Sian Baker

Medically reviewed by Sian Baker, Dip ION mBANT mCNHC
on February 15, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Check My Body Health blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

A yeast intolerance (also known as yeast sensitivity) occurs when your body has difficulty digesting yeast or foods that contain yeast. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Because yeast is a fungus, spores can easily become airborne. This means those with a yeast allergy or intolerance may react after eating yeast-containing foods or even inhaling spores.

In this post, we’ll explain the differences between yeast allergies and intolerances, the symptoms you might experience, how to get tested, and what steps to take for managing your yeast sensitivity.”

In this post, we’re going to explain what yeast allergies and intolerances are, the symptoms you might experience and what you can do to find out for sure whether or not you have one. This is the first step towards managing your yeast intolerance or allergy so you can lessen the uncomfortable symptoms and take back control of your health.

What are the symptoms of yeast allergy?

Yeast allergy symptoms can be similar to that of a cold or be experienced in and around the stomach and digestive system. They include:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lightheadedness

If you experience a severe reaction it can also lead to anaphylaxis, though this is rare.

What are the symptoms of yeast intolerance?

Yeast intolerance symptoms range from mild to severe, though are usually less extreme than if you were to have an allergy. You’re also unlikely to experience symptoms if you inhale yeast spores, intolerance symptoms are brought on by ingesting yeast.. Symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Lethargy

If you have a yeast allergy that goes undiagnosed, your symptoms can worsen over time, which can lead to sinusitis, itching, or skin conditions. So, if you suspect you have a yeast allergy or intolerance, it’s important to get it confirmed as soon as possible.

What is a food intolerance?

A food intolerance occurs when your body can’t metabolise or process a specific type of food. This leads to symptoms in and around your stomach as it struggles to digest it. This is different from an allergy, which is your body mistaking food as a threat, then your immune system attempts to fight it, which is what leads to the symptoms. Both an allergy and an intolerance can develop at any stage in your life, even if you’ve never experienced symptoms before.

What is yeast?

Yeast is a single-celled microorganism and a member of the fungi family. It’s found in many plants and animals – including ourselves – and consumes sugar. It produces alcohol, carbon dioxide and more.

In food, there are two types of yeast: baker’s yeast, used in baking and brewer’s yeast, used to brew beer and other alcoholic drinks. If you have a yeast allergy or intolerance you likely have an allergy to both. You may also experience symptoms when exposed to other types of fungi, such as mushrooms and mould.

If you have a yeast intolerance, you may also experience sensitivities to other types of fungi, such as mold and mushrooms. Be aware of potential reactions and consider further testing if you notice additional symptoms.

How common is a yeast intolerance?

Thankfully, a yeast intolerance or allergy isn’t particularly common, with less than 2% of adults experiencing symptoms after eating or being exposed to yeast and other fungi.

Because fungi easily become airborne it can be a challenging allergy to manage, but with confirmation, you can take steps to ensure you avoid exposure.

How do you test for a yeast allergy or intolerance?

If you think you might have a yeast allergy or intolerance, there are four key ways you can find out:

  • An elimination diet, which is done by removing yeast from your diet to see if the symptoms stop.
  • Keep a food diary, which involves you making a note of what you eat and when, and comparing it to whenever you experience symptoms.
  • Speak to your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms and what they can do for you.
  • Take a Complete Sensitivity Health Test or food allergy test at home and find out in just five days whether you have a yeast intolerance.

What should you do if you think you have a yeast allergy or intolerance?

Because a yeast allergy can sometimes become severe, if you suspect you have one you should stop eating food that contains yeast straight away and investigate further. Whilst the symptoms of an intolerance may not be as serious as an allergy, there is a crossover of the symptoms, therefore it’s best to get confirmation before adding yeast back into your diet.

To find out quickly and accurately if you have an intolerance, a complete sensitivity test can tell you in less than a week.

What foods should you avoid if you have a yeast allergy or intolerance?

If you have a yeast allergy or intolerance, you should remove any food that contains yeast from your diet. This includes:

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Cookies
  • Milk
  • Pastries
  • Flour
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cereal
  • Sweets/candy
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Aged cheese
  • Read labels carefully: Yeast can be hidden in unexpected foods, including sauces, condiments, processed meats, and some vinegars. Check the ingredients list for words like “yeast,” “baker’s yeast,” “brewer’s yeast,” and “yeast extract.”
  • Be mindful of fermented foods: Fermented products like soy sauce, sauerkraut, and some pickles often contain yeast.
  • Choose fresh over processed: Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats rather than overly processed items when possible.
  • Plan ahead: When dining out, call ahead to inquire about yeast content in their dishes. Pack your own snacks for peace of mind.

Food alternatives to help avoid yeast

Managing a yeast allergy and intolerance can be simple to do at home, but it can make eating out a little more difficult. There are yeast-free versions of bread and cakes available, but restaurants rarely offer these to diners. Foods you can eat if you have a yeast allergy or intolerance include:

  • Vegetables
  • Sugar low in fruit
  • Eggs
  • Chicken (non-breaded)
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Shellfish

Test to see if you have a yeast intolerance

If you experience symptoms after eating food that contains yeast, you may very well have an intolerance or allergy. To get confirmation and take control of your health, a complete sensitivity health test or advanced food intolerance test can tell you if you have an intolerance in just five days.

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