I love kombucha and not just because it tastes fantastic but 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 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 also will assist you if you find yourself with Candida overgrowth.
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.1 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. When trying to eradicate Candida overgrowth from the body, it is common to experience a side effect known as a Herxheimer reaction. This occurs when bacteria or yeasts die and begin to break down in the body. Candida alone can release up to 70 different toxins into the bloodstream. This can cause existing Candida overgrowth symptoms to appear to worsen in the short term. If you consume kombucha or cultured foods, you may experience symptoms of a die-off of pathogens. This can feel like you're getting worse rather than better, but be encouraged. You're resetting your microbial world and it's a beast down there with trillions of bacteria and yeasts competing for dominance! Check out my page on the "Healing Crisis" for more help.
Controls Toxins And Pathogens 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 achieves a steady stream in the colon within 3 days and is cleared from the stools 2–5 days later.2 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.
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.3 It is now used to treat C. diff, acute diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, some parasitic forms of diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal disorders.4, 5
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.
- 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
- 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].