Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of yeast that has been developed and used to both treat and prevent diarrhea. It is considered to be a form of probiotic supplement, which means it has benefits to someone who consumes it.
Where did Saccharomyces boulardii come from?
Saccharomyces boulardii is considered to be a tropical form of yeast and it was produced from the lychee and mangosteen fruit by Henri Boulard, a French scientist, in 1923. It was shown to help keep the amount of the natural bacteria in the intestines stable through a series of tests.
What has it been shown to help treat?
These tests using human subjects showed that Saccharomyces boulardii is useful in preventing diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics that kill the good bacteria along with the bad. It also was shown to work to cure childhood diarrhea and diarrhea caused by tube feeds. In other tests, it was shown to possibly help treat diarrhea connected with HIV patients.
What Evidence Supports These Claims?
Diarrhea from antibiotic
Testing showed that if patients on an antibiotic therapy program also took Saccharomyces boulardii that they were less likely to get a type of diarrhea associated with the antibiotic therapy. This problem happens frequently in a hospital setting and adding the Saccharomyces boulardii has proven to help keep it at bay by at least 50 percent.
More medical testing using Saccharomyces boulardii has confirmed that if can be beneficial in slowing down childhood diarrhea.
Another illness of the gastrointestinal tract is called Crohn’s disease. Evidence shows that Saccharomyces boulardii may be useful in improving the symptoms felt by patients using it to treat their gastrointestinal upsets. Victims get gas, pain, cramps, diarrhea and other issues.
HIV Caused Diarrhea
Very few studies using Saccharomyces boulardii have been done as yet, but there is hope that it can work to treat the chronic diarrhea that some HIV and AIDS patients get during the course of their disease.
Tube Feeding Diarrhea
There is good evidence after medical testing that Saccharomyces boulardii can work to treat the type of diarrhea sometimes seen in tube fed patients. This may be connected to the patients who use antibiotics as the cause of their diarrhea. More studies are planned.
A study in Austria showed that it is good as a preventative or to treat travelers diarrhea like many people get on vacation when eating strange food. They took 250 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii a day beginning at least five days before their trip started. The results were less complaints of traveler’s diarrhea.
Further Trials with Saccharomyces boulardii
More medical testing is going to see if Saccharomyces boulardii can also be used to treat the diarrhea common in Irritable Bowel Syndrome paitents, as a form of nutrition for premature infants, and other types of studies concerning gastrointestinal disorders.
Possible Side Effects of Saccharomyces boulardii
As with all supplements, there can be side effects of Saccharomyces boulardii, especially in taken long term. Clinical trials showed little to no side effects in adults over the age of 18 who took it for 15 months in a dosage of between 500 and 2,000 mg three times a day. The dose for children is normally 250 to 600 mg a day for five days given alone or with antibiotics.
Side effects that were recorded include:
– Septic shock
– Increased white cell count
– Respiratory issues
– Contamination of catheters in some patients
– Increased thirst
– Increased white blood cells
Patients with allergies to yeast should also avoid Saccharomyces boulardii, as it could cause a rash or other symptoms. Mothers who are pregnant or nursing should also not use Saccharomyces boulardii as it can pass into breast milk.
Interactions With Other Medications
Tests have also been done showing the affects that Saccharomyces boulardii may have when mixed with certain types of medication. It was found that Saccharomyces boulardii increased the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat diarrhea so caution should be used and you must take this effect into account when prescribing both at the same time.
Other medications it helped to make work more efficiently were metronidazole, iodoquinol, mesamin (used in Crohn’s disease)
It should not be mixed with anti fungals (yeast is a fungal so it could kill it), and it shouldn’t be taken with MAOIs as it could cause the blood pressure to drop. Also, Saccharomyces Boulardii should not be mixed with other drugs or herbal preparations that are used to treat diarrhea.