Candidiasis (Candida or Yeast Overgrowth)

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Candida albicans is a simple yeast organism commonly found throughout the environment. Normally, it is a “friendly” organism in living in your gut, where billions of bacteria (flora) live that make up a healthy intestinal tract. Candida overgrowth occurs when the friendly intestinal flora are disrupted and fungus grows rapidly in the intestinal tract. It is hard to diagnose by a physician because the symptoms are the same as common health complaints. The doctor who is more prudent in looking for these common signs can order a CANDIDA IMMUNE COMPLEX ASSAY. The IgA antibody is specific for Candida. It is now believed that yeast overgrowth in the body can actually be caused by a systemic fungal infection.

Candida and yeast infections affect 40 million Americans of all ages. Yeast overgrowth is especially prevalent in women, hyperactive children, and those with ADD and ADHD. Because fungi escape the gastrointestinal tract and travel into the bloodstream to many parts of the body, varying symptoms may manifest. Yeast can be transmitted sexually and can manifest in the genital area, the prostate gland or the vagina by contamination in the urinary tract.

SYMPTOMS

  1. Athletes foot, ringworm, jock itch, or canker sores. 
  2. Fatigue, headache or low energy in spite of adequate sleep. 
  3. Gastrointestinal problems including abdominal bloating and pain, gas, or flatulence. 
  4. Ear and sinus irritation. 
  5. Eczema. 
  6. Vaginal yeast (vaginitis). 
  7. Intense itching. 
  8. Increase in body temperature. 

RISKS

  1. The patient often has low energy and fatigue. 
  2. The patient has frequent sinus infections (bacterial). 
  3. In sexual activity the semen can temporarily overcome the vagina’s natural acidity. 
  4. Eczema, skin rashes, and rectal bleeding can occur. Candida can inflame the tongue, mouth, or rectum. 
  5. Digestive dysfunction, including excessive gas and abdominal pain. 
  6. Recurrent vaginitis caused by taking birth control pills or estrogen. 
  7. Synthetic fibers: nylon or polyester panty liners create a humid environment. 
  8. Underlying conditions: diabetes, HIV, frequent urinary tract infections
  9. Heavy antibiotic use (3 times in the past 12 months). 
  10. Excessive refined carbohydrate intake in your diet. 
  11. Food allergies including excessive sugar, dairy products, white bread, and mushrooms. 
  12. Candida can trigger mental and emotional symptoms including irritability, anxiety, and even depression

 DIET

A poor diet is a major contributing factor to Candida and fungal infections. It is beneficial to remember that yeast in the intestines eats sugar and simple carbohydrates to live and reproduce itself. Avoid the consumption of simple sugars (carbohydrates) as much as possible. The human body stores excess sugar in the liver as glycogen, whereas plants store excess sugar as starch. Therefore, also avoiding high starchy foods such as bread and potatoes may be helpful. The Candida Control Diet follows a food intake that is rich in fresh vegetables and spices, especially onions and garlic, which have anti-fungal effects.

The Candida Control Diet

FOODS YOU CAN EAT

  • Freely consume most vegetables and most fresh fruit (except canned fruit and juices). 
  • Consumption of protein meats (except processed meats) do not pose a problem, but choose preferably chicken or fish. Maintain a moderate intake of eggs. 
  • Acceptable drinks include herbal tea, purified water (with lemon), decaffeinated beverages, and almond milk. 
  • Consume more cereals made from whole grains (that are gluten free) including oats, brown rice, millet and wheat. 
  • Drink plenty of fresh (in some cases moderate distilled) water. 
  • Increase consumption of raw and fresh oils from unprocessed nuts, seeds and oils. These include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds. Other acceptable oils include sesame, corn, linseed, olive, safflower, and sunflower. 

FOODS YOU SHOULD AVOID

  • Minimize or try to eliminate all refined carbohydrates, sugar and sugar-containing foods including sucrose, glucose, sorbitol, honey, maple sugar, mannitol, and glycogen.
  • Minimize or try to eliminate all fermented and yeast-containing food (breads, buns, crackers, pastries, cookies, raised baked goods, rolls, cakes, soy sauce, sauerkraut, etc.).
  • Minimize or try to eliminate fruit juices that are high in sugar including canned, frozen or bottled fruit juices. (Freshly prepared juices are acceptable in moderation.)
  • Minimize or try to eliminate all dairy products including cheeses, cottage cheese, ice cream, pizza with cheese, cow’s milk, sour cream, buttermilk, and macaroni and cheese.  Some butter and organic yogurt is more acceptable. 
  • Minimize coffee and tea intake.
  • Alcoholic beverages are all fermented and should be eliminated.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of condiments, sauces, and all vinegar-containing food including catsup, mustard, and relish.
  • Decrease consumption of peanuts and peanut butter, they contain over 27 yeasts and mold.
  • Eliminate processed and smoked meats and hydrogenated fats and oils.
  • Minimize consumption of dried and candied fruits including raisins, apricots, dates, figs, pineapple. Minimize intake of high-glycemic carbohydrate foods such as peas, corn, melons, watermelon, honeydew, pineapple, and especially cantaloupe.
  • Minimize consumption of all edible fungi including all mushrooms, morels, and truffles.
  • Avoid antibiotics unless necessary for a specific bacterial infection.
  • Avoid all packaged and processed food, especially canned, bottled, and packaged sugar and enriched flour products (wheat gluten).

SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL

  1. PROBIOTICS (DAIRY FREE)     
    Live bacteria including acidophilus, bifidobacteria, FOS, and bulgaricum help to fight Candida infections and enhance cell division that destroys the yeast.  Dosage: Take 2-3 capsules between meals for 3 weeks, then reduce dosage gradually.  In many cases it is good to take one probiotic supplement daily as a maintenance dose.  Powders can also be used
  2. CAPRYLIC ACID
    Caprylic acid is a fatty acid with anti-fungal properties thought to dissolve the yeast cell membranes and render them unable to reproduce. The patient may need to take this supplement in combination with acidophilus and psyllium powder for 1 to 2 months. Dosage: 500-1,000 mg 3-4 times a day.
  3. OIL OF OREGANO
    Oil of oregano has been shown to have powerful anti-microbial properties. It contains a powerful antiseptic and anti-fungal compound. Dosage: place 2-4 drops of wild oregano oil under the tongue daily. Take 2-4 oral capsules (about 50 mg each) for 1-3 months, or as directed.
  4. VITAMIN C with QUERCETIN
    Vitamin C with quercetin has strong antioxidant effects and builds immunity. It speeds healing and reduces the effects of food allergies and inflammation. Dosage: supplement vitamin C in high doses (1000-4000 mg daily). The buffered form is preferred. Quercetin: 500mg twice a day, 30 minutes before meals.
  5. OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT
    Olive leaf extract presents a viable anti-microbial alternative against a variety of common bacterial infections. It has been proven effective against common candidiasis yeast infections, jock itch, tinea capitis and fungal infections of the nails. Dosage: 500 mg once or twice a day. Use in combination with a probiotic.
  6. GARLIC
    Garlic is the only antibiotic that can actually kill infecting bacteria and at the same time protect the body from the poisons that are causing the infections. Take a potent dose each day. Garlic can strengthen the immune system as an integral part of preventing yeast infections. It seems to ‘starve’ the
    Candida microbes.
  7. GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT
    Grapefruit seed extract is another powerful herb that fights
    Candida overgrowth and rids the body of harmful microorganisms.  Dosage: As instructed on package.
  8. DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
    Digestive enzymes have an indispensable role in their ability to literally digest Candida cell walls. Enzymes also resolve digestive inflammation. Dosage: 2 tablets 3 times a day with or before meals.
  9. ECHINACEA, GOLDENSEAL, CRANBERRY and BARBERRY
    These are well known herbs that support the immune system and have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects.  Dosage: See package.
  10. ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (OMEGA 3,6 FATTY ACIDS)
    Essential fatty acids are effective in healing and preventing fungus from destroying cells. Take both Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils including flaxeed oil, black currant seeds, and evening primrose oil.  Dosage: 1,000-4,000 mg daily, or as directed.
  11. ANTIOXIDANT THERAPY
    Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, pycnogenol, and beta carotene are important for immune function and decreasing infections from bacteria, virus, or fungus.  Dosage:  As directed by practitioner.
  12. PAU D’ARCO TEA
    This tea is recommended by some herbalists for its strong yeast-fighting action.  It has a long traditional use in the Brazilian Amazon among indigenous people to fight fungus.  Dosage: As directed.  Also available in capsules. 
  13. PROTEASE
    Protease is important in helping to assure that none of the toxic byproducts produced as the
    Candida dies off are able to exert poisonous effects in the blood. Dosage: As directed.
  14. ALOE VERA JUICE
    Oral consumption of aloe vera juice has been shown to boost the white blood cells’ ability to kill yeast cells.  Dosage: 1-3 ounces daily. Aloe vera juice may have a laxative effect.
  15. HOMEOPATHICS
    Correctly chosen homeopathic remedies boost the immune system and act fast to resolve infections. Take each of the following homeopathic remedies in 30c potency: Cantharis is the most popular remedy for bladder infections; Nux vomica is ideal when urgency is the primary symptoms; Pulsatilla is a common remedy for pain associated with bladder infections; Sarsaparilla is useful when the primary symptom is burning pain. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.                                              
  16. HERBAL DOUCHES
    A douche mixed with such herbs as oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage is an effective treatment to treat vaginal yeast.
  17. MILK THISTLE
    If oral anti-fungal drugs are prescribed (i.e. DiFlucan, Lamisil, Sporanox) it is advisable to supplement with milk thistle to enhance liver function that is compromised by these potent drugs.  Dosage:  1-3 capsules daily. 

Dealing With An Active Vaginal Yeast Infection

One-celled yeasts, called Candida albicans, can cause an irritating vaginal discharge accompanied by redness and swelling that can result in unbearable itching. For some women a clear or cheesy discharge is merely annoying. And yet, Candida and their relatives are normal inhabitants of a healthy vagina. It is the bacteria Lactobacilli that helps to keep the vagina in a normal state of acidity.

Keep in mind that yeast lives in harmony with other organisms until the environment is disrupted. Changes due to drugs, poor diet, repeated intercourse, menopause, or emotional upset may set the stage for Candida to multiply out of control and create an irritating discharge.

A healthy vagina needs an environmentally friendly pH of 4 to 4.5. Yeast overgrowth begins at 5.5, and irritation is noted as the pH rises. The fungus Candida albicans plays a role in altering pH.  Balance of pH in the vaginal area can be adversely affected by diets high in refined sugar, drugs such as antibiotics, contraceptives, medicated douches, and certain vaginal medications. The pH of semen is 9.0, and one session of intercourse can increase vaginal pH for 8 hours. A neutral pH of 7.0 allows yeast to thrive.  Lactobacillus helps maintain healthy vaginal pH, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Treatment for yeast infections focuses on curbing the overgrowth of yeast and on creating a healthy home. [can you reword this? your meaning is unclear] To do this, first nourish the good bacteria by healthy eating. Keep the blood sugar stable by avoiding sugar, alcohol, refined or junk food, cola, bread, and high-glycemic carbohydrates such as fruit juices and potatoes. Drink lots of purified water.

SUPPLEMENT PROTOCOL

  1. ACIDOPHILUS and LACTOBACILLUS
    Acidophilus fights Candida infections, but use the non-dairy probiotics (a variety of Lactobacillus) orally 3 times a day for 2-3 weeks. Acidophilus will restore the normal “friendly” bacteria to the vaginal area. Some women insert 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt vaginally for a few nights.
  2. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
    Apple cider vinegar can be made into a douche. Dosage: 4 tablespoons in a quart of warm water daily for 2-3 weeks.
  3. BORIC ACID CAPSULES
    If the infection is stubborn, use boric acid capsules (600mg in 00 capsules) inserted high in the vagina every day for 2-3 weeks.
  4. GARLIC
    Garlic has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial as well as anti-viral properties. Eat 2 cloves of garlic daily or take a commercial oral dose as directed on the package.
  5. VITAMIN C WITH BIOFLAVONOIDS (QUERCETIN)
    Vitamin C and quercetin improve the immune system and build immunity. Dosage: 1,000-2,000 mg daily; Quercetin 500-1,000 mg daily.
  6. GRAPESEED EXTRACT
    Grapeseed extract can be an excellent body deodorizer.  Place a few drops of extract under the tongue or mixed in juice every day.
  7. HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES
    Correctly chosen homeopathic remedies boost the immune system and act fast to resolve infections. Take each of the following homeopathic remedies in 30c potency: Cantharis is the most popular remedy for bladder infections; Nux vomica is ideal when urgency is the primary symptoms; Putsatilla is a common remedy for pain associated with bladder infections; Sarasparilla is useful when the primary symptom is burning pain. 
  8. ECHINACEA, GOLDENSEAL, PAU D’ARCO
    These are herbs that will enhance your immune system. They can be taken in a tea form or via capsules.
  9. CRANBERRIES or BLUEBERRIES
    These berries are beneficial for their albumin content which aids in destroying fungal infections. Beware that these berries are also loaded with sugar, which can promote bacterial growth.

NOTE: Prescription drugs like Nystatin, Ketoconazole, Itraconazole (Diflucan) may be necessary for severe cases. Use for short periods and continue to follow nutritional protocol.

 

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Lahoz, S.C. Conquer Candida Naturally. Alive #231, January 2002. P. 82-83.

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