Small amounts of yeasts normally live inside the body in places such as the mouth, throat, gut. vagina and skin without causing problems. However, yeast and ‘candida’ ‘taking over’ has been associated with multidimensional health problems. Mirthe Eckl, our resident Functional Medicine Practitioner in Notting Hill (London) and Verbier (Swiss Alps) will help shed some light and dive into our multi-faceted Functional Medicine approach to candida below.
Systemic yeast infections have been associated with multidimensional health problems including contribution to
Hormone imbalances such as endometriosis, PCOS, cysts and fibroids, estrogen dominance
Weight gain for no apparent reason and/or inability to loose weight
Brain fog, mood swings and if present over longer periods of time can contribute to neurodegeneration/ Alzheimer’s,
More serious issues such as cancers (1) if present over a very long time.
A shift towards the ‘over-reactive’ yet inefficient Th17 immune system which predisposes and contributes to autoinflammatory conditions (NLRP3 inflammasome), such as has been shown to be involved in gout, arthritis, cancer conditions and more.
– It usually is a combination of several factors or even all of them
Antibiotic use induced microbiome imbalances which also wipes out the ‘good’ bacteria that normally keep yeast under control and subsequently allow ‘bad bacteria’ and yeast to flourish and overgrow
Stress, excess alcohol and/or processed foods intake induced inefficient gut immune system defense (IgA)
Overabundance of yeast feeding carbohydrates (sugars) and yeast containing foods/drinks (such as wine, rosé, beer, bread, nutritional yeast) in the diet
Inadequate bile flow, often due to an overburdened liver from (environmental) toxins, excess alcohol and/or sugars (especially also fruit sugar/ fructose!, processed foods, nutrient deficiencies)
Heavy metal accumulation such as mercury will perpetuate candida issues and vice versa.
Starve the yeast off its fuel (sugars/ carbohydrates) and actual yeast containing substances:
Strictly avoid for at least 3 months, better yet 6 months, or until re-testing
Baker's yeast such as found in bread, pizza (switch to sourdough)
Apple cider vinegar (switch to clear white vinegar)
Wine (switch to clear spirits such as tequila, vodka, gin with soda water or on the rocks)
Intermittent fasting (reducing your eating window to 4-8 hours per day) with only water, herbal teas, coffee and potentially pure fats like coconut oil in the ‘non-eating’ window has been shown to help starve off candida and reset the gut microbiome.
Strictly stick to a low carb lifestyle as outlined in the Meal Planner section. One portion of carbs per day maximum of good quality resistant starches like sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, not quite ripe banana, on 6 days of the week. Depending on your exercise level and if you are female or male, you may want to have one carb refill day once per week or once per fortnight.
Improve the gut's natural 'yeast defense system' and bile flow
Increase bile production by consuming bitter and choline containing foods (asparagus, eggs, beet root, dandelion, cruciferous vegetables)
Consume coconut oil for it's anti-fungal properties
Get adequate sleep and lower stress: belly breathing and mini-meditations switch on the vagus nerve, which increases digestive juices in your gut, naturally killing off yeast and increasing the gut’s innate immune system (sIgA).
Make sure your vitamin D and zinc levels are in optimal ranges to support a healthy immune response.
Consume cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage that support the body's natural detox mechanisms of heavy metals, environmental toxins and hormones, plus support your liver, all of which are linked to yeast overgrowth, along with their bile boosting properties.
I personally love adding a tablespoon of Sauerkraut, a tablespoon of broccoli sprouts, and about 1/8th of raw red cabbage chopped up into my lunch salad for a natural boost of all of the above. Additionally rotate the other cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
Include herbs such as oregano and rosemary in your cooking routine
Include both raw and cooked foods. Raw foods are important for their enzymes and certain nutrients that get killed when cooking, yet the consumption of warm foods (lightly cooked broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) have been shown to stimulate the spleen, which appears to have a supportive effect in getting rid of fungal overgrowth.
Temporary supplements and dietary tweaks
Pulse natural (botanical) anti-fungals and probiotics, 1 course (bottle) of Biocidin (4-6 weeks), followed by 1 course of high potency, multi-strain probiotics (1 bottle, roughly 4 weeks), then re-start the Biocidin. Alternate for 6 months until re-testing
Example of a high potency botanical anti-fungal: Biocidin – take 3 drops 2-3x/ day
Example of a high potency, multi-strain probiotics (if you have IgG antibodies against brewer’s or baker’s yeast this should not include Saccaromyces strains), such as Garden of Life Urinary Tract Probiotics.
'Modified bulletproof coffee/ tea' instead of breakfast: the coffee/ tea is bitter, the pure fat won't take you out of the 'fasting' state properly, and if you choose coconut oil instead of MCT, you get the full anti-fungal effect.
Herbal teas will not work for this as it needs to be a bitter tea (black, green). You may choose to try dandelion tea instead for a caffeine free version of this that still stimulates your bile flow.
Optional: if testing for heavy metals has been done and shown positive, a targeted DMSA (chelation) under supervision of a trained health care provider should be performed.
A NOTE ON TESTING
Why test for yeast/ fungal markers in the urine instead of the stool?
Yeast is not uniformly dispersed throughout the stool and this may lead to undetectable or low levels of yeast identified by microscopy, despite potential yeast/ fungal overgrowth.
Conversely, microscopic examination may reveal a significant amount of yeast present but no viable yeast cultured. Yeast may not always survive transit through the intestines. Nonviable diet- derived yeast may also be detected microscopically. Consideration of clinical intervention for yeast detected microscopically should be made in the context of other findings and presentation of symptoms.
If high levels of IgG to candida are present, you may want to do further testing to see if the candida is a current problem (via urinary organic acid testing). Having high levels of antibodies (IgG) against candida does not necessarily mean you currently have an overgrowth, but have had a problem with this in the past and/or present. If further testing is not an option (financially) you may want to incorporate an anti-candida approach for the next 6 months until re-testing food intolerances as a precaution and to allow the gut to heal.
You can buy one of these test kits by clicking the link above and track your own health.
If you need help making sense of your symptoms and/or to ajdust the treatment protocol to your unique health history and situation, book a one-to-one consultation with our Functional Medicine practitioner Mirthe Eckl in Notting Hill (London), Verbier (Swiss Alps) or worldwide online via Zoom.