Candidiasis: what is the best treatment?

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Alternative medicine practitioners often claim that yeast infections, the most common cause of yeast infections , can be cured or prevented. (vaginal yeast infection) and oral yeast infection (oral yeast infection) – with diet .

Despite the lack of clinical evidence to support this assumption, candida diets have become incredibly popular in recent years, primarily among people with recurring vaginal yeast infections. The Candida diet focuses on a limited intake of sugar and carbohydrates, two dietary components that are believed to "feed" acute Candida albicans infection .

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Advantage

Your body is riddled with microorganisms, including a fungus known as yeast. Most are harmless, and some are even beneficial to your immune system . But there may be too many good things. More than 100 different types of yeast can live inside and outside your body, of which about 15 are known to cause infections.

Candida occurs naturally in the human body, but it can grow larger when the immune system weakens, forming dense colonies on the mucous membranes of the mouth or vagina. When the immune system is compromised , it can invade distant organs, including the throat and lungs, or spread into the bloodstream and cause serious damage.

Therefore, it is important that you do everything you can to deal with Candida overgrowth if it occurs. But if you decide to do it by trying the Candida diet, keep in mind that there is currently little evidence to support its use.

Additionally, the theory behind the sugars and carbohydrates that fuel yeast growth does not address the root cause of yeast infection, i.e. the depletion of the immune system and / or external forces that alter the balance of the natural flora of the yeast. mouth and vagina.

Despite claims that the Candida diet can "stimulate" the immune response, there is no evidence that diet alone can stimulate the immune response to the point of neutralizing Candida infection.

This does not mean that the diet is not beneficial for people with yeast or yeast infection. A healthy and balanced diet is essential for a strong immune response, combined with regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management.

At the same time, attention should be paid to factors that increase the risk of yeast infection, some of which are easier to control than others. This includes:

  • Use of antibiotics
  • Reduced immunity (eg, in organ transplant recipients, people with HIV, or on cancer treatment)
  • Using oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
  • Use of oral or inhaled corticosteroids
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • The pregnancy
  • Wear dentures

Many of them disrupt the natural balance of the vaginal or oral flora, while others deplete the immune cells necessary to control yeast growth. Therefore, while diet can help maintain a strong immune system, it is unlikely to help overcome many of the conditions that cause Candida infection.

That said, several small studies have shown that dietary changes can be beneficial for people who are at higher risk for yeast infection.

If you are prone to recurrent fungal infections or canker sores, it is important to see your doctor to determine the underlying cause. Recurrent yeast infection should not be considered "normal" under any circumstances.

How does it work

The theory behind the Candida diet suggests that eliminating sugar and other foods completely will deprive the yeast of the fuel it needs to grow. This concept is understandable given how yeast is used to bake or brew beer. Sugar feeds yeast cells, allowing them to multiply much faster.

Alternative physicians argue that the same principles can be applied in medicine, where excessive consumption of sugar promotes Candida growth and restriction of sugar suppresses it.

Sugar

The most discussed aspect of the Candida diet is avoiding sugar. This may be especially true for women with diabetes, who are 63% more likely to have yeast infections than non-diabetic women, according to a 2014 study published in the São Paulo Medical Journal .

Diabetes is a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Although yeast is generally not found in the bloodstream (except for invasive candidiasis in people with advanced HIV), any rise in blood sugar can alter the glucose concentration in the mouth and vagina, promoting growth. of yeast.

That said, the occurrence of yeast infection in people with diabetes is not so much due to sugar intake as it is due to the inability to correct the dysfunction that leads to high blood sugar levels ( hyperglycemia ). This includes insufficient insulin production and / or insulin resistance .

While avoiding sugar can reduce the risk of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes (and, in turn, the risk of yeast infection), consuming sugar by its nature does not increase glucose levels in the mouth or vagina if glucose in blood it is lower. control.

Currently, there is little conclusive evidence that sugar restriction can prevent or alleviate Candida infection in people without diabetes.

Carbohydrates

Proponents of the candidate diet often argue that carbohydrates contribute as much to the development of yeast as sugar. The claim is based on the popular (and simplistic) belief that "carbohydrates turn to sugar."

While it is true that carbohydrates are broken down into smaller sugar molecules called monosaccharides, the body's response to these molecules can vary. Different foods have different glycemic index (GI) values, which means that some foods cause significant spikes in blood sugar, while others do not.

What's more, sugar molecules don't just enter the mouth, vagina, or with food. Some will be burned for immediate energy, some will be stored for future energy, and some will be removed from the body so that blood sugar does not rise too high.

In short, if you have normal insulin levels and normal insulin tolerance , you will not experience abnormally high levels of sugar in your blood or mucous membranes.

This does not mean that eating too many carbohydrates (especially simple carbohydrates like refined sugar) is good. Consuming too much sugar and high GI foods increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and contributes to obesity .

According to the Nutrition Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 , added sugar should be less than 10% of your daily calorie intake. For a 2,000 calorie daily diet, this means less than 4 tablespoons per day from all food sources .

Currently, there is little evidence that carbohydrate restriction or the use of low-carbohydrate diets in any way affect the frequency or severity of Candida infection.

Probiotics

The use of probiotics to treat yeast infections is controversial. While probiotics work by increasing bacteria that are good for the vagina and gastrointestinal tract, their ability to prevent or treat yeast infection is controversial. While many studies show that taking probiotics daily may slightly improve imbalances that lead to yeast infections, others do not. A 2009 study in Letters of Applied Microbiology found that certain Lactobacillus probiotic strains potentiate the effects of used antifungal medications (such as fluconazole). for the treatment of fungal infections. However, there was no evidence that the strains could achieve the same effect on their own .

A 2017 review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that probiotics may improve short-term cure and relapse rates in women with yeast infections, but acknowledged that the quality of current studies is "low to very low. " .

Gluten

Some Candida diet plans recommend limiting your intake of wheat, which some have interpreted as an indication that a gluten-free diet can help prevent yeast infections.

There is currently no evidence that foods containing wheat and gluten promote yeast overgrowth or increase the risk of yeast infection. If you don't have celiac disease , you don't need to be on a gluten-free diet.

That said, there is evidence, albeit weak, that Candida albicans can cause celiac disease symptoms because it contains gluten-like cell wall compounds that trigger the response of immune cells involved in the disease.

Yeast

People often wonder if they should avoid yeast-containing foods if they want to prevent yeast infections. The simple truth is that the microorganisms used in food are not the microorganisms that cause yeast infection.

Yeast-containing foods, such as bread and beer, are usually made from Saccharomyces cerevisiae , a completely different form of yeast. With a few exceptions, S. cerevisiae rarely causes fungal infections. In fact, the opposite may be true.

According to a 2017 study published in the journal Virulence , S. cerevisiae can suppress the growth of Candida and eliminate Candida infections in mice . If the same is true for humans, you can encourage the use of brewer's yeast as a dietary supplement for women.

Candida diets generally recommend avoiding processed meats, packaged foods, preservatives, and some nuts that are susceptible to mold (like cashews and peanuts). While many of these changes are beneficial, there is little evidence that they can actively "fight" yeast infections or thrush.

Duration

Anti-candida diets (which some refer to as candida "cleansers") can be very restrictive. Given the nature of these restrictions, it will be difficult to stick to the diet for a long period of time and maintain proper nutrition.

It is important to remember that the body needs sugars and carbohydrates to function in general. For some, reducing these food sources too drastically can cause symptoms associated with hypoglycemia , such as fatigue, headache, nervousness, weakness, loss of concentration, and anxiety.

Candida advocates say it takes about a month, if not longer, to notice any changes. Some people may not experience any changes at all.

The Candida diet should only be used during the appearance of yeast. infection or when you are at increased risk of yeast infection (for example, by taking antibiotics). It is not designed for long-term use.

What is it

The candida diet recommendations are often strict and may require you to completely eliminate various food groups. If you decide to go on a diet, you should do so under the supervision of a doctor.

Below are examples of what a Candida diet could make up for.

Obedient

  • Non-starchy vegetables (artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes)

  • Low sugar fruits (lemons, limes)

  • Berries (in moderation)

  • Avocado

  • olives

  • Eggs

  • Lean cuts of chicken or turkey

  • Salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies

  • Ghee, kefir and probiotic yogurt

  • Gluten-free grains (teff, quinoa, oat bran)

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, flax, pumpkin, sunflower)

  • Almonds oil

  • Bone broth

  • Chicory root tea or coffee

  • Apple vinager

  • Seaweed and algae

  • Herbs and spices (basil, cloves, oregano, dill, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper)

  • Stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, and erythritol

  • Coconut, linseed, olive and sesame oil

  • Certain fermented foods (kefir, kombucha)

Inappropriate

  • Sugar (agave, aspartame, cane sugar, corn syrup, honey, molasses)

  • Gluten (barley, rye, spelled, wheat)

  • Packaged snacks

  • Yogurt with sugar or filling

  • Frozen meals and snacks

  • Muffins, bagels, croissants, and cookies

  • Ice cream, custard, pudding and gelatin (if not sugar free)

  • Fruits and fruit juices that are high in sugar

  • Nuts (dates, apricots, prunes, raisins)

  • Peanuts, Cashews, Pistachios, and Nut Butter

  • Processed meat (lunch, hot dogs, sausage, bacon)

  • Red meat and offal

  • Tuna and swordfish

  • Mollusks

  • Whole milk, cheese, cream, and other dairy products

  • Salad Dressings, Sauces, and Condiments in Bottles

  • Canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, margarine, or butter sprays.

  • Fruit juices, energy drinks and soft drinks.

  • Caffeinated coffee, tea, or soft drinks

  • Alcohol

Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits that are high in sugar are generally excluded from the Candida diet. You should also avoid juices made with these fruits or sweetened. Low-sugar fruits, such as limes and lemons, and small servings of berries are acceptable.

For vegetables, choose non-starchy foods like broccoli, cabbage, and tomatoes. It may be wise to avoid foods that are susceptible to mold, such as fungi.

Dairy : Whole dairy is often restricted to the Candida diet, with the exception of probiotic yogurt, ghee, and real butter (in moderation). Sugary dairy products or yogurt products such as ice cream or frozen yogurt are generally avoided. Moldy blue cheese, melted cheese, cream cheese, and cheese sandwiches are generally not allowed either.

Cereals – Many candida diets recommend avoiding wheat and gluten, but there isn't enough evidence that this can help. Also, some candida diets recommend limiting foods made with yeast, although evidence for this is also lacking.

Proteins : Lean proteins, such as eggs and skinless poultry, are commonly tolerated in the Candida diet, as are bone broth and some fatty fish. Low mold nuts and seeds are also allowed.

The Candida diet also eliminates red meat, meat, and meat. Shellfish and large fish (such as tuna and swordfish) can also be excluded, as they are more likely to be exposed to heavy metals like mercury.

Drinks : Alcohol is not recommended in the Candida diet. Fermented beverages such as cider and root beer are also often avoided. The same goes for sodas and energy drinks, whether they contain sugar or not. You should also avoid fruit juices, smoothies, smoothies, milk-based coffee drinks, and other sweetened beverages (like hot chocolate).

Caffeinated coffee and tea are allowed in small amounts as long as they do not contain sugar, dairy, or non-dairy creamer. Herbal teas and chicory root coffee may be recommended as a substitute for caffeine, if they do not contain sugar.

Desserts : The main foods to avoid on the Candida diet are foods high in sugar, so very few dessert options are suitable.

These can be foods made with refined sugar, such as table sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, maple sugar, molasses, date sugar, raw sugar, rice syrup, or sorghum. Keep in mind that these ingredients contain not only desserts, but also many types of bread.

Check food labels for other names for sugar such as sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, glucose, dextrose, galactose, barley malt, dextrin, turbinate, monosaccharide, and polysaccharide.

The Candida diet is usually Allow the use of sugar substitutes such as stevia, monk fruit, xylitol, and erythritol. Herbs and spices like cinnamon and ginger can be used to add flavor and some sweetness.

Recommended time

There is no set meal schedule with the Candida diet, so you can tailor it to suit your needs. Since the diet can be restrictive, you should have plenty of small snacks on hand to eat throughout the day if you ever feel faint or dizzy.

Some people on the Candida diet often choose to eat small meals instead of three large meals. It may be an ideal option for people with diabetes, as it helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent hypoglycemia. It can also prevent symptoms like diabetic stomach paresis , which makes you feel full after a few bites.

Cooking tips

As you prepare for the Candida diet, take the time to find food substitutes that you enjoy. This will help you feel less deprived and stay on your diet longer.

There are several simple exchange options:

  • You can make a carb-free meal by combining lean poultry with cauliflower rice, or wrapping a turkey burger with salad instead of a bun.
  • If you are looking for a way to naturally sweeten your food without sugar, try monk fruit. Naturally sweet cantaloupe goes well with almost any meal, including tea, oatmeal, and sauces.
  • Instead of a mayonnaise-based dressing, make a delicious yogurt dressing with low-fat plain yogurt, lemon juice, poppy seeds, dry mustard, and a little stevia.

Modifications

There are times when the Candida diet can be dangerous without major changes. For example, if you are being treated for diabetes, it may not be safe to reduce your sugar intake as strictly as your diet requires. This can lead to a potentially serious hypoglycemic event.

Although yeast infections are common during pregnancy, following a restricted diet during pregnancy is potentially harmful to you and your baby and should be avoided. In any case, you will need to increase your nutrient intake during pregnancy to meet your body's increased energy needs and promote healthy fetal development.

On the other hand, if you have celiac disease, lactose intolerance , or are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you may already be following many dietary guidelines. Just make sure the extra changes don't leave you hungry and without the protein and carbohydrates you need to function properly.

Considerations

Making changes to your diet can affect everything from shopping and food preparation to the dynamics of your social, work, and family life. Before starting any diet, consider how you are going to approach these issues to achieve your goals safely and with a high quality of life.

General nutrition

Any severely restrictive diet can put you at risk for poor nutrition. While the Candida diet eliminates many unnecessary foods like alcohol and processed meats, you can also eliminate nutritious foods like animal protein, nuts, and whole grains.

While you can generally find reasonable substitutes for these foods, you can end up endangering your health if you don't take the time to cook. This is especially true for people with recurring Candida infections , many of whom are initially deficient in nutrients.

To ensure optimal nutrition, consult with a dietitian or nutritionist to determine your daily needs and how to meet them. This can include nutritional supplements to increase the intake of vitamins and minerals.

Security

The safety of the Candida diet has not been established. This includes how long you can stick to your diet without causing harm. Your age, weight, health, pregnancy, and chronic diseases all play a role in how well you can tolerate the diet and how long you can safely follow it.

To protect your health, talk with your doctor or dietitian to discuss how the Candida diet is right for you as an individual and if there are other options that better suit your needs.

In addition to pregnant or lactating people, the Candida diet should not be used by children, people with chronic hypoglycemia (including dumping syndrome ) or immunosuppressed people.

Flexibility

Dining out can be difficult if you are on a restrictive diet. Even health food restaurants cannot do without all aspects of their diet.

This does not mean that you should decline the dinner invitation. Here are some ways to follow the Candida diet when dining out with family or friends:

  • Check the restaurant menu online to find out what you can and cannot eat. Many even suggest breaking down calories, carbohydrates, sugar, sodium, fiber, and saturated fat.
  • Call the restaurant in advance to inform them of your dietary needs. Some may offer suggestions or wish to make a replacement if you tell them.
  • If people are celebrating with alcohol, ask the bartender to bring you soda in a champagne glass with strawberries or other fruit to make your diet drink a little more festive.
  • If someone loves desserts, ask for an unusual cup of herbal tea. It will be exotic enough to suit a special occasion and you won't be left sitting in front of you with nothing.

Side effects

If you are on a strict candida diet, you can expect to experience loss of energy, fatigue, and fatigue, especially if you are used to eating sugar, carbohydrates, and caffeine. Often there are several ways to avoid these effects besides pacing, getting plenty of rest, and light exercise (which can improve your mood and energy levels).

The big problem, of course, is nutritional deficiencies. For example, if you don't get enough iron , you can develop anemia that makes you feel tired or short of breath.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can affect your nervous system, causing numbness, tingling, and loss of concentration. A skin rash, vision changes, or brittle hair or nails can be signs of low levels of zinc , niacin, or vitamin A.

With limited food and grain options, the Candida diet may not provide enough fiber to prevent constipation. Increased fluid intake, exercise, and fiber supplementation can go a long way in improving bowel movements.

If you are switching to the Candida diet, it is important to address nutrient deficiencies early, before they become a problem. Malnutrition reduces the overall immune response, increasing rather than decreasing the risk of yeast infection.

The Candida diet versus other diets

If the Candida diet is too strict or you cannot tolerate it for health reasons, other diets may be considered that may be less burdensome. (That said, there is also no guarantee that any of these alternatives will resolve or prevent yeast infection.)

paleo diet

The Candida diet is essentially a stricter version of the Paleo diet. Starting with this option can be a good way to ease the strict requirements of the Candida diet.

The Paleo diet includes a wider range of protein sources (including most meat and fish), but limits the amount of refined sugar, grains, and processed foods. You also shouldn't use artificial sweeteners. These guidelines are considered guidelines rather than rules, giving you the opportunity to adapt them to your needs.

You can also consider plant-based diets that focus on whole foods and are limited to processed foods. Many of these meal plans are less restrictive and often more nutritious, giving you a reasonable departure from the Candida diet.

Other diets to consider include:

  • Ketogenic diet
  • Low FODMAP diet
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Vegan, Vegetarian and Flexitarian Diets

Get the word of drug information

Eating too much sugar, salt, fat, refined flour, and alcohol affects not only your immune system, but also the health of your heart, liver, and kidneys.

Limiting intake to the Recommended Diet Index ( RDI ) as prescribed by the Department of Health and Human Services may not completely eliminate the risk of yeast infection or thrush. reducing stress can't help but have an impact.

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