Candida is a form of yeast that is intrinsic to the human body. In a healthy body candida acts as a buffer, blood sugar regulator, and recycling organism in the blood. Candida yeast is designed as a back up digestive mechanism to metabolize excess sugars, and to recycle necrotic(dead) scar tissue in the blood. If candida is “killed” then this buffering system breaks down and toxic materials are left to create acidification in the blood and further systemic infections. In dealing with a fungal infection called candida albicans we do not want to “kill” this organism. We want to establish a microorganism equilibrium(beneficial bacteria), increasing alkaline mineral storages in the body, increase immunological momentum, and exchange sugar metabolism for fat metabolism (ketogenesis).
When a candida/fungal infection takes root it creates toxic excretions that flood into the blood supply and circulate through the vascular system causing bloating, foggy thinking, energy depletion, diarrhea, thrush, yeast vaginitis (vaginal yeast infection), nail fungus, constipation, acid reflux/heart burn, bad breath (halitosis), depression like symptoms, irritability, irrational food cravings, and clouded memory. These fungal excretions are also known as an auto-intoxication condition where microorganisms produce metabolic waste products that localize themselves in regions of the alimentary canal/intestines and pass through the blood-brain barrier.
The Standard American Diet
The standard American diet that is comprised of starchy carbohydrates, cooked and processed carbohydrates, hybridized fruits, excess refined sugars, rancid oils, tap water, animal flesh and dairy products containing antibiotics all feed candida infections. When the good intestinal bacteria load has been compromised (disbiosis) an imbalance of opportunistic organisms such as fungus proliferate and establish dominance over the microbiome environment. The microbiome is our biological garden that supports all forms of life that live within the human organism. Natural sugars such as fruit (with seeds), organic maple syrup, coconut water, or honey are not the cause of candida but when there is a disbiosis present these foods can further exacerbate the condition and should be reduced (in some cases removed) until one has achieved homeostasis. With this understanding we no longer seek to eradicate candida. We seek to achieve our optimum balance point and to do this we apply the principles of terrain modification.
It has been my observation and experience working with clients that those who have mild to systemic candida infections have a history of antibiotic use. In the modern age the most destructive tool against healthy intestinal bacteria are pharmaceutical antibiotics. Chlorine in tap water and in showers is a potent antibiotic and contributes to an epidemic level of disbiotic conditions which include parasite infections and vitamin b12 deficiencies as healthy b12 blood levels are predicated on the intrinsic factor protein recycling in the gut. This process is largely dependent on the biological diversity of the microbiome.
Where Candida Thrives and Doesn’t Thrive
Invasive fungal species including candida albicans thrive in a damp, wet, moist, dark, oxygen-deprived environment. This is why there is a higher prevalence of mold fungus present in tropical and semi-tropical environments. When our inner ecosystem takes on an excessively wet state we become susceptible to fungal overgrowths. From a Chinese medical perspective the symptoms of candida are almost identical to that of a damp-wet-spleen. Stomach acid has been reduced and this gives access to invasive organisms to create a nesting ground. The digestive environment should be like a salty ocean opposed to a wet and damp swamp. Sea salt water flushing can be very powerful for rebalancing digestive fire and flushing out residual toxin compounds in the intestinal tract. Herbs that increase qi potential(blood flow/digestion) such as astragalus, Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, white atractylodes, licorice root, and codonopsis root can be used in a candida herbal protocol.
The Sun and other Candida Healers
Another important factor is allowing enough direct sunlight to penetrate your bare skin. The ultra violet rays of the sun are anti-microbial and anti-fungal which are also anti-cancerous in nature. Fungus thrives in an environment that is fortified from direct sunlight. Bare skin to the earth helps to diversify the microorganism influence your body receives and better transmits photon rays from the sun opposed to being insulated in shoes outside of nature. Increasing oxygen respiration to the cells is paramount in importance as yeast, mold, and fungus respire on fermentation (sugar). Green vegetable juices such as cucumber, celery, lemon, cilantro, ginger, turmeric, with a dash a cayenne can work wonders for digestive disturbances such as fungal overgrowth, balance gastric acid production, and will not lead to a damp-wet-spleen as proposed by many TCM(traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners.
An anti-candida approach involves the correct diet, lifestyle adjustments, mental attitude, and surrounding yourself with the right people. A persons suggestive environment should be examined to assure the subliminal messages coming from the people, entertainment outlets, the symbolism, art work, and feng shui(energy circulation) of the living space is in alignment with one’s purest intentions. Fungal infections can be particularly difficult because they increase sugar cravings, fatigue, irritability, digestive discomfort, and can lead someone to a negative spiral of self defeating thought patterns. We often call this candida consciousness. It must be combated through ultra positive reinforcement of mind-body-spirit integration. Reading literature that invokes optimism, hope, and mental fortitude can prove imperative when the tendency to think in negative terms arises or sugar cravings intensify.
Are Fruits Ok?
According to Dr. Brian Clement based on a healthy individuals blood profile most people should consume no more than 15% fruit by weight in their diet. I do not necessarily agree that one should be so conservative or regimented in their organic fruit intake under normal conditions. On an anti-candida diet somewhere between 5-15% non sweet, citrus, and semi-sweet fruit by weight is going to be ideal. The best semi-sweet fruits to consume are colorful berries excluding strawberries and goji berries due to higher sugar concentrations. Starchy root vegetables such as potatoes, beets, and carrots should be omitted as well. Golden potatoes, yucca root, yams, and sweet potatoes can be included as a condiment due to their higher nutritional content, minerals, and lower glycemic index. Also, only include wild young coconut water in moderation. Coconut water that is commercially available in super markets is too high in sugar and should only be consumed as a fermented kefir. This can be made by adding 2 capsules of probiotics to your coconut water and left for 24 hours to ferment.
The Anti-Candida Diet
An anti-candida diet should include raw vegetables and can include steamed vegetables, green juices, green powdered algae and grass powders, fermented foods, seaweeds, saturated fats such as coconut meat / oil, raw goats butter, and clarified ghee butter. Monounsaturated fats such as avocados, olives, and cold pressed olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sacha inchi seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, their derivative oils (excluding flax oil), and high DHA/EPA algae oils. Soaked Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cacao nuts, and brazil nuts in moderation. Super foods such as aloe vera, noni fruit, camu berry powder, acerola powder, rose hip powder, and bee pollen are also helpful tools.
Supplements that are particularly helpful for candida are pine tree derived msm crystals, systemic enzymes, probiotics containing acidophilus, bifidus, etc to colonize the intestinal bacteria load and establish balance, olive leaf extract, oregano oil, grape seed extract, aged garlic extract, edible clays such as zeolite powder, bentonite clay, and mineral rich earth compounds such as fulvic acid, shilajit, and diatomaceous earth are especially helpful.
Mercury toxicity is deeply connected to candida infections and must be completely cleared from the body. Msm is a powerful methylation agent for the liver and helps to detoxify mercury out-gassing from mercury amalgam fillings. Once mercury is fully detoxified from the body candida sufferers often report that their symptoms and struggles clear up shortly after.
Fasting and Other Candida Healing Practices
Again, it is important to understand that candida is not a disease, it is a symptom that has manifested due to an undesirable intestinal environment for beneficial bacteria and aiding microorganisms. One of the best ways to modify the inner terrain and reset one’s metabolism is to engage in fasting practices. In the case of chronic candida sugar fasting, as we have eluded too, is necessary to exchange the glycolytic(sugar) metabolism towards ketogenic(fat) metabolism. This is where the body adapts to producing energy from fat dominant foods opposed to sugar dominant foods. The most optimum way to perform this approach and derive the benefits of fasting is through intermittent fasting. This is where one consumes 1 liter of water upon waking and only consumes liquids up to mid-morning or even lunch. Incorporating the supplements advised above in the early morning and consuming a green juice can take the place of a traditional breakfast. As the body becomes more adept at storing alkaline minerals blood sugar normalizes, insulin impulses decrease, and cravings begin to release their hold. After the early evening meal (no later than 7 pm) stop eating solid foods. Only consume water or warm herbal teas that are non-stimulating. This is a natural rhythmic eating pattern for humans that are aligned with their circadian rhythms(sleep cycles) and the solar-lunar cycles of nature.
Candida based cravings often hit the hardest at night time therefore preparing your mind and body for this ahead of time is critical for success. I advise clients who are working through chronic candida to consume a hot herbal tea in the evening such as holy basil(tulsi), chamomile, kava, valerian, chaga, reishi, or passion flower with 1-2 tablespoon of cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil. The lauric acid in coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal and is easily digestible which is perfect for those with trouble digesting fats(liver/gallbladder stagnation). This strategy helps to curve late night cravings, relaxes the nerves, supports positive hormone balance, and is effective at combatting fungal overgrowths.
In review, an anti-candida lifestyle includes 1/2-1 liter of salt water (1/4 tsp) upon waking up, green leafy vegetables and their juices, 5-15% non-sweet and semi-sweet fruits (berries), soaked nuts in moderation and seeds in more abundant amounts, mineral rich sea weeds such as dulse, kelp, nori, irish moss, etc., an abundance of medium-high fat foods such as olives, avocados, coconuts, cold pressed/stone ground oils, raw goats dairy, and clarified ghee butter, fermented cabbage and root vegetables, low glycemic cooked root vegetables and crucifierous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kalrabi, kale, etc.), medium-high dosages of bifidus and acidopholous containing probiotics twice a day on an empty stomach, earth mineral compounds including shilajit, fulvic acid, zeolites, various forms of edible clays, and diatomaceous earth as well as immune boosting anti-fungal, bacterial, and viral agents including aged garlic extract, oregano oil, grape seed extract, olive leaf extract, vitamin c powders, and high dosages of reishi mushroom extracts. Additional tonic herbs that are especially helpful for candida are the amazonian herbs pau d’ arco, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, and chanca piedra.