Brewer's Yeast for Increasing Breast Milk Supply

Exploring a Nutritious Dietary Supplement for Breastfeeding Mothers

Brewer's yeast powder and tablets
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Brewer's yeast is a highly nutritious dietary supplement that contains protein, iron, and B vitamins, as well as chromium, selenium, and other trace minerals. It comes from a fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is primarily used for baking, brewing beer, and making wine. But it is also believed to be a galactagogue: a supplement that breastfeeding mothers use to support lactation and make more breast milk.

Benefits

While there aren't enough scientific studies to say for certain why or even if brewer's yeast actually works to increase the breast milk supply, there also aren't enough studies to say that it doesn't work. Some women report that it helps, but, as with most dietary supplements, it doesn't work for everyone.

If you take brewer's yeast as a dietary supplement while you're breastfeeding, the protein, iron, and B vitamins may help to combat fatigue and fight off the baby blues. Plus, some research suggests that B vitamins and chromium can improve the symptoms of depression, so it may have a positive impact on your mood, too.​

Some additional potential benefits to taking brewer's yeast include:

  • It may help lower blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
  • It may help lower cholesterol levels.
  • It is believed to help nourish skin and hair.

Safety and Side Effects

Brewer's yeast is considered safe to use as a nutritional supplement for breastfeeding women. It does pass to your baby through your breast milk, but it is generally well-tolerated by most moms and infants.

The side effects of brewer's yeast tend to be mild. However, as with any medication, herb, or supplement, you should talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant before adding brewer's yeast to your diet to prevent side effects or potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Side effects of using brewer's yeast include:

  • Gas, diarrhea, and abdominal upset: Some children may become irritable or develop colic-like symptoms. If you or your child begin to suffer from diarrhea or other stomach issues, you should reduce the amount of brewer's yeast that you're taking or stop taking it altogether.
  • Vaginal yeast infections: Brewer's yeast is not the same as the yeast infection that you get in or on your body (Candida), but if you are prone to getting yeast infections on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to avoid brewer's yeast.
  • Diabetes or hypoglycemia complications: If you are diagnosed with diabetes or hypoglycemia, talk to your doctor before taking brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast may lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels, and it can also interfere with some of the medications you may be taking.

How to Use Brewer's Yeast

You can buy brewer's yeast as a nutritional supplement in most health food stores or online. It is commonly taken in tablet or powder form. Talk to your doctor, a lactation consultant, and/or an herbal specialist to find the dose that is right for you.

  • Tablets: You can typically take two to three tablets up to three times a day.
  • Powder: You can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of brewer's yeast powder to a beverage and drink it once a day. Brewer's yeast powder is also a common ingredient found in recipes for milk-boosting smoothies and lactation cookies. 

When shopping for brewer's year, be aware that there are different kinds of yeast. Brewer's yeast—not baker's yeast or nutritional yeast—is the product that you're looking for.

A Word from Verywell

While brewer's yeast appears to help some women to produce more breast milk, more research is needed to fully understand its effects. Still, it's a healthy nutritional supplement that is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers.

If you'd like to boost your milk supply, it may be worth giving brewer's yeast a try, especially if you need some extra energy or you're feeling a little blue. It's not for everyone, so if you have diabetes or hypoglycemia, take any medications, or have other health concerns, be sure to talk to your doctor before using this or any other supplement.

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