February 1, 2017

Candida is a type of fungus that is common in the body of a normal healthy person and is harmless. It is form of yeast and a very small amount of it lives in the human mouth and intestines. Its main job is to help out in the digestion and nutrient absorption. Most people have Candida in their vagina and lower intestinal tract.

If Candida is over produced, it can break down the wall of the intestine and penetrate the blood stream and prove to be toxic, by releasing toxic byproducts into the body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to numerous health problems – from digestive issues to depression.

Candida is the single most important cause of fungal infections worldwide. In the U.S., Candida is the 4th most common cause of various infections- including bloodstream, skin, vaginal infection etc. There are 17 different species of Candida. Of these, Candida albicans (C. albicans), C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis and C. tropicalis are the most common species.

How can Candida cause infection?

Candida is a pathogen that takes advantage of a disruption in the balance of microorganisms in the gut. This balance of ‘gut flora’ is a crucial part of the body’s immune system and digestive health, but it can easily be lost during periods of stress or after a course of antibiotics. When this balance is lost, the colonies of Candida are able to expand rapidly until they control a large portion of the gut.

Candida releases up to 79 different byproducts, including uric acid and a powerful neurotoxin named acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde causes chronic headaches and brain fog. Uric acid can cause joint pain and lead to gout if an excess builds up. Meanwhile, the change in the gut flora can lead to digestive problems, food intolerances, yeast infections and oral thrush.

Candida infections also tend to be more prevalent in –

  • Infants
  • People who are overweight
  • People with diabetes
  • Cases of iron or zinc deficiency
  • People who have recently undergone antibiotic therapy
  • People with underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroid)
  • People with inflammatory disorders
  • People with immunodeficiency
  • People working in wet conditions
  • Pregnant women


Few factors can cause the Candida population to grow out of control –

  • Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
  • Consuming a lot of alcohol
  • Taking oral contraceptives
  • Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods (like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles)
  • Living a high-stress lifestyle
  • Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria.

Three most common causes of Candida over growth:

  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics are may be the lifesavers, but they also come with serious side effects which should not be ignored. Antibiotics are often prescribed for illnesses that would quickly clear up with a little rest. Unfortunately, this has some major consequences for the digestive and immune systems. They do exactly what they are designed to do – kill bacteria. But the problem is that not all the bacteria in the body are harmful. A typical healthy adult carries around 500 strains of bacteria and as many as 100 trillion individual bacteria. Many of these bacteria play important roles in digesting your food and maintaining a healthy immune system. Since the colonies of Candida no longer face competition for the space and nutrients in the gut, they quickly multiply and expand. And as they grow, the amount of toxic byproducts they release grows too. This is how those Candida symptoms like chronic headaches and fatigue begin to develop.
  • Prolonged Stress – People who suffer from stress usually have to face physical changes caused by it to the body. Stress may be one of the major causes of disease in today’s society. And there are a couple of different ways in which stress can contribute to a Candida outbreak.
    • By increasing Blood Sugar
    • Weakening the immune System
  • High Sugar Diet – It’s important to note that it takes a long term, high-sugar diet to cause a Candida overgrowth, since it is what they thrive on.

Patients with low blood counts are at risk for a Candida infection. Their low blood counts can be the result of their disease or its treatments, such as stem cell transplants and chemotherapy (cancer-fighting drugs).



An infection can develop in almost any part of the body. The first sign of a serious fungal infection is usually a fever that does not go away when the patient takes antibiotics.

Symptoms vary depending on body location, but include the following:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
  • Feeling tired and worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  • Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives and rashes
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety or depression
  • Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  • Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
  • Celiac disease or Gluten intolerance


The treatments used to manage Candida infections vary substantially and are based on the anatomic location of the infection, the patients’ underlying disease and immune status, the patients’ risk factors for infection, the specific species of Candida responsible for infection, and, in some cases, the susceptibility of the Candida species to specific antifungal drugs.


  • Mild oral infections can be treated with either clotrimazole lozenges or a nystatin swish-and-swallow suspension, but may require oral fluconazole for moderate to severe and recurrent cases. It also involves use of mouthwash containing silver nanoparticles (SN). These medications involves side effects.
  • Infections of the skin is most often managed with topical antifungal agents of the azole class (e.g., bifonazole or ketoconazole). People suffering from it should also keep the skin as dry as possible and, if appropriate, use antifungal mouth rinses or shampoos.
  • Fungal infections of the finger/toe nail plate (e.g., onychomycosis) are typically treated with both topical and systemic antifungals. However, long-term cure and recurrence rates, as well as costs associated with these treatments, are often unsatisfactory.
  • Vaginal candida infections can be treated with topical or oral antifungal drugs such as fluconazole or nystatin. The species of candida a woman is infected with can influence treatment response. For example, fluconazole and nystatin are both effective for the treatment of Candida albicans, but in women with non-albicans species, only fluconazole is highly effective
  • Treatment for invasive/systemic infections depends on a variety of factors, but will most likely involve intravenous or oral therapy with any one of the following drug classes: polyenes, azoles, and echinocandins. The polyene drug amphotericin B is a very common treatment, but is hindered by considerable kidney toxicity. Therefore, newer, less toxic derivatives of the drug (e.g., liposomal amphotericin B) are a better option.

The side effects of most systemic antifungal drugs are comparable and include headache, gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea and vomiting), hepatitis, kidney toxicity, and lupus-like syndromes, among others.

Surgical Treatment

Major organ infections associated with candidal abscess formation may require surgical drainage procedures along with the appropriate antifungal therapy. Prosthetic joint infection with Candida species requires the removal of the prosthesis. Surgical debridement is generally necessary for sternal infections and frequently for vertebral osteomyelitis. Splenic abscesses occasionally require splenectomy. Valve replacement surgery is always indicated to treat endocarditis.


Alternative Treatment

Alternative involves limiting the growth of candida in the body, reestablishing a level of healthy bacteria in the body, and generally healing the gut. While you can achieve this by diet alone – eliminating sugar and eating very low carbohydrate – nutritional supplements can help expedite the process.

  • The Right Diet – Such as limiting intake of refined carbohydrates (e.g., pasta, bread, sweets, soft drinks, etc.) may be helpful for people with candida infections. Higher dietary sugar is associated with vulvovaginal candidiasis and abnormal glucose metabolism is associated with recurring vulvovaginal infections. Diets rich in carbohydrates are also associated with candida overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract and may contribute to mucosal invasion. Studies suggest that excess glucose weakens the immune system’s response to candida as well as the azole class of antifungal drugs. Patients should maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, as poor nutrition is a commonly overlooked risk factor for bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Probiotics – Studies suggest that probiotics such as lactobacillus are beneficial against mucosal candida infections, and should be especially considered for women who suffer from more than three yeast infections per year. Research shows that probiotics exert their beneficial actions by suppressing the growth of candida (in various regions of the body) and inhibiting candida’s ability to adhere to cell surfaces. Dietary products containing probiotic bacteria (e.g., certain cheeses and yogurts) can help control candida growth in the human body. Although yogurt has been considered a favorite natural remedy for vaginal infections, and has been shown to suppress Candida albicans growth, women must carefully choose yogurt products that are low in sugar. Supplemental probiotics containing lactobacillus, administered either orally or vaginally, can also help resolve urogenital infections (including yeast infections).
  • Avoiding Exposure to Chemicals – Paints, household cleaners, perfumes, and scents may cause allergic reactions, and chemical sensitivities are very common in people with yeast overgrowth.
  • Resveratrol – Resveratrol, a compound found in the skin of grapes, may contribute to the anti-inflammatory characteristics of red wine. It appears to be safer than conventional antifungal drugs such as amphotericin B. Resveratrol impairs the ability of Candida albicans to convert into its more infectious form, and thus may be a useful agent against candida infections.
  • Goldenseal – Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) is a botanical that has been used to fight inflammation and infection. An active ingredient in goldenseal is berberine, which has been shown to have strong antifungal effects against candid. Berberine may combat candida growth by interfering with the ability of the fungus to penetrate and adhere to host cells.
  • Lactoferrin – Lactoferrin, a protein found in mucosal secretions (e.g., human colostrum/milk, tears, saliva, and seminal fluid) possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from leaves of the native Australian plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It is well known for its medicinal value and has been used by Australian Aborigines to treat colds, sore throats, skin infections, and insect bites. Tea tree oil has a variety of therapeutic properties (e.g., anti-inflammatory and antiseptic).
  • Other Essential Oils – Essential oils (i.e., volatile oils) refer to the compounds found within aromatic plants that give them a particular odor or scent. Most essential oils are a mixture of various chemicals, which are of clinical interest due to their large spectrum of biological activities.
  • Garlic – Garlic (and its constituent allicin) can cause potent growth inhibition in yeast and be effective against mucosal and systemic/invasive candidiasis.
  • AHCC – Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) is an extract derived from fungi of the Basidiomycetes family. AHCC has demonstrated biological activity against a variety of disorders.
  • Caprylic Acid – Caprylic A supplement derived from coconut oil, caprylic acid actually pokes holes in the cell wall of yeast, causing it to die. This option can be found as a supplement or used by adding organic coconut oil to your daily diet.


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