In my last column I wrote about the causes and symptoms of Candida or yeast overgrowth. People who are most likely to suffer from Candida overgrowth are those with repeated use of antibiotics, estrogens or steroids and people who consume a lot of sugar. The symptoms of Candida include bloating, memory loss, fatigue, and recurring itchiness on the body. These symptoms can often worsen if you live in a damp or moldy environment or when you eat sweet or yeasty foods.
We need to treat Candida on many fronts – by reducing the factors that dispose you to yeast overgrowth, by strengthening your immune system, and by improving your diet. In general the treatment for yeast overgrowth seeks to return your body to a state of good bacterial balance.
The treatment takes at least three months and sometimes as long as six months. If the treatment is cut short, the yeast will simply continue to flourish because there is not enough of the good bacteria to keep it in check.
The first step is to go on a Candida control diet. In other words, you have to stop feeding the yeast, thereby diminishing its rate of growth. This diet cuts your intake of refined and simple sugars including fruit and fruit juices and all foods with yeast or mold content like alcohol, vinegar, yeasted bread, peanuts, and mushrooms.
The next step is to support your immune functions. A high potency multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will help boost this system. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E will help detoxify you. Garlic is a wonderful and effective anti-fungal agent as well as an overall immune system booster. Essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil can help inhibit the spread of yeast. You should also eliminate food allergens to avoid taxing your immune system.
Step three is to detoxify. Candida produces toxins, which are filtered from the blood by the liver. There are many liver strengthening herbs like dandelion and milk thistle, which will help your liver detoxify.
The final step is to add an anti-yeast substance and probiotics to your regimen. The common ones are grapefruit seed extract and oregano oil. Probiotics, which is the addition of good bacteria back into the gut usually takes place in an acidophilus combination that is taken in capsule form. This will recolonize your intestines and restore the balance. Please note that the anti-yeast substances should always be taken at least two hours distant from Probiotics – you don’t want to kill off the good bacteria.
With a whole system approach Candida can be decreased and your system can be rebalanced.
Dr. Paulette Roscoe is a naturopathic physician who practices in Nanaimo. She welcomes your calls at 754-1733 and offers free Candida testing.