There are over twenty different species of Candida known to cause yeast infections. The best known, and most common, is Candida albicans. Natural treatments for yeast infection do not vary based on the type of yeast that is attacking the body; both the protocol and supplementation are the same.
Candida is typically present in healthy individuals. It can live on the skin and in mucous membranes without causing an infection or any ill effects. As a fungus, it even plays an important role in breaking down organic wastes and recycling the nutrients. A little Candida is not a bad thing, but a lot of it, especially when it spreads throughout the body, is a very bad thing.
A Silent Epidemic
Candida is opportunistic and highly adaptive. When given the right conditions Candida albicans can overgrow very quickly causing yeast infections and fungemias (systemic fungal infections). Mild to severe Candida infections are incredibly common among the U.S. population due to the Standard American Diet, which is very conducive to Candida overgrowth.
Candidiasis is more prone to occur in warm and moist areas of the body; areas like the digestive tract, the genitals, mouth, throat, skin folds, and anywhere in the body with dead or dying tissue. After Candida eats away at dead tissue, it will often attack healthy tissue in order to keep growing. And Candida creates waste products that are neurotoxins such as formaldehyde, alcohol, and acetlyaldehyde. Candida infections include the following:
- Skin (yeast infection or diaper rash)
- Genitals (genital/vulvovaginal candidiasis)
- Throat (thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis)
- Mouth (thrush or oropharyngeal candidiasis)
- Blood (invasive candidiasis)
- Digestive Tract
As you can see, yeast infections can happen just about anywhere. Athlete’s foot and ear infections are directly caused by Candida while many other ailments such as the cold and flu are indirectly caused by Candida. When our immune system is stressed and taxed from battling Candida, we are more prone to other infections. Usually, when someone is sick they are dealing with multiple pathogens including Candida and other fungi, though not always at a level where conventional medical testing would show it.
Systemic candida infections, even mild infections, can place a heavy burden on our body’s defenses making it open season for other pathogens. This is how most of us get sick. The Standard American Diet and Candida impair our immune system enough to make us susceptible to viral and bacterial illnesses.
Candida Overgrowth Mimics Other Conditions
There are so many symptoms of Candida overgrowth that it can be difficult to diagnose. It is exceedingly rare that someone would have all of the symptoms and the combination of symptoms varies a great deal from person to person. Far too often, symptoms of candida overgrowth are mistaken for other conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Multiple Sclerosis. Worse still, Candida overgrowth makes these conditions far more difficult to manage.
The symptoms of Candida overgrowth are legion. Much of the following list of symptoms of Candida overgrowth is from Donna Gates book The Body Ecology Diet.
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor memory
- Feeling spacy or unreal
- Burning sensations
- Tingling sensations
- Muscle aches, or muscle weakness or bouts of paralysis
- Pain or swelling in joints (especially the knees)
- Abdominal pain
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Excessive gas causing bloating, belching, or flatulence
- Burning sensation in genitals or around genitals
- Low libido
- Endometriosis or infertility
- Cramps and/or other menstrual irregularities
- Premenstrual tension
- Sudden feelings of sadness
- Cold hands, feet and cold flashes
- Shaking when hungry
- Irritability (especially when hungry)
- Poor coordination
- Inability to concentrate
- Frequent mood swings
- Dizziness, and loss of balance
- Pressure above ears, and a feeling of the head swelling
- Bruising easily
- Chronic rashes
- Frequent itching especially in the nasal passages, ears, arches of the feet, genitals, and scalp
- Psoriasis or recurrent hives
- Indigestion and/or frequent heartburn
- Food sensitivity or food intolerances
- Food allergies and other allergies
- Mucus in stools
- Rectal itching
- Dry mouth, or throat
- Rash or blisters in mouth
- Bad breath
- Foot, hair, or body odor not relieved by washing
- Nasal congestion, or post nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Laryngitis or loss of voice
- Cough or recurrent bronchitis
- Pain or tightness in chest
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Frequent need to urinate
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Seeing spots or blurry vision
- Burning or tearing of eyes
- Recurrent ear infections
- Pain in ears and/or difficulty hearing
The Role of Bacteria
Bacteria live in and on the human body in either a harmful or a health promoting, symbiotic relationship. We have ten times more bacteria in and on our bodies than our number of human cells. We label bacteria as bad when it feeds off of healthy tissue or releases toxins through its metabolic processes.
Beneficial bacteria in the gut digest our food, assimilate the nutrients present in our food, and they even make vitamins and the body’s majority of neurotransmitters. Bacteria play a dominant role in our immune system. Beneficial bacteria work hard to keep bad bacteria and Candia in check.
The remainder of the body’s defenses would be quickly overwhelmed by invading pathogens without the help of friendly microorganisms. If we take care of our good microbes, they’ll take care of the bad microbes for us.
Diet Is Key
The easiest and most effective way to increase beneficial bacteria and build up the immune system is to eat the right foods. Without changing the diet, all of the supplements and medications in the world won’t rid the body of Candida. The right food is the best medicine; it restricts the growth of Candida and aids in the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Gut microbiomes can even influence our food cravings. This can make it even more difficult to change our diet than we once thought, but new evidence is emerging that further reinforces the notion that the change is well worth the effort.
Bad bacteria and yeast prefer junk food, low fiber, sugar, and a lot of carbohydrates and processed foods. Sugar directly feeds yeast. Simple refined sugars feed it the best. A diet high in sugar also enables viral and bacterial infections, as sugar impairs immune system function. This is standard American fare but not what we have evolved to eat. This is much of the reason why Americans are, on average, in such poor health.
We evolved to eat foods in their entirety, not reconstituted, concentrated foods. Food is more than just vitamins, minerals, and calories. The parts of food that we don’t digest, the fiber, is crucial to our health. So is a diverse diet.
High fiber foods such as raw produce modulate our metabolism. If you drink a large glass of orange juice your blood sugar will jump up. Not so if you eat a large orange. Fiber regulates the speed at which food travels through our digestive system. It slows the release of the sugars and carbohydrates from food and it feeds beneficial bacteria. Raw produce, more vegetables than fruit, creates a microbiome that kills harmful microbes and encourages beneficial ones.
Good flora can turn into bad flora because your eco system is built on what you feed it. Good food equals good flora. Flora that is even remotely capable of digesting and moving out highly processed foods such as fast food are flora that are very powerful and dangerous to us. These are the kind of microbes that can survive preservatives and exposure to other toxins.
If we damage our intestinal lining with things like alcohol, preservatives and other toxins, then we are also killing our more delicate and more friendly intestinal flora. Candida does not die off so easily, and without fierce competition from friendly bacteria, yeast can and does overgrow in the digestive tract.
A Candida diet must eliminate some of the foods that you will normally eat on a healthy diet, but the basis of a healthy diet remains the same. A Candida diet should consist of 80% fresh, raw, organic produce, more vegetables than fruit. Choose a wide variety of nutrient dense foods. If you eat meat, make sure you choose organic meat. You do not want to eat meat from diseased animals that were fed hormones and antibiotics. Avoid processed foods, and do not eat any foods with artificial flavorings, colorings, preservatives, MSG, or trans fats. Avoid all GMOs. This is easy to do if all of your food choices are organic.
This is a prebiotic diet. Raw produce is high in fiber, which is essential for gut health. Fiber not only moves toxins through the bowels, it provides the perfect environment for healthy bacteria to thrive. Many conventional sites that write about a diet for Candida warn against eating fermented foods. We make the opposite recommendation, eat lots of fermented foods. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir provide the healthy bacteria needed in the gut–the bacteria that will ultimately crowd out Candida. Foods that kill fungi include onions, leeks, green apples, ginger, pomegranates, and citrus fruits. Along with diet, there is an arsenal of natural treatments for Candia. It isn’t necessary to take supplements to kill Candida, but it does speed up the process faster than diet alone.
There is an undeniable link between gluten reactions and candida. This is because there is a protein found in Candida, HWP-1, which is highly homologous (nearly identical) to two gluten proteins, alpha gliadin and gamma-gliadin. These proteins are known to stimulate immune cell responses in people who otherwise might not have any problems with gluten. In other words, Candida, the yeast responsible for oral thrush and vaginal infections (and so much more), contains a similar protein as gluten, and this can trigger gluten sensitivities.
What to Avoid
Juices, gluten, GMOs, sugars, ketchup, mushrooms, refined foods, toxins that disrupt gut balance from antibiotics, vaccines, and alcohol should all be avoided if possible. Conventional meats should also be avoided due to widespread prophylactic antibiotic use, which can damage our beneficial bacteria. Also it is important to limit intake of starches. Red potatoes and sweet potatoes are good choices when eating potatoes. These restrictions are temporary. After healthy gut bacteria are well established and symptoms of Candida overgrowth are gone, some flexibility in diet will return. Should symptoms reappear, just strictly adhere to the diet for a few weeks to a few months.
A diet high in produce with more vegetables than fruits is crucial for healing Candida. There are, however, some foods that have particular anti-fungal or probiotic qualities that will speed up Candida’s demise. If you take away the foods that Candida thrive on, yeast infections will be a thing of the past, even the low-lying kind that saps you of your energy and focus.
These foods contain potent anti-fungal properties, so they do a remarkable job of killing Candida. They should make up a substantial portion of any Candida detox diet, which should also include other low-sugar, high fiber vegetables. High fiber raw produce creates the right environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive.
- Green Apples
- Olive Oil
- Lemons & Limes
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Brussels sprouts
These spices also have potent anti-fungal properties. Try to work them into your meals every chance you get.
- Cayenne Pepper
These probiotic foods are very beneficial if you can get them with live cultures. Consuming these foods will help increase the numbers and effectiveness of your beneficial bacteria. Take care to avoid MSG, artificial flavors, and other questionable ingredients that are sometimes found in these foods.
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Other fermented vegetables
The problem with many of the aforementioned foods is that the stomach acid typically kills most or all of the beneficial bacteria. Some yogurts are designed with bacteria strong enough to survive stomach acid, and high quality probiotic capsules are typically designed get through acid and release in the gut.
If you want to heal from Candida faster, these supplements can help to speed up the process.
- Barberry extract
- Olive leaf extract
- Neem oil
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Undecenoic acid
- Oil of Oregano
- Black walnut
- Pau’ d arco
- Castor bean oil
- MicroDefense – Pure Encapsulations
- Tea tree oil
Candida overgrowth is incredibly common. A diet high in starches, sugars, preservatives, and processed foods feeds Candida while a diet high in raw produce feeds Candida’s competition. Once you kill off the Candida, you’ll be amazed by the clarity you gain and the difference in how you feel. In addition, the dietary changes you make will provide the foundation for a vital, healthy life.
From The Editor:
Below, our list of recommended supplements is a protocol that I put together based on what people have found the greatest success with to balance gut flora and heal the intestinal tract. You can take them all together except the FloraMend should be taken without other supplements. If you’re looking for a topical solution, nothing works better than SF722 (both internal and externally), but it causes a burning sensation that is very intense. It does not damage the skin but it hurts until the Candida is dead.
- Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse (kills parasites, heals the intestinal walls, sets up hospital home for health flora)
- Formula SF722 (undecenoic acid, kills candida and other fungal infections better than other antimicrobials)
- FloraMend-Prime by Thorne (a strong probiotic designed to pass through the stomach acid and into the intestinal tract, all other supplements can be taken together, but take this one separately like early morning and late night)
- MicroDefense – Pure Encapsulations (a parasite killer, works pretty well on Candida, but works better on many other parasites)
- Shillington’s Intestinal Detox (This is necessary only for those with seriously damaged intestines, anyone who has recently been vaccinated, or those looking to do a thorough detox)
- Gluten, Candida, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Autoimmune Diseases
- How to Kill Candida and Balance Your Inner Ecosystem
- The Fascinating Bacteria in our Gut, and How it Affects Our Whole Lives
- How to Cure Candida
- After taking antibiotics, this is what you need to do to restore healthy intestinal flora
- 80% Raw Food Diet
- Candidiasis – CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Candidiasis – Web MD
- Debunking the Paleo Diet – Ted Talks
- 10 Foods That Will Fight Your Candida – The Candida Diet.com
- The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates