Happy summer holiday tummy with Saccharomyces Boulardii

Happy summer holiday tummy with Saccharomyces Boulardii

Travelling can be one of life’s greatest joys, offering new experiences, cultures, and cuisines, and often, offers new perspectives on life itself. However, the excitement of exploring new places can sometimes be dampened by “traveller’s tummy”. The condition, which can range from symptoms such as mild digestive discomfort to severe diarrhoea, is thought to affect as many as 60% of travellers[1]. But there’s good news for those who experience the dreaded holiday tum: Saccharomyces boulardii may present a promising solution for maintaining digestive health while you explore the world.

What is Saccharomyces Boulardii?

Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) is a probiotic, first discovered by French microbiologist Henri Boulard in the 1920’s. Unlike most probiotics, which are bacteria, S. boulardii is a yeast. Boulard isolated this yeast from lychee and mangosteen fruit skins after observing that people consuming these fruits seemed less affected by cholera outbreaks[2]. S. boulardii is unique because it is one of the few yeasts that can survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach and thrive in the intestines, where it exerts its beneficial effects on human health. It is distinct from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast commonly used in baking and brewing, although they belong to the same family.

How Does Saccharomyces Boulardii Support Digestive Health?

S. boulardii is one of the oldest known probiotics and as such, its health benefits have been extensively studied, particularly in its role in supporting digestive health and treating various gastrointestinal disorders. Some of the research-backed ways S.boulardii support digestive health include:

1. Restores gut microbiome balance

S. boulardii acts as a transient resident of the gut; it doesn’t colonise the intestines permanently but rather stays long enough to help restore the balance of the gut microbiome. This is particularly useful after a course of antibiotics, which can disrupt the natural balance of microbes within the gut. Studies have shown that S. boulardii can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea by supporting microbial balance in the gut[3].

2. Prevents and treats diarrhoea

One of the most well-documented benefits of S. boulardii is its effectiveness in preventing and treating various types of diarrhoea. This includes acute infectious diarrhoea, traveller’s diarrhoea, and diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use. For example, a meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that S. boulardii significantly reduced the incidence of traveller’s diarrhoea[4]. Another study showed that S. boulardii reduced the duration and severity of acute diarrhoea in both children and adults.

3. Supports the Immune System

S. boulardii has been shown to modulate the immune system, enhancing the body’s ability to respond to infections. It stimulates the production of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), an antibody that plays a crucial role in immune function within the gut[5]. This immune-boosting effect may help defend against harmful pathogens that can cause gastrointestinal disturbances. To learn more about the effects of probiotics on immune heath, click here.

4. Protects the gut barrier

The intestinal barrier is essential for protecting against harmful substances while allowing the absorption of nutrients. S. boulardii supports the integrity of this barrier by enhancing the production of short-chain fatty acids and other compounds that nourish and strengthen the gut lining[6]. This protective effect may reduce inflammation and prevent conditions like leaky gut syndrome from developing.

5. Antimicrobial effects

S. boulardii produces antimicrobial substances that inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast in the gut. It can neutralise toxins produced by harmful bacteria, such as Clostridium difficile, which is known to cause severe diarrhoea and colitis[7]. This antimicrobial action helps maintain a healthy microbial balance and prevents overgrowth of harmful organisms.

Saccharomyces Boulardii and Traveller’s Tummy

Traveller’s diarrhoea is a common problem for many when travelling to new locations, especially in places where the water and food may be contaminated. Symptoms can include frequent watery stools, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting. It is often caused by bacteria like E. coli, viruses or parasites that travellers’ systems are not accustomed to. As such, S.boulardii may prove a useful tool for the management of the condition.

Taking S. boulardii before and during travel can significantly reduce the risk of developing traveller’s diarrhoea. A study published in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease demonstrated that travellers who took S. boulardii supplements experienced fewer episodes of diarrhoea compared to those who did not, demonstrating its effectiveness in prevention[8].

S. boulardii may also support faster recovery if traveller’s diarrhoea is contracted; research demonstrates that S. boulardii supplementation can help shorten the duration and lessen the severity of symptoms. Its fast-acting effectiveness is thought to be a result of the probiotic rapidly restoring the balance of the gut microbiome and reducing the harmful bacteria causing the illness[9]. An advantage of S. boulardii is that it doesn’t permanently alter the gut microbiome; it works effectively during its stay and then exits the digestive system, reducing the risk of long-term microbial imbalance.

Using Saccharomyces Boulardii

When selecting a S. boulardii supplement, look for products with a high number of colony-forming units (CFUs), typically in the billions. Our 150mg Saccharomyces Bouldardii supplements contain 3 billion organisms. Additionally, ensure the product is stored properly (in a dry, dark and cool place), as S. boulardii is sensitive to high temperatures. For prevention, a common dosage across the literature is 250-500 mg daily, starting a few days before travel and continuing throughout the trip. For treating diarrhoea, the dosage may increase to 500-1000 mg per day until symptoms resolve. Finally, it is important to note that while S. boulardii is generally safe for most people, those with compromised immune systems or severe underlying health conditions should consult their doctor before using it, as some studies suggest there may be an increased (rare) risk of developing fungemia.

To conclude, Saccharomyces boulardii has been well-studied for its effectiveness in maintaining digestive health and relieving traveller’s tummy. Furthermore, its unique properties as a probiotic yeast make it effective in preventing and treating various gastrointestinal issues. As such, it would be advisable to consider adding the supplement to your travel essentials to allow you to enjoy your holiday with a happy, healthy tummy.


References

[1] Steffen, R. (2017) ‘Epidemiology of Travellers’ diarrhea’, Journal of Travel Medicine, 24(suppl_1). doi:10.1093/jtm/taw072.

[2] Wikipedia (2024) Saccharomyces boulardii, Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccharomyces_boulardii (Accessed: 27 June 2024).

[3] Szajewska, H. and Kołodziej, M. (2015) ‘Systematic review with meta‐analysis: saccharomyces boulardii in the prevention of antibiotic‐associated diarrhoea’, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 42(7), pp. 793–801. doi:10.1111/apt.13344.

[4] McFarland, L.V. (2010) ‘Systematic Review and meta-analysis ofsaccharomyces boulardiiin adult patients’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, 16(18), p. 2202. doi:10.3748/wjg.v16.i18.2202.

[5] CZERUCKA, D., PICHE, T. and RAMPAL, P. (2007) ‘Review article: Yeast as probiotics –saccharomyces boulardii’, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 26(6), pp. 767–778. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03442.x.

[6] Buts, J.-P. and De Keyser, N. (2006) ‘Effects of saccharomyces boulardii on intestinal mucosa’, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 51(8), pp. 1485–1492. doi:10.1007/s10620-005-9016-x.

[7] Wombwell, E. et al. (2020) ‘The effect of saccharomyces boulardii primary prevention on risk of hospital-onset clostridioides difficile infection in hospitalized patients administered antibiotics frequently associated with C. difficile infection’, Clinical Infectious Diseases, 73(9). doi:10.1093/cid/ciaa808.

[8] McFarland, L.V. and Goh, S. (2019) ‘Are probiotics and prebiotics effective in the prevention of travellers’ diarrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis’, Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 27, pp. 11–19. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2018.09.007.

[9] Kelesidis, T. and Pothoulakis, C. (2011) ‘Efficacy and safety of the probiotic saccharomyces boulardii for the prevention and therapy of gastrointestinal disorders’, Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 5(2), pp. 111–125. doi:10.1177/1756283×11428502.

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Contributors:

Elisabeth Philipps

Karen Devine

Karen Devine

Shelley Harvey

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antimicrobialdiarrhoeaDigestive Healthgastro intestinalgut barriergut healthguy microbiomeImmune HealthProbioticssaccharomyces boulardiitravel

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