Candida is one of the trickiest things to get rid of. This is mainly because only the dietary changes or only the supplements on their own will not get rid of the candida overgrowth.
In the health industry one most commonly sees the occurrence of Candida as oral or genital infections, but it also affects areas such as the skin, digestive tract and throat. Please be aware that it can even enter the bloodstream, this is invasive candidiasis or candidemia this is extremely serious, and needs to be treated in hospital.
What is important to remember that Candida is something that naturally occurs in the body, when it is problematic is when there is an overgrowth in areas like the genitals, mouth and digestive tract. Candida is caused by an overgrowth of a type of yeast, most commonly Candida albicans.
Candida overgrowth has a number of triggers and causes. The cause one sees is often anti-biotic treatment, where probiotics are not prescribed alongside and post the antibiotic treatment, but certain other medicines and various health issues can also trigger a yeast overgrowth. Unfortunately, like all fungus Candida loves warm, moist body areas and is the cause of much discomfort. There are numerous symptoms, which are dependent on the affected area.
The single biggest trigger of Candida is the consumption of too much sugar and too many refined carbohydrates. Candida loves sugar, sugar is its main fuel and it is virtually impossible to treat and eliminate Candida without removing sugars, refined carbohydrates, juices and fruits from the diet.
The second biggest trigger is antibiotic treatment; unfortunately while antibiotics are great at killing bad bacteria in the body they also destroy the good bacteria in the system, leaving a void which allows the overgrowth of Candida.
There are a number of other triggers such as environmental toxin exposure which causes immune compromise, medications such as birth control and corticosteroids, as well as chronic stress which negatively affects immune health.
Oral Candidiasis also known commonly as thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth or throat. It is unusual for healthy adults to get thrush, it is most common in infants, chemotherapy patients, the elderly, immune compromised patients, HIV and AIDS patients and sometimes diabetics, patients on antibiotics, asthmatics on inhalers and patients on steroid medications.
These are the most common symptoms:
- white spots/rash inside the mouth and on the tongue
- if there is redness or discomfort in the mouth area
- a sore throat and/or difficulty swallowing
- and also tears or cracks at corners of the mouth
The next most commonly complained of Candida affected area are the genitals. Candida most commonly affects women, but can affect men too. It is often important to treat both partners, even if only one is showing symptoms, as one passes the infection back and forth to a sexual partner.
The most commonly complained of symptoms in women include:
- dreadful itching in the vaginal area
- as with thrush - tenderness and redness in the vaginal area
- also there may be discharge – normally white and clumpy
- and intercourse may be painful
The symptoms in men are similar:
- an angry red rash on the penis
- and both itching or burning on the penis tip
The next step after diagnosis is treatment and diet. These need to happen in conjunction in order to prevent further yeast overgrowth. Remember that you need to create an environment in your body that will make it difficult for fungus to flourish. In order re-establish the natural balance of organisms in the body the diet will also need to be adapted.
In this article I am only going to briefly touch on each of the dietary aspects, your healthcare practitioner will be able to prove a more comprehensive list.
Where to start:
- it is best to eat a diet rich in meats, chicken, eggs, seeds and nuts, vegetables, and healthy oils – make sure as far as possible you are eating free range and organic to prevent possible antibiotic contamination particularly when it comes to poultry and dairy. The next is the most complained about part of the diet, you need to eliminate all sugars and carbohydrate-rich foods. The biggest contributor on the sugar front is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is most common in processed foods, so it goes without saying no processed foods!
In conjunction with this you also need to remember that yeast multiples at an extremely rapid pace it is also important to cut out all yeast- and mould-containing foods. This means no alcohol, vinegar, mustard, salad dressings, mushrooms, aged cheeses and bread.
Also the following vegetables have to be eliminated carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beets and other high GI vegetables, also remember that fruits also need to be eliminated temporarily as they also have high sugar contents.
Unfortunately the single most important thing to remember is that most people are never able to get Candida under control, unless they eliminate all sugar from their diet.
What do you need to do:
- Take probiotics: as they are the good bacteria that keep your vagina and gastrointestinal tract healthy and once the Candida dies off they replace it and prevent its regrowth.
- Avoid things like antibiotics, corticosteroids and birth control pills all need to be avoided.
- Take a good antifungal, see some natural alternatives below.
Probiotics work by attacking Candida in a couple of different ways. The most important is that they restore the balance of good bacteria in the system and once this has been done they also inhibit its growth.
The two primary strains to look for are:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which research has shown enhances immune system function and also reduces the length of Candida infection, the great thing is that continuous supplementation reduces the risk of Candida overgrowth reoccurring.
- Bifidobacteria Bifidum is another strain to look for. It is the second most common bacteria in the gut. Bifido is known to aid digestion, support immune function and aid in the production of B vitamins.
It is also worth noting the following when looking for probiotic supplements. Choose supplements that also contain what are known as prebiotics (these are non-digestible foods that probiotics feed on). Prebiotics include FOS and inulin. Prebiotics are naturally occurring in our foods, but it is good to make sure that the probiotics get all the fuel they possibly can. Lastly look for capsules, as the probiotics need to travel through the stomach and into the gut without being destroyed.
Great natural antifungals include:
- Capryllic acid, naturally occurring in coconut oil. It has proven helpful in supporting the healing process in both candidiasis and even gastroenteritis. How it works is that it seems to break through and destabilize the yeast cell walls. What is known is that in numerous studies it has proven to be a potent antifungal, particularly affective against Candida cells.
- One of my favourites is Wild Oregano, as it is also a great anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. It has proven great in Candida treatment, particularly as Candida yeast seems not to develop a resistance to it, unlike some of the other anti-fungal treatments.
- Olive Leaf is an extremely powerful antifungal; it is also used as an anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial treatment.
Please be aware that Candida can also get into the bloodstream. This is termed an Invasive Yeast Infection or candidemia. Those at higher risk for candidemia include: ICU patients, surgery patients, patients with catheters or patients with weakened systems. Do not fool around, if you are at all unsure consult a qualified healthcare practitioner, as candidemia is a very serious condition that requires prompt treatment.
About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
(Read more posts by Charlie)