What is Candida?
- Use of oral contraceptives, steroids, antacids, anti-ulcer medications, or frequent or long-term use of antibiotics.
- High-sugar diets
- Tired or lethargic
- Poor memory
- Feel drained, depleted or exhausted
- Numbness, burning, tingling
- Stomach pain
- Joint pain or swelling
- Muscle aching or weakness
- Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or belching
- Bothersome or persistent vaginal itching, burning, or discharge
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of sexual desire
- Endometriosis or infertility
- Menstrual irregularity or cramping
- Anxiety attacks or crying
- Cold hands and feet, feel chilly
- Irritable or shaking when hungry
Alternative practitioners recommend individualized programs that usually combine diet and supplements. Supplements are introduced gradually to avoid a temporary worsening of symptoms called a "die-off" or Herxheimer reaction. This is because when Candida is killed, they release protein fragments and toxins that can trigger an antibody response from the immune system.
Improvement in symptoms is usually noticed after two to four weeks.
The beneficial bacteria acidophilus are thought to control Candida by making the intestinal tract more acidic, discouraging the growth of Candida, and by producing hydrogen peroxide, which directly kills Candida.
Research has shown that supplementing with a hydrogen peroxide-producing strain of acidophilus, DDS-1 greatly reduced the incidence of antibiotic-induced yeast infections.
These beneficial bacteria also help to restore the microbial balance within the digestive tract.
One teaspoon to one tablespoon of soluble fiber containing guar gum, psyllium husks, flaxseeds or pectin can be mixed in an 8 oz glass of water two times per day on an empty stomach.
Enteric-coated essential oils
Enteric-coated capsules containing oregano oil, peppermint oil, and other volatile oils are thought to prevent the overgrowth of Candida. It is usually recommended for at least several months. A standard dosage is two capsules two times a day with water, in between meals. Pure volatile oils can be quite toxic in this amount so the liquid form of these oils should never be ingested, and the capsules should not be broken open before ingesting.
Garlic capsules that have been enteric-coated to open when they reach the intestines are often is used in combination with the volatile oils. Once capsule two times per day taken with the enteric-coated volatile oil is a typical recommendation.
Other valuable supplements are caprylic acid from coconuts, oleic acid from olive oil, oregano oil, and pau d'arco. There are many combination products formulated for Candida that contain these herbs and supplements.
Diet is an important part of the Candida cleanse. The length of time on the Candida cleanse depends on the length of time one has had symptoms, symptom severity, and overall health. People may notice improvement after strict adherence to the diet for two to four weeks. For others it takes months. Once symptoms are gone and lab tests show significant improvement, foods from the restricted list can be slowly incorporated back into the diet.
Limit daily carbohydrate intake - Sugar feeds Candida, so it is important to minimize the total carbohydrate content of one's diet. During the first 2 to 3 weeks of the program, it is often recommended that carbohydrate intake be restricted to 20 to 60 grams per day, depending on age, health, activity level, and extent of grain sensitivities. As symptoms disappear, the carbohydrate total can gradually increase. Foods that are low carb include protein foods such as meat, chicken, turkey, shellfish, some nuts, and non-starchy vegetables.
Consider talking with your physician about substitute methods of birth control if you are using oral contraceptives.
Practitioners usually suggest avoiding alcohol and smoking. Both can impair the immune function.
Crook, WG. The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough. Jackson, Tenn., Professional Books, 1983, 1984, 1986.
Martin, Jeanne Marie and Rona, Zoltan P. The Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook. Rocklin, California:Prima Books, 1996.
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