Candida Overgrowth

Trillions of microorganisms live in our digestive tract, making up what is called the “microbiome.” Our microbiome determines in large part our overall health. These microorganisms regulate immune function, make B vitamins and vitamin K, affect metabolism, release natural antibiotics and anti‐cancer substances, facilitate breakdown of lactose and toxins, and so much more. Candida, a yeast‐like fungus, is a normal part of the microbiome as well. Its growth is usually limited by our immune system and by the other microorganisms in our digestive tract, including a large number of health‐promoting bacteria.

If Candida is allowed to grow due to a weakened immune system, hormone changes, or disease such as diabetes, the harmonious balance between the Candida and the “good” microorganisms in the digestive tract is upset, resulting in intestinal candidiasis (also called “yeast syndrome”). Not only can this imbalance cause problems such as vaginal infections and chronic sinusitis, but Candida also releases byproducts that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. In this way the whole body can be exposed to a variety of symptoms as the immune system tries to fight the fungal invasion. Common symptoms include fatigue, bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation, recurring bladder infections, menstrual irregularities, food sensitivities, allergies, chemical sensitivities, and depression. What increases the risk of Candida overgrowth? The following list includes the most common factors:
  • Repeated use of antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and/or steroids like prednisone
  • A diet high in sugar and processed carbohydrates
  • Alcohol
  • Chronic stress
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
Treating Candidiasis
A comprehensive approach is necessary to reduce the overgrowth of Candida organisms. The risk factors listed above must be reduced as much as possible, while supporting immune, digestive, and liver functions. Since yeast and other fungi feed on carbohydrates, a food plan must be followed that starves yeast of its main fuel–simple sugars. Additional support in the form of healthy bacteria (called probiotics, which can be live, active cultures in food such as yogurt or as dietary supplements) is also used to compete with Candida in the intestines, resulting in a re‐balancing of the intestinal microorganisms. Sometimes anti‐fungal medications or dietary supplements are used to kill the yeast.
We recommend The Following Supplement Protocol:
Candibactin AR- One softgel 3 times daily before or with meals for 1 month
Candibactin BR- Two tablets 2-3 times daily for 1 month
UltraFlora IB/Balance/Intensive Care- Two capsules daily, in between Candibactin doses
Preventing Candidiasis It is important to reduce as many of the above risk factors as possible to keep a healthy balance of intestinal microorganisms. Eating greatly reduced amounts of refined sugars and avoiding alcohol is a good place to start. It is also helpful to begin to develop a practice of mind‐ body techniques for stress reduction. This approach might include meditation/visualization, yoga, tai chi, or most any exercise you enjoy.

Many of the symptoms associated with candidiasis are associated with absorption of yeast breakdown products. As the yeast die, some of these organisms and their byproducts are reabsorbed into the bloodstream, increasing the load for the liver to filter or detoxify. It is common to experience short term reactions to this die‐off, such as headaches, abdominal bloating, muscle and joint aches, or fatigue. It is also common to crave the very foods yeast thrives on, such as sweets, breads, and alcohol. For further reading about intestinal candidiasis, you may find The Yeast Connection or The Yeast Connection for Women by William Crook, MD to be helpful.

Candida‐control Food List

In general, foods are restricted because of their carbohydrate (sugar) content. Candida “feeds” on sugars and starches; the following food list helps to starve the yeast. There is yet no scientific consensus as to which anti‐Candida dietary approach works best, but all the approaches are based on a low‐ carbohydrate intake. Early work by Orian Truss, MD restricted carbohydrate content in the diet to less than 30 grams daily. Subsequent programs, based on clinical experience, have attempted to determine which specific foods or carbohydrates may be tolerated, which must be excluded, and how much to eat.

Most often, individuals on a Candida‐control diet report increased energy, mental alertness, and a general sense of improved well‐being. However, some people report some initial reactions to the diet, especially in the first week, as their bodies adjust to a different dietary program. We are basically waging a war, and there is bound to be some toxic debris that gets released. Symptoms you may experience in the first week or so can include changes in sleep patterns, lightheadedness, headaches, joint or muscle stiffness, and changes in gastrointestinal function, such as bloating. Such symptoms rarely last for more than a few days. These dietary modifications are typically implemented for 2‐4 weeks to assess your response to the program. When Candida is a primary issue, people often feel an enormous improvement in wellbeing in approximately 2 weeks. Follow‐up modifications are then made on an individual basis.

Occasionally someone will lose too much weight. The Candida‐control dietary approach is not meant to be a calorie‐restricted diet, so if you’re losing weight or feeling tired, remember to eat 5 small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day so that you’re eating approximately every 3 hours.

Below is a list of recommended foods to include and exclude. Most of the foods to avoid are high in carbohydrates. You also want to avoid foods that can have a high fungal content, such as peanuts, peanut butter, and pistachios. Mushrooms are in the fungus family also and may cross‐react with Candida. Additionally, foods produced by fermentation with yeast or other fungi, such as beer, wine, vinegars, and bleu and other aged cheeses, may also provoke symptoms.

Food Category

Foods to Include

Foods to Exclude

Fats/Oils

Avocado, butter, ghee, olives Cold pressed oils: almond, chia

seed, coconut, flax seed, pumpkin, safflower, sesame, sunflower, and walnut oils

Margarine, mayonnaise, shortening, processed oils, prepared salad dressings, spreads and sauces

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts (also called filberts), pecans, walnuts

Nut butters (no added sugar) Seeds: flax, poppy, pumpkin,

sesame, and sunflower seeds

Peanuts (although technically a legume, peanuts are often thought of as nuts and are in the Nuts & Seeds food category

Pistachios

Protein (lean)

Eggs (chicken, duck, ostrich, turkey)

Meats: beef, bison, lamb, pork, poultry (chicken, Cornish hen, turkey, ostrich), wild game

Cold cuts or processed meats Any processed protein (will have

an ingredient list) Any breaded protein

Seafood (all fresh or flash frozen fish

and shellfish that is unbreaded and not fried ;

canned tuna, salmon, or sardines

Non‐starchy Vegetables

Most vegetables except mushrooms and those listed under Starchy Vegetables, Foods to Exclude

Vegetable juice, from nonstarchy vegetables

May be eaten raw, baked, steamed, sautéed, stir‐fried, juiced, or cultured, such as fresh sauerkraut or kimchi

Mushrooms

Legumes

All

None

Dairy/Dairy Alternatives

Cheeses, non‐aged (cottage cheese,* fresh goat cheese, Mozzarella, ricotta)

Milks: unsweetened almond, coconut, hemp, rice, soy

Yogurt with live active cultures, plain, unsweetened (cow, sheep, or goat)

Yogurt, Greek, plain, unsweetened Yogurt, soy, plain, unsweetened

* Cottage cheese is usually treated as a protein food but, for the purposes of the Candida‐control diet, is usually listed under Dairy.

All dairy except as listed under Foods to Include

Aged cheeses
Milk substitutes that contain any

type of sweetener except stevia

Starchy Vegetables

None

All
Examples: Beets, corn, potatoes (white), sweet potatoes and yams, winter squash (acorn, butternut, parsnip, pumpkin, turnip)

Fruits

For the first 2‐3 weeks, exclude ALL fruit. After that, eat 1⁄2 to 1 cup daily of unsweetened fresh or frozen fruit or canned fruit packed in water, as tolerated. DO NOT INCLUDE any of the fruits under Foods to Exclude.

Use lemon and lime juice freely.

Bananas, pineapple, papaya All dried fruits
All fruit juices or fruit punches

Grains

100% whole grains only: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat groats (kasha), oats (whole or steel‐cut), quinoa, rice (brown or wild only), rye, spelt
*In severe cases, consider going ithout grains for first 2‐3 weeks.

All refined grains and flours All breads and crackers unless

100% whole grain, sugar‐free

Cereals, except as listed under Foods to Include
Baked goods, unless made with whole grains and unsweetened

Acidic & fermented foods

Lemon and lime juices and vitamin C crystals as replacements for vinegar

All vinegars and preserved foods: sauerkraut, pickles, foods preserved in brine or vinegar

Beverages

Filtered spring or distilled water, coconut water, decaffeinated coffee or tea, herbal teas (alfalfa,angelica root, bergamot, chamomile, hyssop, lemon grass, pau d’arco)

All alcoholic beverages All sweetened beverages Coffee, caffeinated
Fruit juice, fruit punch Non‐dairy creamer
Soft drinks

Herbs and Spices

Salt, pepper
All herbs and spices

Avoid blends that contain sugar, MSG, or other additives

Sweeteners

Stevia herbal sweetener (be sure there is no sugar added to the

stevia)

All: white/brown sugars, agave syrup, cane syrup, corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice or other fruit sweeteners, honey, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, rice syrup (from white or brown rice)

After the initial 2‐4 weeks, your healthcare practitioner may decide that your issues with candidiasis indicate a need for a more restrictive regimen for an additional period of time. If this is the case, you will need to continue the Candida‐control diet and also eliminate the following foods for an additional 7‐14 days, as determined by your healthcare practitioner:

  • All grains

  • All fruit

  • All dairy products except for plain yogurt with live active cultures

    Food Reintroductions

    At the end of the length of time recommended by your healthcare practitioner, gradually add these 3 food groups into your diet, one food group at a time:
    • Day 1: add 1 serving (1/3 cup) whole grains daily, such as quinoa, brown rice, or wild rice. Keep a food diary of what you eat and how you feel/any symptoms. After 3‐5 days on grains, assess symptoms. If well tolerated with little or no symptoms that had originally been bothering you, continue with 1 serving whole grains/day and proceed to adding 1 serving of the next type of food (fruit). If grains are not well tolerated, remove the serving of grains until symptoms calm down and then move on, adding back small amounts of fruit as tolerated. Do not rush the process. It is best to reintroduce these foods slowly.
    • Day 3 or 5: add 1 small fruit, such as orange or apple, each day. After 3‐5 more days, assess symptoms. If well tolerated, proceed to adding small amounts of dairy products. If fruit is not well tolerated, stay on the grains and fruit for several more days until tolerance improves, then proceed to adding dairy.
    • Day 7 or 10: add a dairy product, such as cottage cheese or ricotta. Continue to assess symptoms and report to your healthcare practitioner.