Candida diet & supplements
I get a lot of questions about the best diet to combat Candida. Often, the person asking is already on a complex, exotic and expensive regimen of a wide variety of cleansers, detoxifiers, immune-boosters, antioxidants, probiotics and natural antifungals.
Surely, as an expert in the field of nutrition, I would be able to comment on their list of supplements, advise on better ones and come with an impressive list of guidelines for an anti-Candida diet? I am well aware that wherever you go on the Internet, such advice is plentyful - dispensed by casual forum participants, nutritionists, supplement pushers and armchair doctors.
I don't believe that any of the currently available "anti-Candida" supplements are worth their price. I consider the great majority to be absolutely useless, and some even dangerous. There are exceptions, and I will talk about those later. First I want to address diet.
I have already written on how there is a lot of misunderstanding about what food to avoid in my general Candida information and article on mushrooms and Candida. I also gave a recipe for homemade probiotic yogurt.
Here comes my dietary advice for Candida sufferers: Keep your blood sugar level as low and even as possible - of course without starving yourself or depriving yourself of essential nutrients. This rule should be religiously followed by Candida patients (it's also very healthy for others). For the rest you can eat anything agreeable to you, as long as you get sufficient essential nutrients and are not poisoning yourself with environmental pollutants in your food (no daily tuna!).
The key here is "sufficient essential nutrients". Candida sufferers don't get enough of them. I know that for a fact, because it's simply impossible that modern man gets enough essential nutrients - because the soil has been severely depleted since modern agriculture started. Micronutrient-poor soil results in veggies with only half the original amount of vitamins and minerals. Nothing is more important to maintain a healthy immune system than good sleep and the avoidance of stress and environmental pollutants. Immediately after that come vitamins and minerals. It is essential to first spend your money on the proper vitamins and minerals in the proper dose and in their optimal formulation. Because your food can't contain enough of them, unless you have access to a home garden. The food we buy in the supermarket or the greengrocers' looks nice, but is woefully nutrient-deficient due to soil depletion and modern farming methods.
I forgot to explain how to keep the blood sugar level low and stable: Eat 6 to 7 small meals during the day and avoid large amounts of food with a high GI (Glycemic Index). It might surprise you that there are potatoes with a higher GI than table sugar - as can be found in Hilary Ross' GI table (PDF). Control your intake of low-quality carbs and Candida won't be able to benefit from a sugar rush. The lower the number in the second column, the better.
Back to the vitamins and minerals. Mundane, I know, but you can't get around them. "Vitamin" means "essential to life". They're even more essential to people with a potentially lethal infection. Candida kills people with impaired immune systems. You need to get rid of it before old age. An immune system that battles Candida needs greater quantities of certain vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are essentially cheap because they can't be patented. Hence their marginalization in the commercial sphere. The vitamins we need to supplement are the first five of the alphabet: A, B complex, C, D and E. The minerals (elements, actually - to be more specific: Metals) we need are Iron, Selenium and Zinc. These metals are essential to a proper functioning immune system. Choose formulations with a high biological availability, such as picolinates. Don't take fancy schmantzy vitamins - stick to cheap brands with a good reputation. Forget about RDA 's (recommended daily amounts) - read up on what you really need and don't be fooled into buying pills that only have a few times RDA. The fearmongering on how dangerous vitamins are when overdosed even a little bit is Big Pharma FUD, intended to shove Codex Alimentarius down our collective throats. Don't overdo the vitamin A when you're pregnant, don't go crazy on the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D & E) because they're harmful in extreme doses and are cumulative, but don't believe that RDA baloney either. They do not pertain to sick people or people who genetically need higher doses. Remember: RDA's have been established to prevent vitamin deficiencies in average, healthy people, not to achieve optimal health in non-average, sick people. Google the double-Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling and his research on vitamin C if you want to learn how vitamins can even cure cancer in some cases.
These are some supplements that help the immune system work better:
- Astralagus root
..only bother with those when you're on the best possible diet, and taking the best vitamin and mineral supplements.
It may be controversial, but I do not think that many anti-Candida remedies help much. There may be a few exceptions for certain Candidases, such as colloidal silver for intestinal Candida. A fresh, living yogurt or kefir is very, very good, if you can digest diary. I base my low opinion on the myriad of expensive "anti-Candida" supplements on the simple fact that I receive several emails a day from people who tell me that they tried XYZ and when I ask them about its efficacy, they usually say they didn't notice any improvement. Candida is so hard to kill, that the only way it can be conquered is by helping your own immune system. Antifungal medicines greatly help, but in the end, your immune system has to prevent it from coming back. Mycelial Candida can never be eradicated 100%.