Candida albicans is a type of yeast that is naturally present in the digestive tract and vagina. It is normally kept under control by good bacteria as well as the immune system. However, if the good bacteria are killed or the immune system is weakened, the candida can grow beyond normal limits, causing infections such as oral or vaginal thrush, or skin infections. Too much candida in the intestines can result in symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, mood swings, depression, poor memory, poor concentration, and sinus congestions.
Candida can be controlled by conventional medication but this is not necessary as there are natural therapies that can help.
One of the most important things that you can do when it comes to rebalancing the candida in your digestive system is to make changes in your diet. You should avoid eating sugar wherever possible as sugar promotes the growth of yeast. Also avoid foods that are made with yeast, such as bread that has been made with yeast, beer, mushrooms, tomato paste, and cheese. Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet is also beneficial as extra fibre will help to absorb and eliminate the toxins produced by candida. For more information see nutrition.
One good bacteria that you can take to control candida is acidophilus. Acidophilus controls candida by making the intestinal tract more acidic which discourages candida from growing. It also produces hydrogen peroxide which actually kills the candida. Acidophilus is available in yoghurt, special drinks such as Yakult and as capsules, which are available from health food stores. Lactobacilli such as lactobacillus acidophilus also help to keep the vagina at the correct pH level, which stops harmful bacteria from growing. Bifidus is another important probiotic that you should consider supplementing. Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) help to feed the good bacteria so that more of it is able to reach the gut. As well as increasing the amounts of good bacteria in the gut, FOS also reduces bad bacteria. You should look for supplements that are dairy free.
Herbal medicine can be very valuable in helping to control candida. For example, grapefruit seed extract is very good for helping to get rid of systemic candida – candida that has spread right throughout the body. Caprylic acid is a strong antifungal, and the hulls of the black walnut have also been shown to have strong antifungal properties, making both of these excellent choices for treating candida.
Garlic is well known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties and it is very effective for treating candida. Enteric-coated garlic capsules are particularly useful or you could eat fresh garlic. One natural treatment for vaginal thrush is actually inserting a clove of garlic into the vagina, making sure that it is easily removed, of course.
Echinacea is also great for stimulating the body’s defenses, and it has been shown to be useful in helping to reduce the recurrence of vaginal candida. Suma is another herbal option as it improves immune function as well as increasing your energy levels.
You could also opt for enteric-coated capsules that contain volatile oils such as oregano oils and peppermint oil, which are useful for preventing candida from overgrowing. You will probably need to take these capsules for several months.