How to beat Candida for good
Photo: Mart Production
A Candida overgrowth can be an annoying, depressing and sometimes debilitating infection. What makes it worse is that it often keeps coming back after treatment. This quick guide gives you the real advice on how to treat it properly and prevent recurrence.
What it is
Candida is a yeast (type of fungus) that resides normally in the intestines and other parts of the body. Candidiasis is the infection that results when it grows out of control.
You have probably heard of it in relation to vaginal (or penile) thrush, or oral thrush. However, it can also cause infections in many other parts of the body, including in hair follicles, the skin, nail bed and gut.
If you have oral, vaginal or penile thrush, you can be almost certain that you have an overgrowth in the gut too.
The usual symptoms of Candida overgrowth in the gut include:
Brain fog/lack of concentration
White discharge from vagina or penis
For people that are immunocompromised, for example those who have cancer or AIDS, Candida infections can take hold throughout the body and become potentially life threatening.
The most common type of candidiasis is caused by Candida albicans but there are other yeasts in the gut and rest of the body that can cause the infection.
A good quality comprehensive stool test can help you determine whether you have an overgrowth and what type of yeast is causing it. The lab running the test will specifically test these yeasts against different antifungals to tell you what the most effective treatment is.
You can order these tests through me and I can talk you through the results and create a targeted, effective plan of action if you have an infection.
Getting rid of Candida for good
Treating Candida properly using a holistic approach is the key to preventing relapse. You can use over-the-counter treatments but often this isn’t enough to keep the infection at bay. Candida resistance to these drugs is also an increasing problem, so you ideally want to minimise their use, by working on preventing candidiasis recurrences.
An effective holistic protocol should include:
Tackling the overgrowth itself
Building a healthy gut microbiome
Repairing and maintaining integrity of the gut lining
Improving overall immunity
Modifying your diet is also a crucial part of your plan. See below for my recommendations on what to eat and what to avoid.
1. Fight the fungus
Sometimes antifungal treatment can be a simple matter of killing the yeast and bringing levels back to normal. However, in some cases, Candida can form biofilms. These are colonies of micro-organisms that surround themselves with a protective sticky film, making it harder for antifungals to reach them and for your own immune system to attack them.
One of the reasons natural herbs are so effective is that they often double-up as powerful biofilm busters as well as antifungals. Studies have also shown that using natural herbs in combination with conventional antifungal medications will augment the action of these drugs.
Among the best natural antifungals are as follows. Those underlined also act as biofilm busters:
Resveratrol (Japanese Knotweed)
These are the products that I often recommend for Candida treatment:
These supplements are available on this website. If you wish to order practitioner-only products, you will need a prescription from a practitioner, or you can book a free consultation with me. Book here.
2. Build a healthy microbial population
Beneficial gut bacteria and yeasts interact with each other, and certain of these bacteria will suppress the growth of Candida and keep levels within healthy limits.
Any broad-spectrum probiotic will help build a good balance of gut flora, for example Herbs of Gold Probiotic 55 Billion, or Metagenics Ultra Flora Spectrum (practitioner-only).
There are also specific probiotics that are known to help prevent and treat Candida overgrowths. The main one is Saccharomyces boulardii, which is, in fact, a yeast itself, but which does not colonise the bowel and is not related to Candida yeast.
S boulardii also breaks down biofilms, and helps boost the efficacy of the antifungal drugs, fluconazole and amphotericin.
Flordis Ther-Biotic Bio Daily and Rochway SB Ultra Forte are both good choices as they have the highest doses of S boulardii of 10 billion and 15 billion, respectively. Herbs of Gold Probiotic plus SB is another good choice with other relevant probiotics added.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Flordis Ther-Biotic Femme Flora) and Lactobacillus reuteri (BioGaia Protectis - practitioner-only) are also powerful inhibitors of Candida yeast.
3. Maintain a healthy gut lining
Maintaining the integrity of the gut lining is key to beating Candida for good. The permeability of the gut lining is controlled by ‘tight junctions’, which effectively act as border control, regulating the passage of nutrients and other molecules into cells and barring pathogens (bacterial toxins and viruses) from the rest of the body.
Stressors such as mental stress, illness, poor diet and excessive exercise dysregulates tight junction activity, increasing permeability and allowing unwanted particles to enter the bloodstream. A Candida overgrowth in itself will also cause increased intestinal permeability.
This so-called leaky gut creates inflammation and significantly disturbs microbial balance.
Candida takes advantage and starts to proliferate. Leaky gut will also increase the chance of candidiasis becoming systemic i.e affecting the whole body. However, this type of infection generally only happens when you are very immunocompromised.
Using nutrients that heal the intestinal lining and help to reinstate normal gut permeability is essential for Candida control as well as preventing a range of diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases.