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How To Be Free of Yeast


Do you have struggles with Candida? Read on to learn how to know when it is a problem and how you can be free of it!

Candida is a fungal organism that can affect the body locally or systemically. There are over 200 types of candida, albicans strain being the most prevalent1. In the mouth, this is known as thrush, in the vagina it is known as a yeast infection – on the finger or toenails it is also known as onychomycosis.

Yeast is also a normal part of the human gut flora, however, overgrowth can become problematic and lead to dysbiosis2. Increased levels of candida can increase inflammation in the gut tract3.

Candida can become pathogenic and can create damage when it forms into a biofilm and can secrete enzymes. Let’s discuss today more about candida, who gets it, how you can test for it, and what you can do to naturally treat it (starting right now).


Who Gets Candida?

Some of the most common risks for yeast overgrowth include:

  • Antibiotic therapy
  • High-sugar diet
  • Diabetes

Hormonal disease can also be at the root of candida, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy

Finally, we can also see candida in inflammatory conditions, such as:

  • Gastric ulcers
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s
  • Immunocompromised individuals

Bottom Line: There are plenty of ways that you may be putting yourself at risk for getting candida. Let’s discuss a little bit more about how candida comes about, and then the action steps you can take to treat it.

Carbs and Yeast: Not As Simple As You Think

Fiber increases the amounts of good bacteria in the gut. A diet that is low in fiber intake can lead to the poor production of these beneficial microbes.

Key Insight: Approximately 95-99% of the end product of fermented fiber that is not absorbed is created into short chain fatty acids (SCFA).

SCFA are important molecules as they form and structure and help the function of cells of the GI tract. The 3 main SCFA are:

  • Acetate
  • Propionate
  • Butyrate

These SCFA have a role in increasing blood flow, motility and offer protection against inflammation4.

Bottom Line: The truth is that a diet low in SCFA is detrimental to gut health as it can cause mucosal atrophy5. It is so important to get SCFA in your system, and to enjoy a diet that helps facilitate that production.

The Ketogenic Diet’s Fit

Recently, the Ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular (Read: Keto curious, understanding the science behind ketogenic diets). The premise underlying this diet is that it consists of three basic tenets:

  1. High fat
  2. Adequate protein
  3. Low carbohydrates

This ketogenic diet has been shown to be helpful in specific populations. A recent study showed that a ketogenic diet had a significant effect on imbalanced gut microbiota in infants with epilepsy.

In infants that had epilepsy, their microflora consisted of increased amounts of streptococcus bacteria when compared to normal infants. After the ketogenic diet was implemented with infants that had seizures, the microflora changed significantly and led to decreased episodes of epilepsy6.

Key Insight: In terms of other more general populations, data has been frankly mixed in regards to the benefits on reducing or treating candida infections.

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All carbs are not equal when it comes to yeast overgrowth (Watch: Yeast infections, causes and symptoms). The most significant dietary impact that leads to yeast overgrowth are:

  • Processed sugar
  • Alcohol

Whole fruit, vinegars, and mushrooms do not lead to overgrowth. The most important thing to note is that resistant starch (RS) has been showing some promising effects on regulating candida (Read: 30 Amazing resistant starch foods for better digestion).

What Is Resistant Starch?

RS has been shown to be extremely beneficial in many chronic health conditions and a general recommendation of at least 6 grams is necessary to achieve these health benefits, with most Americans getting less than 5 grams7.

Bottom Line: RS affects the gut microbes and exerts microbial effects. Studies have been done that show that RS can change the function of gut bacteria and help with reducing chances of developing colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease8.

Yeast Overgrowth: Symptoms

Symptoms of yeast overgrowth include:

  • White spots on the tongue
  • Itchy rash
  • Burning
  • “Cottage cheese”-like discharge (if affecting the vagina)

There are also some more general symptoms, like fatigue, “brain fog,” and chemical sensitivity. Feeling fatigued and need more answers? Here’s somewhere to help you start off on the right foot…

Do You Have Candida?

How can you test for candida? There are multiple ways to do so, such as in the blood, stool and even skin tests. Let’s break them down for you…

Your Stool

In the gut, candida is prevalent and is a part of the normal flora. This can easily be detected with a comprehensive stool analysis that can detect many strains of yeast including candida albicans, glabrata, candida parapsilosis, candida tropicalis and candida krusei.

Your Blood

Blood culture testing is considered the “gold standard” when testing for systemic candida, although it has shortcomings when it comes to accuracy and results timing9.

Candida antibodies are detectable on a serum blood test, however, practitioners are not as enthusiastic about them as they also lack sensitivity, and therefore, there is no consensus on using them clinically and their roles are uncertain10.

The antibodies seen in the blood, candida are measured by immunoglobulins IgM, IgA, and IgG. The presence of IgM antibodies refers to a current infection, IgA indicates that it is an infection of mucous membranes such as a vaginal yeast infection and IgG indicates a past candida infection.

In addition, there is currently not an FDA approved PCR test (polymerase chain reaction). A PCR test would be helpful and easy way to determine the DNA or RNA of an organism such as bacteria, viruses or fungi.

Clinically, when candida is detected on a blood test, this could be a sign that this organism has escaped the gut. This can become problematic as this can become an opportunistic infection affecting organs.

Your Skin

Similar to a TB intradermal test, a candida test can be done where an amount of candida is inoculated into the superficial layer of the skin.

Approximately 48 and 72 hours later, if there is presence of induration, swelling less than 5mm, this would register as a positive test. This method has been studied in infants and has been shown to have a sensitivity rate of 68%11.

Getting Treated Today

Antifungal treatments are common prescription medications that can be used orally or topically to treat candida infections. The most effective antifungal to treat candida albicans is clotrimazole and fluconazole, with the least effective being ketoconazole.

However, chronic candida can become resistant to these medications and these drugs do have a large side effect profile and they should be used with caution. More natural methods to eradicate candida have been tested and are showing promising results.

Wild grape/Grape seed extract, aka vitis vinifera, has been studied to see if it has anti-candida activity. Results from this study concluded that grapeseed extracts (GSEs) have potent antifungal activity12.

Probiotics have been used to treat candida infections and have been especially helpful in neonates born with this infection. Particular strains that have been effective are lactobacillus casei and rhamnosus13.

If you feel like you are suffering from candida, please reach out to a health professional at Integrative Health today to schedule an appointment to see one of our specialists.

1. Khadka, S., Sherchand, J. B., Pokhrel, B. M., Parajuli, K., Kumar Mishra, S., Sharma, S., … Rijal, B. P. (2017). Isolation, speciation and antifungal susceptibility testing of Candida isolates from various clinical specimens at a tertiary care hospital, Nepal. BMC Research Notes, 10, 218.
2. Schulze, J., & Sonnenborn, U. (n.d.). M E D I C I N E Yeasts in the Gut: From Commensals to Infectious Agents.
3. Kumamoto, C. A. (2011). Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. Current Opinion in Microbiology, 14(4), 386–391.
4. Scheppach, W. (1994). Effects of short chain fatty acids on gut morphology and function. Gut, 35(1 Suppl), S35–S38.
6. Xie, G., Zhou, Q., Qiu, C.-Z., Dai, W.-K., Wang, H.-P., Li, Y.-H., … Wang, W.-J. (2017). Ketogenic diet poses a significant effect on imbalanced gut microbiota in infants with refractory epilepsy. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 23(33), 6164–6171.
7. Murphy, M. M., Douglass, J. S., & Birkett, A. (2008). Resistant Starch Intakes in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(1), 67–78.
8. Birt, D. F., Boylston, T., Hendrich, S., Jane, J.-L., Hollis, J., Li, L., … Whitley, E. M. (2013). Resistant Starch: Promise for Improving Human Health 1,2, 4, 587–601.
9. Clancy, C. J., Nguyen, M.-L., Cheng, S., Huang, H., Fan, G., Jaber, R. A., … Nguyen, M. H. (2008). Immunoglobulin G responses to a panel of Candida albicans antigens as accurate and early markers for the presence of systemic candidiasis. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 46(5), 1647–1654.
11. Egypt J Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2017;15(1):25-30.
12. Simonetti, G., Santamaria, A. R., Diodata D’auria, F., Mulinacci, N., Innocenti, M., Cecchini, F., … Pasqua, G. (2014). Evaluation of Anti-Candida Activity of Vitis vinifera L. Seed Extracts Obtained from Wine and Table Cultivars.
13. Manzoni, P., Mostert, M., Leonessa, M. L., Priolo, C., Farina, D., Monetti, C., … Gomirato, G. (2006). Oral Supplementation with Lactobacillus casei Subspecies rhamnosus Prevents Enteric Colonization by Candida Species in Preterm Neonates: A Randomized Study. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 42(12), 1735–1742.

Written by Dr. Linda Khoshaba of Integrative Health. Dr. Linda Khoshaba has been practicing as an Associate Physician at Integrative health for 5 years. She specializes in treating Hashimoto’s and Graves thyroid disease, Adrenal Dysfunction and Hormone imbalance in both men and women.

Learn more about Dr. Khoshaba here.