Is this you?
- Powerful sugar cravings
- Frequent bloating & gas
- Nail fungus
- Brain fog, difficulty concentrating
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Tired & irritable
- Acne, skin issues, rashes
- Taking, or have taken, oral contraception
- Frequent antibiotic use (even in childhood)
- Poor immune health
- Joint pain
Scientists estimate 70% of our population – both men and women – suffer from candida albicans overgrowth. Candida is a form of yeast/fungus that is present in everyone, in the mouth and intestinal tract. Ideally it exists in harmony in your gut along with the trillions of other bacteria that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, but when candida begins to multiply out of control and overtake your good bacteria, trouble arises.
I call it “a good neighborhood gone bad” in the gut. Too much candida not only causes unpleasant symptoms, but as it multiplies, it emits toxins that overwhelm your detox system, and it can penetrate your intestinal wall, causing leaky gut and releasing toxic byproducts into the bloodstream. This can feel pretty rotten. That’s when the headaches, skin rashes, fungus, fatigue, bloating and brain fog kick in. You may be feeling “toxic.”
Candida sabotages your weight loss efforts because of the toxicity and inflammation it causes. And the sugar cravings don’t help either. If you find yourself raiding the candy aisle at 9pm every night, that’s candida talking to you. Candida overgrowth can cause powerful sugar cravings; after all, sugar feeds yeast, so an overgrowth of this bad bacteria can drive you to crave sugar or refined foods. Yeast demands to be fed. And what happens when you indulge? Uncomfortable bloating or gas as the yeast digests the sugar, and a reaction occurs. And it multiplies.
How Do You Get Candida Overgrowth?
- Too much refined sugar, white flour, junk food, cookies/cake/pastries/pasta/candy
- Too much booze (beer especially)
- Antibiotics, which kill off good bacteria and create a ripe environment for yeast to proliferate
- Using birth control pills
- Other parasite infections that damage the gut and allow candida to grow
- Stress: burning the candle at both ends, poor sleep
How to Test for Candida Overgrowth
You can test for candida via blood, stool and urine. Urine testing seems most effective. It’s hard to test for candida via stool, because it doesn’t survive the preservative in stool cultures. You can also do this easy at-home spit test, which is supposedly pretty accurate. I would not use that as a primary diagnostic tool, however.
But I recommend anyone with the symptoms I listed at the top of the page consider a candida cleanse. I’ve seen many stool tests come back clean for yeast even though the person exhibits all the symptoms associated with too much yeast. With that said, I always recommend stool testing for other bacteria and parasites, because yeast often accompanies those infections, and you want to address it all together. If you suffer from the symptoms I mentioned, I recommend doing the candida protocol to kill it off.
How to Get Rid of Candida for Good
Notice I say “for good.” That’s because candida is hard to kill off. It is excellent at building up a resistance to antibiotic herbs. You have to be committed! You’ll feel so much better that it will be worth it. I use a 3-part process to kill candida overgrowth. Starve it, kill and suffocate it, then reinoculate the gut with good bacteria. Note that you may need to complete this cleanse more than once to completely get rid of it. Plan on 8 weeks.
Eliminate gluten, dairy, refined white sugar, soy, processed foods, corn, and ideally grains (gluten free grains can be excepted, but I recommend removing all grains because they break down into sugars and contribute to intestinal inflammation.) Focus on organic eggs and animal protein + vegetables and good fats. Note that diet alone will not kill the yeast overgrowth! You have to combine diet with herbal protocol.
- Consume high quality, hormone-free protein at each meal from sustainable, antibiotic-free sources: Wild, cold water fish; free-range chicken & turkey; properly prepared legumes (soaked); cage free eggs; beef/bison; lamb
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables: lightly cooked, sauteed, steamed, and raw. Focus on leafy greens and cooked cruciferous
- Use good quality fats for cooking: olive oil, coconut oil, ghee. Avoid vegetable oils!
- Drink filtered water (6 – 8 glasses/day to help flush toxins)
- Drink 2-3 cups of Pau d’arco herbal tea daily, and bone broth. Bone broth heals the gut and Pau d’Arco helps kill yeast. If you’re bumming about no booze, try a mocktail instead or stick to sparkling mineral water.
- Add fermented foods such as raw kraut, but NOT kombucha, which can actually feed yeast. This coconut water kefir contains good probiotics and enzymes. Take an ounce daily.
- Take 1-3 tbsp of coconut oil daily. It’s a powerful yeast killer and boosts metabolism.
- Take 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in a little water if needed to help digestion and detox. Avoid all other vinegars! Candida feeds on the sugars produced from this type of fermentation.
Foods to Avoid
|Aged Cheeses & Dairy Products||Conventional dairy contributes to inflammation, and many people are dairy sensitive. Raw dairy is ok occasionally if you’re not sensitive. Fermented dairy (kefir, preferably raw) is ok occasionally if not dairy sensitive, but dairy contributes to dampness in the body.|
|Additives & Preservatives||Anything you can’t pronounce on a food label = trouble.|
|Conventional Meats & Eggs||Use only grass-fed meat products, free-range eggs, and chickens. Non-organic animal proteins contain antibiotics and steroids that contribute to inflammation.|
|Alcohol||Sugar in the alcohol (wine, beer, spirits) is greatly loved by candida albicans, so don’t feed the beast!|
|Over-use of coffee||coffee is acidic, depletes minerals and suppresses immune function. Use green teas and herbal teas.|
|Chocolate||The sugar along with the fermentation process feeds the Candida, so avoid chocolate during the diet (sorry).|
|Fruits||The high sugar contents of fruits makes Candida thrive; so stay away from sweet fruits! (Exceptions are berries when in season, and in moderation.) Absolutely no fruit juices of any kind.|
|Gluten & Grains||Avoid anything made from wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Avoiding all grains (incl corn) is advised.|
|Peanuts||Peanuts carry a mold called aflatoxin that contributes to toxins in the body.|
|Mushrooms||Mushrooms are fungi, which encourages damp conditions and fungal overgrowth|
|Condiments, kombucha, and YEAST in any form||Condiments (chutneys, mustards, preserves, ketchup, relishes, vinegar, bottled dressings, etc.) tend to be high in sugars, corn syrup and preservatives. Vinegars feed yeast. Kombucha is fermented and aggravates yeast overgrowth.|
Along with the diet, you’ll need to take herbs to kill off excess candida. You can start the diet and the herbs at the same time. The main supplement you use should contain all or most of the following: caprylic acid, pau d’arco, berberine, grapefruit seed extract, zinc, biotin, olive leaf extract. I like GI Microbe X. In addition, take oregano oil in capsule form– it’s a natural antibacterial and is relatively sparing of your good bacteria. I recommend using allicillin too. Take the herbs three times daily for at least 6 weeks. If you’ve tried to get rid of candida before unsuccessfully, you may need to rotate between different anti-candida products. Candida builds up a fast resistance to herbs. You can rotate between GI Microbe X, Olive leaf extract, oregano oil, and undecylenic acid. Do this rotation plan if you’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to kill it off.
Try some stress relief during this phase: meditation, yoga classes, walking, gardening, whatever relaxes and rejuvenates you. You may also use aloe to soothe the gut lining if there is inflammation. A digestive enzyme will help you break down food and excess toxins as the candida dies off. Drinking aloe juice is soothing to the gut and helps kill candida.
NOTE: I also include a biofilm buster in my protocols, for difficult cases and always for the initial month. Biofilms act as a protective shield around yeast and other microorganisms, making it even more challenging to eradicate the yeast, because the anti-fungals/antibiotic herbs cannot get through biofilm matrix. This is how yeast protects itself from being destroyed. I use this biofilm buster alongside my herbal protocols.
A word of warning: some people will feel worse before they feel better. If you fee achy, flu-like, or nauseous, you could be reacting to the yeast dying off, which overwhelms your body and your liver detox pathways. This is called a herxheimer reaction. Try a liver support tincture or cut the supplements in half or stop them and gradually start back up again. I also recommend activated charcoal and diatomaceous earth to help rid the body of toxins. Try this supplement at night with a full glass of water. Stay motivated and imagine – you could be a different person in 8 weeks! Free from cravings, more energy, and on your way to losing all the weight you want.
Once you’re finished with the killing phase, it’s time to reinoculate the gut with good bacteria and starve out any remaining yeast overgrowth. Use a very good quality probiotic, preferably with Saccharomyces boulardii, for 4-8 weeks. You can also use Saccharomyces boulardii during the killing phase, but take it away from the herbs.
Stay at strict as you can with no sugar and booze during the reinoculation period, and don’t return to the gluten and processed foods. You can re-introduce other foods like vinegar, mushrooms, chocolate and small amounts of fruit. I know the candida diet is restrictive, but trust me, it’s worth it to be symptom-free. And once you rebuild your gut with good bacteria, you’ll begin absorbing and producing nutrients properly (that’s right–some vitamins are manufactured in the gut!), which means fewer cravings and deficiencies. If weight loss is your goal, you’ll notice the scale start to shift, too. You can also focus on leaky gut repair during this phase.
Once you’re feeling better and the overgrowth is gone, consider a liver detox. One of the reasons yeast overgrowth can result in acne, rashes, and feeling poorly overall is that the aldehydes, the toxic by-products produced by the yeast, overwhelm your detox system. Once you’ve killed it off, which is another stress on the liver, consider a 21 day detox program to help clean up after the unwanted visitors leave. Click here for my recommended program.
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