Chronic Candidiasis. Candidiasis is a complex medical syndrome that is not only hard to treat but also hard to detect and only until fairly recently becoming more widely accepted and acknowledged.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, it is difficult to truly know the incidence of chronic Candidiasis amongst the public as it can affect the heart, kidney, bones and other internal organs without being detected in the blood.
It is also an adaptable bacteria that makes treatment complicated and long. Individual biome characteristics, as well as receptivity to medication and herbal remedies, also makes treatments difficult. Chronic Candidiasis can affect men; however, is eight times more likely to affect women with 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, a typical patient profile of Chronic Candidiasis are females aged 15 through 50.
Key terms used in the identification and discussion around Chronic Candidiasis is chronic candida infection or yeast syndrome.
- Candida Albicans (also known as oidium Albicans, saccharomyces Albicans and monilia Albicans) is the yeast bacteria that are implicated in the yeast syndrome. It naturally lives in our bodies and under usual circumstances poses no harm but, it is an opportunistic bacteria and under the right circumstance, it proliferates and grows. Once Candida Albicans has made a home in our mucous linings, it is challenging to restore balance. They are highly adaptable and as discussed later use a biofilm as their defence against treatment.
- Vulvovaginal refers to vaginal and vulval symptoms in women.
- Oral Candidiasis refers to a yeast overgrowth in the mouth and throat cavities.
- Die-Off, also known as Herx reaction is the experience of symptoms due to the rapid die-off of Candida Albicans. Symptoms vary due to the severity of the case and often disappear in a couple of days. Symptoms are usually akin to moderate flu.
Chronic Candidiasis is as prevalent, if not more than some of our most widely known diseases. It’s a silent condition, difficult to detect and difficult to treat. It contributes to several individuals poor quality of life and if resolved, can leave patients with a renewed sense of life.
While it is tricky to detect and treat, with the right comprehensive approach, it can be resolved and kept at bay.
Symptoms Of Chronic Candidiasis
“The severity of the disease will depend on how weak a person’s resistance is, rather than on any disease-producing properties exhibited by the fungus.… Because of its rapid ability to make itself at home on mucous membranes (the medical term is “colonize”) and take advantage of many types of host alterations, the clinical manifestations of candida infection are exceedingly variable.… Candida Albicans accounts for the vast majority of diseases caused by the yeast.”
– Chronic Fatigue
– Loss of energy
– General unease
– Decreased libido
– Rectal Itching
– Compromised bowel function
Genitourinary System complaints
– Frequent urinary infections
– Vaginal Yeast infections
– Menstrual complaints
Nervous System Complaints
– Inability to concentrate
– Chemical sensitivities
– Compromised immune function
Health problems primary associated with women
– Vaginal problems
– Small breasts
– Painful intercourse
– Menstrual difficulties
– Skin problems
– Pelvic pain
The cause of chronic Candidiasis is complex. There is no one cause but is the combination of factors that lead to gastrointestinal imbalance and compromised immune function, both leading the way to candida Albicans’ proliferation or colonizing in mucous membranes.
Predisposing factors in overgrowth:
– Poor dietary choices
– Compromised immune function
– Nutrient deficiencies
– Underlying diseases or health conditions
– Gut dysbiosis
– Mediation and drug use
– Decreased digestive secretion
– Prolonged antibiotic and birth control use
Past History Factors
– Chronic vaginal yeast infections
– Antibiotic use for acne, sinusitis, bronchitis, urinary infections, ear infections
– Birth control pills
– Cortisone, prednisone or corticosteroid use
It is helpful to look at common symptoms of candida and see if you resonate with many of the symptoms but to pursue a course of action; one must do comprehensive diagnostic testing to understand if is Candida Albicans is the cause and also the severity of the overgrowth.
A standard diagnostic test used to uncover the prevalence of candida Albicans or compromised gastric function is the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis.
“The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) is an advanced non-invasive diagnostic tool for assessing gastrointestinal function. As the CDSA combines a large number of tests that evaluate the function of the gastrointestinal tract, a comprehensive picture of a patient’s gut health can be obtained. The analysis investigates digestion, metabolism, pancreatic function, the balance of beneficial bacteria and the presence of pathological bacteria, yeast and parasites.”
Common agents used to treat candida overgrowth are topical antifungal creams such as nystatin, clotrimazol or systemic oral azoles such as fluconazole, itraconazole, or posaconazole.
While they may offer temporary relief, they do not provide a long term solution in the treatment of chronic Candidiasis.
A comprehensive approach over a long period is usually the most successful using natural antifungals, dietary adjustments, addressing food allergies and also improving gastrointestinal function.
Diet plays a significant role in the proliferation and the treatment of candida overgrowth.
Sugar, dairy (high lactose foods), simple starches and mould and yeast containing foods are all avoided during the treatment of candida and best introduced back slowly once treatment is completed to indicate allergies and intolerances that may create favourable conditions for candida to flourish again. Below is a complete list of foods to avoid during a candida cleanse.
Food allergies can create inflammation of the stomach and large and small intestine. Inflammation in these areas has many implications such as compromised mucosal lining, reduced gastrointestinal secretions and most notable reduced favourable intestinal flora.
Candida overgrowth can be encouraged by food allergies and sensitivities but also create them. This develops a vicious cycle that perpetuates symptoms and a poor quality of life. It is also heavily implicated in leaky gut, a syndrome affecting many.
A common test available is the IgE Specific Test. Although this test is not 100% reliable, it can still offer important insight into foods that may be causing inflammation and gastric upset.
A free alternative is the Elimination Diet. This can provide the same results but involves removing common foods that cause sensitives. Integrative Medicine Institute offer a valuable elimination diet handout. For it to be successful, one must adhere to the diet quite strictly for results of reintroduction of foods to be noticed.
Secretions of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile all prevent the overgrowth of candida Albicans. Reduced secretion of any of these will allow the growth of candida.
– Hypochlorhydria is a condition where there is little to no secretion of hydrochloric acid, a critical secretion that kills bacteria and maintains healthy intestinal flora
– Reduced pancreatic function is implicated in conditions such as SIBO and leaky gut. Pancreatic enzymes keep the small intestine free of not only yeasts such as candida Albicans but also free of parasites, worms and protozoa.
Supplementation of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes is advised in the treatment of Chronic Candidiasis and should be done so under the guidance of a health professional.
As with food allergies, the compromised immune function allows for candida overgrowth but is also a consequence of candida overgrowth lending to the difficulty in treating chronic Candidiasis and other conditions stemming from it.
Depressed immune function means there is little defence against Candida Albicans overgrowth and once the overgrowth is there, Candida Albicans rob us of nutrients which further depress our immune function. It is possible to test for depressed immune function however, the history of other infections and even common the occurrence of the common cold can be indicative of a compromised immune system.
It is therefore imperative that immune function is addressed and supported when dealing with Chronic Candidiasis.
Key measures in improving immune function:
– Not smoking
– Increased intake of green vegetables
– Regular meals ( eating healthy meals and healthy snacking)
– Maintaining a healthy body weight (check with doctor according to age, sex and height)
– Getting adequate sleep (7 – 9 hours from about 10 – 11 pm)
– Exercise (20 – 30 minutes per day)
– A whole foods plant-based diet with minimal animal products
– A good quality multivitamin and mineral
When there is an overgrowth of candida, parasites or protozoa, toxic by-products often build up and further aggravate the situation, especially in regards to inflammation and immune function.
Proper functioning of the detoxification pathways ensures that harmful compounds are removed from the body, especially in the case of die-off when treatment of overgrowth begins.
Brassica family foods such as broccoli are an easy, affordable and effective way to support detoxification. Eating steamed broccoli each day is an effective supportive measure in treating chronic Candidiasis and is also supportive of healthy immune function and helps to promote regularity with its high fibre content.
Other recommendations to support detoxification:
– A whole food plant-based diet focused on fresh fruits (low in sugar), vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
– Regular exercise especially cardiovascular that enhances sweating
– No alcohol
– A lipotropic formulation and silymarin to strengthen and protect liver function
– A nutritional fast at the start of each season (this should be done under supervision if Chronic Candidiasis is advanced. Die-off, in this case, could produce severe and undesirable symptoms)
– Drinking 2-3lts of good quality water each day
– Herbal teas that support detoxification pathways
– A good quality (GMP certified) multivitamin and mineral.
Depending on the severity of one’s chronic Candidiasis, a low FODMAP diet may be useful. Upon assessing the situation, your healthcare practitioner may recommend a low FODMAP diet for some time, especially if SIBO is also present.
“FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body, resulting in abdominal pain and bloating.”
Natural Anti Yeast Agents
When it comes to creating a comprehensive approach, as mentioned before, is the best approach.
Medication such as fluconazole is useful for immediate relief but used with natural botanicals in a a thoughtful way can have lasting protection.
Two approaches can be taken. Neither is right or wrong but depends on the individual and their response to the treatment.
Firstly, the botanicals can be taken in 3-week rotations and one week off to avoid resistance. Secondly, an antifungal complex can be taken and then stopped for a period and resumed.
In either case, it must be followed by the above recommendations and a good diet. Strict adherence to the program and diet is key to success.
The most well researched antifungal treatments supplements include
- Caprylic acid
- Enteric Coated Volatile Oils such as oregano oil, thyme oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil
- Berberine containing plants such as goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape
- Garlic Oil
- Grape Seed Extract
Metagenics Candibactin AR and Candibactin BR are two preparations useful as a herbal complex.
Individual preparations of these botanicals can be used when doing weekly rotations. Be sure that they are third party tested or GMP certified for purity and dosage.
In either case, berberine is one of the most effective compounds and should be included in any treatment against Candida Albicans.
Your healthcare practitioner will confirm dosages with you. Pregnant or lactating women should consult their doctor when using high doses of berberine.
Probiotics are an integral part of any treatment against chronic Candidiasis. One should use specific strains, namely lactobacillus and bifidobacterium at dosages of about 5 – 10 billion. A good quality probiotic is essential as quality differs substantially across brands. Third-party testing is, once again, a good marker for quality assurance.
Spirulina and chlorella are both nutritional powerhouses and also support healthy detoxification pathways as well as support health flora.
A quality-assured, organic chlorella and spirulina supplement or powder in a smoothie is useful during treatment, It also lends itself to healthy bowel movements and immune support.
One of the factors that prevented candida from effectively being treated was their ability to resume a biofilm that protects them from treatment.
New understanding into biofilms means that we can now disrupt biofilms while administering treatment. This has shown to be effective in candida treatment as well as certain antibiotic-resistant strains in infections.
Some of the aforementioned natural botanicals are useful biofilm disruptors, but in the case of stubborn Candida albicans, Biofilm Defense by Kirkman Labs has shown to be helpful in combination with herbal treatments.
Listed below is the dysbiosis diet specifically formulated to address overgrowth of candida Albicans or any other bacteria or parasites.
Foods To Avoid
The following foods should be strictly avoided for at least 3 months. Thereafter, each item can be reintroduced weekly to assess the effects on the system. SOme may trigger symptoms or flare ups more than others.
Beet Sugar, cane sugar, corn sugar, fructose, honey products, maple sugar, molasses.
Apricot, banana, cantaloupe, cherry, coconut (all forms), currents, dates, plums, figs, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, loganberry, mango, mulberry, nectarine, orange, pear, persimmon, plum, pomelo, prune, raisins, raspberries.
Chinese Yam, morel mushroom, plantain, poi, tapioca, taro, sweet potatoes.
Nuts / Nut Butters
Brazil nut, cashew, cola nut, hickory nut, macadamias, pecan, pistachio, walnut.
Any cheese, pickled meats, smoked or dried such as hotdogs, smoked salmon and cured pork bacon and other pork products
Apple Cider, Vinegar, Bakers Yeast, Black Tea, brewers yeast, nutritional yeast, buckthorn tea, chocolate, cacao, cacao butter, cream of tartar, hops, pickles, vinegar.
Foods that are ok to consume and won’t create further dysbiosis
The following food items are safe to eat in moderation. Aim not to focus on one item too much as variance in the diet allows for better microbial development.
Nuts/ Nut Butters
Almonds, Chestnut, Hazelnuts, Filberts, Pine Nuts.
Casaba, Melon, Watermelon, Apples, Blackberries, Lemons & limes, Blueberries, Papaya, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Strawberries, Peaches.
The Use of a Functional / Integrative Doctor
Chronic Candidiasis is only now becoming more widely accepted and looked at when patients are complaining of a host of symptoms. It has previously been challenging to detect, but with a new understanding of the gut biome and new testing, it is easier to uncover if Candida Albicans has taken over. With this new understanding and open-minded take from doctors, new research into effective treatments and natural support is also flourishing.
With the correct diagnosis, treatment and protocol, chronic candida can be dealt with and kept at bay.
The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough” by William G. Crook
Signs and Symptoms Analysis From a Functional Perspective by Dciken Weatherby, N.D
The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Third Edition by Michael T. Murray, N.D & Joseph Pizzorno, N.D