Learn about Candida overgrowth symptoms, causes, testing and natural treatment from this thorough guide that I put together after researching as well as implementing the protocols on myself over the period of two years. My ultimate guide to Candida overgrowth bases on the following books and resources:
- The Candida Crusher, a very thorough 700-page book by naturopath Eric Bakker from New Zealand. He has successfully treated thousands of patients over the past 25 years and I found great value from his book.
- Yeast Infection No More BOOK by Linda Allen. Yeast Infection No More is also available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
- The Candida Summit 2018 held by Evan Brand, BCHN, CFMP, NTP including 33 expert interviews.
What Is Candida Albicans?
Candida albicans, a yeasty fungus, and other strains of Candida normally live in our digestive tract, intestines, mouth, throat and genitourinary tract. Now, Candida albicans, an integral part of the bowel flora, has many positive functions such as defending our digestive tract from harmful bacteria. Furthermore, Candida albicans has the ability to recognise and kill harmful bacteria and other pathogen organisms inside the digestive tract.
While in a healthy balanced state, a person can actually have millions of Candida microorganisms that only benefit our inner terrain.
As long as our system has the proper acid-alkaline balance, our immune system is strong enough and our probiotic friendly bacteria are greater in relation to the number of Candida microorganisms, Candida is kept under control.
Candida overgrowth develops when:
- There is toxic buildup (in the bowels, blood, lymph or kidneys).
- We experience loss of friendly bacteria (due to the use of prescription drugs, antibiotics or chlorine etc.).
- Our immune system is weakened.
- There is over-acidity in digestive system.
- We eat diet high in toxic foods, refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, white rice) and low in fresh fruit and vegetables.
When yeast transforms into fungal form, it produces two very toxic substances – ethanol and acetaldehyde. These two dangerous toxins negatively impact the functionality of our cells. Candida produces more than 75 toxic substances that contaminate the tissues and weaken the immune system, lungs, kidneys, gallbladder, liver and brain.
While there are cases of yeast infection that clear up on their own, especially when the yeast is triggered by elevated pH levels in the vagina during menstruation, Candida in general can be quite dangerous if left untreated.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth
Yeast infection is a complex condition triggered by more than one factor, which is what makes it very difficult to get under control.
It’s important to realise that the basic most fundamental truth regarding the vast majority of chronic health conditions, including Candida yeast infection, is that there is no such thing as a single cause.
Most common causes for candida overgrowth:
- Pharmaceutical antibiotics
- Antibiotics in meat
- An underlying inherited or acquired immune system deficiency
- Steroids and other drugs
- Candida friendly foods
- Inappropriate clothing, bad hygiene
- Sexual activity
- Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, toxic metals
- Improper acid-alkaline balance
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weakened immune system
- Chlorinated water
- Mould exposure
In addition, there are also life situations, external factors and psychological and mental factors that directly or indirectly form the environment in which Candida gets out of control and manifests itself in a variety of the common yeast infection symptoms.
Candida Overgrowth Symptoms
It must be remembered that yeast infection, especially when it becomes systemic, is not limited to the area where the symptoms occur, such as the vagina, mouth, skin or nails. With the latter in mind, here are the most common symptoms related to Candida overgrowth:
- Symptoms linked to central nervous system: alterations of smell, taste, sight or hearing; blurry vision, spots before eyes etc.
- Gastro-intestinal symptoms: bloating, gas, abdominal pain, indigestion etc.
- Genito-urinary symptoms: kidney and bladder infections, urinary frequency or urgency etc.
- Skin and nail symptoms: oral thrush, skin irritations etc.
- Musculo-skeletal symptoms: muscle aches, painful sides of neck, upper back and shoulders etc.
- Ear, nose, throat and respiratory symptoms: persistent nasal congestion or stuffiness, sinus inflammation, swelling and excessive mucus or infection etc.
- Other symptoms: hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and diabetes, hypothyroidism, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, erratic thyroid function, etc.
- Symptoms characteristic to men: jock itch, prostatitis etc.
- Symptoms characteristic to women: vaginal infections, endometriosis, cyclic vulvovaginitis etc.
- Candida symptoms in children: hyperactivity, terrible attitude, learning difficulties, colic and more.
There are several tests to determine Candida overgrowth including Candida home tests as well as laboratory tests.
Home Tests for Candida:
- Candida spit test (Candida saliva test).
- The Itch Test.
- The Craving Test.
- The Smell Test.
- The Tongue Test.
- The Sound Test.
- Home Blood Test.
Laboratory Testing for Candida:
- Organic Acid Test (OAT).
- The Candida ELISA test (blood or saliva).
- Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSAx3).
- The Urinary Indican Test.
- Live Cell Microscopy.
I must emphasise that you should not rely solely on the outcome of any one single test, and it is best you verify a candida yeast infection by looking at several ways to assess your condition.
Other recommended tests:
- Bacteria and infections.
- Mould and heavy metal toxicity.
P.S. To read more on Candida testing Download my FREE EBOOK on Candida Overgrowth!
Candida Treatment – How to Cure Candida Naturally and Permanently
As every health problem is multidimensional, the solution must be multidimensional in order to eradicate the problem from the root. Under those circumstances, in order to treat Candida naturally, many aspects need to be addressed:
I The Candida Diet aka Anti Candida Diet
Candida Cleanse Diet
First, you need to clean up your menu of all the foods that Candida thrives on: refined sugar and syrups (all products containing the latter), sweet fruit and dried fruit, refined grains (flours, pasta, pizza, buns, all products that contain refined flours), coffee, alcohol, vinegar, and yeast. Most people will also benefit from excluding starchy veggies and all fruits for the first weeks into the diet. Read more on Vegan Candida Diet. If you feel that all this is too overwhelming, I welcome you to check out my Vegan Candida Cleanse Meal Plan.
Reintroducing Foods after Candida Cleanse
Point often overlooked is that many people make the mistake of hastily reintroducing all kinds of foods as soon as they feel a bit better.
Reintroduce the foods you love and crave the very last, because these are the foods and drinks your immune system has most likely become the most sensitive to.
However, there is no fixed time period when it comes to eating your normal diet again. And remember, normal is never going to be filled with alcohol and sugary treats! Some people are reintroducing foods back into their diets that they previously could not tolerate, within 3 months. Others are not so fortunate, and find that they are still having issues with foods after 6 months. And for some, the battle can go on for much longer.
Hence, it is crucial to do the reintroduction phase properly not to aggravate once again. The Candida Crusher by Eric Bakker explains reintroduction very thoroughly. Furthermore, I’ve compiled a detailed Reintroduction Meal Plan including gradual reintroduction guide.
II Supporting immunity, adrenals, gut, liver and mitochondria
Supporting your immunity, adrenals, gut, liver and mitochondria is as important as cleaning up your diet to become Candida free.
Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system, which takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy-rich molecules for the cell, i.e. they keep the cells full of energy.
Ashwaganda (can be taken long term), motherwort, reishi and cordyceps, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola (precautions for bipolar), Ginkgo biloba, vitamin B12 and B5, holy basil tea and liquorice (precautions with high blood pressure).
Adrenal/liver support essential oil blend by Mariza Snyder, DC:
- 10ml roller bottle
- 8 drops geranium
- 7 drops rosemary
- 5 drops clove
- 2 drops peppermint
Apply (massage) to the bottom of feet or right above the kidneys (adrenal glands) around mid to lower back.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, ground flax seeds, oat bran, acacia (fibres); Saccharomyces boulardii and probiotics. Rotate the fibres, using one source for two weeks at a time. Also, make sure to store ground flax seeds in an airtight container in fridge or freezer.
- Bitter foods: rocket, endive, chicory, capers, olives.
- Best herbs & vegetables: beetroot, garlic, Brussels sprouts, fennel, artichoke, carrots, broccoli, onions, fresh ginger, dried turmeric.
- Glass of warm water with lemon juice before breakfast.
- Dandelion root coffee.
- Herbal tea, green tea – instead of regular tea & coffee.
Watch out for: coffee, alcohol, bad fats, paracetamol and other pharma drugs, refined foods.
Creatine, rooibos, green tea, CoQ10 (protects the brain, slows the effects of aging and supports cardiovascular health).
Immune support and anti-inflammatory effects
L-glutamine, quercetin, green powders (any type containing organic veggies, berries, wheatgrass, spirulina), chlorella tablets or powder (they bond with heavy metals and pull them out through your bowels), turmeric supplement with active curcumin, omega 3s, vitamin C ester (Ascorbyl Palmitate, the oil soluble form of Vitamin C) with citrus-based bioflavonoids, zinc tablets, black elderberry extract for when you’re sick, and apple cider vinegar.
NB! Work with your practitioner or naturopath to find the best supplementation for you!
III Stress Management
You can be on the most perfect diet and take all the necessary supplements, but you won’t heal if there are stressors in your life. Maybe it’s the job that you hate or vampire relationships, but you need to figure it out and take the necessary steps to remove all negativity from you life.
Here are a few techniques that will help:
- Practicing Mindfulness
- Cognitive Therapy
NB! More on stress management techniques soon in an article that goes deeper into steps of healing Candida naturally. Make sure to subscribe to get notified as soon as it’s available for you to read. Click here to subscribe.
IV Sleep management
Sleep is a building process when the body restores its energy supplies that have been depleted through the day’s activities. Therefore, in sleep the body rejuvenates and repairs itself. To be more precise, it rebuilds its muscle tissues and regenerates body cells. Heartbeat and breathing are slower during sleep; the body’s temperature lowers, and muscles relax.
13 tips for sleep management:
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t go to bed completely worn out or hungry
- Don’t drink coffee at least 6-8 hours before bedtime
- Sleep on a good mattress that supports your body and good posture.
- Quit smoking
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Take 20-minute afternoon naps between 2 and 4 pm.
- Try to go to bed at 10pm (at least before 11pm).
- Try not to eat 2 hours before you go to bed.
- Try to be screen-free at least an hour (2 is better) before you go to sleep.
- Meditate in the morning and in the evening.
- Do everything you need described under stress management above.
- Relax more during daytime and take quiet moments for yourself.
V Candida Supplements
As much as you’d like to, there’s no way around supplements if you want to completely heal yourself from Candida overgrowth.
P.S. Again, I’ll dive deeper into supplements in upcoming articles, so make sure you subscribe to get notified as soon as it’s available for everyone to read.
Vitamins and fatty acids
Vitamins C, B-complex (including biotin aka B7), D, E, or alternatively a quality multivitamin, and omega 3.
Antifungal Supplements and Foods
Antifungals help kill candida. It is advised to start antifungal therapy at least a week after the beginning of Candida Diet, otherwise you can experience severe candida die-off symptoms.
Natural and more commonly found antifungals are aloe vera, cinnamon, clove, coconut oil/meat/milk, garlic, ginger, turmeric, coconut meat/milk, garlic (2-4 raw cloves a day), onions, seaweed, olives, lemon and lime juice, pumpkin seeds, rutabaga, and cayenne pepper. Check out my antifungal and anti-inflammatory shot made of common ingredients.
More antifungals: essential oils (oregano, peppermint, tea tree, grapefruit seed extract, olive leaf extract), SF-722 by Thorne Research Formula, Candizyme, Pau d’Arco, berberine, allicin (garlic), caprylic acid, undecylenic acid + betaine HCL, black walnut hull extract, neem.
Probiotics and Prebiotic Foods
Probiotics help maintain healthy balance of gut flora and therefore support your immune system.
Look for the following probiotic strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum.
Yogurt (non-GMO soy or coconut), fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi. You need to make sure that it is raw and not pasteurized as pasteurizing kills all the good bacteria. Eat coconut yogurt sparingly though because of its high fat content.
Prebiotic foods don’t contain any good bacteria, but they help the good bacteria to survive and grow. Chicory root contains an excellent prebiotic named inulin – so, have chicory root coffee with almond milk or non-GMO unsweetened soymilk and sweeten it with stevia or xylitol.
As you’d probably know, food has to be broken down nutrients: amino acids (from proteins), fatty acids and cholesterol (from fats), and simple sugars (from carbohydrates), as well as vitamins, minerals, and a variety of other compounds.
Digestive enzymes, primarily produced in the pancreas and small intestine, break down our food into nutrients so that our bodies can absorb them. If we don’t have enough digestive enzymes, we can’t break down our food – as simple as that.
There are many causes for digestive enzymes to stop working properly including some diseases (pancreatic problems, Celiac disease, Crohn’s etc.), inflammation in digestive tract, aging, low stomach acid, and stress.
Most people are going to benefit from a multi-enzyme product, so you’ll want to see a number of enzymes listed, including:
- proteases, which break down proteins,
- lipases, which break down fats, and
- carbohydrases such as amylase, cellulase, glucoamylase, hemicellulose, and invertase, which break down carbohydrates.
Supplements for Parasite Cleanse
NB! Make sure you work with your health practitioner, naturopath or functional medicine doctor/health coach to find the best supplementation, dosage and sequence to meet your individual needs.
Again, should you be interested in getting more in-depth information about causes of Candida overgrowth, Candida overgrowth symptoms in men, women and children; Candida testing and supplements, then Download my FREE EBOOK on Candida Overgrowth for a complete guide!
Finally, for a very thorough understanding about yeast infection or Candida overgrowth and treatment protocols I’d advise you to choose one of the following books:
- The Candida Crusher by naturopath Eric Bakker from New Zealand.
- Yeast Infection No More by Linda Allen. Yeast Infection No More is also available in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.
- And last but not least, specially for women: WomanCode: Perfect Your Cycle, Amplify Your Fertility, Supercharge Your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source by Alisa Vitti. Alisa shows women how to maintain health and vitality with a food-based program to rebalance their hormones.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.