Top 3 Candida Fighters
There might be a hostile takeover happening in your body and you don’t even know it: strains of yeast growing out of control. Perhaps you have some of the telltale signs—intense sugar cravings, gas, or itchiness in the body’s warm dark nooks and crannies. Yes, its symptoms are often annoying and uncomfortable, but it’s the long-term problems Candida albicans yeast overgrowth can cause, such as mood swings, fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms, that can really wreak havoc on your body. Fortunately, diet and supplements can help you get things back in balance.
Humans carry hundreds of types of yeasts and fungi in their bodies, including candida. Generally, these microbes live in harmony with other gut flora; but an array of factors can disrupt the balance, including a high-carbohydrate diet, certain medications, chronic stress and diabetes, giving rise to a more aggressive fungal form that damages the lining of the intestines, allowing toxins and undigested proteins to enter the bloodstream.
It’s no wonder candida overgrowth is becoming such a common condition—most of us feed it lots of its favorite foods and create the perfect environment for it to thrive. Our modern diets have become heavily based on refined carbohydrates in the form of breads, soda, chips, pasta, fruit juice, etc., which provides easy food to yeast species. Another problem is the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics work well to kill bacteria—the good and the bad bugs living in our guts. Unfortunately they don’t touch the yeast species that are then left behind. With no competition, they grow like crazy.
Fight the Fungus
The first line of attack when dealing with out-of-control yeast is to starve it. Generally, an anti-candida diet starts with the elimination of all sweeteners, fruit, fruit juice, white-flour products, alcohol and anything fermented. Depending on the severity of the condition, it also might mean no grains or carbohydrates of any kind.
Deciding which foods must be avoided greatly depends on the level of yeast overgrowth and overall health of the person. When dealing with candida, it’s best to focus on eating lean protein, vegetables, seeds and plenty of pure water.
Once you’ve started depriving the yeast of the foods that feed it, adding a few supplements to your regimen can further decrease its hold on your system and even repopulate your body with healthy bacteria. Here are three top picks.
Otherwise known as “good bugs,” probiotic supplements replenish the intestines with the healthy bacteria they need to keep candida in check and function normally. The best-studied species is Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which seems to actually kill candida—not just compete with it for nourishment. It’s generally recommended to use a probiotic that contains a variety of bacteria strains, and at least 5 billion of each.
Another effective probiotic bacteria strain is Saccharomyces boulardii, which is actually a beneficial yeast that has been shown to inhibit the growth of candida.
This medium-chain triglyceride (a type of fat) is a natural antifungal found in human breast milk as well as coconut oil. Since caprylic acid is fat soluble, it is believed to have the ability to reach candida deep within cells, where it breaks up the yeast membrane and shuttles it out of the body.
Available in both liquid and capsule form, caprylic acid is best taken with meals, separately from probiotics. A general dose is between 500 and 1,000 mg per day, and it is most effective when taken for two to three consecutive months.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract is a very potent antimicrobial, meaning it kills all sorts of small things like bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites. Though these effects have not been proven in the laboratory, many healthcare practitioners and patients have witnessed such results.
The general dosage is 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract in a small amount of water, two to three times daily. It is best to take grapefruit seed extract separately from probiotics, and as always, check with your healthcare practitioner before starting any new supplement regimen.