Tag Archives: Yeast

What Cures Candida

It’s been almost a year since I wrote the last article on persistent candida and treatments. I meant to write this following article two months ago but sometimes you just never seem to find enough time so it never got done. So here goes, I am not sure that my candida is totally cured but it’s certainly not the bane of my existence as it was before. If a doctor examined me he would not find any sign of it, but there is an awareness I guess that its only just gone, not that it is so normal you take it for granted.

I outlined many things I tried and why, but didn’t cover many others. Overall I had vaginal thrush for a year and half and although many remedies gave some relief from the itch they could not be called a cure.

Contributing or concurrent symptoms are also important to note as candida appears to need a specific environment to morph into the unpleasant thrush from its more normal state in our body.

It’s impossible to definitively state my cause. I have had herpes (HSV 2) for over 20 years. I have been under debt stress for 10 years. 2 years prior to this I had an ablation at around the same time I’d be entering menopause. I had not had any antibiotics for maybe 15 years previously. I developed persistent candida. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos hypo thyroidism. My temperature was consistently between 35 and 36 degrees.

And I had thrush I couldn’t cure.

What did help to remove the itch and to reduce the severity?

1. The Candida Diet

The candida diet is not something to take lightly, it is a very restrictive diet and for most cases of candida it is unnecessary to start something that makes your life so hard. That said, many many people will feel so much better if they adopt some or all aspects of the candida diet. I ‘ll be honest and say i thought I’d try it for 3-6 months and see, but now I cannot see me going back to a normal diet.

I have days when I’ll grieve for a jam donut like a lost love, when a sandwich sounds like something on a five star restaurant’s menu and biscuits and milk are a happy childhood memory. We adapt. There is no question but that the restrictions change your life and people don’t understand. Only you can decide if it’s worth it. For me it’s worth it. I have fallen off the wagon sometimes, and the result is pain.

The Primal or Paleo diets are close to the Candida diet. It is simpler to say you can eat most protein and vegetables, than to list all the restrictions. However, the full diet will have you go grain free, low carb, no sugar, no dairy, no yeast, very small amounts of fruit with initial restrictions on high sugar ones, no peanuts, no mushrooms and there are probably other restrictions I don’t recall.

I am gluten free, semi dairy free (I eat a small amount of cheese as a treat perhaps once a fortnight, use ghee to cook with and have milk in my tea – but keep away from a big glass of milk or a punnet of yoghurt or a meal with a cheese sauce) totally sugar free, I drink only tea and soda water, I eat vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, and now use some gluten free flours to bake muffins or make pancakes.

Coconuts are the major part of my new substitutions, I use the milk for cereal and drinks and milk substitutions, and the flour for baking, and the oil for cooking with and added to my breakfast quinoa porridge. Buckwheat, besan, rice  and coconut flours substitute for wheat. Stevia substitutes for sugar.

When I first started on the diet I would have an an increase in candida white pricklys and itch after eating a banana because of the sugar in it. After about 6 months on the diet I could finally tolerate a banana again. Now they have no effect at all on me.

Reducing the Candida Itch

Apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide 3%, witch hazel – these were the best for swabbing with to reduce the itch. I really didn’t like creams at all and gave up using them because they gave me no relief.

Zinc cream and zinc powderFinally I discovered zinc creams and powders. These helped. Applying the zinc powder to the external skin after a shower and sometimes in the night as a quick fix to keep the skin area fully dry. The thick zinc oxide cream as a barrier cream for when the internal skin area is feeling sore or tender.

Vaginal PH

There is a product called Aci Jel which Dr M suggested. It may be hard to get, but it is a gel and has glacial acetic acid as its main ingredient. Yep, Vinegar is dilute acetic acid. By restoring vaginal acidity this gel discourages candida growth there. This is as messy as borax btw, so a small towel is advised. I found that 3 days treatment offered about a weeks relief and this was a turning point for me. After using it and resting it about 4 or 5 times, the severity decreased for longer periods of time.

Another article I read advised using Vitamin C. Take orally in high dose and also use as a pessary. Ditto to the towel. I still take 1,000 vtC a day.

What Cures Candida?

candida cureI think it is probably Borax…Maybe it is molybdenum, maybe its vitamin C…

I cured my candida by taking this product. I have written the other things I tried because they came before and by the time I took this, I had very little thrush irritation left to get rid of, as the diet and ph change had done some work towards curing it, so i don’t know if you need to do this too. Maybe you do. Maybe you need to do the diet as well. I don’t know for sure…

You may have to ask for this product by name in your local health food store or from a naturopath.

Metagenics Femme Essentials
Multivitamin and Mineral

Women’s Multi with Detoxification and Antioxident Support  – Practitioner Only Range

My actual final candida cure came after I read an article about molybdenum taking out the candida trash. I went into the health food store asking the assistant if she had any or knew about it. At first she didn’t seem to know a product which contained it, but after we talked a while about systemic candida she ran out the back and reappeared with this multivitamin and mineral supplement from Metagenics.

It cost me around $45 for 60 tablets, and is marked practitioner only range, meaning you won’t just find it on the shelf, and you probably won’t be able to buy it online. There is a similar Metagenics product you can get online, but it probably won’t help for candida. The key ingredients to cure candida I believe are in the borax and molybdenum which are not in the generally available Metagenics product.

I always felt that borax was the answer to cure candida but I couldn’t find a way to take it correctly. I tried the way the earth clinic suggests but got such severe pain in my stomach I couldn’t take it constantly. The trick I guess is in the dose and this is the only product I’ve found that has it right.

I tolerated it very well with no ill effect. I took one a day, all the 60 tablets, until the bottle was finished and then I had to stop myself rushing to the store to get another bottle.

I was well, the candida was gone, I was cured – but it was hard to believe it was permanent after a year and a half. What if it comes back I thought? But you can’t take supplements forever and shouldn’t if you don’t need to. I still take Vitamin C.  If I forget I feel a phantom itch! But I finished the metagenics tablets a month ago and I’m still totally candida free.

My temperature is stable around 36.5 and I’m on permanent thyroid replacement medication and daily zovirex. I am and think I will probably remain gluten free but am gradually relaxing other restrictions. Not sugar just yet though,  maybe I’ll have a little honey next year.

A Favour Please?

I hope this will help other people suffering from persistent candida. If it does help to cure your candida please find a way to link to the article in some way. Linking to it in a forum or on a blog helps to bring the article to appear on Google search pages when people search for cures for candida. You can also comment below if it helped you so people can see it helped more people than just me.

 

 

Can diet help cure Candida?

Can diet help cure Candida?

Candida is a natural part of the “flora” of our bodies but it can play havoc when it overgrows like a noxious weed that is getting out of control in your garden. Generally a topical or oral fungicide is used, in a similar way to a weed killer, to bring the candida yeast overgrowth under control. Symptoms subside and all is forgotten.

If however you are immune compromised in some way, the body will have trouble distributing and aiding the” weed killer” to destroy the overgrowth. As yeasts feed on sugar the Candida diet restricts all forms of sugar. It also restricts yeast (bread and Vegemite) and anything fungal (mushrooms and peanuts) and the two main allergen causing culprits – wheat (gluten) and dairy (lactose).

Yeast
Yeast

A simple, diagram labelled in English showing ...

But sugar is the main change the candida diet requires you to quit on.Français : Echantillons de différents sucres, ...Sugar describes many specific  types of sugar. In it’s most natural form it is a part of fruit and vegetables and is often called carbohydrates.

Many fruits “sweeten” as they ripen, like bananas, and many vegetables are naturally sweet like sweet potato and sweet corn. In it’s natural form surrounded by fibre and delivering a mix of vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates – carbohydrates deliver energy with nutrition.

Sucrose is found naturally in many food plants along with the monosaccharide fructose. In many fruits, such as pineapple and apricot, sucrose is the main sugar. In others, such as grapes and pears, fructose is the main sugar.

Although high sugar fruit and vegetables are forbidden for the first month of the candida diet, in the following months they are only restricted.

Foods containing processed sugar are strictly forbidden if you are to starve the yeast overgrowth. Cakes, biscuits, sauces, jams, jellies, icecreams, chocolates, crystalline sugar in tea or coffee – it’s a tough challenge I know, but you have to give sugar away totally if you want the candida diet to work for you. Most  artificial sweeteners are no good for you either, so don’t turn to aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, or saccharin.

When you have been sugar free for a few months – your candida will flare with even a little sugar in your diet. I had a flare last week which puzzled me until I realized that the new bottle of vitamin C I bought didn’t say sugar free and sure enough when I scoured the label again I found glucose on it.

Alternate Names for Sugar

To give you a head start here are some alternate names for sugar – sucrose, glucose, lactose, dextrose, fructose,  galactose, maltose, saccharides, sorbitol, honey, golden syrup, sorghum syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, agave syrup, caramel, date sugar, palm sugar, treacle, molasses, muscovado, panocha, demerara, castor, erythritol, fruit juice, alcohol, etc.

For sweetness without setting off the yeast or causing tooth decay – turn to stevia – this sweet herb, used as a natural sweetener, has a zero glycemic index and zero calories. Stevia has been widely used for centuries in South America. It is available as dried herb or a refined sweetener in drops, or mixed with erythritol to resemble sugar. A sweetener that can benefit dental health is xylitol. Xylitol works to prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface, thus preventing plaque formation and eventually decay. It is also becoming a better known sugar substitute, for more than just chewing gum.

Giving up Wheat,  Gluten and Yeast

Photograph of 4 gluten sources. Top: High-glut...

You can go looking for a gluten free bread if you want to, I did for weeks, but I didn’t find a commercially made loaf that didn’t have wheat (gluten), dairy, yeast and sugar in it.

So if you like snack food, this step is really hard and is best done gradually or you won’t have time to adjust breakfast and lunch to a non traditional meal of rice, meat and vegetables or foods made with pea, nut or seed flours.

Oats do not have gluten but may become contaminated with it from factory packaging. Substitute wheat pasta and noodles with rice or buckwheat pastas. Quinoa makes a good porridge substitute and a versatile savoury carb.

Yeast is not just in cakes and breads, like sugar it is in a lot of sauces and condiments. For some people the hardest loss will not be the toast but the vegemite!

Giving Up Dairy

Milk and cooky
Image by Salim Virji via Flickr

Milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, butter, buttermilk, icecream, all contain milk sugars, so they are forbidden on the candida diet. I still have lite milk in my tea (it tastes awful otherwise) and cook with butter. Most people will dig in their heels about some things. Converting to the candida diet is better done as a gradual change or you’ll turn suicidal.

Give up things it’s easier for you to give up first and gradually substitute alternate foods for forbidden foods you like a lot, when you are ready to. No more milk and cookies before bed sounds harsh, but there are alternatives.

Almond milk is lovely but expensive, rice milk and soy milk are two alternative milks. I don’t like soy or rice milk and soy is said to interfere with the thyroid medication so I use oat milk. I also love coconut milk and cream. My favourite treat at the moment is a cold chocolate milk drink made with a tsp of cocoa (just cocoa no other ingredients) dissolved in a tbsp of boiling water, 2-3 drops of stevia, a generous splash of coconut cream and topped up with oat milk. Mmmm delicious!

I think maybe you need to have been on the candida diet for a few months to really think its delicious, tho. After a few months with no sugar, sour is not so sour, bitter is better and most flavours just taste a little bit different. The only time you notice tho is when other people say “How can you eat that?”

Other Forbidden Foods on the Candida Diet

There are many versions of the candida diet, some writers are stricter than others. Most agree on the above and then there are other forbidden foods depending on how “natural” their bias is.

Most agree that meat should be from ethical organic meat suppliers, hams and bacons should be free of nitrates, salami, sausages and processed meats are generally off the menu (but I sneak in some gluten free pork snags now and then) and shellfish may be forbidden.

I think many of the candida diet restrictions are due to the likelihood of people having allergies. Shellfish is high on the allergy list, gluten, lactose and casein are high. Peanuts are a common allergen.

The diet usually forbids peanuts – is it because it’s a goitrogen? or as is mentioned because the shells can have mould. If it’s mould which are like fungi which is like yeast and also like mushrooms – the connection seems a bit tenuous to me. So I eat mushrooms but steer clear of peanuts because of the thyroid. Some diets ban coconut but coconut, and especially coconut oil contains caprylic acid, an anti fungal specifically effective for killing candida overgrowth.

Some ban fermented foods – tofu, miso, tempah, kefir – while other versions of the candida diet recommend them. Some say no vinegar at all, others say apple cider vinegar and citric fruits. Some say no tea or coffee or cocoa, others don’t even try restricting these. Some list specific allowed fruits and others just restrict all fruits for the first three weeks and then say eat in moderation.

One version of the candida diet I read even allowed alcohol – gin and vodka I think, but I’m not sure.

I believe that you need to restrict sugar, gluten and dairy and that once you’ve reached a month or so, your body will start to tell you what you can and cannot have. So make sure you are listening to it. Be aware when you get mentally foggy, or severely itchy and prickly, or dizzy and make a note of what you ate that day. Don’t eat it again for at least four days and then see if that food or drink does it again. If it does – avoid it.

The candida diet is a strict diet which many doctors feel is unnecesary. Many deny that the candida thing is happening at all as a systemic problem. I was very skeptical myself to start with. Nothing like personal experience to make a convert of you.

Now I believe that the diet is genuinely helping to keep my yeast in check. I don’t think diet alone will cure my candida, but it is healing me slowly. The choices I am making are improving my immune system. The candida diet makes it easier for the antifungals I’m taking to do their job. If I eat something forbidden it’s not a major setback, but it’s sometimes very uncomfortable as the severity of the symptoms increases, yet within a few days these recede again, as long as I stay on the diet.

The most difficult thing for me to understand is the so called herxheimer response or die-off. It is described as flu-like symptoms as the candida dies off it and the toxins are being removed from the body via sneezes, mucus, skin, bowel and urine. You might see rashes, symptoms may get worse. If I feel worse does that mean I’m getting better or the yeast is winning – I get confused!

I have been on the diet 3 months now. I have tried various anti candida remedies but have not had any luck with a cure as yet. I’ll go through what I have tried in the next article. I am very tired of having this and would like to stop thinking about it, and researching new treatments that do nothing. But I will say that the candida diet helps to keep me relatively symptom minor. But a cure it is not.

I don’t know how long I may be need to be on the candida diet. Some people say 6 months, some suggest it may take 1-2 years. Others warn that it may be forever. Hmmm.

What Can You Eat on the Candida Diet?

When asked, I generally reply “Meat and Vegetables”. Of course it’s more than that, but that describes it well enough. The closer to nature the food is, the more likely it is you can eat it on the candida diet. The more processed it is whether commercial processing and packaging or complex cooking – the less likely it is that the food will be acceptable.

The paleo diet and the Atkins diet are the closest “famous” diets to the candida diet. The paleo diet would have you eat raw vegetables, and there is no doubt that this may be better for you – if you can tolerate it. If the candida or other auto immune conditions have damaged your digestive system though, to jump from a standard soft western diet to the paleo can leave you feeling most uncomfortable with wind and bowel disruption. So change your diet slowly – to tolerance – as they say, and give your body time to adjust to it’s new fuel.

You can eat fresh fish and you can eat good oils and fats. You can also eat eggs, rice, corn, buckwheat (which is not wheat) and nuts and seeds. Owning a juicer and a blender and a grinder will come in handy – of the three I use my small blender the most. It cuts up and makes dust of cashew nuts and almonds, so I can make nut paste that isn’t peanut, and almond meal for making cakes and “bread”. It also “blends” or purees softened fruit and veg to mix in soups, stews, cakes, sauces etc.

I have a juicer but haven’t used it much as yet, but as I learn to cook in a different way, I may. I believe vegetable stews close to raw are often made with grated vegetables and juice and pulp. I don’t have a grinder ( like a coffee grinder) but the blender doesn’t handle small seeds like sesame, so that might be good one day.

Getting Adventurous With the Candida Diet

Learning to cook with non gluten flours does require some study. Non-gluten flours are drier and burn more easily. They have no “stretch” and fall apart easily, so you need to use xanthan gum or eggs to bind them. Not using sugar – it being sticky – doesn’t help either. I haven’t found a way to make biscuits yet that are crisp without being hard. Maybe it’s not possible.

But I made an orange almond cake that was delicious and tried a No-guilt Brownies recipe from a book I got from the library that turned out pretty good. It takes hours in the kitchen and makes lots of washing up but it’s necessary with such a strict diet to have some treats now and then, or we start to feel too sorry for ourselves.

Anyway – baking aside – you should be starting the candida diet by eating red and green vegetables (white and orange vegetables are more “starchy” and therefore have more sugar), eggs, meat or fish, rice and rice snacks, nut pastes and nuts and seeds, good oils and fats, coconut products and an alternative milk. Where you go from there will be according to your nature, whether you stick to the diet, what you like and what you learn. Join the library and get recipe books out, it helps.

I have joined a local group called FIG which enables me to get organic vegetables from local farmers and suppliers. It offers me vegetables I might not always choose like Kale and Beetroot (you can eat the green leaves of beetroot – they are like spinach) and last week I had boysenberries for the first time in 15 years! At the moment I’m also exploring Indian food which uses a lot of pea and bean flours and exotic aromatic spices. I don’t especially like hot curry or chili but there is more to Indian cooking than the heat. I’m having fun exploring a local shop at Charmhaven with a huge range of ingredients used in Indian (and African) cooking including frozen vegetables I’ve never heard of. We also have a shop in Toukley (where I get my coconut oil from) with foods from Indonesia.

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What is Candidiasis?

Confused? Is it Candida, Fungi, Yeast or Candidiasis?

Fungi is a biological group of organisms that include yeasts, molds and fungi – meaning that yeast is fungi  but not all fungi are yeast. Candida is a group name for this type of yeast. It is normal to find Candida on human skin. Candidiasis (which I really think should be spelled candidaitis*) is (so far as I can tell) a term that means than candida has turned into a disease. Candidiasis is also technically known as candidosis, moniliasis, and oidiomycosis.

Candida albicans is part of the normal flora of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal (gut or intestinal flora), and female genital tracts. In healthy people it causes neither irritation or disease until it changes form and starts to overgrow.

Candida Albicans

  • a yeast or single cell form
  • a cell wall deficient form
  • a colony of cells or mycelium
  • a chlamydospore or cyst like form

Candida yeast can exist in the above  four forms : The single cell form is normal. Candida Albicans is the most common disease causing species of yeast in our body.

Candidiasis

Candidiasis
Image via Wikipedia

There are over 150 species of Candida such as Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, Candida pseudotropicalis, Candida guillermondii,Candida krusei,  Candida lusitaniae, Candida parapsolis, Candida dubliniensis, – that can cause disease, especially if the immune system is weakened.

NB. Blue links on this page lead to wikipedia descriptions. On the Candida page you will see a list on the right of various different species of Candida, many of which have pages of their own.

Candida is not a disease as such. It can get out of hand however as Candidiasis or yeast overgrowth and that can disrupt the body’s normal functioning and lead to disease.

If yeast overgrowth escapes from the intestinal tract, it can invade virtually any organ of the body, including the blood, the lungs, bones, kidney, liver, eyes and brain. Candida bloodstream infections are called candidemia. In very severe infections, systemic candidiasis, people with low immune systems can die from a fatally high fever such as Candida meningitis.

There are treatments for systemic candidiasis. However, yeast overgrowth is difficult to test for as pockets of yeast can hide almost invisibly. Risk of contracting the systemic form of candidiasis is mostly confined to immune compromised infants or the aged, or to patients with AIS conditions such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV, who have weak immune systems.

Thrush and Tinea

Most people who have yeast infections have external or superficial yeast infections in the mouth, in the vagina and on the skin. Oral candidiasis or thrush in the mouth and common in elderly denture wearers, is called oropharyngeal candidiasis and vaginal thrush is called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Nappy Rash may be caused by Candida.

Athletes foot or Tinea is a common fungal infection, as is jock itch in males. People also get fungal infections under their nails called onychomycosis . Vaginal yeast infections in women are common after taking a course of antibiotics but regardless of gender, prolonged antibiotic use increases your risk of a yeast infection.

If people get a yeast overgrowth in their intestinal tract, their symptoms may not be specific enough to diagnose yeast overgrowth. The candida may penetrate the GI mucosa, damaging the gut walls and leading to IBS. More symptoms may include fatigue, achy joints, sleep disturbance, brain fog, bladder and bowel disruption, increase of allergies and sensitivity to foods and chemicals.

In healthy people, yeast infections can be cured with topical or systemic antifungal medications you can buy from the chemist  such as the topical creams clotrimazole, nystatin  and  ketoconazole. A one-time dose of fluconazole (150-mg tablet taken orally) is reported as being 90% effective in treating a vaginal yeast infection.

In most cases of Thrush the yeast overgrowth is treated with a cream and subsides in a few days to a fortnight. A single dose fluconazole tablet is a one day alternative treatment to the cream. Both generally work quickly and effectively. In severe infections amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole may be prescribed.

When Treatment Doesn’t Work

However sometimes these treatments don’t work. Perhaps this is because the yeast has adapted to the treatment and it no longer works. Or because the form of candida is not susceptible to it, such as Candida glabrata that may be less susceptible to the currently used azole antifungal treatment.

Then we start guessing as it gets more complicated from here.

The hospital doctors are aware of resistant candida, but by the time you’re in hospital with this, your other disease will be more important to them. General practice doctors are resistant to believing candida can be a major problem.

The treatment of candida now becomes a matter of opinion. The best is subjective – trial and error via anecdote such as discussions in forums. And website information from doctors – although some of these may be somewhat biased towards specific remedies.

Notes

 *  -itis

  1. Suffix denoting diseases characterized by inflammation, often caused by an infection.
  2. (humorous) Used to form the names of various fictitious afflictions or diseases.