Nutritional yeast contains two main carbohydrates — alpha-mannan and beta-glucan.
Studies show that adding alpha-mannan and beta-glucan to animal feed can reduce the frequency of infections from pathogenic bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella in pigs, as well as reduce tumor formation in mice (16, 17).
Beta-glucan and alpha-mannan help protect against infection in several ways (16):
- They stop pathogenic bacteria from attaching to the lining of the intestines.
- They stimulate immune cells, making them more effective at fighting infection.
- They attach to certain types of toxins that yeast can produce in food crops and reduce their harmful effects.
While animal studies are promising, further research is needed to determine whether alpha-mannan and beta-glucan have these effects in humans.