Ask The Expert With Dan Lukaczer, ND

Friendly Yeast

Q: Should I take a bacteria called Saccharomyces boulardii to help my system recover from a course of antibiotics?

A: Yes, it's a good idea. However, this is not a bacteria, but a gut-friendly yeast. Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast widely prescribed in western Europe to prevent and treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upsets associated with antibiotic use. S. boulardii has been used successfully to treat pseudomembranous colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease commonly associated with prior antibiotic exposure). Recent studies have also shown that this yeast can help treat Crohn's disease. How does it work? Researchers have found that S. boulardii appears to modulate immune responses that help defend against bacterial infection. In general, people take 250 to 1,000 mg two to three times daily with or following antibiotic use.

Dan Lukaczer, ND, is director of clinical research at the Functional Medicine Research Center, a division of Metagenics Inc., in Gig Harbor, Washington.