Natural Candida Remedies

Why you should be skeptical and reasons to see your healthcare provider

Candida is a fungus. It can cause thrush, esophagitis, and other infections. It is sometimes also called "yeast."

Candida overgrowth is a term used in alternative medicine. It is not a recognized medical condition.

There are many natural remedies that are supposed to treat Candida overgrowth. These include:

  • Essential oils
  • Probiotics
  • Other supplements

Candida can cause medical conditions that can be serious. These conditions need prompt treatment. They should not be treated with alternative methods.

This article looks at the differences between Candida overgrowth and Candida infection. It also discusses some of the ways Candida overgrowth is treated by alternative health practitioners.

Five yellow gel pills on a white table top

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Candida Overgrowth

Candida albicans is a yeast that normally lives on and in the body. Alternative health practitioners believe you can have too much of this yeast. They call this "Candida overgrowth."

Candida overgrowth is not a recognized medical condition. Therefore, it does not have an official definition.

Alternative practitioners, however, support this diagnosis. Sometimes it is used to explain vague and unrelated symptoms.

Candida overgrowth has been proposed as a possible contributor to illnesses like:

A link between Candida and these conditions has not been proven.

There is no test that can confirm a diagnosis of Candida overgrowth. This is because the fungus is expected to be in and on your body. It usually does not cause problems.

Candida infections, however, are different.

Recap

Candida overgrowth is not a recognized medical condition. Candida infection, however, is a real condition that requires prompt medical treatment.

Candida Infections

Candida infections are not Candida overgrowth. These infections involve damage to tissues. They may result in an inflammatory immune response.

Candida infections include:

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

oral candida
Oral candida.

DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

candida intertrigo
Candida intertrigo.

DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

vulvovaginal candida
Vulvovaginal candida.

DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND

These infections often develop because of reduced immunity. Antibiotic use can also play a part.

Candida infections cause symptoms like:

  • Pain
  • Discharge
  • Swelling

Candida infections can be treated with antifungal medications. These are the only effective remedies.

Candida infections cannot be treated with natural therapies. They require over-the-counter or prescription medication. If you think you have a Candida infection, see your doctor.

Supplements for Candida Overgrowth

Alternative practitioners may suggest supplements to treat Candida overgrowth.

There is some research supporting the general benefits of these remedies. None of these options, however, have undergone clinical testing for this use.

Like all supplements, products said to treat Candida overgrowth are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA rules prohibit manufacturers from marketing supplements as treatment for any illness.

Using a natural remedy to treat Candida while avoiding or delaying standard care could harm your health. Always ask your doctor about alternative treatments before you start using them.

Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a bacteria that is naturally present in the body. It is most often found in:

  • The mouth
  • The intestines
  • The female reproductive system

This bacteria is thought to have health benefits. One of these is activity against Candida.

Yogurt and other fermented foods can help you maintain Lactobacillus acidophilus in your digestive system.

There are also probiotic supplements that contain this bacteria. In fact, probiotics usually contain several types of bacteria thought to benefit gut health.

Probiotics can help you maintain your immune system and digest your food.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are foods that contain fiber. They are said to reduce the amount of yeast in the body. 

Asparagus, for example, is a prebiotic food. It contains a combination of fiber and antioxidants. Research suggests it may reduce substances in the body that promote infection.

Research also suggests that the prebiotic fiber in bananas may be beneficial. It may promote healthy gut bacteria and balance yeast levels.

Other Supplements

Supplements that have been said to slow down yeast growth include:

In general, natural health practitioners say you should use these supplements every day or until your symptoms go away.

It is important to note that there hasn't been enough research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose.

Enteric-Coated Essential Oils

Enteric-coated capsules have an acid resistant coating. They are designed to bypass your stomach so they can be absorbed by the small intestine.

Alternative health practitioners believe enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other oils help prevent the overgrowth of Candida.

A 2017 study found that essential oils, including oregano and thyme, may reduce the growth of Candida albicans.

Pure essential oils can be toxic in high amounts. The liquid form of these oils should never be ingested. Capsules should not be broken open before use.

Enteric-Coated Garlic

Research suggests garlic may prevent the growth of yeast and bacteria. Some alternative medicine practitioners recommend taking it alone or with enteric-coated peppermint or oregano oil.

Recap

Supplements for treating Candida overgrowth aren't regulated by the FDA. Still, natural health practitioners may suggest remedies like probiotics, prebiotics, certain oils, and enteric-coated essential oils for treating Candida overgrowth.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes are also said to help manage or prevent Candida overgrowth. Remember, though, that none of these are proven effective. Don't delay standard treatment in favor of trying these.

Diet

Some alternative medicine practitioners believe diet can help manage the growth of Candida. They usually suggest sticking with a diet for at least two weeks. At that point, you may start to see benefits, although the length of time depends on your symptoms and overall health.

You can slowly add restricted foods back to your diet after you start to see improvement. Sugar is an example of a food that is recommended in moderation with a Candida diet.

Interestingly, there is some evidence that non-nutritive sweeteners like saccharin may suppress the growth of Candida.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption may be linked to the growth of Candida yeast.

A 2017 study found that intestinal fungi was associated with alcoholic liver disease. It is not clear, though, if the yeast is caused by alcohol consumption. It is also not clear if it plays a role in the development of the disease.

Tobacco Products

A 2016 study found that both alcohol and tobacco smoke may encourage Candida growth. Tobacco users had elevated levels of the yeast in their body. Levels were especially high in their mouths.

Recap

Natural health practitioners often recommend changing your diet to control Candida overgrowth. There is also some evidence that quitting smoking and alcohol may help.

Summary

Candida overgrowth is not a recognized medical condition. Still, alternative health practitioners believe it may contribute to a number of conditions.

Candida overgrowth is not the same as Candida infection. A Candida infection requires prompt treatment with antifungal medication.

Symptoms of infection include pain, swelling, and discharge. 

Supplements sold to treat Candida overgrowth are not regulated by the FDA. They include probiotics, prebiotics, certain kinds of oils, and enteric-coated essential oils. There hasn't been enough research to support the use of these supplements.

Changes in diet are sometimes also recommended to treat Candida overgrowth. Abstaining from alcohol and smoking is also said to be helpful.

A Word From Verywell

If you have any of the symptoms said to be associated with Candida overgrowth, consult your doctor.

You may want to self-treat, but it's important to remember that you may be experiencing symptoms of a condition that needs standard, prompt treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do probiotics help with a yeast infection?

    Some research shows they may help lower your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. There isn’t evidence that they will cure a yeast infection. Using probiotics with prescribed antifungal medication may be helpful, though. It may help you get rid of a yeast infection faster than with antifungal alone.

  • Can vitamin supplements prevent a yeast infection?

    There is some evidence that certain vitamins can help resolve or prevent a yeast infection. These include:

    • Vitamin B
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin D3

    More research is needed to understand how these supplements might combat yeast infections.

  • Do certain foods cause yeast infections?

    They can. Your overall diet significantly affects the microflora in your body. This, in turn, impacts whether you’re at risk for a yeast infection. In general, you’re less likely to get a yeast infection and better able to get over an infection if you eat less sugar and more vegetables, fruits, and dairy products.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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