Natural Candida Remedies

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

There have been many natural remedies suggested for the treatment of Candida overgrowth. Some include essential oils, probiotics, and other supplements.

While the concept of overgrowth of this fungus (yeast) is controversial, Candida infections— thrush, esophagitis, and others—are official medical conditions that can be serious and need to be carefully evaluated. Furthermore, they should not be treated with alternative approaches.

Five yellow gel pills on a white table top
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Candida Overgrowth

Before considering remedies, it's first important to know that Candida overgrowth—the proliferation of Candida albicans, a yeast that normally lives on and in the body—is not, itself, a recognized medical condition. As such, it does not have an official definition.

However, alternative practitioners support its validity as a diagnosis and sometimes use it to explain a host of unrelated (and often vague) symptoms. For example, Candida overgrowth has been proposed as a possible contributor to illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), allergies, and mood problems, though a link has not been proven.

Furthermore, there is no confirmatory diagnostic test that can verify subclinical Candida overgrowth, because the fungus is expected to be present in and on your body and may not cause any problems.

Candida infections, however, are different.

Candida Infections

Candida infections are not defined as Candida overgrowth. These infections involve damage to tissues and may result in an inflammatory immune response as the body fights the fungus.

Candida infections include issues such as:

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 due to diminished immunity or antibiotic use and cause symptoms such as pain, discharge, and swelling.

Candida infections can and need to be effectively treated with antifungal medications.

Candida infections cannot be treated with natural therapies. They require over-the-counter or prescription medication, as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Supplements for Candida Overgrowth

The following supplements and dietary strategies are some that may be suggested if your healthcare provider supports the idea of Candida overgrowth and the need to treat it.

While there is some research supporting their general benefits, none of these options have been tested in rigorous clinical trials for this particular purpose.

It's also important to note that natural products marketed for Candida overgrowth—like all supplements—are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Any such product that claims to prevent, cure, or treat Candida overgrowth does so illegally.

The most important consideration of all is that using natural remedies for Candida while avoiding or delaying standard care could be harmful to your health. It is always wise to discuss alternative and natural treatments with your healthcare provider before starting them.

Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria that is naturally present in the body, most often in the mouth, intestines, and female reproductive system. It is considered to benefit your health in several ways, one of which is the potential prevention of yeast overgrowth.

Eating yogurt and other fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements are popular ways of maintaining Lactobacillus acidophilus in your digestive system. In fact, probiotics usually contain several types of bacteria believed to be beneficial for gut health.

Using probiotic supplements or consuming foods enriched with probiotics is often considered a useful strategy for balancing the bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. These microorganisms play a role in maintaining your immune system and in helping you digest your food.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics are foods that contain fiber, and they have been promoted as a method of reducing the amount of yeast in the body. For example, asparagus, a prebiotic food, has a combination of fiber and antioxidants. Research suggests that asparagus may diminish substances in the body that promote infection.

Research also suggests that the prebiotic fiber in bananas may promote healthy gut bacteria and balance the amount of yeast present.

Other Supplements

Examples of supplements that have been promoted for slowing down yeast growth include caprylic acid from coconuts, oleic acid from olive oil, and pau d'arco. However, there is not enough research to support these uses.

In general, natural health practitioners suggest using these supplements on an everyday basis or until your symptoms resolve.

Enteric-Coated Essential Oils

Enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other oils have been proposed as strategies for preventing the overgrowth of Candida. According to a 2017 study, essential oils, including those containing oregano and thyme, may diminish the growth of Candida albicans.

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 suggesting that garlic may prevent the growth of yeast and bacteria. Some alternative medicine practitioners suggest using it, either alone or in combination with enteric-coated peppermint or oregano oil, for preventing yeast growth.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain lifestyle habits have also been suggested as possible ways to manage or prevent Candida overgrowth.

The same word of caution applies here: None of these are proven effective, and opting for them may delay the treatment you need to feel better.

Diet

Some alternative medicine practitioners consider diet to be an important part of managing the growth of Candida. 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. Sugar is an example of a food that is recommended in moderation with a Candida diet.

Interestingly, researchers have suggested that non-nutritive sweeteners like saccharin may suppress the growth of Candida.

Alcohol

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

A research study found that intestinal fungi was associated with alcoholic liver disease. It is not clear whether the yeast was caused by alcohol consumption or whether it could have played a role in the development of alcoholic liver disease.

Tobacco Products

A study from researchers in Spain found that, in addition to alcohol consumption, smoking tobacco may encourage Candida growth. Tobacco users had elevated levels of the yeast in their body, especially in their mouths, so smoking cessation has been recommended.

A Word From Verywell

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms said to be associated with Candida overgrowth, consult your healthcare provider. While you may want to self-treat, remember that what you are experiencing could be due to a condition that requires conventional and prompt treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do probiotics help with a yeast infection?

    Some research shows that they may help lower your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection. While, there isn’t evidence that they will cure a yeast infection, if you use probiotics with prescribed antifungal medication, you may be better able to get rid of a yeast infection faster than with the 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

    But more research is needed to understand how to take these supplements to effectively combat yeast infections.

  • Do certain foods cause yeast infections?

    They can. Your overall diet significantly affects the microflora in your body, which impacts whether or not 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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21 Sources
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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