Natural Candida Remedies

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There are more than 20 species of Candida yeasts, with Candida albicans being most common. The yeast normally lives on and in the body in small numbers, thanks to beneficial bacteria in your gut and immune system at large. However, if it begins to overgrow, harmless amounts of Candida multiply and lead to infections.

You may have had a Candida infection, such as thrush, a vaginal yeast infection, or invasive candidiasis before. You may also have a known risk factor for developing the infections (e.g., use of antibiotics or a high-carb diet). In either case, there are several steps you can take to help your body keep Candida check.

While there are many options for treating Candida, some evidence suggests natural remedies and lifestyle change can also help treat yeast overgrowth.

Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of helpful bacteria naturally present in the body. The bacteria is considered useful because it doesn’t cause disease. It's most often found in the mouth, intestines, and female productive system.

Researchers believe that having enough of this "good" bacteria in your body helps maintain the correct balance and prevent yeast overgrowth.

Eating yogurt and other fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements are popular ways to increase the amount of Lactobacillus acidophilus in your digestive system. Probiotics usually contain other types of bacteria believed to be beneficial for gut health and are available in several different preparations and dosages.

Fiber

Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that promote good bacteria in the gut. A number of prebiotic foods contain fiber and may reduce the amount of yeast in the body. 

For example, asparagus has a combination of fiber and antioxidants, which means it provides anti-inflammatory benefits and can diminish certain chemicals in the body, including yeast, that promote infection.

The prebiotic fiber in bananas has also been shown to promote healthy gut bacteria.

Adding fiber to your diet as well as eliminating processed and low- or no- fiber foods may be beneficial to your microbiome—the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in, and on, your body.

Enteric-Coated Essential Oils

Enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other volatile oils are thought to help prevent the overgrowth of candida.

According to a 2017 study, essential oils, including those containing oregano and thyme, are highly effective against Candida albicans, especially as it relates to mastitis, a type of breast infection.

Pure volatile oils can be toxic in high amounts. The liquid form of these oils should never be ingested, and capsules should not be broken open before use.

Enteric-Coated Garlic

There has been some research that shows garlic can prevent the growth of disease-promoting agents, including yeast and bacteria responsible for gastrointestinal diseases.

Some alternative medicine practitioners suggest using it, either alone or in combination with enteric-coated peppermint or oregano oil, for preventing yeast growth.

Other supplements that may help slow down yeast growth are caprylic acid from coconuts, oleic acid from olive oil, oregano oil, and pau d'arco. There are many combination products marketed for Candida that contain these herbs and supplements.

It's important to note that self-treating with supplements, diet, and other forms of alternative medicine, and avoiding or delaying standard care, could be harmful to your health. It is always wise to discuss alternative and natural treatments with your doctor before starting them.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle habits can also promote Candida growth and making changes in these areas can help reduce and even prevent infections.

Diet

Some alternative medicine practitioners consider diet to be an important part of Candida reduction. Naturopathic practitioners generally caution that you'll need to stick with a diet for at least two weeks to see the benefit, though the length of time depends on your symptoms and overall health.

When you start to see an improvement, foods from a restricted list can slowly be incorporated back into your diet. One primary example where Candida overgrowth is concerned is sugar.

Even all-natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup, can contribute to Candida overgrowth.

Natural sugars in fruit can also be problematic. If you're working with an alternative medicine practitioner, they may recommend you keep your fruit intake minimal if you are prone to Candida infections.

Reducing or even eliminating sugar from your diet may help reduce the amount of yeast in the body.

Interestingly, non-nutritive sweeteners like saccharin have been found to suppress the growth of Candida.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption has been found to create and promote Candida yeast. 

Research has found that people who drink alcohol in excess almost always have Candida yeast overgrowth. A 2017 international study that used animal subjects echoed these findings.

The researchers speculated that the more alcohol consumed, the more Candida yeast was able to proliferate. These findings contributed to a decreased immune system response and higher rates of mortality, specifically linked to alcoholic liver disease. 

Tobacco Products

A study from researchers in Spain found smoking tobacco also encourages Candida overgrowth. Tobacco users had elevated levels of the yeast in their body, especially in their mouths. The presence of Candida bacteria in the mouth affects oral health.

When to Call a Doctor

There are some signs and symptoms that warrant a doctor's visit whether they are related to Candida overgrowth or not.

The following symptoms can be caused by a number of conditions, diseases, and disorders, but are also believed to be associated with yeast overgrowth.

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lethargy (unrelenting exhaustion)
  • Poor memory
  • Numbness, burning, tingling
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint pain or swelling
  • Muscle aches and weakness
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or belching
  • Bothersome or persistent vaginal itching, burning, or discharge
  • Prostatitis, or an inflamed prostate gland
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Endometriosis or infertility
  • Menstrual irregularity or severe cramping
  • Anxiety attacks or crying
  • Cold hands and feet, or feeling cold often
  • Shaking when hungry

A Word From Verywell

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth or are prone to infections, consult your primary care provider.

While it may be tempted to self-treat, especially if you get the infections frequently, keep in mind that supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Many of them (including those mentioned above) have not been confirmed as being safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, or those with medical conditions or taking prescription medications.

If you have concerning symptoms or are considering starting a supplement, don't delay getting in touch with your doctor. They can help you find the best treatment option, or combination of options, for your individual needs.

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