Candida is a type of yeast that is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide. It has a nasty habit of building up in our intestines (or skin, vagina, or mouth) and debilitating our health in a variety of ways.
Candida is naturally in the human body in tiny amounts but when a person’s immune system is weak or gastrointestinal tract is not healthy, candida can spread unopposed.
Candida infection can range from nearly benign to life-threatening. If a candida infection becomes systemic (affects your whole body), rather than isolated in one area, it can be life-threatening.
Many health practitioners believe that many people suffer from low-grade candida infections in the intestines.
And health practitioners believe that low-level candida infections can cause a variety of general symptoms like:
As is the case with many things related to health, an integrated approach is a superior form of treatment to a convenient pharmaceutical drug dosing. Simply taking a drug and not addressing any holistic aspects of your health will seem easier and like less effort and time spent. However, there are downsides to the easy way out and adopting an integrative approach that targets many areas of your health will more deeply correct candida infection and make it difficult for it to return.
If you simply take pharmaceutical drugs to address candida, you might experience a host of unpleasant symptoms and toxic effects on your body. Mainstream medicine treats candida infection through the use of pharmaceutical antifungals.
Some of these antifungals have wide-ranging and even severe side effects. Amphotericin, for instance, a commonly-used antifungal, has so many harmful side effects that it is known casually as “amphoterrible”.
Medications like amphotericin, nystatin, and other antifungals can cause the following side effects: diarrhea, vomiting, itching, skin rashes, nausea, muscle pain, chills, loss of appetite, shaking, weight loss, dizziness, weakness, and fever.
Even if harsh drugs are successful in getting rid of candida, without addressing many aspects of health and the core causes of the infection in the first place, the results will probably not be long-lasting.
Following is a more thorough plan that supports all of your body's defenses against Candida and disarms Candida of its defenses while deeply supporting your health instead of burdening your body with toxic drugs.
Addressing lifestyle factors, strengthen immune system
Addressing lifestyle factors, strengthen immune system
Take candida-killing natural herbs
Having a healthy immune system is crucial in fighting Candida. The immune system is supposed to keep Candida at bay but many people have systems that function poorly.
Chronic stress is known to suppress immune system functioning and interestingly, researchers have found that stressing rats increases the growth of candida in their bodies . Stress-induced immune suppression is a well-documented phenomenon, so in preparing to fight candida, take time to do the things that de-stress your mind and body on a continual basis.
Meditation, exercise, reading, bathing, getting massages might be good options. Lifestyle habits like moderate exercise, getting adequate sleep, and socializing have all been shown to improve immune functioning:
Many practitioners think that cutting processed sugary foods out of your diet is the most important step in starving Candida. Refined carbohydrates like some breads and pastas and also soft drinks should be the first to cut out of your diet.
One study in mice demonstrated that those who were supplemented with extra glucose had candida that was especially invasive . It is thought that candida feeds off of simple sugars, so cut out sweets and anything processed. Stick to whole foods but limit fruit.
Processed foods that quickly raise your blood sugar might also fuel candida growth indirectly by spiking your blood sugar, an effect that weakens the immune system. Even beyond processed foods, you will want to limit natural sources of sugar, because, after all, they also contain some of the same sugars as processed foods (albeit these sugars are delivered with healthy plant antioxidants in natural whole foods).
Alcohol, fruit juices, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup are recommended to be cut out during a candida cleanse diet. All very sweet fruits like pineapple, dates, grapes, bananas, mango, raisins, and all dried fruits are to be avoided as well.
Lower-glycemic fruits like berries should be preferred over others. To make it simple, just minimize sweet-tasting foods in general.
There is even some concern that toxic metals, which have become so present in our environment and bodies, invigorate the defenses of candida. One study showed that metals commonly released by dental procedures like chromium and cobalt can increase the size of defensive candida biofilms .
So some practitioners recommend detoxing from heavy metals as part of a thorough candida protocol. The most clinically validated ways to get metals out of your system is to take saunas (or sweat another way) on a regular basis or to take chelating agents (metal grabbing agents). Modified citrus pectin is evidenced to substantially reduce toxic metals in the body while leaving healthy metals alone.
This step is crucial in the candida-killing process. Certain natural ingredients have been shown to kill and prevent candida from colonizing. These herbs and other ingredients work through various mechanisms to fight candida.
Once you have altered your lifestyle habits so they are not amenable to candida growth, it’s time to send in the army of natural medicine to directly confront these yeast invaders.
There are two actions of anti-candida ingredients that are most valuable. One is the direct killing of candida or the inhibition of its spread. The other is the degradation of the biofilms (or slime) that candida secretes to protect itself from harm. If these two actions are completed, candida has much less of a chance of sticking around.
This herb is one of the most popular anti-candida remedies, and the impressive research leaves almost no doubt as to its wide usage.
The active ingredient in oregano oil is carvacrol. In one study conducted in Morocco, carvacrol was as effective as nystatin for Candida treatment . The carvacrol damages the cellular envelope that surrounds the Candida yeast . Once the envelope is damaged, Candida is left dying.
One study found that oregano oil actually killed candida more effectively than a pharmaceutical anti-fungal drug, clotrimazole . Another study found oregano to be the most effective candida killer against numerous other spices and oils .
Although there may not be a mountain of research on this herb, one thing is clear from the research that exists: black walnut is confirmed to have “potent” anti-fungal activity against “all” forms of candida .
Coconut oil contains caprylic acid and has been shown to be so effective at killing Candida that researchers recommend it be used in the treatment of Candida infections . They recommend its usage because it could be effective against antibiotic-resistant Candida .
Other researchers found Caprylic acid to be effective against candida and said it was “superior” and less expensive than the anti-fungal drug Diflucan .
An active class of ingredients in wormwood, Artemisinins, is one of the most powerful anti-malarial drugs . It also has been shown to kill yeast by disrupting the function of their mitochondria, killing them by taking away their energy source .
Artemisinins also have shown activity against candida biofilms .
Aloe vera can straightforwardly inhibit the growth of candida and stop the germ tubes of the yeast from forming . Germ tubes are the outgrowths that extend from candida and these can be thought of as arms of the yeast that solidify its growth and presence. Additionally, aloe vera shows anti-biofilm action .
These are protein-digesting enzymes that are believed to and have been shown to prevent the formation of protective biofilms . These enzymes eat away and degrade biofilms .
In order for your gut to be healthy and easily fight off candida infection, it has to harbor tons of good bacteria - probiotics. There are supposed to be more probiotics in your gut than your own cells in your body, so it’s safe to say that these bacteria are essential to your wellbeing.
Among the seemingly endless benefits of probiotics (which we will not go into here), is the ability of these bacteria to prevent candida overgrowth. This is why antibiotics increase the risk of candida overgrowth - antibiotics kill off good bacteria in your gut. Some candida-killing herbs might kill off probiotics as well, so replenishing your gut with the good guys after you take the cleansing herbs is a good idea.
Probiotics have been shown to help prevent candida growth in humans . Animal studies have shown that probiotics inhibit candida growth as well . Researchers say that probiotics have favorable effects on immune function and that these effects help kill candida . Probiotics are shown to reduce biofilm formation and these good bacteria excrete chemicals that prevent candida growth . Additionally, probiotics reduced oral candida growth in elderly humans .
Eating whole, fibrous plant foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Supplementing with probiotics in pill form is another great way to increase the good bacteria in your gut and keep candida at bay.
This might be the most simple step in the candida protocol. After the first four steps are completed and candida is vanquished and put in its place, adopting lifestyle habits that keep your body resistant to candida is needed.
The lifestyle habits that we discussed in step 1 should be adopted for your own good. Not only do they support your health in general but keep your immune system functioning optimally to fight candida. Keep stress under control, and practice lifestyle habits that boost your immune system like moderate exercise, getting adequate sleep, meditating, and eating healthy whole foods. Numerous herbs help to boost immune function as well. Some of the most well-known are reishi, astragalus, and green tea.
And, of course, eating whole foods that won't spike your blood sugar and feed candida is the best way to eat to keep candida away. Don’t feed the bad guys or weaken your immune system by eating high-glycemic sugary junk.