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Chronic Candidiasis (Holistic)

About This Condition

Chronic candidiasis can be hard to spot,as its symptoms are the same as those of a number of other health issues. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Eat foods low in refined carbs and sugars

    White flour, refined sugars, and fruit juices may help yeast grow in the intestine, so cut them out of your diet

  • Try some beneficial bacteria

    Take a probiotic supplement that contains 10 billion colony-forming units a day of acidophilus or bifidobacteria to control yeast in the intestine

  • Check out antifungal supplements

    To reduce yeast in the intestine, try caprylic acid (1,500 mg a day), supplemental garlic (5,000 mcg a day of allicin potential in an enteric-coated supplement), or oregano oil (0.2 to 0.4 ml a day of a coated supplement)

  • Get a doctor’s opinion

    Tests can help you make sure your symptoms are not the result of another health problem

  • Avoid eating foods like bread and cheese, which contain yeast and mold

    Eliminating these types of foods may reduce possible reactions due to sensitivities

About

About This Condition

An overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of the usually benign yeast (or fungus) Candida albicans has been suggested as the origin of a complex medical syndrome called chronic candidiasis, or yeast syndrome.1 , 2

Purported symptoms of chronic candidiasis are fatigue, allergies, immune system malfunction, depression, chemical sensitivities, and digestive disturbances.3 , 4 Conventional medical authorities do acknowledge the existence of a chronic Candida infection that affects the whole body and is sometimes called “chronic disseminated candidiasis.“5 However, this universally accepted disease is both uncommon, and decidedly more narrow in scope, than the so-called Yeast Syndrome—a condition believed by some to be quite common, particularly in people with a history of long-term antibiotic use. The term “chronic candidiasis” as used in this article refers to the as yet unproven Yeast Syndrome.

Symptoms

Symptoms attributed to chronic candidiasis include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, belching, indigestion, heartburn, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, nasal congestion, sinus problems, bad breath skin rashes, allergies, chemical sensitivities, rectal itching, muscle aches, cold hands and feet, fatigue, depression, irritability, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and dizziness.

Eating Right

The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.

Recommendation Why
Eat more yogurt
Yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus has been reported to have a therapeutic effect in women with vaginal infections caused by Candida.

Yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus has been reported to have a therapeutic effect in women with vaginal infections caused by Candida.

Eat sugar-free foods
Choose whole grains and unprocessed foods over white flour, refined sugars, and fruit juices that may help yeast grow in the intestine.

One study compared levels of various sugars in urine of healthy women with levels found in women with chronic vaginal Candida infections.6 Urine sugar levels correlated with dietary intakes of sugar, dairy, and artificial sweeteners. Among women who reduced their intake of sugar, 90% reported no vaginal yeast infections during the following year. These researchers reported a “dramatic reduction” in the incidence and severity of vaginitis caused by Candida as a result of reducing intake of dairy, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

Many apparently healthy people have some Candida in their gastrointestinal tract. In one trial, high-sugar diets given to healthy people had mixed effects on the concentration of Candida found in their stool, though some subjects did show an increase in Candida after eating more sugar.7 These preliminary reports suggest, but do not prove, that diet might affect the ability of Candida to infect the body.

Avoid foods like bread and cheese
Eliminating these types of foods, which contain yeast and mold, may reduce possible reactions due to sensitivities.

Based on their clinical experience and on very preliminary research, several doctors have suggested that certain dietary factors may promote the overgrowth of Candida albicans. The most important of these factors are high intakes of sugar, milk, and other dairy products; foods with a high content of yeast or mold (e.g., alcoholic beverages, cheeses, dried fruits, and peanuts); and foods to which individual patients are allergic. However, few clinical trials have investigated whether these dietary factors affect people with conditions for which Candida is the causative agent.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
1 Star
Barberry
Refer to label instructions
Barberry contains berberine, an alkaloid with antibiotic activity that also been shown to help relieve the diarrhea seen in some people with chronic candidiasis.

Berberine is an alkaloid found in various plants, including goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Berberine exhibits a broad spectrum of antibiotic and antifungal activity in test tube, animal, and human studies.8 , 9 Berberine has shown effective antidiarrheal activity in a number of diarrheal diseases,10 , 11 , 12 and it may offer the same type of relief for the diarrhea seen in patients with chronic candidiasis. Doctors familiar with the use of berberine-containing herbs sometimes recommend taking 2 to 4 grams of the dried root (or bark) or 250 to 500 mg of an herbal extract three times a day. While isolated berberine has been studied, none of these herbs has been studied in humans with chronic candidiasis.

1 Star
Betaine Hydrochloride
Refer to label instructions
Betaine hydrochloride is a type of digestive enzyme that inhibits the overgrowth of candida and prevents it from becoming established in the small intestine.

It is unknown if taking pancreatic enzymes or betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid) tablets is beneficial for chronic candidiasis. Nonetheless, some doctors recommend improving digestive secretions with these agents. Hydrochloric-acid secretion from the stomach, pancreatic enzymes, and bile all inhibit the overgrowth of Candida and prevent its penetration into the absorptive surfaces of the small intestine.13 , 14 , 15 Decreased secretion of any of these important digestive components can lead to overgrowth of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract. Consult a physician for more information.

1 Star
Caprylic Acid
500 to 1,000 mg three times a day
Based on some historical use and theoretical research, caprylic acid is sometimes recommended as a treatment for yeast. 
Test tube studies and case reports from the 1940s and 1950s indicated that caprylic acid (a naturally occurring fatty acid) was effective against yeast (Candida) infections of the intestines.16 17 However, these effects have not been studied or proven in controlled trials. Doctors sometimes recommend amounts of 500 to 1,000 mg three times a day.
1 Star
Digestive Enzymes
Refer to label instructions
Digestive enzymes inhibit the overgrowth of candida and prevent it from becoming established in the small intestine.

It is unknown if taking pancreatic enzymes or betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid) tablets is beneficial for chronic candidiasis. Nonetheless, some doctors recommend improving digestive secretions with these agents. Hydrochloric-acid secretion from the stomach, pancreatic enzymes, and bile all inhibit the overgrowth of Candida and prevent its penetration into the absorptive surfaces of the small intestine.18 , 19 , 20 Decreased secretion of any of these important digestive components can lead to overgrowth of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract. Consult a physician for more information.

1 Star
Echinacea
Refer to label instructions
The fresh-pressed juice of Echinacea purpurea has been shown to help prevent recurring yeast infections in one trial.

The fresh-pressed juice of Echinacea purpurea has been shown to be helpful in preventing recurrence of vaginal yeast infections in a double-blind trial; it may have similar benefit in Yeast Syndrome.21 The typical recommendation for this effect is 2 to 4 ml of fluid extract daily.

1 Star
Garlic
Refer to label instructions
Garlic has been shown to have significant anti-Candida activity.

Garlic has demonstrated significant antifungal activity against C. albicans in both animal and test tube studies.22 , 23 , 24 Greater anti-Candida activity has resulted from exposing Candida to garlic, than to nystatin—the most common prescription drug used to fight Candida.25 No clinical studies of garlic in the treatment of candidiasis have yet been conducted. However, some doctors suggest an intake equal to approximately one clove (4 grams) of fresh garlic per day; this would equal consumption of a garlic tablet that provides a total allicin potential of 4,000 to 5,000 mcg.

1 Star
Goldenseal
Refer to label instructions
Goldenseal contains berberine, an alkaloid with antibiotic and antifungal activity that also been shown to help relieve the diarrhea seen in some people with chronic candidiasis.

Berberine is an alkaloid found in various plants, including goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Berberine exhibits a broad spectrum of antibiotic and antifungal activity in test tube, animal, and human studies.26 , 27 Berberine has shown effective antidiarrheal activity in a number of diarrheal diseases,28 , 29 , 30 and it may offer the same type of relief for the diarrhea seen in patients with chronic candidiasis. Doctors familiar with the use of berberine-containing herbs sometimes recommend taking 2 to 4 grams of the dried root (or bark) or 250 to 500 mg of an herbal extract three times a day. While isolated berberine has been studied, none of these herbs has been studied in humans with chronic candidiasis.

1 Star
Goldthread
Refer to label instructions
Goldthread contains berberine, an alkaloid with antibiotic and antifungal activity that also been shown to help relieve the diarrhea seen in some people with chronic candidiasis.

Berberine is an alkaloid found in various plants, including goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Berberine exhibits a broad spectrum of antibiotic and antifungal activity in test tube, animal, and human studies.31 , 32 Berberine has shown effective antidiarrheal activity in a number of diarrheal diseases,33 , 34 , 35 and it may offer the same type of relief for the diarrhea seen in patients with chronic candidiasis. Doctors familiar with the use of berberine-containing herbs sometimes recommend taking 2 to 4 grams of the dried root (or bark) or 250 to 500 mg of an herbal extract three times a day. While isolated berberine has been studied, none of these herbs has been studied in humans with chronic candidiasis.

1 Star
Oregano
Refer to label instructions
Volatile oils from oregano have been shown to have significant antifungal action. Doctors recommend enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.

Volatile oils from oregano, thyme, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary have all demonstrated antifungal action in test tube studies.36 A recent study compared the anti-Candida effect of oregano oil to that of caprylic acid.37 The results indicated that oregano oil is over 100 times more potent than caprylic acid, against Candida. Since the volatile oils are quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, they must be taken in coated capsules, so they do not break down in the stomach but instead are delivered to the small and large intestine. This process is known as “enteric coating.” Some doctors recommend using 0.2 to 0.4 ml of enteric-coated peppermint and/or oregano oil supplements three times per day 20 minutes before meals. However, none of these volatile oils has been studied for their anti-Candida effect in humans.

1 Star
Oregon Grape
Refer to label instructions
Oregon grape contains berberine, an alkaloid with antibiotic and antifungal activity that also been shown to help relieve the diarrhea seen in some people with chronic candidiasis.

Berberine is an alkaloid found in various plants, including goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape, and goldthread. Berberine exhibits a broad spectrum of antibiotic and antifungal activity in test tube, animal, and human studies.38 , 39 Berberine has shown effective antidiarrheal activity in a number of diarrheal diseases,40 , 41 , 42 and it may offer the same type of relief for the diarrhea seen in patients with chronic candidiasis. Doctors familiar with the use of berberine-containing herbs sometimes recommend taking 2 to 4 grams of the dried root (or bark) or 250 to 500 mg of an herbal extract three times a day. While isolated berberine has been studied, none of these herbs has been studied in humans with chronic candidiasis.

1 Star
Peppermint
Refer to label instructions
Volatile oils from peppermint have been shown to have significant antifungal action. Doctors recommend enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.

Volatile oils from oregano, thyme, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary have all demonstrated antifungal action in test tube studies.43 A recent study compared the anti-Candida effect of oregano oil to that of caprylic acid.44 The results indicated that oregano oil is over 100 times more potent than caprylic acid, against Candida. Since the volatile oils are quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, they must be taken in coated capsules, so they do not break down in the stomach but instead are delivered to the small and large intestine. This process is known as “enteric coating.” Some doctors recommend using 0.2 to 0.4 ml of enteric-coated peppermint and/or oregano oil supplements three times per day 20 minutes before meals. However, none of these volatile oils has been studied for their anti-Candida effect in humans.

1 Star
Probiotics
Refer to label instructions
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of probiotic that appears to help re-establish proper intestinal flora and prevent yeast overgrowth.

Lactobacillus acidophilus products are often used by people with candidiasis in an attempt to re-establish proper intestinal flora. Acidophilus produces natural factors that prevent the overgrowth of the yeast.45 , 46 Although there are no human trials, supplementation of acidophilus to immune-deficient mice infected with C. albicans produced positive effects on immune function and reduced the number of Candida colonies.47 The typical amount of acidophilus taken as a supplement is 1–10 billion live bacteria daily. Amounts exceeding this may induce mild gastrointestinal disturbances, while smaller amounts may not be able to sufficiently colonize the gastrointestinal tract.

1 Star
Rosemary Oil
Refer to label instructions
Volatile oils from rosemary have been shown to have significant antifungal action. Doctors recommend enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.

Volatile oils from oregano, thyme, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary have all demonstrated antifungal action in test tube studies.48 A recent study compared the anti-Candida effect of oregano oil to that of caprylic acid.49 The results indicated that oregano oil is over 100 times more potent than caprylic acid, against Candida. Since the volatile oils are quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, they must be taken in coated capsules, so they do not break down in the stomach but instead are delivered to the small and large intestine. This process is known as “enteric coating.” Some doctors recommend using 0.2 to 0.4 ml of enteric-coated peppermint and/or oregano oil supplements three times per day 20 minutes before meals. However, none of these volatile oils has been studied for their anti-Candida effect in humans.

1 Star
Thyme
Refer to label instructions
Volatile oils from thyme have been shown to have significant antifungal action. Doctors recommend enteric-coated capsules, which break down in the intestines instead of the stomach.

Volatile oils from oregano, thyme, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary have all demonstrated antifungal action in test tube studies.50 A recent study compared the anti-Candida effect of oregano oil to that of caprylic acid.51 The results indicated that oregano oil is over 100 times more potent than caprylic acid, against Candida. Since the volatile oils are quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, they must be taken in coated capsules, so they do not break down in the stomach but instead are delivered to the small and large intestine. This process is known as “enteric coating.” Some doctors recommend using 0.2 to 0.4 ml of enteric-coated peppermint and/or oregano oil supplements three times per day 20 minutes before meals. However, none of these volatile oils has been studied for their anti-Candida effect in humans.

References

1. Truss CO. The role of Candida albicans in human illness. J Orthomol Psychiatry 1981,10:228–38 [review].

2. Crook WG. The Yeast Connection, 2nd ed. Jackson, TN: Professional Books, 1984, 1–2 [review].

3. Kroker GF. Chronic candidiasis and allergy. In: Brostoff J, Challacombe SJ (eds). Food Allergy and Intolerance. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders, 1987, 850–72 [review].

4. Bauman DS, Hagglund HE. Correlation between certain polysystem chronic complaints and an enzyme immunoassay with antigens of Candida albicans. J Advancement Med 1991;4:5–19.

5. Bennett JE. Candidiasis. In: Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, et al (eds). Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.

6. Horowitz BJ, Edelstein S, Lippman L. Sugar chromatography studies in recurrent Candida vulvovaginitis. J Reprod Med 1984;29:441–3.

7. Weig M, Werner E, Frosch M, Kasper H. Limited effect of refined carbohydrate dietary supplementation on colonization of the gastrointestinal tract of healthy subjects by Candida albicans. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:1170–3.

8. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577–88 [review].

9. Mahajan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79–81.

10. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19–23.

11. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525–9.

12. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462–5.

13. Boero M, Pera A, Andriulli A, et al. Candida overgrowth in gastric juice of peptic ulcer subjects on short- and long-term treatment with H2-receptor antagonists. Digestion 1983;28:158–63.

14. Rubinstein E. Antibacterial activity of the pancreatic fluid. Gastroenterology 1985;88:927–32 [review].

15. Sarker SA, Gyr R. Non-immunological defense mechanisms of the gut. Gut 1990;33:1331–7 [review].

16. Keeney EL. Sodium caprylate: a new and effective treatment of moniliasis of the skin and mucous membrane. Bull Johns Hopkins Hosp 1946;78:333–9.

17. Neuhauser I, Gustus EL. Successful treatment of intestinal moniliasis with fatty acid resin complex. Arch Intern Med 1954;93:53–60.

18. Boero M, Pera A, Andriulli A, et al. Candida overgrowth in gastric juice of peptic ulcer subjects on short- and long-term treatment with H2-receptor antagonists. Digestion 1983;28:158–63.

19. Rubinstein E. Antibacterial activity of the pancreatic fluid. Gastroenterology 1985;88:927–32 [review].

20. Sarker SA, Gyr R. Non-immunological defense mechanisms of the gut. Gut 1990;33:1331–7 [review].

21. Coeugniet EG, Kuhnast R. Recurrent candidiasis: adjuvant immunotherapy with different formulations of Echinacin®. Therapiewoche 1986;36:3352–8.

22. Moore GS, Atkins RD. The fungicidal and fungistatic effects of an aqueous garlic extract on medically important yeast-like fungi. Mycologia 1977;69:341–8.

23. Sandhu DK, Warraich MK, Singh S. Sensitivity of yeasts isolated from cases of vaginitis to aqueous extracts of garlic. Mykosen 1980;23:691–8.

24. Prasad G, Sharma VD. Efficacy of garlic (Allium sativum) treatment against experimental candidiasis in chicks. Br Vet J 1980;136:448–51.

25. Arora DS, Kaur J. Anti-microbial activity of spices. Int J Antimicrob Agents 1999;12:257–62.

26. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577–88 [review].

27. Majahan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79–81.

28. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19–23.

29. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525–9.

30. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462–5.

31. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577–88 [review].

32. Majahan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79–81.

33. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19–23.

34. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525–9.

35. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462–5.

36. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591–5.

37. Stiles JC. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.

38. Hahn FE, Ciak J. Berberine. Antibiotics 1976;3:577–88 [review].

39. Majahan VM, Sharma A, Rattan A. Antimycotic activity of berberine sulphate: an alkaloid from an Indian medicinal herb. Sabouraudia 1982;20:79–81.

40. Bhakat MP. Therapeutic trial of Berberine sulphate in non-specific gastroenteritis. Indian Med J 1974;68:19–23.

41. Kamat SA. Clinical trial with berberine hydrochloride for the control of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. J Assoc Physicians India 1967;15:525–9.

42. Desai AB, Shah KM, Shah DM. Berberine in the treatment of diarrhoea. Indian Pediatr 1971;8:462–5.

43. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591–5.

44. Stiles JC. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.

45. Collins EB, Hardt P. Inhibition of Candida albicans by Lactobacillus acidophilus. J Dairy Sci 1980;63:830–2.

46. Fitzsimmons N, Berry DR. Inhibition of Candida albicans by Lactobacillus acidophilus: evidence for the involvement of a peroxidase system. Microbios 1994;80:125–33.

47. Wagner RD, Pierson C, Warner T, et al. Biotherapeutic effects of probiotic bacteria on candidiasis in immunodeficient mice. Infect Immun 1997;65(10):4165–72.

48. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591–5.

49. Stiles JC. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.

50. Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternafolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida albicans. J Antimicrobial Chemother 1998;42:591–5.

51. Stiles JC. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.

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