You’re used to reading about probiotic bacteria that benefit your dog’s gut health by crowding out bad bacteria. But there’s probiotic yeast as well. Saccharomyces Boulardii is a friendly yeast that works like a probiotic. Its claim to fame is as a probiotic that helps manage diarrhea … especially antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Here’s a closer look at S. boulardii.
What Is S. Boulardii?
Saccharomyces boulardii is a tropical yeast. It was derived from lychee and mangosteen fruit in the 1920s by French scientist Henri Boulard. He was considering wild yeast for wine production. But he went on to isolate this yeast after observing natives of Indonesia chewing on lychee and mangosteen skin to control their cholera symptoms.
S. boulardii has become one of the most researched probiotics in the world. It’s been studied as a potential solution for countless ailments. To date, it’s known for its importance in managing gastrointestinal (GI) issues and diarrhea. But it also shows promise in helping with other conditions, such as …
- Improved heart function
- Parasitic infections
- Jaundiced infants
- Weight gain in underweight newborns
- Mild cases of colitis
However further studies are still needed before claiming it as an unequivocal treatment for these problems.
Let’s get right down to how S. boulardii can help your dog.
Does Your Dog Need S. Boulardii?
Yes, he does. This gut-friendly yeast probiotic is safe for dogs. And it’s the probiotic with the most supportive evidence for veterinary use. As a probiotic, it brings health benefits to the GI system and ultimately, the immune system … and it stops diarrhea!
More importantly, S. boulardii prevents diarrhea stemming from antibiotic use. So if you need to give your dog antibiotics, you should give him S. boulardii as well.
S. boulardii calms the intestines and protects them from pathogens and intruders that can damage the walls of your dog’s intestines. It also modulates different parts of your dog’s immune system and keeps the intestinal barrier function up and running. Damage in the intestinal barrier can lead to GI diseases.
In a recent trial, S. boulardii addressed acute and chronic diarrhea in humans … and another trial in dogs showed the same benefits. That makes this yeast a very good addition to your dog’s probiotic regimen.
Probiotics To Help Your Dog
The idea of probiotics and beneficial bacteria is still a fairly new concept in the medical world. And it’s only been the last decade or 2 when you could go out and actually buy good bacteria … probiotics. And it was a natural extension that if it helps people, it can help your dog too.
The beneficial bacteria of probiotics play a major role in your dog’s digestive system and his microbiome …your dog’s gut. It’s now known that 90% of your dog’s immune system starts in his gut.
Beneficial bacteria break down food into nutrients absorbed into the body. And they increase the acidity so bad bacteria cannot thrive. They also produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that have many other important roles in the body … including immune system support.
A 2018 study found that the S. boulardii and soil-based probiotics (Bacillus subtiliis and Bacillus coagulans) are the best probiotics to restore your dog’s microbiome and stop diarrhea after antibiotics. Soil-based probiotics are spore-forming. This means they form a hard coating that protects them from heat, stomach acids, and most antibiotics. It also helps them colonize in the colon where they belong, not in the small intestine.
The study also found that Lactobacillus probiotic, commonly used after antibiotic use, actually caused a delay in the microbiome’s recovery when compared to the group given no probiotics.
How Does S. Boulardii Work?
One of the unique aspects of S. boulardii is its ability to travel the GI system intact. This allows it to accumulate and concentrate in the intestines. This is why S. boulardii can overcome intestinal diseases caused by Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli. Yeasts like S. boulardii are impressive probiotics to attack pathogenic bacteria because they also stop the transmission of genetic material that leads to antibiotic resistance.
So that’s why these qualities give S. boulardii a distinct advantage over yogurt and most of the dog probiotic products on the market.
What Are The Benefits of S. Boulardii?
S. boulardii is unique in that antibiotics can’t kill it. That means when given at the same time as antibiotics, it protects the beneficial gut bacteria. It fights bacterial, parasite and fungal infections and supports the immune system.
S. boulardii manages and prevents many forms of diarrhea associated with:
- Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea (AAD)
- C. difficile diarrhea
- Non-specific diarrhea
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Traveller’s diarrhea from contaminated water and foods
Plus it does the following:
- Neutralizes toxins
- Boosts immune function
- Addresses skin conditions related to poor immune function
- Helps dental issues like gingivitis and periodontal disease
- Has antisecretory effects that reduce the rate of secretion of fluid, like acid secretion into the stomach
- Blocks pathogens
- Has anti-inflammatory effects
It’s an important player in the digestive system offering protection to the lining of the intestines against harmful bacteria. And it supports digestive enzymes that contribute to nutrient absorption and digestion.
Can S. Boulardii Fight Yeast In Your Dog?
Yeast control isn’t S. boulardii’s most important function. But research does show it’s especially effective against Candida. Part of the reason may be because it produces caprylic acid that helps break down biofilms that protect yeast. And it can help with digestive issues caused by chronic inflammation.
How Do You Give S. Boulardii To Your Dog?
You can give S. boulardii to strengthen your dog’s gut with beneficial microbes to prepare for a course of antibiotics. Or you can give it at the first signs of diarrhea. Or you can give it as an addition to your dog’s daily probiotics. S. boulardii may also be an ingredient in other probiotic products for your dog.
There aren’t really any food sources for S. boulardii unless you want to grind up the skins of lychee fruit and make a tea as the locals of Indonesia did. So you’ll find S. boulardii products available online or over-the-counter in capsule or powder form. You’ll want to look for organically sourced ingredients with no added fillers.
You can add S. boulardii to your dog’s meals. Ensure your dog gets liquids to revitalize the yeast and aid with digestion. Just follow product directions if you buy a product made for dogs. If you buy a human product, assume dosing is for a 150-lb person and adjust for the size of your dog.
Studies have used the amount of 250-600 mg as a child’s dose over 4-6 days. That’s about 5-10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs). S. boulardii is not destroyed in the gut. It’s much harder than dairy-based probiotics so it lasts longer and you don’t need to give it as much as other probiotics. In general, you can give a half-billion to 5 billion CFU to dogs.
Things To Watch For
If you’re giving your dog regular S. boulardii and he gets constipated, reduce the amount you’re giving. In some cases, S. boulardii may cause gas and bloating. And … because yeast is a fungus, don’t give it alongside any antifungal medications. Avoid giving it to pregnant or nursing dogs.
Now you can strengthen your dog’s immune system with S. boulardii … before disease sets in. Use it to prevent and manage gut problems and to support your dog’s overall good health.
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