Getting rid of a Candida infection can be a challenge. To treat an overgrowth of this persistent yeast requires that you follow a strict low-sugar diet and supplement with powerful anti-fungal herbs. As if these changes in diet and lifestyle weren’t enough, you may also begin to experience uncomfortable symptoms from Candida die-off.
Candida are a type of yeast that normally live on the skin and inside the body, in places such as the gut, mouth, throat, and vagina. Yeasts are single-celled fungi, and these microorganisms usually live in our system without causing us any problems. However, due to certain dietary and lifestyle factors, Candida populations can grow. If Candida grows out of control or enters into places deep in the body it can cause an infection that can lead to numerous health issues.
The most common species of Candida that leads to an infection is Candida albicans, though there are many other species that affect us as well. Candida albicans can be found on the skin, and in the mucous membranes of the mouth, intestines, and vagina. Its species name, albicans, comes from the Latin word for “white.” The yeast appears white when cultured on a plate, and in the case of certain infections, like thrush, it can also create white patches on the skin or gums.
What is Candidiasis?
Candidiasis is the medical term for a Candida infection, and it is a common health issue that many people suffer from. Candida infections are incredibly common, and many people that have a Candida infection are unaware that they have it, as the symptoms of Candida can be diverse.
A Candida infection can cause numerous symptoms, and many are associated with other health conditions and can be difficult to trace back to their source as a fungal infection. Symptoms like skin rashes, digestive issues, tiredness, fatigue, brain fog, sugar cravings, sinus infections, recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs), joint and muscle pain are all common. Candida infections can even cause psychological imbalances like anxiety and depression. To read more about Candida symptoms, read our article Symptoms of Candida and Fungal Infections.
What Causes a Candida Overgrowth?
Candida infections can occur easily when there is an imbalance in our gut microbiome—the community of microorganisms that live within our gut. The beneficial bacteria in our gut typically keep Candida under control. However, when these bacteria are suppressed due to certain dietary or lifestyle factors, or when the body’s immune system is weakened, it can allow the Candida yeast to grow out of control. Candida also feed on sugar, and so, a diet high in sugar, especially processed sugar can feed the Candida yeast and support their growth.
Some of the common factors that suppress our gut bacteria and allow Candida yeast to grow include: eating a diet high in processed foods, sugars and refined carbs, high stress levels, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, broad-spectrum antibiotics, a weakened immune system, and numerous other factors.
How to Treat Candida
Getting rid of Candida is not an easy task, and it can take months to accomplish depending on how far the infection has developed. Though it can be difficult to follow, the protocol for cleansing Candida is actually quite simple. It involves eating a low-sugar diet, avoiding foods that feed the Candida or hinder the body’s health, eating nutrient-dense foods, consuming antifungal foods and herbs, and focusing on building a healthy gut microbiome.
The first major component to a Candida cleanse is to focus on an anti-candida diet. Candida are a type of yeast, and as such, their primary fuel source is sugar. Therefore, it is important to cut back significantly on all forms of sugar, even fruit sugar, and to eat a low-sugar, nutrient-dense diet.
A diet low in sugar will starve the Candida yeast, weaken their health, and prevent them from growing their population. The nutrient-dense diet will support the body’s health and natural defenses to combat the Candida yeast.
Additionally, it is recommended to supplement with probiotics, as these beneficial bacteria play a major role in keeping Candida under control. It is also important to avoid junk foods and foods that burden the body so that it can focus exclusively on healing.
Antifungal Foods and Herbs
In the natural world, fungi make up the largest number of plant pathogens and are responsible for a diverse range of serious plant diseases. Fungi damage plants by killing their cells and by causing the plants stress. Over time, plants have developed different methods of protecting themselves from fungal diseases by producing powerful antifungal compounds. These compounds found in plants, such as saponins, alkaloids and terpenoids, have antifungal properties for humans as well, and may help us in treating various fungal infections. Many foods and herbs contain antifungal compounds.
Some common antifungal foods include:
- Coconut oil
- Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Olive oil
Powerful antifungal herbs include:
- Oregon grape root
- Grape seed extract
Focusing on Gut Health
After starving the Candida yeast with a low-sugar diet and attacking Candida with antifungal foods and herbs, the next step is to focus on populating the gut with healthy bacteria (probiotics) so that these bacteria can keep the Candida yeast under control. Continuing to supplement with a high-quality probiotic and eating fermented foods can add plenty of beneficial bacteria to the gut.
As the Candida yeast are reduced by starvation and antifungal herbs, it is common to experience Candida die-off symptoms. When large numbers of yeast and fungal cells are rapidly killed, a die-off (or Herx reaction) may occur. This most commonly occurs when antifungal herbs or probiotic foods and supplements are introduced.
When large numbers of Candida are simultaneously attacked, the rapid rate of Candida cells being killed creates a very different effect in the body from the regular rate of cell elimination. When these Candida cells die, they release all the noxious substances that they contain, including at least 79 different toxins including ethanol, uric acid, and acetaldehyde.
Acetaldehyde, as a known neurotoxin, has a host of detrimental effects on your health and can impair your brain function and even kill brain cells. It can affect your endocrine, immune and respiratory systems and may also damages the membranes of your red blood cells. Excess acetaldehyde in the body can lead to symptoms like brain fog and fatigue. These noxious by-products also cause allergic reactions and inflammation that may lead to numerous undesirable symptoms like sweating, fatigue, headache, nausea, chills body aches, sore throat, joint and muscle pain, or other symptoms.
Candida die-off symptoms will vary from person to person, as each person will have different degrees and types of infestation. A die-off reaction is more than just the liver becoming overwhelmed. It is when the whole detoxification system (lymphatics/emunctories, liver, kidneys, bowels, etc.) is inflamed from these toxic byproducts and unable to clear them fast enough.
This can lead to many symptoms, the most common being:
- muscle aches
- digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation, nausea and change in bowel movements
- rapid heart rate
- skin flushing
- skin rash
- mild decrease in blood pressure
- sinus infection, stuffy nose and sore throat
- brain fog/impaired brain function
- swollen glands
- soreness near your liver/abdomen
How to Manage Candida Die-Off Symptoms
While die-off symptoms can be uncomfortable, it is good to keep in mind that they are a sign your Candida cleanse is working. However, there are ways to manage die-off symptoms and reduce their severity. Some of the best ways to manage die-off symptoms include:
Gradually Ease into Your Cleanse
When you gradually ease into a cleanse, it allows your body to slowly begin releasing toxins. When you start out strong on a cleanse without preparing your body, it can cause many toxins to be released in a very short time frame. This is what overwhelms the system and leads to die-off reactions. So, you can avoid intense die-off reactions by easing into your cleanse. Also, if you do experience rapid die-off symptoms, consider cutting back on whatever supplements you are using to allow your body to process the newly released toxins. Then, as die-off symptoms begin to clear up, you can reintroduce the supplements and resume the cleansing process.
Supplement with a Binder
Perhaps one of the best things you can do to manage Candida die-off symptoms is to supplement with a good binder like fulvic acid or zeolite. These supplements have chelating properties that allows them to bind to heavy metals and toxins, and therefore, helps them to be effectively removed from the body. Without a binder, these toxins move through your bloodstream and can end up in other tissues. A binder will chemically bind to the toxins and ensure that they are eliminated. For this reason, it is always encouraged to supplement with a binder when doing a cleanse, including a Candida cleanse.
Drink A Lot of Water
Water helps the body flush and remove toxins, keeps your cells hydrated, and is essential for many of the body’s processes. Staying hydrated and drinking a lot of water can help to better remove the toxins released from Candida from your system. Just make sure to drink purified water and avoid tap water and bottled water, as they are common sources of contaminants.
Support Your Liver
Your liver is responsible for filtering the toxins that enter your body. Cleansing and processing die-off toxins puts the greatest strain on your liver of any organ. Supporting your liver before, during, and after a cleanse will ensure the effectiveness of the cleanse and will protect your liver and your health. You can support your liver by eating a nutrient-rich diet, avoiding foods that contain toxins, and by using certain herbs like the herbs in our Liver Detox Tonic. The liver is one of your main pathways for eliminating toxins, and the die-off symptoms mean that it is likely overwhelmed and in need of extra support.
Cleansing can be hard on your body. While your body is healing, be sure to allow for plenty of time to rest. It is important not just to rest physically, such as by sleeping or laying down. It is equally important to rest mentally and allow your mind to relax. Often, even when the body is at rest our mind will be stressed over things that we need to do, or other things that may be occupying our attention. When you relax your mind, it helps to alleviate tension in the body and allows the body to rest and heal. Make sure to get plenty of sleep, and also to allow your mind to relax and rest during your cleanse.
Take Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt baths are another way to support the detoxification process. The hot water will help your body relax, and the Epsom salts can help to draw out toxins. When Epsom salt is dissolved in water, it releases magnesium and sulfate ions. These particles can be absorbed through your skin, providing you with magnesium and sulfates — which serve important bodily functions and help to support detoxification.
Candida are a type of yeast (single-celled fungi) that normally live on the skin and inside the body. Candida typically lives in our system without causing us any problems. However, due to certain dietary and lifestyle factors, Candida populations can grow out of control and can cause an infection that leads to numerous health issues.
Getting rid of Candida can be a challenging task, and it can take months to accomplish depending on how far the infestation has developed. The protocol for cleansing Candida involves eating a low-sugar diet, avoiding foods that feed the Candida or hinder the body’s health, eating nutrient-dense foods, consuming antifungal foods and herbs, and focusing on building a healthy gut microbiome.
As the Candida yeast are reduced by starvation and antifungal herbs, it is common to experience Candida die-off symptoms. When large numbers of yeast and fungal cells are rapidly killed, they release all the noxious substances that they contain, including at least 79 different toxins including ethanol, uric acid, and acetaldehyde. These substances can cause a die-off reaction, know as a Herx reaction, to occur.
Candida die-off symptoms will vary from person to person, as each person will have different degrees and types of infestation. Candida die-off symptoms can be managed by slowing down your treatment and reducing your dosage of the supplements you are taking. Supplementing with a Liver Detox tonic can also help as the liver is one of your main pathways for eliminating toxins. Additionally, supporting the detoxification process by drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest, taking an Epsom salt bath, and eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods will all help to manage and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of Candida die-off.