Candida is a genus of yeastlike fungi which reproduces by budding and is generally found in trace amounts in the mouth, skin, intestinal tract, and vagina of normal individuals. Candida is the organism most commonly associated with mycotic (yeast or fungus) infections. Ordinarily, the growth of this fungus is kept in check by the immune system and the beneficial bacteria of the body or flora. Individuals with weakened immunity, those who consume sugar (which feeds the fungus), and those who have taken drugs which kill the beneficial flora (mainly antibiotics, birth control pills, and long-term use of cortisone) may develop an infection or overgrowth of this fungus. This condition is referred to as Candidiasis and the organism most frequently involved is Candida albicans.
When a Candida infection involves the mouth or throat, which usually occurs in infants and young children who have been on antibiotics, it is characterized by the formation of white patches and ulcers and is frequently accompanied by fever and gastrointestinal inflammation. This condition is referred to as Thrush. This as well as other types of candida infections, particularly those involving the lungs, are also very common in patients with depressed immunity, such as those suffering from AIDS or taking immunosuppressive drugs.
Occasionally, Candida overgrowth occurs throughout the body including the liver and blood. Once in the blood, the fungus can be carried anywhere in the body resulting in a myriad of health problems including frequent urinary tract infections, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal and liver problems, decreased immunity, frequent or chronic fungus infections of the skin and nails, food allergies and unexplained weight gain. This condition is referred to as Systemic Candidiasis (also known as candidosis and moniliasis.) Many of the individuals with this disease go undiagnosed for years, continuing to suffer from health problems which baffle their doctors. In fact, although this condition is not uncommon, medical doctors will rarely suspect it. If they do diagnosis it they will treat it with special antibiotics which kill fungi and yeasts. Some individuals prefer to avoid antibiotics and opt to handle their Candidiasis with diet, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle changes to prevent recurrences.
Systemic candidiasis can also be a significant factor in individuals who are overweight. These individuals find it difficult to lose weight and even harder to keep it off, no matter what they try. Once their candida is under control they often lose weight without even trying and find it much easier to maintain their ideal weight.
Individuals who have been on antibiotic drugs, long-term cortisone therapy, or birth control pills and who suffer from chronic poor health; who experience recurrent yeast and/or fungus infections of the skin, nails, and/or mucus membranes; who have had frequent bouts of urinary or respiratory tract infections and allergies; who find it difficult to maintain their ideal weight, no matter what they do; or who suffer from poor resistance to illness in general; should consider Systemic Candidiasis as a possible contributing factor.
Who is at Risk for Systemic Candidiasis?
Since some Candida is normally found in the mouth of healthy individuals, cultures taken from the saliva are not 100% effective. This is mainly because the doctors who interpret these tests may consider the level of candida in the saliva as "normal," when in fact it is too high. Doctors will sometimes make a blood culture or take a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid. However, in general, medical doctors are looking for severe life-threatening Candidiasis—the kind seen in AIDS and immunosuppressed patients—and they will usually ignore a moderate infection considering it insignificant. Many Candida tests will therefore come back negative even though the patient has "subclinical" Systemic Candidiasis which is never-the-less causing many problems. These people are left with three choices: 1) They can continue to suffer until their condition gets severe enough to be recognized by the medical profession; 2) they can seek care from an alternative practitioner who has some knowledge of Candida; or 3) they can take matters into their own hands by employing lifestyle and nutritional changes.
Tests for Systemic Candidiasis
Home saliva tests for candidiasis are available from Bio Health Diagnostics, 800-570-2000. The last time I checked the cost was about $45. However, even if you are not officially diagnosed with Candidiasis, it is my opinion that if you experience a lot of the symptoms often associated with it, have used antibiotics, long-term cortisone therapy or birth control pills in the past, and suspect that you might have some yeast overgrowth in your body, you should consider some of the nutritional and lifestyle changes mentioned below, just to be sure. The diet and natural supplements mentioned for Candida have no dangerous side-effects, and the support given to the immune system and to the body's natural flora can benefit just about anyone.
Simple Home Tests for Systemic Candidiasis
Candida is a persistent yeast which is difficult to clear from the body. If you think you have a Candida overgrowth, you must be serious about getting rid of it for it requires that you refrain from sugar and simple carbohydrates for at least three weeks and maybe longer. If you "cheat" on the diet too much you will not get the results you expect. In addition to the diet, there are nutritional supplements that you must take to kill the fungus, clear it from the liver and blood, build up the immune system, repair the damage done to the intestinal tract, and replace the normal flora of the body. All of these steps must be done to get lasting results. The entire program takes six months. The first two or three weeks are the most difficult because of the sugar and simple carbohydrates restriction. (Individuals with Candida often crave carbohydrates and sweets.) After that the program is relatively easy but persistence and regularity with taking your supplements is required.
Nutritional and Lifestyle Support for Systemic Candidiasis
The Steps (These are done simultaneously.):
- Begin with a 2-week cleanse with Cleanstart.
- Weaken the fungus with the "Candida Diet".
- Take supplements to kill the fungus.
- Take supplements to support the immune system.
- Take supplements to clear the dead fungus from the liver and blood.
- Support any weakened body systems, especially the digestive system.
- Replace the friendly flora of the body.
- Make any lifestyle changes necessary to prevent a reinfection.
Step 1: Begin with a CleanStart
Begin with a 2-week cleanse with the CleanStart TM cleansing and detoxification program according to the directions on the package. This cleans the intestines, liver, blood and kidneys of waste material and toxins that are hindering the healing process.
Step 2: The Candida DietIn the past, some candida programs have included elaborate diets which require that you refrain from many food types. These diets are very difficult to follow and, in the opinion of this writer, are unnecessary if the proper nutritional supplements are taken (including a cleanse.) The most important thing to do during the diet is to refrain from simple sugars and simple carbohydrates, especially sugar, corn syrup and refined carbohydrates such as white wheat flour or "enriched" flour. Fruit juices should also be avoided due to their high natural sugar content. Whole fruits are allowed in moderation. This diet should be followed as closely as possible for at least three weeks—longer in severe cases or if the symptoms persist. The Dietary Guidelines Recommended by Natural Health School is by far the best candida diet available and is appropriate and desirable for all individuals regardless of whether candida is a problem.
Step 3: Take one or more supplements to kill the fungus:In addition to limiting sugar and simple carbohydrate intake as described above, you should also take one or more of the following supplements to kill the fungus. (You do not need to take all three. One or two will do. Or use the Candida Clear program mentioned below.):
- Yeast Fungal Detox—Take at least 2 bottles as directed on the label.
- High Potency Garlic—Take one tablet every day for at least 60 days (one bottle).
- Pau D'Arco/Taheebo Tea—Drink one to two quarts of this tea (unsweetened) every day while on the Candida Diet. If you prefer to take capsules, ten Pau D'Arco capsules are equivalent to one quart of the tea.
Step 4: Take supplements to support the immune system:In conjunction with the above, you should also take one or more of the following to support the immune system:
- Caprylic Acid Combination—Take according to the directions on the bottle throughout the Candida diet and afterward for a total of 45 days (2 bottles.) Continue taking if desired.
- Flax Seed Oil—Take at least one bottle according to the label directions. Continue taking if desired. If you crave fats, fatty foods, fried foods, etc. continue taking Flax Seed Oil for as long as you have these cravings. Flax Seed oil is also available in a liquid form that can be applied to salads, etc.
- Pau D'Arco/Taheebo Tea—Described above. Take as desired for up to six months.
- High Potency Garlic—Described above. Take one a day for as long as desired.
As an alternative for Steps 3 and 4, you have the option of using the complete system Candida Clear:
Step 5: Take supplements to clear the dead fungus from the liver and blood:
- Liquid Chlorophyll—One teaspoon in a glass of water two times daily, or as desired. It is very important that you drink enough water during the cleanse and throughout the Candida program. You should drink eight glasses of purified water a day (this includes the Pau D'Arco tea if you are using it.) To make the water more palatable, and to aid the detoxification process, put a little liquid chlorophyll, according to your taste, in every glass of water that you drink.
- Keep your bowels moving regularly (at least once a day and preferably three times a day) taking a psyllium fiber supplement.
Step 6: Support any weakened body system:
- Take the Online Health Assessment questionnaire to determine your weakest body system and supplement your diet with the key product for that system.
- One of the systems that you must support is the digestive system, because of the damage the yeast does to the intestinal tract. To support this system take two capsules of Proactazyme Plus plant enzymes with every meal. Take at the beginning of the meal. Bifidophilus Flora Force (see below) is also essential to support the digestive system.
Step 7: Replace the friendly flora of the body:This is possibly the most important step: Throughout the above program and for at least six months afterward take Bifidophilus Flora Force, two capsules three times per day. It is preferable that you do not take this at the same time that you take the supplements to kill the fungus. (Do not take it at the same time that you take the Yeast Fungal Detox, Pau D'Arco, or Garlic. If possible, take the Bifidophilus 30 minutes to an hour before meals and take the other supplements after meals.)
Step 8: Make any lifestyle changes necessary to prevent a reinfection:
- Eat a healthy diet high in protein and vegetables avoiding sugar and simple carbohydrates. Carefully adhere to the Dietary Guidelines Recommended by Natural Health School.
- Take a daily fiber supplement containing psyllium.
- At least twice a year (in the Spring and again in the Fall) do a two week cleanse with Cleanstart.
- Follow each cleanse with a bottle of Bifidophilus Flora Force as instructed on the bottle.
- To the extent possible, avoid antibiotics and other drugs that destroy the friendly flora of the body. If you must take an antibiotic, take Bifidophilus Flora Force at the same time and for at least one month afterward. If you continue taking birth control pills or cortisone, you must continue taking Bifidophilus Flora Force on a daily basis as well. (Probiotic Eleven can be used in place of Bifidophilus Flora Force if desired.)
Some people may experience a healing crisis or a cleansing crisis while on this program due to the dead fungus and other toxins that your body is getting rid of. These toxins will circulate in your blood for a short time until they can be eliminated and can cause weakness, malaise, headache, nausea and other symptoms. This is a good sign and generally the symptoms are mild. Just think about how much better you are going to feel once all of this is out of your system! If you feel sick to your stomach or nauseated, ginger tea and/or peppermint oil (2 drops in a small glass of water) may help. Vigorous exercise, such as walking or bicycling, will help your body eliminate toxins faster. Drinking plenty of fluids, as mentioned above, will also help. Above all, use common sense and go slowly if necessary. Keep a positive attitude!
If you are not ready to do the complete Candida program at this time, you should at least do the following until you are ready to do the complete program. This may not clear the yeast from your body entirely, but it will probably keep it from getting worse, and it may help alleviate many of your symptoms and give you more energy. This is the absolute minimum:
- In the beginning, and then twice a year (in the Spring and again in the Fall), do a two week cleanse with Cleanstart.
- Take Bifidophilus Flora Force "friendly bacteria" every day, according to label directions.
- Take two capsules of Proactazyme Plus plant enzymes with every meal.
- Take a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement every day, such as Super Supplemental.
- Take a psyllium fiber supplement every day to keep your bowel movements regular. (You must have at least one bowel movement every day, perferably two or three a day.)
- Periodically take a bottle of Yeast Fungal Detox according to label directions or do a 14-day yeast cleanse with Candida Clear.
- Eat a healthy diet with quality animal protein with each meal and vegetables avoiding sweets, fruit juices and simple carbohydrates (avoid most bakery goods.)
- Carefully follow the Dietary Guidelines Recommended by Natural Health School.
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food
and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.