Killing Candida: The Best Natural Yeast Killers
It might start with itching in unfortunate places. Or there might be inexplicable weight gain, brain fog or unexplained body aches. It may even show up as sudden food allergies. A Candida albicans infection can have many life-altering symptoms, but the cause is the same; the natural balance of intestinal flora is out of whack and the normally benign yeast microbe known as Candida albicans explodes and overgrows the gut.
Healthy gut flora actually includes a small amount of candida, a fungus microbe. But when the body is exposed to stress, hormonal imbalances, antibiotics, too much processed sugar, chronic mercury toxicity or some other factor, candida can cause genital, skin and oral infections. In severe cases, the yeast morphs from a roundish cell into one with long filaments that dig into the intestinal wall, causing a systemic infection.
Restoring the balance takes patience, time and anti-fungals, the most helpful of which don’t require a prescription.
Diet Dos and Don’ts
The first step in combating candida is establishing a low-carbohydrate, anti-candida diet. According to studies in the American Journal of Nutrition, candida flourishes in environments high in glucose, which the body converts from carbohydrates.
A few examples of carbohydrates are beans, fruits, grains and all forms of sugar, including sucrose, fructose and lactose. Eliminating carbs is crucial to successfully ending a candida infection.
Adding probiotics into the diet in the forms of plain, sugar-free yogurt or oral supplements helps reestablish the balance of probiotics and yeast. Probiotics are beneficial microbes the body needs to stay healthy. An article published in the Journal of Dental Research suggests that probiotics significantly lower the risk of oral candida infections in the elderly, while according to a study in the Journal of Antimicrobal Chemotherapy, probiotics also assist in curtailing recurrent vulvavaginal yeast infections in women.
In the case of systemic candida, probiotics should be added after three to five months of being on an anti-candida diet and anti-fungal regime. This is especially true for people with significant overgrowth, as adding probiotics too soon might be more than the body can handle effectively.
Anti-fungals are a class of substances that kill harmful fungi, including candida. While there are many prescription anti-fungals, the most effective, and the most tolerable, are natural and available in health food stores.
This well-known herb has powerful effects on candida; several studies have shown it wiping out candida internally and externally. Thymol and carvacrol are the compounds responsible for oregano’s anti-fungal strengths. A concentrated form of oregano, such as oil, is required for the full anti-candida effect.
- Food-grade Hydrogen Peroxide:
In what’s known as oxygen or ozone therapy, food-grade hydrogen peroxide is diluted with water and taken internally. The peroxide kills candida directly by oxygen exposure. Hydrogen peroxide works on internal candida as it does externally on bacteria in the mouth and skin.
A word of caution: Peroxide can burn if not diluted properly, and should only be taken with a doctor’s supervision, as some people might not tolerate it well.
Another culinary herb, garlic, also known as Allium sativum, is an anti-fungal as well. Fresh garlic extract (FGE) helps destroy candida’s natural defenses known as biofilms, according to a study in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Aged garlic extract (AGE) has also been found to inhibit and break down candida. Allicin is the anti-fungal compound in garlic that can defeat candida.
Garlic, in large doses, can cause digestive upset in some people, so it’s wise to choose a form that’s right for the individual. Some forms of garlic can also cause body odor and a bad taste in the mouth.
- Olive Leaf Extract:
The leaves of the olive tree contain the compound oleuropein. Oleuropein is a powerful antimicrobial, proven in killing candida in an Israeli study
Neem has been used for thousands of years in India. Known there as the “village pharmacy,” its extract can help many ailments. Nimbin, one of three potent bitter compounds in neem, has shown anti-fungal properties in many studies. Neem leaves are safe to take internally, and is sold in pill form as supplements.
- Pau D’arco:
Tabebuia, the official name of pau d’arco, is a tree known for its anti-candida properties. Pau d’arco has been used in South and Central America to treat candida for years. A bitter tea is made by boiling the bark of the tabebuia tree, which is then consumed throughout the day.
- Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is effective at killing candida due to its caprylic and lauric acid content. Caprylic acid is potent at destroying candida, and is on par with Nystatin, a prescription anti-fungal. Candida’s defenses are broken down by the mechanism of caprylic acid, which allows the body to eliminate the yeast.
- Grapefruit Seed Extract:
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is made by squeezing the pulp and seeds of the grapefruit. Naturopathic doctors prescribe the concentrated extract as a treatment for candida. Diluted in water and taken internally, GSE can kill candida over time.
Slow and Steady Destroys the Candida:
While most natural anti-fungals are well tolerated by most people, caution must be used in dosing. Starting off small, and gradually increasing the dosage of an anti-fungal will lessen the chances of a Herxheimer reaction, also known as die-off.
Die-off is a set of symptoms produced when candida organisms die in massive numbers, releasing their toxins into the bloodstream faster than the body can get rid of them. Usually, the symptoms are similar to those initially caused by the candida.
Herx reactions can be severe, almost debilitating in some cases, so avoid taking too much of an anti-fungal too quickly. If a reaction does occur, step off the anti-fungal for a few days, then slowly reintroduce it.
Killing candida can take as much as a year of an anti-candida diet with anti-fungals. Rotating the anti-fungals is also crucial; taking any one type of anti-fungal longer than a month increases the chances of the candida developing a resistance to it.
Treating candida may seem overwhelming, especially given the restricted diet and anti-fungal regime. But with perseverance, and some help from Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet, candida can be defeated and a healthy life restored.