What is Candida?
The yeast Candida albicans is a yeast that normally lives harmlessly in small numbers in the body, controlled by beneficial bacteria in the body and the immune system.
If the beneficial bacteria are killed by antibiotics, or if a person's immune system becomes weakened, Candida can grow unchecked and cause symptoms.
Localized infections, such as oral thrush, skin infections, and vaginal yeast infections in women can result. Widespread infection can occur in immunocompromised people.
Candida overgrowth in the intestines is thought to, in some cases, penetrate the intestinal wall, causing the yeast and other unwanted particles from being absorbed into the body. This is thought to activate the immune system, resulting in fatigue, headache, mood swings, poor memory and concentration, cravings for sweets, and has been linked to conditions such as fibromyalgia.
This condition, popularized by William Crook, MD in his 1983 book, The Yeast Connection, is considered very controversial. Most conventional doctors think this systemic condition is overdiagnosed and many disagree with the diagnosis.
Natural Remedies For Candida:
Alternative practitioners recommend individualized programs that usually combine diet and supplements. Supplements are introduced gradually to avoid a temporary worsening of symptoms called a "die-off" or Herxheimer reaction. This is because when candida are killed, they release protein fragments and toxins that can trigger an antibody response from the immune system.
Improvement in symptoms is usually noticed after two to four weeks.
The beneficial bacteria acidophillus is thought to control candida by making the intestinal tract more acidic, discouraging the growth of candida, and by producing hydrogen peroxide, which directly kills candida.
Reasearch has shown that supplementing with a hydrogen peroxide-producing strain of acidophillus, DDS-1 greatly reduced the incidence of antibiotic-induced yeast infections. These beneficial bacteria also help to restore the microbial balance within the digestive tract.
More about Acidophilus & Other Probiotics.
3) Enteric-coated essential oils
Enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other volatile oils are thought to prevent the overgrowth of candida. It is usually recommended for at least several months. A standard dosage is two capsules two times a day with water, in between meals. Pure volatile oils can be quite toxic in this amount so the liquid form of these oils should never be ingested, and the capsules should not be broken open before ingesting.
4) Enteric-coated garlic
Garlic capsules that have been enteric-coated to open when they reach the intestines are often be used in combination with the volatile oils. Once capsule two times per day taken with the enteric-coated volatile oil is a typical recommendation.
Other valuable supplements are caprylic acid from coconuts, oleic acid from olive oil, oregano oil, and pau d'arco. There are many combination products formulated for candida that contain these herbs and supplements.
Diet is an important part of the Candida cleanse. The length of time on the Candida cleanse depends on the length of time one has had symptoms, symptom severity, and overall health. People may notice improvement after strict adherence to the diet for two to four weeks. For others it takes months. Once symptoms are gone and lab tests show significant improvement, foods from the restricted list can be slowly incorporated back into the diet.
Limit daily carbohydrate intake - Sugar feeds Candida, so it is important to minimize the total carbohydrate content of one's diet. During the first 2 to 3 weeks of the program, it is often recommended that carbohydrate intake be restricted to 20 to 60 grams per day, depending on age, health, activity level, and extent of grain sensitivities. As symptoms disappear, the carbohydrate total can gradually increase. Foods that are low carb include protein foods such as meat, chicken, turkey, shellfish, some nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.