I love kombucha and not just because it tastes fantastic. I love it because it has a special probiotic called Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii). It is an incredible probiotic and when you make kombucha, you can get lots of this powerful probiotic yeast. S. boulardii is one of the most researched probiotics and has been used worldwide to support gastrointestinal health. To be an effective probiotic it must survive its passage to the colon. This means it needs to survive at the body temperature of 98 degrees and be resistant to stomach and bile acids, and then survive the complex and diverse microbial world of the intestinal tract. S. boulardii does this and more, and it's resistant to antibiotics, heat, and stomach acids. It has been used in hospitals to help with acute diarrhea in children and adults, offering support for Clostridium difficile (C. diff), bowel disorders, AIDS patients, children with autism, and inflammatory bowel disease. If you need to take an antibiotic, it's a powerful probiotic to take since it's resistant to antibiotics and it will be helpful if you find yourself with Candida overgrowth.
The Discovery Of Saccharomyces Boulardii
S. boulardii was discovered by French microbiologist Henri Boulard in the late 1920s in Indochina when he was searching for a new strain of yeast that would withstand heat for making wine. He was a visitor during a cholera outbreak and noticed that some people who did not develop cholera were drinking a special tea made from the outer skin of tropical fruits (lychees and mangosteens) and cooking them down to make tea. He isolated the probiotic strain of yeast and named it “Saccharomyces boulardii.” In his research of the yeast, he found that it had multiple protective effects for rats infected with cholera. And when Boulard himself became a victim of cholera, he found that he could stop the associated diarrhea by drinking a tea that contained this yeast. The patent for this yeast was bought by Laboratories Biocodex in 1947 which began manufacturing it and began using it on patients exhibiting acute diarrhea. They have done over 53 randomized controlled clinical trials, encompassing 8475 subjects, that investigated the safety and efficacy of S. boulardii. The studies were done in pediatric and adult patients in which they found it had an 81% efficacy rating. His discovery improved gastrointestinal health across the board, and S. boulardii became the most thoroughly researched of all probiotic supplements.  It is now used to treat C. diff, acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some parasitic forms of diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders. [2, 3]
A Special Probiotic
The Probiotic That Inhibits Candida
S. boulardii is unrelated to the yeast Candida albicans and other Candida species. A healthy gut only has a yeast content of 0.1% yeast, Candida albicans being the most prominent yeast inhabitant. S Boulardii is a good probiotic yeast - we need not only good bacteria, but good yeasts as well to keep us in balance. When you have Candida proliferating, it will decrease the acidity of the gut making it susceptible to harmful bacteria and yeasts. S. boulardii exerts the opposite effect producing lactic and other acids known to inhibit potentially harmful Candida yeast species.[4 ]It's been known among researchers for the last 30 years that killing off good bacteria in the gut with antibiotics can also allow harmful yeasts such as Candida room to grow and flourish, so having lots of good bacteria and yeasts will keep all of this in balance.
Controls H. Pylori and Candida
S. boulardii is absent from the natural gut since it is a transient yeast that passes through the intestines after ingestion. If taken every day, it provides a steady stream in the colon within three days and is cleared from the stools two to five days later.  It does not attach to the mucosal cell lining, but works its magic on you as it moves through the gastrointestinal tract. When S. boulardii is present, it inhibits toxins from binding to intestinal receptors and steals the metabolites it needs to survive. Thus many pathogens pass out of the body unable to survive in the presence of this powerful probiotic. They even found that other pathogen strains like E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and S. typhi adhere to the surface of S. boulardii, thus preventing them from attaching to the mucosal lining and passing through the body rendering them harmless. S. boulardii can also dramatically reduce the population of the bacteria H. pylori in the gut to levels where they do not cause peptic ulcers or cancer.
When You Should Drink Kombucha
I've learned a thing or two about S. boulardii and when I should drink kombucha. S boulardii feeds on the sugars in kombucha while it ferments, consuming them and making a stronger concentration of this probiotic when you consume it. A few times I've had kombucha with a meal or with chocolate for dessert and then I got a lot of gas and bloating and didn't know why. I try to drink kombucha between meals now; if you have a lot of sugar or carbs in your diet, the S. boulardii isn't going to fight Candida. Instead, this yeast is going to have a feast eating the chocolate that you just had for dinner. I recommend not taking kombucha or S. boulardii when you have lots of sugar in your system and especially if you want to fight Candida. Stay away from sugar and processed grains. Consume your kombucha between meals and watch it work it's magic.
Make Your Own S. Boulardii
Dr. Alberto Villoldo author of Grow a New Body (Great book!) and a trained psychologist and medical anthropologist does a tremendous amount of work with S. boulardii at his clinics and talks about it in his book. He makes a powerful homemade concoction of S. boulardii and within two weeks clients have cleared a major portion of their Candida and parasites that reside in their GI tract. I've actually done this and can attest to its effectiveness. He has a video that explains how to make this special brew if you'd like to learn and have a lot of Candida that needs eradicating.
Alberto says; "Most S. boulardii you buy in a health-food store has been grown in a lab and fed white sugar and then transported over great distance under changing temperature conditions. In other words, it’s not happy. The microorganisms that survive are hibernating inside a gelatin capsule, and the last thing in the world that they want to do is to wake up in a stomach full of acid. These warriors arrive in your gut half-asleep and starved. They are no match for the Candida terrorists that have been feasting and growing strong inside you."
Kombucha The Wonder Drink
When I discovered that S. boulardii was in kombucha and was helping a friend with acute diarrhea (when nothing else would), I did more and more research on this powerful probiotic, only to find more benefits from making and consuming kombucha. Kombucha is fun to make and I have lots of recipes. I encourage you to discover the power that fermented foods can bring to your life. Not only is the taste of fermented foods unique and delicious, but they contain what we need to support the body in so many ways. I’m having some now while I write . . . and every day.
Listen To My Podcast
More often than not, if you have a yeast problem, your gut bacteria are out of balance. You have to have lots of good bacteria to keep candida in its rightful place. Join me to find helpful ways to keep it in balance with probiotic foods and gain wisdom into how your body really works.
- Review article: yeast as probiotics -- Saccharomyces boulardii.
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicenter trial of saccharomyces boulardii in irritable bowel syndrome: effect on quality of life.
- [Treatment of acute diarrhea: prescription patterns by private practice pediatricians].
- Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients
- Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745 supports regeneration of the intestinal microbiota after diarrheic dysbiosis – a review