Fungi of the genus Candida (C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. krusei, C.tropicalis) are fungi, yeasts found in the normal flora of the skin and mucous membranes of the digestive tract, urinary system and reproductive system. They primarily live in warm, wet and dark cavities of the human body but can migrate elsewhere in the body, especially in case of the immune system breakdown.
Candida albicans (the so-called “white candida” because it creates white cheese-like colonies) is the most famous fungi of the genus Candida and it usually makes problems after the use of antibiotics, steroids, hormones (birth-control pills), during pregnancy, menstrual period, with too-frequent use of alkaline soap, inadequate underwear, after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Candida expansion is also linked to diabetes, thyroid gland disorder, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, AIDS, tumour diseases, organ transplantation etc.
When does Candida become aggressive? It happens when the environment allows its uncontrolled propagation. Strong immune system and normal bacterial flora (Lactobacillus bifidus, Lactobacillus acidophilus) prevent the overgrowth of the fungus but when this fine balance is impaired, it results in candidiasis. Antibiotic treatment usually results in candidiasis in people who generally have good immunity. In addition to destroying pathogenic bacteria, antibiotics reduce the number of good bacteria to a great extent and make enough free space on unprotected mucosa for Candida propagation.
Candida can be found in the oral cavity, pharynx, tongue, in the nose, in the sputum, bronchial tubes in the lungs, digestive tract, urine, ears, vaginal cavity, externally on the skin, nails, in the blood. Therefore Candida symptoms are numerous, various and unspecific:
- white deposits on the tongue and in the mouth, irritating and dry cough, scratchy throat and red pharynx, breathing problems, chronic stuffy nose, snoring, shortness of breath, constant repeated colds and red throat,
- abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, bowel dysfunction, changes in stool from liquid to solid, indigestion, loss of appetite, fissured tongue and white deposits, diarrhea, mucous stool, anal itching,
- depression, nervousness, fluid retention, nausea, headache, rough, dry, chapped skin, poor memory, dizziness, insomnia, loss of concentration, restlessness, ringing in the ears, itchy ears,
muscle weakness, joint swelling, muscle pain, impaired sense of smell, taste, sight and hearing, salty or metallic taste in the mouth, mouth ulcers, blurred vision
- unexplained stains on the skin, hunger attacks, irresistible desire for sweets, low alcohol tolerance, joint pain, low serum iron and zinc, chronically low white blood cell count,
- genital candidiasis – tingling feeling and itching in the genital area and excessive white and cheesy discharge occur in women. Redness is a sign of inflammation, and the vagina is covered with white cheesy colonies of fungi. In men, symptoms usually do not occur (i.e., men are asymptomatic carriers). White deposits may be found on the glans penis and foreskin. Discharge from the urethra may occur as well. Symptoms are especially pronounced after a sexual intercourse because friction further enhances the feeling of tingling and itching. Women may also feel pain after sexual intercourse. Itching can spread to the area around the anus.
- Oral cavity candidiasis or Soor in babies – occurs frequently in babies and infants, rarely in adults, on the mouth and tongue mucous membranes in the form of whitish deposits which look like curdled milk. Painful wounds may be found below these deposits and impair food intake by infants.
- Skin candidiasis usually affects the area between fingers, usually between the third and fourth finger. It occurs in the form of clearly limited redness, whitish deposits, wetting and itching. The disease is often found in housewives, pastry chefs and people whose work involves keeping hands in water for a long time. Skin candidiasis occurs frequently in obese patients on skin folds and in places where skin surfaces touch and rub with each other, or under the breasts in women. Clearly limited, red and wet plates with bubbles and pustules may be found in these places.
If Candida symptoms and the problem it causes are neglected, it may take on an aggressive form and in the worst case lead to sepsis and even fatal outcome.
How can candidiasis be cured?
Candidiasis may be cured with wild oregano oil (Origanum minutiflorum) and adequate diet.
Wild oregano oil is taken in three-week cycles with ten-day breaks between cycles. It is taken three times a day after meals, diluted in a teaspoon of edible oil (cold-pressed, unrefined oil, coconut, sunflower, flaxseed oil…). Wild oregano oil may potentially be diluted in a teaspoon of honey or fatty milk cream. In order to dilute oil in the best possible way, the contents in the teaspoon should be additionally mixed and ingested (do not keep it in the mouth since oil is very hot – a glass of cold water may be taken after oral intake of oil). The starting dose is 3×1 drop a day and in every three days the number of drops should be increased by one drop (3×2, 3×3, 3×4), up to 12 drops a day (3×4 drops) – oil is taken by the end of the third week in this way. Then you should make a 10-day break (it is preferable to perform the control analysis). If the infection continues (in case of very persistent fungi, immunity impaired to a great extent), the cycle of treatment with oregano oil should be repeated.
As regards an adequate diet, one should reduce the intake of carbohydrates which represent food for the fungus. When the intake of carbohydrates is reduced, the amount of Candida is significantly reduced in the organism.
- All types of cereals (wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, buckwheat, rice, millet …) and cereal products (bread and pastry).
- All kinds of candies and sugar (sugar should be replaced with natural sweetener – stevia).
Industrially processed food (eat only foods that can be prepared in your own kitchen from fresh ingredients).
- Skimmed milk and dairy products (skimmed milk has less fat but it has more milk sugar – lactose which feeds the fungus).
- Vegetables – Potatoes
- Fruit – very sweet fruits (bananas, grapes) and dried fruit
- Refined vegetable oils
Foodstuffs which are recommended in anti-Candida diet:
- Vegetables (all except potatoes)
- Meat – all types, without limitation,
- Fish and Seafood
- Full-fat dairy products – fat cheese (45% fat), sour cream, butter
- Fruit – with less sugar (lemon, orange, grapefruit, kiwi, sour apple) – moderate intake (one fruit per day)
- Nuts – hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts and all kinds of seeds
- Cold pressed and unrefined vegetable oils, animal fats
A diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat (LCHF diet) will not adversely affect the level of cholesterol and atherosclerosis. There is huge scientific documentation worldwide confirming that this diet is beneficial to our health and we should not be afraid of cholesterol but of sugar, industrial food and refined vegetable oils, which are the main culprits for the overgrowth of Candida in the human body!
dr med. Bojana Mandić