Nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast have separate nutrient profiles and are produced in different ways. These two supplements contain many of the same beneficial nutrients, such as vitamin A, fiber, and folic acid. They contain differing amounts of the B vitamin complex and it is important for consumers to select carefully.
Nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast are both excellent sources of protein. These supplements are frequently recommended by doctors for those eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, which contains no natural forms of animal protein. Both types of yeast are manufactured from the fungus known as saccharomyces cerevisiae, which grows and ferments on sugar canes. Nutritional yeast is produced specifically for the purpose of becoming a nutritional supplement. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is also used by brewers to ferment their beer, and brewer's yeast is harvested as a byproduct of this process.
Not all nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast products naturally contain B vitamins. B vitamins include thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as vitamin B6 and B12, all of which are important in converting different types of food into energy. These vitamins are known to boost an individual's energy and help improve the functioning of the immune system. Brewer's yeast does not naturally contain vitamin B12 and most nutritional yeast products do not either. Both brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast must be fortified with it. It is not recommended therefore that those deficient in vitamin B12 rely solely on nutritional yeast for this important vitamin that is vital in the functioning of the body's nervous system and in helping maintain healthy brain pathways.
Though it is lacking in vitamin B12, brewer's yeast contains the added nutrient chromium, which cannot be found in nutritional yeast. Chromium has been shown in scientific studies to lower the amount of glucose present in the blood stream, and can be beneficial for those suffering from certain types of diabetes. This supplement is frequently recommended by doctors for individuals with more serious forms of diabetes, in addition to regular medication, to help control their blood sugar.
Unique flavoring is a distinct characteristic of nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast. Nutritional yeast is similar to crumbled cheese or a whole grain in appearance. Its flavoring is mild and somewhat similar to cheese, making it a popular additive for popcorn, salads, and other food items by those who take it daily. Brewer's yeast is very strong and bitter in taste, and is typically sold in pill form or as a liquid that can be added to other beverages.