Everything you need to know about candida overgrowth and how to eliminate it naturally

Candida is the term most often used to describe chronic yeast growth. It’s more commonly referred to as a yeast infection, with the medical term being candidiasis. This dimorphic fungus is always present in the body, usually without negative side effects. However, when it grows out of control, it causes various complications and if left untreated, can even cause death. Candida lives on the skin and in the intestinal flora but can infect various parts of the body. Poor diet, antibiotics, steroid therapy, and chemotherapy multiply the probability of candidiasis. Candida infection also commonly occurs in diabetic and/or obese people.

Ordinarily, the candida population is kept in balance by the friendly bacteria in the intestines. However, when the immune system is compromised, candida begins to replicate and dominates the friendly bacteria. Candida overgrowth produces toxins that cause the immune system to struggle, especially if the individual is weakened or under stress. Anyone can develop a candida infection. The elderly, critically ill, and individuals with a weakened immune system, such as those suffering from HIV/AIDS or those taking immunosuppressive medication, are at higher risk. There are a wide range of side effects caused by candida overgrowth, from abdominal pain to headaches and fatigue to depression. Below we’ll discuss the various types of candida infection and various effective natural remedies for candida that can be used without negative side effects.

What are the various types of candida infections?

Oral thrush

When it affects the mouth and esophagus, candida overgrowth is known as oropharyngeal candidiasis or thrush. Oral thrush most commonly affects infants, the elderly, chemotherapy patients, and people with AIDS or other conditions that weaken the immune system. If left untreated, oral thrush can travel upwards into the nasal cavities, causing fungal sinusitis.

Symptoms for oral thrush include:

Difficulty swallowing
Discomfort in the mouth area
Lesions at the corners of the mouth
Redness in the mouth area
Sore throat
White coating of the tongue
White spots on the tongue
White spots on the walls of the mouth

Fungal sinusitis

Fungal sinusitis is the overgrowth of fungus in the nasal cavity. Fungal sinusitis can be caused by any fungi present in the nasal cavity. However, in this article we will be discussing fungal sinusitis caused by candida overgrowth. Individuals suffering from thrush can develop fungal sinusitis when candida travels from the esophagus and mouth into the nasal cavity. Depending on the degree of the infection, fungal sinusitis can be classified as either invasive or non-invasive. Diabetic individuals and those whom are immunocompromised tend to develop invasive fungal sinusitis which is denoted by infection of the submucosal tissue. This often leads to necrosis and destruction of the tissue. In these individuals, fungal sinusitis has a rapid onset. Invasive fungal sinusitis can extend past the sinus tissue and bone and ultimately move into the brain and eyes. Early detection and treatment are crucial for these infection due to the high mortality rate. Treatment for fungal sinusitis often calls for systemic anti-fungal therapy as well as the removal of infected tissue. Fungal sinusitis can be acute or chronic and can last couple months or years if left untreated.

Symptoms of fungal sinusitis may include:

Cough
Discharge
Facial pressure
Headache
Nasal stuffiness

Genital yeast infection

Candida overgrowth in the genital area is most commonly referred to as a yeast infection. In women, a vaginal yeast infection is known as vulvovaginal candidiasis. Yeast infections in the genitals are common because candida thrives in warm, moist environments. They occur when there is an overgrowth of candida in the genital area. In women, hormone imbalance and a change in the acidity of the vagina can also cause candida overgrowth. If left untreated, genital candida overgrowth can spread upwards past the urinary tract and into the esophagus and mouth.

Symptoms of genital candidiasis in women include:

Burning
Itching
Difficulty urinating
Thick, white vaginal discharge

Symptoms of genital candidiasis in men develop around the head of the penis and the foreskin.

Symptoms include:

Red skin
Swelling
Irritation
Soreness
Itchy rash
Inflammation (balanitis)
White patches on skin
Pain when passing urine
Pain during intercourse
Difficulty pulling back the foreskin (phimosis)
Thick, lumpy discharge under the foreskin, accompanied by an unpleasant oder

Cutaneous candidiasis

Candida can also infect the skin, this is known as cutaneous candidiasis. Diaper rash is the most common type example of cutaneous candidiasis. Warm, moist skin is the perfect environment for candida to thrive. Candida in the skin most often affects crease areas such as the underarms, groin, under the breasts, and in between the fingers and toes. Cutaneous candidiasis also includes infection of the hair and nails. Candida infection of the nails can infect anyone but most commonly affects the elderly and those who are diabetic. Candidiasis of the nails is characterized by thickening on the nail itself while simultaneously becoming brittle and ultimately detaching from the nail bed. Keeping the skin dry and open to air is very important in preventing infection. Drying powders may also be used to help prevent infection.

Symptoms of cutaneous candidiasis include:

Infection of the hair follicles
Itching
Redness and swelling around the nails
Thick and brittle nails
Discharge from the nail
Yellowing of the nail bed
Red skin rash in the:
skin folds
genital area
middle of the body
buttocks
under breasts
other areas of the skin

Intestinal candidiasis

High levels of candida colonization in the gastrointestinal tract are associated with various GI disease and some allergic reactions. Candida overgrowth in the GI tract promotes inflammation and can lead to irritable bowl syndrome and leaky gut syndrome. Probiotics are essential for eliminating intestinal candida overgrowth. Probiotics help rebalance the intestinal flora, thereby suppressing candida colonization. Candida has the ability to change the structure of its cell membrane in order to escape the effect of single drug therapy, this mechanism is known as switching; it mutates from yeast into a fungal form. In its fungal form, it creates branching threads called mycelia which it utilizes to penetrate the mucous membrane of the intestinal tract. It is much more difficult to eliminate in its mycelial form.

Invasive candidiasis

Perhaps the most serious type of candida infection is invasive candidiasis, also known as systemic candidiasis. This type of candida overgrowth can affect the blood, brain, bones, eyes, heart, and other parts of the body. Candida infection of the bloodstream is a type of invasive candidiasis known as candidemia. The fatality rate of candidemia is 50%-60% and should therefore, not be taken lightly.

What causes candida overgrowth

This fungus resides inside the gastrointestinal tract and on the skin. Candida overgrowth is most commonly caused by poor diet and the use of antibiotics.

Causes of candida overgrowth include:

Alcohol
Antibiotics
Drugs
High levels of stress
Oral contraceptives
A diet high in refined sugar and carbs

The use of antibiotics kills the friendly bacteria in the intestines, thus leaving candida plenty of room to thrive. Candida then begins to replicate rapidly. The use of alcohol, drugs, oral contraceptives, and a diet high in sugar and carbs, and high levels of stress also produces these results. In every one of these scenarios, the friendly bacteria count is lowered and candida takes over.

Candida thrives on sugar

Many individuals suffer from candida overgrowth and are not aware. Some physicians may not recognize the systemic issues that candida causes and misdiagnose the problem or simply think nothing is wrong. In order to eliminate candida overgrowth the first thing one must do is eliminate processed sugars and carbohydrates, which are quickly broken down into sugar when digested. It is a well known fact that candida feeds off sugar but the pathology is less written about. According to a 2011 research study, candida needs sugar to build its cell walls. The study also stated that carbohydrates are ‘indispensable’ for cellular growth and for the transformation between yeast and fungal forms. The change from yeast to fungal forms allows candida to weaken and penetrate to intestinal wall, thus causing leaky gut syndrome. Sugar allows candida to grow, quickly spread through the intestinal tract, and protect itself from your immune system.
Dairy and alcohol should also be avoided and fruit should be limited to two servings a day. When trying to naturally eliminate candida, a diet primarily based on protein, good fats, and vegetables should be used. Individuals who are overweight may be able to more quickly eliminate candida by losing weight. For those who suffer from diabetes, proper blood sugar control may be very helpful in eliminating candida.

Diagnosing candida overgrowth

Long term use of anesthesia, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and steroids will most likely cause candida overgrowth. A diet high in refined sugars, carbs, and dairy is also very likely to produce a candida infection. Various types of blood tests are available for diagnosing candida infection. These blood tests can also test the level of candida infection by measuring the amount of candida antibodies present in the blood. These same tests can be done to monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

Eliminating candida overgrowth naturally

Since candida has the ability to switch forms, a combination of treatments is necessary in order to control it. Treatment should not be stopped after beginning and should be consistent and thorough. The candida organism is very resistant and can bury itself deep into the tissues by switching into its fungal form, because of this most candida infections are well established. Therefore, to effectively eliminate overgrowth, treatment should last from a few months up to a year, in most cases. It’s critical to proceed slowly with treatment and target all areas affected with candida overgrowth simultaneously. As with any treatment, it is important to remember to use caution when implementing a natural remedy. Cleansing the body of candida too quickly can cause toxicity from candida die-off. When candida dies it releases 79 different toxins. These toxins are metabolic byproducts that overwhelm the body causing one to experience flu-like symptoms, this is known as the Herxheimer Reaction. Typically, the individual will assume the treatment is making them sick so they will stop treatment. It is vital to continue with treatment during this period. This flu-like symptom stage is caused by toxins from ruptured yeast cells. This is why it is so crucial to proceed slowly with treatment. The body will need time, energy, and resources to eliminate all of the dead yeast cells once treatment beings.
In order to effectively eliminate candida, a multi-step plan must be implemented:

Deny it food (sugar)
Alkalize the body
Promote its natural enemy ‘good bacteria’
Use natural anti-fungals

Candida die-off symptoms include:

Bloating
Chills
Cold hands and feet
Constipation
Diarrhea
Dizziness
Elevated heart rate
Fatigue
Fever
Gas
Headache
Hives
Nausea
Rashes
Recurring prostate, vaginal, or sinus infection.
Skin breakouts
Sweating
Swollen glands

Additionally, some individuals have reported experiencing light-headedness, depression, tightness of the chest, muscle aches, nightmares, and night sweats.

Die-off symptoms are a sign that the treatment is working. Treatment is completed when there is no relapse after treatment is withdrawn. Once treatment is completed, dosages should be reduced slowly. It is also important to continue or start treatment for the immune system since it too will need to recover to help keep candida under control. Eliminating candida overgrowth does not undo the damage to the immune system. It takes a few years to rebuild the immune system’s resistance to candida overgrowth. Special attention should be paid for the return of subtle symptoms. If symptoms do return, treatment should be resumed fully. When treatment has stopped, a diet low in refined sugars, carbs, and dairy should be maintained.

Candida overgrowth can affect various family members at once. For this reason it it advisable that everyone be examined for infection and be treated if necessary. Otherwise, the individual being treated will repeatedly be re-exposed. Candida can be passed between sexual partners as well. If left untreated, candida overgrowth will keep spreading and break down the body’s ability to fight off disease.

Natural remedies for candida overgrowth

Coconut oil for candida overgrowth

Coconut oil is one of the best and most inexpensive natural remedies for candida overgrowth. It contains three fatty acids (capric acid, lauric acid, caprylic acid) all of which help eliminate candida overgrowth. Caprylic acid has been proven to be the most powerful of the three. It disrupts the yeast’s cell wall by essentially poking holes in its membrane. Once the cell membrane has been disrupted, it begins to shrink and disintegrate. One study cited “Coconut oil should be used in the treatment of fungal infections in view of emerging drug-resistant Candida species.” One of the greatest benefits of using coconut oil as a natural remedy for candida, is that candida doesn’t become resistant to coconut oil like it does to other anti-fungal drugs. A recent study found coconut oil to be very efficient in reducing candida stating “Extrapolating to humans, these findings suggest that coconut oil could become the first dietary intervention to reduce C. albicans GI colonization.”

Coconut oil recommended dosage

Soft gels or capsules are the best options for candida overgrowth, particularly when the infection lies in the gastrointestinal tract. The soft gel/capsule coating allows the coconut oil to pass through the stomach undigested and be delivered into the intestinal area where is it most needed. As stated above it’s best to start candida overgrowth treatment slowly so begin by taking one soft gel comprised of 1,000 mg of coconut oil three times a day before meals. This dosage can be used for the first two weeks; after that, raise the dosage working up to 2 soft gels three times a day like so:

Week 1 & 2
1 soft gel 3 times a day before meals

Week 3
2 soft gels in the morning before meals
1 soft gel in the afternoon before meals
1 soft gel at night before meals

Week 4
2 soft gels in the morning before meals
2 soft gels in the afternoon before meals
1 soft gel at night before meals

Week 5+
2 soft gels in the morning before meals
2 soft gels in the afternoon before meals
2 soft gels at night before meals

Nature’s Answer has high quality extra virgin coconut oil soft gels and they’re suitable for vegetarians. For vegan options, try Deva virgin coconut oil capsules, it’s also high quality and effective.

Raw coconut oil is a great option for candida overgrowth in the mouth and esophagus, also known as oropharyngeal candidiasis or thrush. Swishing with 1 table spoon of coconut oil for 10-20 minutes can instantly start fighting infection. This is also known as ‘oil pulling’ and has many additional health benefits. Oil pulling with coconut oil can be done up to 3 times a day. Raw coconut oil can also be ingested, we just recommend this be done separately so the toxins that were pulled out during swishing to not get put back into the body. Raw coconut oil can be found at most local health food stores.

Probiotics naturally balance candida overgrowth

Probiotics are extremely beneficial against candida overgrowth. A 1998 study showed probiotics suppress the growth of candida in multiple areas of the body and prevent candida from binding to cell surfaces. Antibiotics prescribed to kill pathogenic bacteria also kill beneficial bacteria in the intestinal flora. This leads to candida overgrowth as well as other disease including leaky gut syndrome. Re-establishing the natural balance of the intestinal flora with beneficial bacteria naturally eliminates candida overgrowth and brings candida to its normal, controlled level. Women who suffer from multiple yeast infections yearly should especially consider taking probiotics as antibiotics also destroy the beneficial bacteria in the flora of the vagina, this puts women at risk of developing yeast infections. Thus, probiotics are strongly recommended after a course of antibiotics.

Probiotics recommended dosage

For mild candida infection use the following dosage:
Week 1+
2 capsules in the morning 20 minutes before meals
1 capsule in the afternoon 20 minutes before meals
1 capsule at night 20 minutes before meals

For chronic candida infection use the following dosage:

Week 1+2
2 capsules in the morning 20 minutes before meals
1 capsule in the afternoon 20 minutes before meals
1 capsule at night 20 minutes before meals

Week 3
2 capsules in the morning 20 minutes before meals
2 capsules in the afternoon 20 minutes before meals
1 capsule at night 20 minutes before meals

Week 4+
2 capsules in the morning 20 minutes before meals
2 capsules in the afternoon 20 minutes before meals
2 capsule at night 20 minutes before meals

For best results, we recommend Deva Nutrition Vegan Probiotic Capsules. They are a high quality probiotic that produce fast results and are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Barberry Root

This natural anti-fungal contains berberine, the compound that has been proven to have broad antibacterial and antifungal activity. Due to the increased number of fungal infections and the incidence of fungal antibiotic resistance berberine was studied as a potential antifungal. In one 2016 study berberine was found to be more effective against candida than fluconazole— an antifungal commonly prescribed to treat fungal infections. Berberine was used to treat fluconazole-resistant candida and was found to “cause alterations to the integrity of the plasma and mitochondrial membranes and DNA damage, which led to cell death”. The results showed significant reductions of candida cells. In some studies berberine extract has been shown to have significant antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and yeasts. Barberry also contains high level of vitamin C, which helps balance the body’s pH. Most individuals have a pH that is too acidic which is complimentary to disease.

Baberry root recommended dosage

Take 2ml in 2 ounces of water, three times a day, 10 minutes before meals.

For best results use Nature’s Answer Barberry Root extract, it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Keep in mind these are only recommended dosages. Every individual is different and will experience different results. It’s best to listen to your body and lower or increase dosage depending on how your body responds. Regular exercise and a healthy diet low in refined carbs, sugar, and dairy will help with a speedy recovery. Candida overgrowth is quite aggressive, therefore, it’s best to use all three natural remedies mentioned above. Raw cranberry juice and/ or cranberry capsules can also be used off and on throughout the cleanse in order to boost candida die-off. Introducing different natural anti-yeast/ antifungals throughout the cleanse keeps candida from switching. Try introducing one of the natural anti-yeast/ antifungal remedies listed below for 2-3 weeks then switch to a new one.

Black walnut (capsules/ extract) – antifungal/ antiparasitic
Caprylic Acid (capsules) – kills fungus on contact
Colloidal silver (liquid) – natural antiseptic
Essential Fatty Acids (gel caps)– prevents fungus from destroying healthy cells
Garlic (capsules) – antifungal/ antiparasitic
Ginger (capsules/ tea/ raw)– antibacterial/ antifungal
Golden seal and Echinacea (capsules/ extract) – antibacterial/ antifungal (take for two weeks at a time then break for two weeks)
Pau D’Arco (capsules/ tea) – antiviral/ antibacterial/ antifungal

Sources for this article include:
https://www.nlm.nih.gov
http://www.mayoclinic.org
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
http://mmbr.asm.org
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
http://www.healthhealingwellness.com.au
http://cid.oxfordjournals.org
http://www.bioline.org
http://msphere.asm.org
https://appliedhealth.com
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Disclaimer: Our services and information do not diagnose or prescribe for disease conditions. Individuals are encouraged to seek competent medical help when those services may be indicated. Individuals accept total responsibility for their own health care and maintenance.