.  Dr. Mercola discovered a cold brews in your inner ear 2-3 days before it set an attack.  When I think I'm getting a cold/flu, I pour a capful in each ear and let it bubble for up to 10 minutes.  If it doesn't bubble, I take it out after 2 minutes.

  • Reply meow0meow7 March 25, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Sounds like they have something to brag about.

  • Reply A. Random March 25, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Is there any health benefit to snorting the nooch? Just curious. 

  • Reply KpopGrrl March 25, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I wish Braggs wouldn't add folic acid to their yeast.

  • Reply T4health March 25, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I have a strange reaction to nutritional yeast. I feel like I'm dying every time I eat it. But glad it could work for others

  • Reply Gregory Alan March 25, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Well, Bragg is the brand I have on my shelf. Good to know. 

  • Reply Jennifer Sidathong March 25, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Braggs and MSG….

  • Reply Konalavajava March 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Love your videos.  You're the best at keeping us informed.  I have a huge challenge for you.  Many of us would like to move into the plant based diet area, but are single and way too busy to do much of the searching for the right vegetables and cooking.  In my case, I'm an older single gent that is much to busy to even sometimes eat at all.   So ….. what we need is a guide to commercial frozen(?) products , and quick preparation, that will help the diet move towards vegetarian.  Mahalo from Hawaii, and keep up the good work.

  • Reply ummanas March 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing.   Missed seeing your regular informative videos.   I used to buy Frontier's Nutritional Yeast from iHerb as I could get it in bulk and have it shipped to the UK.  I stopped though when they removed the B12.  I think I'll return to buying Engevita, even if it's only available to buy in small packs.   

  • Reply jacqueline March 25, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Dr Greger can you please please please please do a video comparision on radiation and the different kinds of Matcha teas? I saw in one video that you recommend and also you personally drink matcha teas but which brands would you recommend? Thank you.

  • Reply sproutbliss March 26, 2015 at 12:10 am

    What about free basing dat nooch?!

  • Reply BeeRich33 March 26, 2015 at 12:18 am

    All of this is just brewing yeast.  Stay away from Red Star.  

  • Reply SolPhoebusApollo March 26, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Whoa awesome! I cook with Bragg's Nutritional Yeast and now I'm going to eat a spoonful every day to keep colds away.

  • Reply Noah Nobody March 26, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Nutritional Yeast like Marmite (yeast extract)?

  • Reply Sherri O March 26, 2015 at 6:21 am

    My cat goes nuts over it!! Can't keep him away!

  • Reply Feldenkrais with Alfons March 26, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Finally a video about nutritional yeast 🙂

  • Reply John David March 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I recommend magic mushrooms along with the shitakes' psilocybin has exceptional healing properties.

  • Reply elite1980s March 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    If consuming yeast with heavy metals worry you, when trying to kick that cold out of you, then my advice is consume plenty of Vitamin C, some honey and keep warm, simple!

  • Reply dogfight156 March 27, 2015 at 5:58 am

    great vid!

  • Reply March 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Some brands of nutritional yeast exceed California safety limits for lead.
     Watch below or click the link to watch on

  • Reply hairynose656 March 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    What about the fact it contains free glutamic acid  in it and so its the same as msg which is a neurotoxin that kills brain cells. I mean I eat nutrional yeast but im just curious, I guess its pretty low and in any dried foods there will be some protein that begins to degrade, breaking down into the amino acids that originally formed it making them free and in the case of glutamic acid a toxic neurotoxin?

  • Reply BigE March 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Most have artificial vitamins added which are coal or petroleum based

  • Reply Howard Johnson March 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm


    When you began talking about nutritional yeast I immediately jumped up to check a box of something I have on my counter.  It's the brand you have on the left side of your graph, 22oz which I no doubt got at your suggestion for a reason that escapes me.  Hence, it remains unopened.

    It's funny how many of the suggestions I've heard from you I've adopted – hibiscus tea amongst others.  Of course I take your suggestions because thought I'd welcome death, I am doing my best to stay away from stroke.


  • Reply melanieprice March 30, 2015 at 4:18 am

    So are all fungi/mushrooms potential lead carriers then?

  • Reply W0lf7749 April 20, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Isn't nutritional yeast an excitotoxin/free glutamate??

  • Reply Okiwaso June 29, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I have been reading that nutritional yeast may be full of pesticides if made from sugar cane and thus molasses.  Did you find any evidence of this Dr. Greger?

  • Reply Chris10B July 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    How is nutritional yeast different to baker's yeast?

  • Reply Alan Heath October 6, 2015 at 8:02 am

    I had never heard of nutritional yeast until I saw this film. I tried to find it via the internet where I live but no luck at all. So I turned to the US based internet and found lots of articles on it, some really positive but also some negative. So the question is, is it healthy or not?

  • Reply Nutrition Database October 20, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    The only problem is, Bragg fortifies their product with large amounts of synthetic B-vitamins to increase the appeal of their product, thus increasing sales. Particularly, Vitamin B6 is large amounts over time has been linked to nerve damage.

  • Reply John Paradise November 21, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Why is there lead in it to begin with? Also what is your take on the MSG accusations, Dr. Greger?

  • Reply BM32 October 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Braggs Uses Folic Acid instead of Folate. Folic Acid can cause cancer i have read

  • Reply R.D. Dragon April 6, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Just curious, do the yeasts used in bread have these good properties? And would they maintain them after baking? How about the microorganisms in sourdough?

  • Reply John M April 13, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Balls! I've been having nutritional yeast for a month – still got a severe frigging cold!

  • Reply Alex Damgaard July 9, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Bill Gates sneezing as a thumbnail?

  • Reply GoodGoy Productions July 21, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Wow that response from Bob's red….I don't think I want to purchase their products anymore.

  • Reply Maureen K August 14, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Foods Alive Nutritional Yeast has only 0.02 ppm (at least this is what is in their facts.)

  • Reply Clifton Painter August 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Please remember that there are two "spoonfuls" in common use. Tsp or Tbsp?

  • Reply FRND September 1, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    So now what's the thought on this Dr. Greger?

  • Reply A A September 20, 2017 at 4:27 am

    All the have to do is wash the yeast off with water. What the heck is wrong with these people.

  • Reply Lex Nuss January 31, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    Why put lead in food at all? I've read that Bragg's has been dissed by a vegan research group and that one should be aware of synthetic B vitamins in all forms of commercially sold yeast. Of course, if you live in a large city with transportation exhaust or you smoke, you're getting plenty of lead already.

  • Reply Gary Norton February 21, 2018 at 1:43 am

    I am from England I've been on about all this but brush people e so dump lol

  • Reply HibiscusHigh June 25, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Non-fortified nutritional yeast option:

  • Reply celebrate diversity July 8, 2018 at 1:40 am

    This good news and bad news. For all the people who save money buying nutritional yeast in bulk, how can you trust it anymore without proof with their test results. Gosh. I'm glad Bragg's is a option but it's certainly more costly than the stuff in bulk in the health food stores that sell food in bulk, less packaging, less of a footprint of waste.

  • Reply avocado ali August 24, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Great information, as usual!

  • Reply norman cowell November 15, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Ever smoke it in a bong ?

  • Reply A G January 21, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    I like the taste of it on pasta.

  • Reply Dave Forgot March 1, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    So they are all bad? Who cares if they led is low if its synthetic?

  • Reply Enjoy Positive Living April 5, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    What about Sari brand . It doesn't have added folate.

  • Reply Fanny Bass May 10, 2019 at 1:54 am

    Thank you Dr. Greger! Nutritional yeast might help me improve my bronchiectasis.

  • Reply Rita T June 29, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Since becoming vegan, I've used nutritional yeast (mostly Bragg's) for years as a parmesan substitute on pasta and in bean soups. I never measure, and I use a lot! Now I think I'd better cut way back given the comments I'm seeing here.

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