What's in YOUR Nutritional Yeast?

      According to Norm LeMoine, President of Radiant Life and Kayla Grossmann, RN there is only one brand of nutritional yeast currently on the market that is both non-gmo and non-fortified. You may be wondering why fortification is or isn't important and why I would bother writing a blog post about it.

       While nutritional yeast is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium. It is not, however a good source of any significant folate, nor does it contain B12 (of which the active form of is only found in animal products). Due to this, many companies decide to fortify their products with synthetic folic acid and/or vitamin B12 among others. According to LeMoine and Grossmann, if you see those nutrients on nutritional yeast labels "it is fair to assume they have been added". 

       While some companies openly admit to using synthetic nutrients (in which it is my professional opinion that only naturally derived nutrients are ideal for health) others claim to use naturally derived nutrients. The problem is that anyone can slap the word "natural" on anything because natural isn't regulated. This makes determining the quality of any naturally derived fortified nutrients really difficult to determine. 

     The other major issue when selecting a brand of nutritional yeast is whether or not it is grown on a genetically modified medium. Most nutritional yeast is cultured on sugarcane/ and or molasses. Since most of the sugarbeets grown in the United States are genetically modified or contaminated with genetically modified materials (95 % according to researchers at the Non-GMO Project) it is important to ask manufactures about their growing medium and GMO standards. There have been no non-GMO certificates granted to any producers yet, though many claim to be non-GMO. 

The following table has been excerpted from the Fall 2016 Issue of Wise Traditions, pg 43, published by the Weston Price Foundation. 

Company Name Fortified with Nutrients GMO Status
Bob's Red Mill Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Bragg Fortified with natural nutrients Non-GMO
Frontier Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
Harmony House Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
NOW Foods Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Red Star Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Sari Only Naturally Occuring Nutrients Present Non-GMO

      Remember when shopping to take nothing at face value. Read labels and ask questions and remember that whatever you buy directly impacts your health, but also dictates which foods are in demand, how consumers what those foods produced and processed. Purchasing anything is like voting and the voice of the consumer matters. If products aren't selling, they will cease to be manufactured and if consumers demand higher quality foods and more transparency in order to purchase- companies will meet those demands in order to gain sales.

      A little bit of yeast may not appear to have a large impact on your health as far as synthetic nutrients or GMO is concerned, but when taking into consideration all the other sources of possible consumption of these things, you can see those levels start to rise and rise relative to an individual's intake. In any case it is some food for thought because at the end of the day "Nutrition Matters".