We've probably all heard about or even experienced Candida or thrush at some stage in our lives. This is because all of us actually have the yeast which causes thrush, Candida Albicans (CA).
Normally it is kept under control by our healthy micro-organisms and our immune system but when we are down in energy or compromised it can cause real problems.
What many of us don't realize is that it can be quietly chewing away at us inside, draining our energy and infiltrating our body.
It can even be fatal.
Here we will outline the classic types, symptoms and causes. Following this we will discuss natural herbal and dietary treatments.
Of all fungi on earth, around 600 species are disease causing in humans. (5)
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans (CA). Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected. (1)
Candidiasis that develops in the mouth or throat is called “thrush” or oropharyngeal candidiasis. Candidiasis in the vagina is commonly referred to as a “yeast infection.” Invasive candidiasis occurs when Candida species enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. (1)
CA can cause infections that range from superficial infections of the skin to life-threatening systemic infections. (5)
Types of Candida
Oropharyngeal / Esophageal Candidiasis ("Thrush")
Candida infections of the mouth and throat can manifest in a variety of ways. The most common symptom of oral thrush is white patches or plaques on the tongue and other oral mucous membranes. Other symptoms include:
- Redness or soreness in the affected areas
- Difficulty swallowing
- Cracking at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis) (1)
Genital / vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC)
Men with genital candidiasis may experience an itchy rash on the penis. The symptoms of VVC are similar to those of many other genital infections, so it is important to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. (1)
It is estimated that approximately 75% of all women suffer at least once in their lifetime from VVC. (5)
Invasive candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Unlike Candida infections in the mouth and throat (also called “thrush”) or vaginal “yeast infections,” invasive candidiasis is a serious infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, and other parts of the body. Candidemia, a bloodstream infection with Candida, is a common infection in hospitalized patients. (1)
Causes of Candida infestation
The inflammation link
Recent studies show that high level Candida colonization is associated with several diseases of the gastrointestinal tract including Chrohn's disease and irritable bowel. Further, results from animal models argue that Candida colonization delays healing of inflammatory lesions and that inflammation promotes colonization. These effects may create a vicious cycle in which low-level inflammation promotes fungal colonization and fungal colonization promotes further inflammation. (2)
Patients with ulcerative colitis, another form of Irritable bowel disease, are also frequently colonized by Candida (2)
The acid link
CA encounters and responds to varying features of the physical environment such as pH, oxygen levels and nutrient levels. (2)
In the human host, CA is exposed to a surrounding pH ranging from slightly alkaline to acidic. Additionally, depending on the location on the host, the environmental pH can be very dynamic.
The pH of human blood and tissues is slightly alkaline (pH 7.4), while the pH of the digestive tract ranges from very acidic (pH 2) to more alkaline (pH 8), and the pH of the vagina is acidic (around 4.78)
CA senses, adapts to and, strikingly, also actively modulates extracellular pH. All these features contribute to its remarkable capacity to co-exist and to prevail as a fungal pathogen in humans.
However neutral to alkaline pH can cause severe stress to CA. In healthy humans the pH of human blood and tissues is slightly alkaline which should inhibit CA overgrowth (6)
The sugar link
Results of one study indicate that dietary glucose intake is a key determinant of CA growth in the gastrointestinal tract. (7)
A study of 100 women was undertaken to attempt to gain insight into the role of dietary sugar ingestion in the pathogenesis of this disease. Urinary sugar patterns of glucose, arabinose and ribose were elevated. These excretion patterns correlated well with the excessive oral ingestion of dairy products, artificial sweeteners and sucrose. Eliminating excessive use of these foods brought about a dramatic reduction in the incidence and severity of Candida vulvovaginitis. (8)
The immunity link
Antibiotics are well known to bring on an attack of Candida. This is because antibiotics disrupt the resident bacterial community, allowing CA to colonize. (2) Prolonged treatments with broad-spectrum antibiotics destroy the indigenous intestinal microflora, which provokes intestinal CA proliferation and adversely affects the immune system of the patient (3)
Candida albicans is a fungus that can cause life-threatening infections in immuno-compromised patients (4) Blood is relatively rich in glucose, the preferred nutrient source of most fungi. However, white blood immune cells (macrophages and neutrophils) can efficiently destroy CA. (6)
The Good fats link
Results of one study indicate that fatty acid metabolic pathways can regulate germination of CA and the local fatty acid environment can influence whether CA exists as a pathogen. (9)
Results of another study suggest that coconut oil could become the first dietary intervention to reduce intestinal colonization by CA. (10)
The infection process
Here is a basic overview of CA pathogenicity (disease) mechanisms. (6)
1. Yeast cells adhere to host cell surfaces.
2. Contact to host cells triggers the yeast-to-hypha morphism.
3. Secretion of fungal enzymes facilitate the second mechanism of invasion, i.e., fungal-driven active penetration into host cells.
4 & 5. Phenotypic plasticity (switching) has been proposed to influence antigenicity and biofilm formation of CA.
6. Several fitness traits influence fungal pathogenicity. They include alkalinization (pH); metabolic flexibility and uptake of different minerals.
Despite their frequency and associated morbidity, superficial CA infections are non-lethal. In stark contrast, invasive systemic candidiasis is associated with a high crude mortality rate, even with first line antifungal therapy. (5) Patients in hospital often die from invasive CA after antibiotic treatments.
Therefore prevention is the key to avoiding this insidious and potentially fatal disease.
- Build a strong immune system
- Encourage healthy bowel flora
- Reduce the unnecessary use of antibiotics
- Avoid inducing inflammatory gut irritants
My Ultimate Natural Candida treatment plan
Alongside the following dietary advice below.....
A healthy diet is the key to a healthy gut which is the key to healthy colonization of microflora and bacteria. Growth of the CA fungus is believed to be controlled through competition with other members of the intestinal microbial flora (6)
Therefore eating the right balance of whole-foods is a major consideration.
- Avoid yeast and sugar and processed food in the diet
- Avoid acid forming foods such as alcohol, red meat, cheese, coffee and sugar
- Avoid processed carbohydrates, pasta, noodles, crackers, chips, biscuits and bread
- Avoid simple starches, potato, white rice and anything containing wheat flour
- Eat more alkaline foods such as raw vegetables, fruits and water, including sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in water
- Consume plenty of good fats, oily fish, salmon, olive oil, coconut oil and avocado
- Use coconut oil in smoothies and for cooking
- Use tumeric, cayenne pepper and cloves abundantly (try clove tea)
To build the immune system:
- Eat 6-8 cloves of garlic daily
- Eat plenty of mushrooms
- Eat foods high in vitamin C and consume 1 tsp Vitamin C powder daily.
To encourage gut flora:
- Aloe vera juice 100ml daily
- Eat natural unsweetened acidophilus yoghurt 200-500ml daily
- Take a good course of 60 capsules (10 billion acidphilus bifidus) 10 daily at the end of the first 14 days and then again at the end of the first 6 weeks.
For the immune system:
Echinacea, Astragalus liquids 200ml consumed over 3 weeks.
Anti-inflammatory herbs to eat with food:
- Turmeric 2 tsp with evening meal
- 6 Cloves into herbal tea 2 x daily
- 1 x raw onions in salad
For severe external and recurring outbreaks also include the following:
- Colloidal silver 200ml daily for the first 21 days
- Three x Acidophilus enema, one every 14 days
- Repeat the Ultimate Herbal DETOX 14 day plan at the end of the six week period
We hope this has been helpful and if you would like to share your Candida success story please post a comment below this article.
Brett Elliott ®
(1) Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Candidiasis. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/
(2) Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163673/
(3) Intestinal candidiasis. A clinical report and comments about this opportunistic pathology. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12715941
(4) Effect of Environmental pH on Morphological Development of Candida albicans Is Mediated via the PacC-Related Transcription Factor Encoded by PRR2. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC94210/
(5) Candida albicans pathogenicity mechanisms PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654610/
(6) Candida albicans pathogenicity mechanisms. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3654610/
(7) Modulating effect of dietary carbohydrate supplementation on Candida albicans colonization and invasion in a neutropenic mouse model. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC302772/
(8) Sugar chromatography studies in recurrent Candida vulvovaginitis. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6481700
(9) Regulation of Candida albicans Morphogenesis by Fatty Acid Metabolites PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC523025/
(10) Manipulation of Host Diet To Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida albicans PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4863630/