Printer Friendly

Why yeast is good for you ... and your supplements.

Yeast is an incredible bioreactor that has been part of human nutrition since the dawn of our earliest civilizations. When it comes to vitamin and mineral supplementation, yeast represents a highly valuable source of safe and bioavailable essential minerals, such as selenium and zinc, coupled with a natural reservoir of proteins, fibres and other essential nutrients. More recently, thanks to yeast's own ability to incorporate and process a vitamin D precursor in the presence of sunlight, just as our own skin does, and Lallemand's yeast production pedigree, it has also become a natural source of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Yeast: Sunshine in Supplements

Recently, vitamin D's many health benefits have put it in the nutrition spotlight, whereas the increasing awareness of the effects of vitamin D deficiency has also raised its consumer profile. Indeed, during the past few years, the number of scientific publications about the role of vitamin D in humans has outnumbered the number studies on other vitamins by 3-4 times (Figure 1). Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble micronutrients that are produced by cholesterol when our skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Vitamin D only occurs naturally in a small number of foods: fatty fish, fish liver oils, meat liver and eggs. The principal function of vitamin D is to maintain intracellular and extracellular calcium concentrations within a normal range by regulating calcium and phosphorus metabolism in the intestine and bones. Vitamin D is, therefore, widely recognized for its important role in the prevention of osteoporosis. Growing evidence suggests that vitamin D also helps to boost our immune system, reduce inflammation and maintain muscle strength. Furthermore, some studies suggest that vitamin D may help in the prevention of several chronic diseases, such as cancer (especially breast and colorectal cancer), diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease and even infectious diseases such as influenza. Some studies have linked the high occurrence of winter flu with vitamin D deficiency. Table I summarizes the EFSA health claims accepted for vitamin D supplementation.


Most vitamins can be obtained from a balanced diet; yet, vitamin D, unlike other vitamins, can also be obtained from exposure to sunlight. Several factors will, however, limit the amount of vitamin D that the body absorbs. Because of concerns about sunlight exposure and the limited consumption of vitamin D-rich foods, vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern in many countries around the world. Recent surveys from different European countries indicate that vitamin D deficiency is widespread in the population, including in preschool children and the elderly. Surveys in Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK indicate that a substantial part of the European population--75%--has a vitamin D intake below the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

For these reasons, Lallemand has developed Lalmin VitaD Yeast, an inactivated dried whole cell yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) containing elevated levels of vitamin D. Lalmin VitaD Yeast is the company's newest addition to its Lalmin range of yeast-based supplements. Yeast naturally contains ergosterol, also known as provitamin D. Live yeast cells respond to UV light in the same way that human skin responds to sunlight, by transforming ergosterol into vitamin D, resulting in a yeast that's naturally rich in vitamin D. Lalmin VitaD Yeast is produced using white biotechnology. The active yeast is subjected to UV light under controlled conditions to catalyse the conversion of the naturally occurring endogenous ergosterol in yeast to ergocalciferol (vitamin D2).

Lallemand has perfected this process and uses a unique, patent-protected system to produce yeast containing elevated levels of vitamin D2. The yeast cream is then inactivated by pasteurization and roller-dried. This process naturally enhances the content of vitamin D in the yeast and preserves the level of naturally present vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients. Lalmin VitaD is then standardized to contain 8000 IU/g or 200 [micro]g/g. Lallemand has done bioavailability studies that show equivalent results for yeast rich in vitamin D2 compared with synthetic vitamin D2 in supplement form and crystalline D3. The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) and the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) have set the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for vitamin D at 50 [micro]g/day for adolescents/and 50 [micro]g/day for infants and children. In the US, the current upper safe limits set by IOM (Institute of Medicine) for vitamin D consumption for infants is 1000 IU/day and 2000 IU/day for children and adults; yet, this number is likely to increase as further research becomes available. A current estimate is that the upper limit could be increased to 10,000 IU/day. For repletion, however, intakes above the upper limit may be required and necessary. Table II summarizes the RDA for vitamin D in various countries (50 mg of Lalmin VitaD provides 400 IU/10 [micro]g of vitamin D2).
Table II: Recommended Daily Allowances for vitamin D ([mu]g/IU).

Country/Organization                    [mu]g/IU

Belgium, 2000                        2.5-10/100-400
France, 2001                                  5/200
DACH, 2000 *                                  5/200
Ireland, 1999                          0-10/100-400
Italy, 1996                            0-10/100-400
Netherlands, 2000                     2.5-5/100-200
Nordic countries, 1996                        5/200
Spain, 1994-1998                            2.5/100
EU Reference labelling value, 2003            5/200
US/Canada-1-12 months                        10/400
US/Canada-1-50 years                          5/200
US/Canada-51 years +                          20/80

* Recommendations for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Yeast Standardized with B Vitamins

The roles of the B vitamins in health management are wide and varied. They are essential for digestive and nervous system function, for heart and muscle function, and for energy production. As the B vitamins seem to be needed by all the body's cells, deficiencies can induce damage before it becomes apparent. Instead of manifesting a localized effect, a deficiency affects the entire body mechanism, causing suboptimal metabolism and degeneration. Very severe B vitamin deficiencies can result in beriberi and pellagra. One of the most important B vitamins is folic acid, or vitamin B9. It is an important nutrient for women who may become pregnant (vitamin B9 blood levels fall during pregnancy). Adequate folic acid intake during the preconception period and in early pregnancy helps to protect against a number of congenital malformations, including neural tube defects, the most notable birth defects linked to folic acid deficiency. Since the discovery of the link between insufficient folic acid and neural tube defects, governments and health organizations worldwide have made recommendations concerning folic acid supplementation for women intending to become pregnant. Table I reviews the Article 13.1 EFSA health claims associated with vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B8 and B9. More recently, vitamin B1 (thiamine) was also granted the following Article 14 health claim: "Contributes to normal carbohydrate and energy yielding metabolism."


Yeast is well known to be a major natural reservoir of B-complex vitamins. However, it is very difficult to guarantee constant levels of B-complex vitamins in a brewer's by-products and even in baker's yeast. In Lallemand's Lalmin VitRDA500 product, yeast is supplemented with known levels of B vitamins and, as such, we can guarantee that this product always contains the same amount of each vitamin. The yeast is dried and ground to provide a consistent homogenous powder. Lalmin VitRDA500's gentle processing conditions preserve the intrinsic nutritional properties of the yeast and its original levels of nutrients. The B vitamins in Lalmin RDA500 are standardized so that 500 mg of the supplement supplies 100% of the European RDA for the following seven B vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9).

Highly Bioavailable Selenium

Selenium is largely recognized for its antioxidant properties and stimulating effect on the body's natural defences. To date, numerous prospective studies and clinical trials have shown selenium's potential in

* Cancer prevention and treatment (when used in combination with other drugs or radiation, it can increase their efficacy)

* Enhancing immunity, particularly combating viruses (selenium has been shown to be an effective adjunct therapy when reducing viral load in HIV patients)

* Limiting inflammatory reactions

* Fertility and reproduction for both men and women: the latest research from Professor Margaret Rayman has demonstrated selenium's role during pregnancy. One study indicated that selenium supplementation reduced the incidence of premature membrane rupture and a second one showed that it might reduce the oxidative stress associated with pregnancy.

More recently, some studies indicate a possible role for selenium in metabolic disorders such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The wealth of scientific data supporting the many health benefits of selenium has prompted EFSA to grant the mineral several Article 13 health claims. Europe and the US advise a selenium RDA of 55 [micro]g and 70 [micro]g, respectively. However, average selenium intake is not optimal in many parts of the world. It has been noted that both selenium intake and selenium status (concentration in the blood) in most of Europe are below the levels required for optimal glutathione peroxidase activity. It has also been suggested that selenium levels were too low in foods produced in most of Europe, parts of Africa, Asia and New Zealand.

Lallemand has developed Lalmin Se, an inactivated whole cell yeast that's rich in bioavailable selenium. Indeed, as plants naturally do, yeast (S. cerevisiae) has the ability to convert mineral selenium from its growth environment into organically bound selenium (selenomethionine, selenocystein) during fermentation. Lalmin Se is made from a specific yeast strain, selected for its ability to incorporate large amounts of selenium. The yeast is grown in the presence of measured amounts of inorganic selenium during a tightly controlled fermentation process. The Lalmin Se production process guarantees that 99% of its total selenium content is organically bound into seleno-amino acids (selenomethionine in particular). According to scientific studies, selenium from such yeast represents a highly bioavailable source when compared with inorganic forms of selenium such as selenite or selenate. When compared with inorganic forms of selenium, which are quickly eliminated because of their low bioavailability, organic selenium from yeast is distributed throughout the whole body and has a strong positive physiological effect on numerous organs. Indeed, in its evaluation, the EFSA panel recognized that yeast with high levels of organic selenium, such as Lalmin Se, was up to twice as bioavailable than inorganic forms of selenium such as selenite or selenate. For these reasons, Lalmin Se is recognized as a safe and effective source of highly bioavailable selenium for supplements and food fortification.


The homogeneity, quality, texture and smell of the Lalmin powders, as well as their elevated and standardized levels of vitamins and minerals (Lalmin VitaD: 0.02% vitamin D; 500 mg of Lalmin VitRDA500 = 100% RDA; Lalmin Se 2000 = 0.2% Se), make them suitable for the production of tablets, softgels or capsules, either as single-ingredient supplements or mixed ingredient supplements. Moreover, thanks to its safety profile and technological properties, Lalmin Se can also be used in a wide range of food and drink applications (biscuits, cereals, fruit juices). It's also resistant to high temperatures, so can be incorporated into various food products at any stage of the manufacturing process. A consumer test has confirmed good acceptance for the colour, texture, flavour and smell of a food product enriched with Lalmin Se yeast. Finally, by selecting yeast as a biocarrier for their vitamins and minerals, companies are choosing a safe and natural excipient that benefits from a natural and nutritious image.

For more information

Morgane Maillard and Julie Rosenborg

Lallemand Health Ingredients

Toftebakken 9B

DK-3460 Birkerod

Tel. +45 4595 0850

A full list of references to support the research documented in this article is available from the authors.
COPYRIGHT 2010 Via Media Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:vitamins and minerals
Author:Maillard, Morgane; Rosenborg, Julie
Publication:Nutraceutical Business & Technology
Geographic Code:4EUDE
Date:Nov 1, 2010
Previous Article:Gut health nutrition in its heyday.
Next Article:The antioxidant industry where is it all going? Global business intelligence provider, Euromonitor International, gauges the market development of...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters