Heal Yeast Candida Naturally
Candida Albicans is a strain of opportunistic yeast that naturally lives on the skin, and inside the body such as mouth, throat, vagina and in the digestive tracts. In low amounts, it coexists with many other kinds of microorganisms and make up our gut microbiome. (1)
However, some species of Candida can cause infection also known as Candidiasis. The two most common types of Candida include Candida Albicans, Candida Glabrata and Aspergillus fumigates.
Candida can cause many different kinds of symptoms if it grows out of control or if it enters into the deeper mucous membranes of the body. In some people yeast overgrowth can cause infections in the bloodstream or internal organs like the kidney, heart, or brain. (2)
In today’s article we are going to review the common causes of yeast overgrowth, the symptoms of a yeast infection, how to test for yeast overgrowth and finally some of the best natural herbs and supplements that can be used to overcome the symptoms.
What causes infection by Candida albicans?
Causes of infection by Candida albicans include:
- Having uncontrolled diabetes.
- Having a weak immune system.
- Eating a diet with excess refined carbohydrates, yeast, alchol and sugar.
- Taking antibiotics, steroids, hormones, or oral contraceptives.
Is Candida albicans contagious?
Many people are fearful of catching Candida from their loved ones who might have a yeast infection.
Normally, yeast infections are not contagious, but Candida albicans infections have the potential to spread to different hosts if you have a weakened immune system or if you are taking certain medications. It is unlikely that you will spread a Candida albicans infection if you are healthy.
You do want to exercise caution if you come into contact with someone who has a yeast infection in their mouth (thrush), or vaginal/penal yeast. In these cases, it makes sense to avoid oral and vaginal/penal contact.
What tests diagnose infections by Candida albicans?
Depending on the type of infection, your healthcare provider will test the infection to further diagnose the issue to offer a specific treatment plan. Tests for Candida albicans include:
Comprehensive Stool Test
A comprehensive stool test will test for Candida Albicans overgrowth and help rule out possible reasons for the candida overgrowth, such as dysbiosis or inflammatory markers leading to other health-related illnesses caused by the candida. Retesting a few months into care allows for any modification that may be needed. The best part of a stool test is that it can detect natural agents that will provide the greatest therapeutic benefit.
SIBO Breath Test
If you suspect candida overgrowth, it’s also essential to rule out SIBO. SIBO, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the small intestine, is commonly found in patients with candida overgrowth. Often people who have SIBO also have fungal or yeast overgrowth (SIFO). I wrote an article called 7 Tips To Healing Both Candida and SIBO. Leaving SIBO untreated can further complicate treatment if not addressed. Learn more about SIBO testing.
A candida profile blood test is another way to rule out candida an IgG, IgA, or IgM reaction to the fungus. This way of testing is not as inclusive as a stool test; therefore, it is usually added alongside a comprehensive gut health test, food sensitivity test, or SIBO test.
Your healthcare provider will swab the infected area with sterile cotton and examine the yeast and bacteria under a microscope.
Organic Acid Test or OAT test
Organic acids are chemical compounds excreted in our urine. Organic acids in urine are often present at 100 times their concentration in the blood so they are more easily detectable in the urine. The Organic Acids Test(OAT) by Great Plains Laboratory is a reliable and accurate test for various fungal toxins, including specific markers for Candida.
While many labs have an organic acids test, the Great Plains OAT has some additional Candida markers we like to look at when we are primary concern is Candida overgrowth.
The OAT looks at 9 yeast and fungal markers including
- Citramalic Acid,
- Carboxycitric, and
- Tricarballyic Acid
The Great Plains Comprehensive OAT is a great test offering an extensive metabolic snapshot of a person’s overall health.
Functional Medicine Treatment for Candida
Treatment protocols and antifungal prescriptions vary depending on where the candida has overgrown. But one thing all candida overgrowth treatments have in common is to follow a version of the “Anti Candida or Anti-inflammatory Diet.”
overgrowth. These tests look for
Best Diet For Candida Overgrowth
“The Anti-Candida Diet” is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health. The diet includes non-starchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, non-glutinous grains, fermented foods, and healthy proteins.”
Probiotics for Candida Overgrowth
Good quality probiotics containing lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri , Lactobacillus acidophilus,and biofilm disruptors derived from BetaGlucans have been shown repeatedly to reduce candida infections as well as break down Candida Biofilms. A comprehensive stool test can further help identify which probiotics your gut microbiome is deficient in.
Supplements for Candida Overgrowth
Caprylic acid, oregano oil, garlic, Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE), Black Walnut husk, Golden seal rootand berberine have been shown in studies to be effective treatments for candida overgrowth.
I suggest utilizing the GI Effects comprehensive stool test for a more personalized approach. This assessment will show which prescriptive and natural agents were effective at inhibiting the growth of the candida specific to the patient’s microbiome.
How Do I Manage symptoms of Candida albicans infection?
Managing your symptoms starts with cleaning up your internal environment. The old saying is that “flies don’t garbage.” Flies are attracted to an overflowing garbage can. In the same way, taking care of your symptoms starts with eliminating environments where Candida thrives and is attracted. You can take steps to manage symptoms by:
- Candida Herbs
- Candida Diet- Avoid foods such as refined carbohydrates, yeast or foods high in sugar, eliminate dairy, Deli meat, canola oil, Soybean oil, margarine, eliminate all alcohol including beer and wine, high sugar fruits (dates, raisins, bananas, mangoes, grapes), Nuts, Cheese, etc.
- Reduce your daily stress.
- Treat the infection with medication and or Natural Herbs as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Manage your overall health and treat underlying health conditions.
How can I prevent Candida albicans from Returning?
Candida can at times be very difficult to treat long term and much of this has to do with several scenarios. It’s not only the infection itself that needs attention, but we need to ask questions like why yeast overgrowth or infection is there in the first place, what toxins are being produced, what is the impact on the liver’s detoxification pathways, how is the immune system being affected, we need to consider the biofilms that Yeast and fungus create, and the individual hosts immune response.
Many things encourage growth and the main things we initially focus in on with our patients include sugar diet, yeast diet, diabetes, birth control pills or oral estrogens, pregnancy, hormonal changes, low stomach acid or hypochlorhydria, menstrual cycle irregularities, impaired liver function, altered bowel flora, chemotherapy and cancer, steroids, and antibiotics.
Candida species are capable or producing more than 400 different toxins when it is alive and even more when colonies start dying off. This is why candida die off can be problematic for so many people. Some of the most important metabolic byproducts of yeast include. Acetaldehyde, Gliotoxin and Urea.
- Acetaldehyde: Acetaldehyde, the first metabolite of alcohol and for years has been proposed to be the carcinogenic substance behind ethanol-related oral cancers. High levels of acetaldehyde are formed from ethanol in saliva by the oral flora. Yeasts are common bacteria in the oral cavity. Because yeast can oxidize alcohol, they are capable of providing potential source of acetaldehyde from ethanol. (3,). High levels of acetaldehyde lead to oxidative stress and inflammation. This damages the DNA and increases the risk of cancer development (4, 5, 6).
This study shows that some C. albicans strains have a marked capacity to produce toxic and carcinogenic acetaldehyde from ethanol (7). There is also evidence that the toxin acetaldehyde is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (8).
- Gliotoxin: Another major mycotoxin produced by several species of yeast and mold including Candida Albicans, Candida Glabrata and Aspergillus fumigatus is gliotoxin 9).
Why Yeast and Mold Gliotoxins are Bad
- Suppresses the immune system and kills key immune cells ie Monocytes, Neutrophils, T- cells, Mast cells, (10).
- Gliotoxins destroys liver cells, which impairs the livers ability to deactivate toxins (11,12).
- Slow down ciliary action and damage the epithelium of the respiratory tract leading to respiratory infections.
- Gliotoxins are toxic to the astrocytes and oligodendrocytes found in the nerve system. Several studies have found that gliotoxin is high in patients with MS (multiple sclerosis), an autoimmune disease that effects the nervous system and brain (13,14, 15). These are just 2 of 70 highly toxic metabolites.
- Gliotoxins also prevents the formation of blood clots and thins blood (16). When the blood becomes thinner, Toxins are allowed to travel more freely through the bloodstream and giving it the ability to be able to access areas of the body where it couldn’t normally go.
- Gliotoxin set the stage for cellular toxicity through the primary mechanism of reactive Oxygen species and Oxidative stress.
These toxins help Candida and Aspergillus also create biofilms. A Biofilm consists of microorganisms encased within a self-produced matrix of exopolysaccharides and exoproteins.
Microorganisms residing within biofilms are highly resistant to antimicrobials including antibiotics and bacteriocins produced by probiotics. Studies have found that once a yeast forms a biofilm around itself—the biofilm increases the production of acetaldehyde and gliotoxin (17).
This is why it is so important to find strategies to heal candida, which dramatically will reduce your inflammatory load. Learn more about biofilms and why I recommend biofilm disruptors in treatment here
These are just a few reasons why this yeast can be so hard to eradicate. There is no way to heal candida and reduce your microbial load long-term without successfully accomplishing and considering some of these strategies you see below.
Preventing an overgrowth of Candida albicans by:
- Anti-inflammatory Diet or Anti-Candida Diet- This diet provides little to no sugar. Sugar feeds yeast and mold and allows them to grow and proliferate. Starve them of their fuel sources and it slows their growth.
- Anti-Microbial Support: Nature provides herbs that naturally kill off Candida. I have created a Candida Support Pack that can help eliminate Yeast overgrowth. These are key tools to reducing your yeast load to heal candida overgrowth. Don’t Forget to use biofilm disruptors.
- Improve Liver Function: Many of the toxins produced by Candida easily overwhelm the bodies detoxification pathways. A Sluggish liver leads to chronic inflammation and immune dysyfunction
- Strengthen the Immune System:Candida overgrowth can easily overwhelm our Antioxidant pathways. Correcting underlying patterns of Oxidative stress can go a long way in supporting the immune system. Secretory IgA levels are initial elevated with yeast overgrowth but over time, we see depressed IgA levels. The immune system must be supported to prevent yeast from returning.
- Gut Lining: Biofilms as well as the toxins produced by Yeast and Mold can lead to a leaky gut. Supporting the gut lining, maintaining motility with key nutrients, and inoculating the gut with healthy microbes is essential for long-term health.
- Hormones. Many women in menopause experience a surge in yeast infections. As you go through menopause, you may notice that your vaginal tissue dries out in response to imbalances in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels.Not only can this affect libido and cause sex to become more painful, but estrogen dominance increases the likelihood of yeast infection.
- Medications- Yeast infections are common in women who take antibiotics. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, which kill a range of bacteria, also kill healthy bacteria in your vagina, and intestinal tract leading to overgrowth of pathogenic yeast. High levels of estrogen cause Candida to overgrow. If taking the pill, find other ways to correct hormonal imbalances or prevent fertilization. If taking HRT- have your levels monitored every 4-6 months to be sure you don’t develop estrogen dominance.
- Sexual contact- Avoiding sexual and oral intercourse with someone who has vaginal/penal or oral yeast overgrowth.
Candida Signs & Symptoms
Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Many women will develop a yeast infection at some point in their life, but if you suffer from frequent yeast infections, it may be time to consider candida overgrowth(candidiasis).
UTI’s are commonly caused by bacteria, but Candida Albicans is an opportunistic yeast pathogen that can take hold in woman who has a long history of chronic antibiotic use. Chronic UTI are usually secondary to Candida albicans or fungal pathogens.
Other symptoms seen in woman with chronic yeast infections include PMS, sexual dysfunction, dyspareunia, vulvodynia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and infertility. Woman between the ages of 20 to 50 are the most effected.
A clean catch urinalysis test can help rule out if the symptoms you are experiencing are from bacteria or from yeast. Before you start taking antibiotics, its best to do this in an effort to prevent antibiotic resistance.
The overgrowth of candida in the GI tract can lead to many of the typical IBS you may be familiar with. In the beginning symptoms include bloating and feeling full all the time, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. As the overgrowth advances, candida can weaken the mucosal lining the gut causing a leak gut.
Further research and studies show that an overgrowth of candida is also associated with inflammatory bowel conditions (IBD) including gastric ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
Thrush is the most common symptom seen in adults and infants who have been on an antibiotic. Thrush is thick white to yellow coating on your tongue or the roof of your mouth. Oral Thrush is a sign you have candida overgrowth.
Chronic Skin Infections or Nail Infections
The skin normally hosts a variety of germs, including bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body, some produce no harm or benefit, and some can cause harmful infections. Sometime, the fungi can make their way beneath the skin or nail’s surface and cause an infection.
Since candida loves warm, moist environments, the infections often form between skin creases or folds like the armpit, groin, torso, or under the breasts. Diaper rash is a classic example seen in infants. Candida infection is also particularly common in people with diabetes and in those who are obese.
Other Candida Symptoms to Be aware of.
- Itchy ears and skin rashes,
- Respiratory infections and Chronic sinusitis
- Low Energy and chronic Fatigue
- Oxalate Sensitivity.
- Brain Fog, ADHD, concentration problems or poor memory
- Digestive Problems such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Auto-Immune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Scleroderma
- Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
- Skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives
- Anxiety, depression, mood swings, and irritability
- Vaginal infections, UTI’s, rectal or vaginal itching
- Strong sugar cravings