Are you wondering how to get rid of Candida overgrowth? First, let’s look at what Candida overgrowth is and how it affects your body. Then, I’ll show you the three steps to get rid of it!
What Is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida albicans is a species of yeast that lives naturally on your skin and in your gastrointestinal tract. Normally, Candida is kept in check by your “friendly” gut bacteria, but sometimes, it can multiply out of control.
The resulting infections can cause pain and inflammation throughout the body, both on the skin and in the gut or genitals. Candida overgrowth is most often noticed on the skin, mouth, and vaginal infections.
An intestinal Candida overgrowth can inflame and weaken the walls of the intestines, releasing toxic byproducts that may lead to many different health issues, from digestive disorders to depression.
What Causes Candida?
Candida overgrowth can be caused by a high-sugar diet, antibiotics, chronic stress, the contraceptive pill, chemical exposure, and diabetes. Usually, several of these dietary and lifestyle factors combine to trigger an overgrowth.
Antibiotics are perhaps the most common culprit for Candida overgrowth. Just one course of antibiotics can destroy many of the beneficial and friendly bacteria that live in your gut. This can leave your body defenseless to harmful bacteria and fungi, such as the fast-growing Candida yeast.
What Are the Symptoms of Candida?
Overgrowth symptoms can include fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, sinus infections, recurring yeast infections, mild depression, joint pain, and much more. All of these can be linked to an imbalance in the gut flora.
Here some of the most common Candida overgrowth symptoms. You may have just a handful of these, or you may have most of them.
Your gut is where nutrients are broken down, processed, and absorbed. If Candida has expanded its colonies to the point where it affects this balance, your digestion can suffer. Foods can pass through your gut without being properly broken down, so you won’t absorb the nutrients they contain. Over time, this can lead to fatigue as your body simply doesn’t get the fuel that it needs.
Candida overgrowth is associated with deficiencies in important nutrients like essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B6. Low levels in any of these nutrients, especially magnesium, can lead to fatigue.
2. Brain Fog
Candida’s metabolic processes produce a wide variety of chemicals, many of which are toxic to us. These include a neurotoxin named acetaldehyde, the same chemical that causes hangovers. The liver can become overworked as it struggles to process larger amounts of acetaldehyde.
This build-up of acetaldehyde, ethanol, and other toxins can slow down various processes in your body, particularly those of your nervous system and brain. Confusion, difficulties with memory, and poor concentration are typical signs.
3. Digestive Issues
A Candida overgrowth can both cause—and be caused by—poor gut flora. As well as weakening your immunity, this can really affect the way that your body digests food.
Those good bacteria that normally reside in your gut are a crucial part of your digestive system, responsible for the processing of starches, fibers, and some sugars. When a healthy gut microbiome is overwhelmed by an opportunistic pathogen like Candida albicans, the small and large intestine can start to function suboptimally.
Digestive issues related to Candida can include diarrhea, gas, bloating, constipation, cramps, nausea, and more. Researchers have linked Candida overgrowth to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, gastric ulcers, and duodenal ulcers.
4. Recurring Yeast Infections
Repeated vaginal yeast infections are a clear sign that something is wrong with your microbiome. More than 75% of women will get a vaginal yeast infection during their lives, and almost 40% will have two or more yeast infections. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection will vary from person to person, but they can include itching, swelling, white discharge, pain during intercourse.
5. Oral Thrush
The same environmental changes that cause an intestinal overgrowth can also lead to an oral Candida infection. If you take antibiotics or eat a high-sugar diet, they will change the environment in both your gut and your mouth, making both locations more appealing for the Candida fungus. Signs include white bumps or lesions on your tongue, throat, or elsewhere in your mouth.
3 Steps to Get Rid of a Candida Overgrowth
There are three indispensable parts of any Candida treatment plan: a low sugar diet, natural antifungals, and good probiotics. These three things help deprive Candida albicans of the food it needs, prevent it from colonizing your gut, and restore a healthy balance of good bacteria. Avoiding foods that cause inflammation can also go a long way towards recovering your gut health.
Here are three steps on how to get rid of Candida overgrowth.
1. The Anti-Candida Diet
The Anti-Candida diet is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes good gut health. The diet includes non-starchy vegetables, some low-sugar fruits, non-glutinous grains, fermented foods, and healthy proteins.
The diet endorses eating more of the anti-inflammatory foods that can reverse inflammation. This means vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and fermented foods. Bone broth, for example, contains gelatin that can protect against damage to the intestinal wall. It contains glutamine has been shown to inhibit the inflammation and oxidative stress that leads to intestinal permeability.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and yogurt naturally contain lots of probiotic bacteria. Terms that you should look for on the label include “live cultures,” “probiotic,” and “unpasteurized.” These are a good sign that the product contains live bacteria. The best foods include unsweetened yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, pickles, olives, and apple cider vinegar.
Avoid anything with added sugars, high-sugar fruits, and glutenous grains. Try to minimize your alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can cause inflammation in your gut and destabilize your blood sugar. This is because Candida uses sugar for cellular growth and to transition into its pathogenic, fungal form that is most likely to spread around your gut and elsewhere. It also uses sugar to form the biofilms that allow it to hide from your immune system. These biofilms are a protective matrix that Candida albicans builds around itself.
The next step to getting rid of Candida overgrowth is consuming good probiotics. More than 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, which means that your digestive tract (and bacteria within it) plays a hugely important role in the prevention of infection and disease. The cells lining your gut interact with both your innate and adaptive immune systems, which makes your gut the first line of defense between your body and external pathogens.
Studies have shown that a healthy microbiome increases the effectiveness of your immune system and helps your body to fight off pathogens. Probiotics have been shown to offer protection from E Coli., reduce the frequency and duration of respiratory infections, lower the risk of UTIs, and prevent or treat infectious diarrhea caused by illness or bacteria.
For those suffering from Candida, probiotics have been shown to prevent Candida albicans from creating biofilms and forming colonies in the gut. By rebuilding your immune system with probiotics, you can improve your body’s natural defenses against Candida albicans. This is important not only to beat your Candida overgrowth but also to prevent Candida and other infections from recurring in the future.
Lastly, antifungals can also help if you want to get rid of Candida overgrowth. Although antifungal drugs are well-absorbed and have a strong antifungal effect, they have some unpleasant side effects. Even worse, yeasts and fungi tend to adapt to the drug and become resistant to it, which means the effect is significantly reduced.
There is a huge range of natural antifungal herbs and foods that are equally effective in treating Candida infections, which, in many cases, are even better. Natural antifungals don’t tend to lead to resistance and they generally have far fewer side effects.
Here are a few good examples of natural antifungals:
Caprylic acid is one of the active ingredients in coconut oil. It works by interfering with the cell walls of the Candida yeast. Its short-chain fatty acids can easily penetrate the cell wall of the yeast and then inhibit its growth by causing it to rupture. This effectively destroys the yeast cell.
In fact, studies show that oral supplementation with caprylic acid reduces the symptoms of Candida more quickly and efficiently than Diflucan.
Oregano oil not only inhibits the growth of Candida albicans but is also a powerful preventative if taken daily. It contains two naturally occurring antimicrobial agents: carvacrol and thymol. These agents work by reacting with the water in your bloodstream, which effectively dehydrates and kills Candida yeast cells.
Other studies report that the major terpenoids in oregano—carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol—have important antifungal activity. These important phenols are effective in not only killing planktonic cells but also the biofilms of Candida albicans, which are often resistant to many pharmaceutical antifungal drugs.
Garlic contains the powerful antifungal agent ajoene, an organosulfur compound that has been found to kill off a variety of fungal infections. Several studies have found ajoene to have potent anticandidal activity and the ability to halt the growth and spread of Candida albicans.
As with other antifungals, scientists believe that ajoene works by disrupting the cells walls of the Candida yeast cells, preventing them from functioning properly.
Candida overgrowth can be caused by a combination of lifestyle and dietary factors. It can be easily resolved at first, but it may start becoming problematic if left unattended. Just remember these three tips on how to get rid of candidate overgrowth: have a low sugar diet, take natural antifungals, and consume good probiotics.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com