Candida is a type of fungus (which is a type of yeast). While “fungus” may have many unpleasant connotations, when present in the right amounts, candida actually contributes to overall good health. Humans naturally have small amounts of Candida in our oral cavity, digestive tract, gut microbiome, and vaginal tract that don’t cause any infections. This fungus is a crucial part of your immune system and digestive health.
What is candida overgrowth?
The problem occurs when candida is allowed to thrive and grow to unhealthy levels, overwhelming the balance of bacteria in the body. Candida overgrowth is associated with symptoms that range from yeast infections, skin issues, fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, and digestive problems. (1)
4 supplements to consider for the candida diet
The first step in healing a Candida overgrowth is to adopt a Candida diet. Advocates claim that doing so helps to stave of overgrowth and promote the yeast to die-off, although research in this area is sparse, and we don’t know whether the candida diet even works. (2)
In addition to dietary changes, some supplements may help kick candida to the curb. Here are four candida diet supplements.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that, once in the gut, multiply and help to keep a balance between the good and bad bacteria that live there. (3) Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, and they can also be taken in supplements.
A 12-week study in older adults showed that subjects who look lozenges containing two strains of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri had a significant reduction in the number of candida yeasts in their mouths. (5)
Probiotics have also been shown to interfere with the growth of candida in your gut. (6)
2. Caprylic acid
Caprylic acid is a medium-chain fatty acid. The majority of fat in your diet comes from long-chain fatty acids which contain 13-21 carbons. In contrast, medium-chain fatty acids have 6-12 carbon atoms, giving them some unique properties. (7)
A 2011 study found that caprylic acid was effective in treating some candida infections. In fact, it was found to be superior (not to mention less expensive) than some prescription antifungals. (9)
It’s believed to penetrate the cell membranes of candida and cause them to die off.
3. Stephania tetrandra
Stephania tetrandra is a herbaceous perennial vine that is native to China and Taiwan. It is not naturally found in foods, rather its extracts are used in traditional Chinese medicine as a diuretic, to reduce inflammation, and to slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. (10)
4. Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides, commonly known as African geranium, is a medicinal herb native to South Africa. (13) It is not found in foods, but its roots have been used for centuries in herbal remedies for respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. (14)
Pelargonium sidoides has been shown to help prevent infections by preventing bacteria from sticking to cells and by helping the immune system to hunt down invaders. In fact, its ability to hunt down and destroy pathogens such as candida is increased in a concentration-dependent manner. (15)
The bottom line
To sum up, candida is a naturally occurring yeast in the digestive tract of humans. A number of different factors can throw off the normal balance of gut bacteria, leading to candida overgrowth. If not addressed properly, it can lead to many side effects.
If you suspect a candida overgrowth is impacting your health, please discuss with your healthcare practitioner before making any dietary changes or adding any supplements to your diet.