Candida is one of the very few fungal species that causes disease in humans, with symptoms of Candida overgrowth affecting the digestive tract, genitourinary tract, skin, and the mouth and nose. In a healthy body, a little Candida is normal and is kept in check by other microorganisms. When our microbiome (balance of microorganisms) is upset, however, Candida can have a field day. And once Candida takes hold, it can be hard to get back under control.
Somewhat ironically, antibiotics used to treat other infections are the major culprit behind Candida overgrowth. That's because many antibiotics act indiscriminately, killing off beneficial bacteria along with the pathogen they're meant to target. Other causes of Candida overgrowth include stress, infection, diet, and the use of immunosuppressant drugs or immunocompromised status. Recent research also shows that over-the-counter medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other prescription drugs can also upset our microbiome.
Candida infections can range from superficial skin and mucosal infections to serious, systemic infection that can prove fatal. People with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), who are undergoing cancer treatment, and who are immunocompromised or have medical implants are also more likely to develop a serious Candida infection. Dentures, braces, and other medical devices can also develop Candida biofilms that are hard to eradicate (Nobile & Johnson, 2015).
The solution? Consistent avoidance of dietary (and supplemental!) sources of yeast (with one major exception, the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces), and a comprehensive programme to restore microbiome diversity and crush thrush.
Cutting Out Yeast
Unfortunately, yeasts are widespread in both food and in the air. Ask anyone who makes sourdough culture from scratch or who brews beer using wild yeasts! To manage a Candida overgrowth, you'll need to pay close attention to your diet, avoiding yeasted products and foods that tend to carry wild yeasts. These include:
- Most breads and some cereals
- Some baked goods, including muffins, biscuits, croissants, and cinnamon rolls
- Alcohol (particularly beer, cider, and wine)
- Store-bought bouillon, stock, and gravy
- Cured/aged meat products
- Fermented foods, including sauerkraut, some cheeses, and pickles
- Some salad dressings, soy sauce, miso, and foods stored in vinegar
- Mushrooms and olives
- Dried fruits, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes
- Dairy products including buttermilk, cream, and yoghurt.
Any foods or beverages that have been opened and stored for an extended period of time are also more likely to be carrying wild yeast.
Treating a Yeast Infection
Probiotics are the mainstay of Candida treatment. Replenishing beneficial bacteria using a daily probiotic supplement helps to keep problematic yeasts in check. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium lactis are three of the major players that help combat Candida overgrowth. L. acidophilus and L. casei are lactic acid-producing bacteria that alter the conditions in the gut to inhibit the growth of Candida. They also reduce the ability of Candida to stick to the lining of the mouth and nose (Biasoli & Magaró, 2003).
Bifidobacterium lactis is arguably the best studied Bifidobacterium subspecies, with over 300 scientific publications and at least 130 human clinical studies detailing its relevance in human health. B. lactis is bile tolerant and resistant to gastric acid, meaning that it can survive the gastrointestinal tract intact to form colonies of beneficial bacteria (Jungersen et al., 2014). This probiotic species also inhibits the growth and activity of a wide range of pathogens and has benefits for immune function and intestinal barrier function as well as overall bowel function.
- lactis even helps to protect against diarrhea, including antibiotic-associated diarrhea. And, importantly for our purposes, B. lactis has repeatedly been shown to effectively inhibit Candida albicans colonisation of the gastrointestinal tract, with research in immunodeficient animals showing that this probiotic helps to protect against lethal candidiasis (Wagner et al., 1998).
Antifungals and Intestinal Health
Other important elements in treating Candida overgrowth include the use of natural supplements such as L-Glutamine to restore and maintain intestinal barrier function, reducing the likelihood that Candida can spread from the gut to the bloodstream (Wang et al., 2017). Natural antifungal therapies, such as cinnamon, are also helpful in preventing Candida biofilm and hyphae formation (Farisa Banu et al., 2018).
Ecobalance from Bionutri
Happily, rather than having to track down all these individual supplements and cobble together an anti-Candida program for yourself, the scientists working at Bionutri have done the hard work for you. Bionutri's Ecobalance is a tailored four-in-one, 30-day program providing easy-to-use, colour-coded supplements to support a healthy microbiome, especially for anyone contending with Candida. This comprehensive supplement regimen is a combination of four supplements in blister pack form, so you can simply tear off each day's supply and take four effective natural remedies with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The four supplements that make up Ecobalance include a high potency probiotic and prebiotic formula featuring L. acidophilus, L. casei, and B. lactis; a freeze-dried garlic supplement for antifungal support; n-acetyl glucosamine and glutamine to support the epithelial lining of the intestinal tract; and a cinnamon and caprylic acid complex to help inhibit Candida biofilm and hyphae formation.
Ecobalance is just one of the high-quality, evidence-based formulas created by the naturopaths, nutritionists, and scientists at Bionutri. This company specialises in providing "specific, straightforward solutions for daily supplementation".
So, if you're tackling Candida overgrowth, or are looking for targeted natural support for other health conditions, check out Ecobalance and the rest of the Bionutri product range today.
Biasoli, M.S., & Magaró, H.M. (2003). In vitro effect of carbohydrates and enteric bacteria on adherence of Candida albicans. Rev Iberoam Micol, Dec; 20(4):160-3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15456355
Farisa Banu, S., Rubini, D., Shanmugavelan, P., et al. (2018). Effects of patchouli and cinnamon essential oils on biofilm and hyphae formation by Candida species. J Mycol Med, Mar 20. pii: S1156-5233(17)30378-5. doi: 10.1016/j.mycmed.2018.02.012.
Jungersen, M., Wind, A., Johansen, E., et al. (2014). The Science behind the Probiotic Strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12®. Microorganisms, 2(2), 92–110. http://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms2020092
Lohith, K., & Anu-Appaiah, K.A. (2018). Antagonistic effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae KTP and Issatchenkia occidentalis ApC on hyphal development and adhesion of Candida albicans. Med Mycol. 2018 Jan 11.doi: 10.1093/mmy/myx156.
Nobile, C. J., & Johnson, A. D. (2015). Candida albicans Biofilms and Human Disease. Annual Review of Microbiology, 69, 71–92. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-micro-091014-104330
Wagner, R.D., Warner, T., Pierson, C., et al. (1998). Biotherapeutic effects of Bifidobacterium spp. on orogastric and systemic candidiasis in immunodeficient mice. Rev Iberoam Micol, Dec;15(4):265-70. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18473515
Wang, J., Li, Y., Qi, Y.. (2017). Effect of glutamine-enriched nutritional support on intestinal mucosal barrier function, MMP-2, MMP-9 and immune function in patients with advanced gastric cancer during perioperative chemotherapy. Oncol Lett, Sep;14(3):3606-3610. doi: 10.3892/ol.2017.6612.