Candida is tricky and the internet is just full of information on what you should be doing to treat it. It’s important to work with a trained healthcare practitioner to figure out what’s best for you.
What is Candida?
Candida Albicans, otherwise known as Candida, is a type of yeast that is naturally occuring in the gastrointestinal system, skin, mouth, and vagina. Candida is normally kept in check by the immune system, gut bacteria/other yeast, and a low pH in our gut. Candida begins to take over, however, if one or more of those things is out of balance.
Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria, and if you aren’t actively working to repopulate your system with good bacteria, an overgrowth may occur. Candida overgrowth may also occur because of a highly processed diet, chronic stress, hormonal birth control, diabetes, or regularly ingesting chemicals that interfere with the balance of the gut microbiome.
Symptoms of candida:
Unexplained weight gain
Rashes and hives
Brain fog and memory loss
Vaginal yeast infections
Gas and bloating
fungus on nails
Candida symptoms are similar to many other symptoms of imbalance in the body. Just because you have a couple of the symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have Candida. The best thing to do is work with a healthcare practitioner to get appropriate testing done. Don’t play the guessing game!
There is quite a bit of debate over whether or not prescription antifungals should be used to fight candida. I personally believe there is a time and a place for conventional medicine and I don’t mind using antifungals to reduce debilitating symptoms. Nystatin, a common anti fungal used to treat candida, is a mild drug that does not get absorbed through the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and shouldn’t directly impact other systems in the body.
Caprylic Acid – This is a fatty acid derived from coconut oil that helps kill yeast.
ProbioMax Plus DF – This specific probiotic helps with the production of cytokines, which enhance our body’s natural ability to fight Candida.
Paleozyme – This helps to break down Candida biofilm so the antifungal can get to the yeast. It also helps my body properly break down food in order to prevent lingering, poorly digested foods to hang out in my small intestine (thus causing rancidity and inflammation).
The point of an anti-Candida diet is to eliminate foods that feed yeast (sugars, wine
& beer, high sugar fruits, gluten and grains, beans and legumes, mushrooms, dairy and foods with high mold content) and replace them with vegetables and protein. Some physicians are not a fan of this diet because it removes most carbohydrates, and studies have shown Candida feeds off ketones (these are produced when the body is no longer using carbohydrates for energy). Removing carbohydrates from the diet too quickly can cause a lot of stress to the body, so it’s best to work with a practitioner who can help you transition to a candida diet safely. Some physicians approach Candida with a low FODMAP diet (which only removes a certain type of carbohydrates that are often poorly absorbed and quickly fermented in the GI tract).
I have customized the anti-Candida diet to limit starchy carbohydrates to 1 cup/day. Eating lots of compliant veggies, taking my digestive enzymes, chewing properly, and eating in a relaxed state for optimal digestion is also important.
I compiled a Candida Grocery List, filled with all the foods I’m eating during this protocol and I’m sharing it with you here. The good news is it’s really just a modified paleo diet, so if you’ve been following that you won’t feel too deprived!
If you struggle with reoccurring candida, you may need to seek out a deeper root cause of your health issues. Head here to learn more about my story in battling mold illness.