Alternative Treatments for Candida
Candida is the fungus or yeast that causes thrush and diaper rashes in babies; vaginal yeast infections in women; and often persistent intestinal gas, bloating, fatigue and weight gain. Candida albicans, according to "The Candida Diet," produces toxic metabolites potentially harmful to the immune system.
The presence of the Candida is normal in the gastrointestinal tract, but only when levels are kept in check by good intestinal bacteria known as probiotics. There are many natural and non-toxic ways to effectively treat candidiasis but all supplements, herbs and dietary changes should be first discussed with your health care practitioner.
Candidiasis, or the infection caused by candida, is commonly associated with a diet that is high in sugars and refined carbohydrates. Sugar is the fundamental food source for the organism. Yeasts, the family to which candida belongs, are used as fermenting agents in the production of breads and alcohol. Yeasts ferment or feed off of the sugars in the diet as well.
The Candida Diet website suggests a strict detox period of 2 to 3 weeks when many foods should be eliminated. It recommends that all fruits, cheeses aged for greater than 6 months, alcohol, caffeine, peanuts, mushrooms, vinegars, and most conventional condiments and salad dressings be avoided. The high mold and sugar content of these foods feed the Candida and can exacerbate symptoms.
Some foods may be reintroduced following this strict phase, including low sugar fruits such as apples and berries and fresh cheeses like mozzarella and feta. All dietary changes should be discussed with your health care practitioner.
Herbs naturally produce substances that are toxic to bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and many other organisms. Some antifungal herbs can be used in the diet in the form of teas and aromatic cooking spices. The Candida Diet website identifies some of these herbs and spices as cloves, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, lemongrass, ginger and licorice and chamomile.
Two renowned antifungal herbs that can be used medicinally in the form of tinctures and capsules are pau D’arco and citrus seed extract. Pau D’arco is an herb native to the South American countries of Brazil and Argentina. Besides its traditional and current anti-cancer uses in Brazil, pau D’arco has potent antifungal properties. The book ,“Herbal Therapy & Supplements,” notes that the herb was traditionally used to treat fungal infections of the skin and is currently used for candidiasis overgrowth.
The 2004 Acta Pharmacology journal concluded that grapefruit seed extract inhibits the growth of Candida species both topically and in the intestines without affecting the growth of good bacteria. The use of herbs to treat your condition should be first discussed with a health professional.
Pantethine is the active form of B5 and it assists the removal of the most toxic of the byproducts of Candida metabolism. Acetyladehyde, according to The Candida Diet, causes infection symptoms such as fatigue, grogginess and mental fog. Pantethine also appears to encourage the growth of probiotics that keep Candida growth at bay.
The suggested dose of pantethine is 300 mg, three times per day. Pantethine supplementation can cause diarrhea and in high doses it can limit the absorption of other B vitamins. It should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women and its use should be first discussed with a qualified health practitioner.
Candidiasis and other fungal infections are conditions for which medications are very commonly prescribed. There are many prescriptive as well as over-the-counter antifungal medications, however, according to a 2004 Journal of Medicinal Food article, Candida is becoming resistant to many of these therapies. In this study, virgin coconut oil was found to be very effective for the treatment of Candida as compared to the drug Fluconazol. The antifungal property of coconut oil appears to be a result of the constituent, caprylic acid. The Candida Diet suggests 1 to 2 tablespoons of pure coconut oil per day.
Probiotics are the good flora of the digestive, urinary and vaginal tracts that maintain healthy levels of potentially harmful organisms such as Candida. When probiotic bacteria are in insufficient quantity, such as after antibiotic therapy, Candida organisms are allowed to thrive. Probiotics are often suggested after antibiotic therapy to prevent yeast overgrowth. A 2007 International Association for Dental Research found that 50 grams of probiotics taken over 16 weeks reduced the risk of high yeast counts by 75 percent. In this particular study, probiotics were used to control oral candidiasis in the elderly.
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