The probiotic medicinal yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae HANSEN CBS 5926 (Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745) is used for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea. Its action is based on multiple mechanisms, including immunological effects, pathogen-binding and antitoxinic effects, as well as effects on digestive enzymes. Correlated with these effects, but also due to its inherent properties, S. boulardii is able to create a favorable growth environment for the beneficial intestinal microbiota, while constituting extra protection to the host mucus layer and mucosa. This review focuses on the positive influence of S. boulardii on the composition of the intestinal microbiota. In a dysbiosis, as during diarrhea, the main microbial population (especially Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcaceae, Bacteroidaceae, and Prevotellaceae) is known to collapse by at least one order of magnitude. This gap generally leads to transient increases in pioneer-type bacteria (Enterobacteriaceae, Bifidobacteriaceae, and Clostridiaceae). Several human studies as well as animal models demonstrate that treatment with S. boulardii in dysbiosis leads to the faster reestablishment of a healthy microbiome. The most relevant effects of S. boulardii on the fecal composition include an increase of short chain fatty acid-producing bacteria (along with a rise in short chain fatty acids), especially of Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae, as well as an increase in Bacteroidaceae and Prevotellaceae. At the same time, there is a suppression of pioneer bacteria. The previously observed preventive action of S. boulardii, eg, during antibiotic therapy or regarding traveler's diarrhea, can be explained by several mechanisms, including a stabilizing effect on the healthy microbiota as well as possibly on the mucus layer. Several different dysbiotic situations could profit from the effects of S. boulardii CNCM I-745. Its additional potential lies in a general stabilization of the gut flora for at-risk populations. More studies are needed to explore the full potential of this versatile probiotic yeast.
Keywords: SCFA; Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745; colonic bioreactor; diarrhea; dysbiosis; intestinal mucus layer; microbiota; mucosa; probiotic.