Fixing Candida in You
Phase 1: Remove the Candida Overgrowth (50-100 days)
Eliminate Candida overgrowth with botanicals such as Berberine, Caprylic Acid, Oregano Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Pau D Arco. These herbs change the environment of the gut to be inhospitable to the Candida and can greatly reduce its numbers. Each patient and strain of Candida can be sensitive to different herbs and we most often use mixtures containing the above herbs for the best results.
The other important piece is to take enough, long enough, and in pulses. We typically have patients take these for 3-4 weeks then take a 4-7 day break. If exposed to these herbs continuously most patients get maximum benefit in 2-6 weeks. After that the microbes that are left are “hiding” in their cyst or dormant forms. By stopping for a short period of time it lets the remaining Candida come out from this defensive form.
Adding Biotin (B7) is important for Candida as it inhibits Candida’s transformation to its more invasive form. This little addition can help greatly reduce detox or “die off” reactions for patients with Candida.
Purified Immunoglobulins (either from Colostrum or a dairy free source). This is especially important if a patient has low IgA (or IgG). Providing these immunoglobulins helps bind yeast die off products and usher it out of the intestines without causing detox or “die off” reactions. It also helps heal the gut lining by helping to establish the healthy mucous membrane over the cells.
Diet for a Candida Overgrowth
If you google Candida diet it is not hard to find extremely detailed, difficult, and overly complicated diet plans. The reason “Candida” diets are so broad and strict is because of the sloppy history of candida diagnosis. If you are sloppy in the diagnosis and errantly blame every gut problem on Candida, then you need a hugely restrictive diet that I like to call the “fix the gut from anything diet”.
For the record, I am not against most gut repair diets or Candida diets – they work. The problem is for many patients they are OVERKILL. Overkill diets means more people fail at pulling it off. Overkill diets means patients put in a huge effort and have trouble sustaining it consistently. Overkill diets means a higher chance of failure for you.
The RHS Candida Diet: The super simple version is you can’t have sugar, flour, or alcohol. All these things are the favorite food sources of the Candida we are trying to eliminate
- Vegetables – If it is a vegetable you can eat it. As long as you don’t put flour, sugar, or alcohol on it you can eat anything in this category.
- Fruits – Avoid dried fruit and fruit juice. If it is a real fruit, then you have a full green light to eat it. This is a huge deviation from other “Candida” diets. Don’t believe the evils of fruit sugar! I have NEVER had a patient with Candida from eating real fruit.
- Dairy – eat it as long as we aren’t adding sugar to it (many yogurts are extremely high in sugar as well as ice-cream). As a hint get higher protein or higher fat yogurts. If there is no protein or fat in the yogurt…the only thing left to make it taste good is sugar. If you want to avoid dairy for food sensitivity reasons or autoimmune reasons we can, but having or not having dairy will not affect your Candida.
- Nuts/Seeds – Eat them as long as they haven’t been coated in sugar. Patients often ask me about avoiding peanuts. If you want to have a discussion about nuts please ask, but for the sake of healing Candida they are safe.
- Grains – You may eat grains as long as we do not eat any flour! You may eat rice, quinoa, etc. You may not eat anything that was baked. That means no bread, waffles, pancakes, tortillas, chips,
- Fats – We really like butter, coconut oil, and olive oil as the main staples for our patients. We are not fans of processed vegetable oils such as corn oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil. While I believe this is important for your general health (and especially neurological health) it is not directly related to Candida. For that reason we talk more about fats in our neurology information than here.
- Drinks – Drink water, basic coffee, or unsweetened tea. We are trying to keep this simple. No juice, pop, energy drinks, Gatorade, or sugary coffee drinks.
- Sugars – This really needs to be cut down from low to 0. All forms of sugar are a no including but not limited to white sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, dextrose, and concentrated fruit jams. Basically any of these sugars are easily taken up by the Candida and used to grow.
- Alcohol – Alcohol of any kind turns rapidly into sugar and the Candida can grow from its consumption. Alcohol with sugar such as wines and mixed drinks are doubly as guilty.
- Flour – We kind of covered this in the grains section, but to make life easy simply avoid ANY flour. The process of making flour creates food into such a fine particle it breaks down artificially fast and creates the sugar the Candida needs to grow. Patients often ask if can do Cassava flour or Coconut or Almond flour. The answer is no! This is not a Paleo diet! This is a solve your Candida diet! In the long-term we think those flours are great for you, but not while you are clearing out a Candida overgrowth.
Low/no sugar and no flour diets are the starting point. You can get to a more strict diet, but it is often not necessary.
General Eating Guidelines to Benefit your Health
After we solve Candida, we want our patients to eat healthy food the rest of their lives. One of our mentors describes the ideal diet as “vegetarian with meat”. I laugh every time I hear him say that, but it is a great short summary. Are you eating 5 servings of vegetables per day with adequate sources of protein? We will go over long-term diet details in another hand out, but getting enough vegetables and protein is a great place to start and over 80% of our patients are well off the mark in one of those 2 eating goals.
The Last Phase – Don’t Let Candida Come Back (30-60 days)
Once the candida overgrowth is eliminated the work is not done! You need to work on rebuilding healthy gut function for the next 1-2 months. Eliminating the yeast overgrowth is a terrific step, but it only gets you to neutral. The gut is not supposed to be neutral! The gut is supposed to be a contributing factor towards your health! To get the gut all the way from neutral to good we must repair gut with L-glutamine, Deglycyrrhized licorice (DGL), N-Acetyl Glucosamine, and Probiotics.
- L-Glutamine: This amino acid is the main fuel for the enterocytes of the gut lining and helps seal up leaky gut.
- N-Acetyl Glucosamine: This helps promote a healthy mucous membrane above the cells of the gut.
- Deglycyyrhized Licorice: DGL is the protector of the gut lining. It helps the gut to be more robust and resist damage and injury better so that you don’t have this come back!
- Probiotics: We prefer 100 billion count probiotic to aggressively promote the healthy balance of gut flora. All probiotics are not made equal. Getting the correct strains, in higher enough numbers, while they are still alive is key to getting the results you are working so hard for.
Stimulate Gut Repair, proper enzyme and acid production with Neuro Rehab
The Vagus nerve is the connection from your brain all the way down to your intestines. Without proper vagus nerve function you will NEVER be able to maintain a healthy gut. Think about the connections between your brain and your digestion. We all know from a young age if we spin too much we can get nauseated and throw up. There are huge connection between the balance and coordination centers of the brain and healthy, anti-inflammatory, Vagus nerve signals going down to maintain your gut health. For this reason all our patients go through at least a neuro exam with our Dr. Paul. In nearly all our patients, we find some neurological training to be key in strengthening proper gut function and preventing these problems from coming back.
If you think you are struggling with Candida overgrowth, refer to another Candida blog written by Dr. Warren to learn more about symptoms, testing and how to get answers from RHS!