What is Candida?
Candida albicans, commonly referred to as Candida, is a naturally occuring yeast found inside the mouth, gut, vagina and on the skin. In small amounts, it is harmless and does not cause symptoms. However, if Candida multiplies out of control, it can result in a common infection known as Candidiasis. Successfully recovering from this condition is possible, it’s simply a matter of understanding how to heal Candida overgrowth.
Main symptoms of Candida overgrowth
When Candida overgrowth leads to Candidiasis, it can cause a range of symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Fungal infections in the skin and nails
- Bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis and rashes
- Vaginal and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar cravings
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Inability to concentrate, brain fog, ADD, ADHD
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, ulcerative colitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis
How does Candida overgrowth happen?
Healthy gut bacteria typically keep Candida levels in check. However, antibiotics and other medications can disrupt the level of good bacteria in the gut. A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can also lead to an overproduction of Candida, which can then outnumber the good bacteria.
Risk factors for Candidiasis
There are certain conditions and lifestyle factors that can lead to Candida overgrowth, including:
- Intake of antibiotics
- Use of oral contraceptives
- Excessive alcohol intake
- A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Consumption of fermented foods
- Chronic stress
Busting common Candida myths
Myth: Candida only affects people who are immunosuppressed
Most Candida problems arise when we significantly change the gut environment by taking antibiotics, eating large amounts of sugar or suffer from chronic stress. All of these factors negatively affect our immune system and can lead to Candidiasis.
Candida overgrowth also contributes to leaky gut syndrome, which can manifest as various autoimmune disorders, intestinal pain, bloating, food allergies, depression and anxiety. This is due to undigested food particles and Candida’s metabolic byproducts ‘leaking’ into the bloodstream, which prompts the body to launch a counterattack. This leads to autoimmune reactions and chemical imbalances in an otherwise healthy body.
Myth: Candida requires an acidic pH to grow
Different parts of the body require different pH levels. Typically, the stomach and intestines are acidic, while blood and body tissues remain slightly alkaline.
However, stress and poor diet contribute to an alkaline gut. In this environment, the Candida yeast becomes aggressive, colonizing fungus that is capable of significant damage. Therefore, it is essential to bring the digestive system back to an ideal acidic level to eliminate Candida overgrowth.
Myth: Sugar is the cause of Candida
Sugar can be a contributing factor to Candidiasis, but is not a direct cause. Diets high in sugar and refined foods can lead to leaky gut syndrome, resulting in poor digestion and Candida overgrowth. Sealing the gut by following an antifungal diet will help address the root cause of Candida overgrowth.
How do you heal Candida overgrowth? Try the antifungal diet
Food plays a critical role in balancing gut bacteria, and research shows that an antifungal diet is a beneficial course of action to eliminate Candida overgrowth.
Foods to avoid:
- Gluten-containing grains: Wheat, barley, spelt, rye
- High sugar fruits: Bananas, grapes, mangoes, dried fruits
- Processed oils and fats: Sunflower, soybean and canola oils, margarine
- Condiments: Ketchup, white vinegar, soy sauce, mayonnaise, horseradish
- The following dairy products: Milk, cream, cheese
- Sources of sugar and artificial sweeteners: Honey, maple syrup, molasses, cane sugar, agave, aspartame
- The following nuts and seeds: Peanuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios
- Sugary beverages: Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks
- Caffeine and alcohol: Caffeinated tea and coffee, beer, wine, spirits
- Additives: Nitrates or sulfates (commonly found in deli meats)
Foods to focus on:
- Fruits with low sugar content: Berries, pomegranates, lemons, limes
- Non-starchy vegetables: Onions, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, celery, cucumber, eggplant, spinach
- Garlic: Garlic contains an antifungal substances called allicin, which has been shown to kill Candida yeast
- Gluten-free grains: Quinoa, oat bran, buckwheat, millet
- Some proteins: Eggs, chicken, turkey, salmon, sardines
- Healthy fats: Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, olives, avocados
- The following dairy products: Plain yogurt, kefir, butter, ghee
- The following nuts and seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds
- Herbs and spices: Cinnamon, black pepper, ginger, garlic, turmeric, thyme, paprika, rosemary, oregano
- Condiments: Apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos
- Sugar-free sweeteners: Stevia, xylitol, erythritol
- Non-caffeinated beverages: Filtered water, almond and coconut milk (without additives), herbal teas, chicory coffee
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel can inhibit Candida overgrowth in the mouth, preventing infections such as oral thrush
Supplements for Candida overgrowth
Caprylic acid is one of the three fatty acids found in coconut oil. It has potent antifungal properties known to kill and reduce yeast overgrowth by breaking down Candida cells’ membranes.
Licorice root contains three antifungal compounds: glycyrrhizic acid, glabridin and lichochalcone. These are known to help eliminate Candida infections by reducing the cell’s biofilm or ‘sheild’, making it harder for Candida colonies to protect themselves from antifungal treatments.
Activated charcoal binds to toxins released by Candida as it dies, helping reduce Candida die-off symptoms such as bloating, nausea and headaches.
During digestion, psyllium fibre absorbs water in the colon, forming mucilage, a sticky gel-like substances that pulls in fecal matter and toxins as it moves through the colon. This process of removing toxins helps manage Candida die-off effects.
Fibregum acts as a powerful prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in your gut and keeping it healthy.
Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria to help displace Candida overgrowth while reinforcing the gut lining. They also help lower the pH in the intestines, making it more acidic and helping stave off Candida populations.
Please remember to always consult with a healthcare practitioner if you suspect you are suffering from a yeast infection.