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Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast–often, Saccharomyces cerevisiae–that is yellow in color and has a nutty and cheesy flavor. It is a reliable food source for vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins such as folic acid. It is also an excellent source of protein (52%) and contains essential amino acids–making it a very popular choice for vegans. Some products are fortified with vitamin B12, which is produced separately from bacteria. Because of its rich nutrient content, nutritional yeast is a very good choice to include in a daily diet, instead of taking synthetically formulated vitamin supplements. Some of the benefits of nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements are discussed here.

1. Flavor

When it comes to the flavor of nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements, nutritional yeast is the winner. Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy, and creamy flavor that makes it an excellent cheese substitute–in fact, it is often used by vegans as a substitute to parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast comes in the form of flakes or powder, and can thus be sprinkled to almost anything–from popcorn, bread, and vegetables, to pizzas, pastas, and casseroles.

Meanwhile, how many vitamin supplements can be used to flavor or enhance food? This alone gives you enough reason to go for nutritional yeast (vs. vitamin supplements). Because of its unique flavor and the many versatile ways it can be added into food, nutritional yeast (vs. vitamin supplements) are easier to ingest and administer to kids and adults alike. Furthermore, nutritional yeast is low in fat and salt, making it perfect for those who are watching their weight.

2. Natural vs. synthetic

Nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements is different in how they store nutrients. Nutritional yeast is naturally grown–providing vitamins and nutrients at their natural state. It is not processed, and therefore, is a whole, organic, food vitamin. Inorganic vitamin supplements on the other hand–those that are not obtained or extracted from whole foods–are usually synthesized in high concentrates. Some say that vitamins and mineral elements are so complex and dependent upon each other, that when they are separated, they can no longer provide the same nutritional effect on the body.

Thus, high concentrations of synthetic vitamins may not be beneficial. On the other hand, nutritional yeast provides vitamins in their complete form–including all their parts and cofactors–because they are derived from whole foods.

3. When vitamin supplements are better

Of course, nutritional yeast is not always better. Some ingredients and contents of vitamin supplements are not found in nutritional yeast and may be needed to counter deficiencies of meet Recommended Daily Allowances. When weighing nutritional yeast vs. vitamin supplements, it is still advisable to consult a physician to find out what’s best for you.

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the sale and distribution of nutritional yeast and vitamin supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration Board. As much as you can, buy only products from a manufacturer that strictly follows and adheres to the GMP standards. This assures you that the product contains the right amount of ingredients and dosage indicated, and that it is free from known contaminants.