Intestinal candidiasis: what can I do?

Intestinal candidiasis is an infection that affects the small intestine and is caused by the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. This parasite normally lives in harmony as part of the microbiota and the saliva of healthy people, but when it gets out of control, it may cause some disorders regarding mental and physical health.

Tiredness, irritability, anxiety, gut bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or constipation are some of the symptoms that those who suffer from candidiasis may notice, as well as skin disorders, such as itching or skin rashes.

What is the origin of intestinal candidiasis?

The origin of candidiasis is the excessive development of the unicellular fungus Candida albicans in our intestine. Different factors may cause this imbalance. For instance, a poor diet with plenty of ultra-processed foods or treatments with antibiotics, corticoids or oral contraceptives. Stress may also negatively affect our immune system and promote candida overgrowth.

To deal with intestinal candidiasis, we can use natural substances from plants with popular anti-fungal properties: 

Origanum essential oil (Origanum vulgare L)

It is one of the best-known broad-spectrum natural antiseptics and presents a strong antifungal activity supported by several studies. It seems that the active principles, carvacrol and thymol, are responsible for the broad benefits of the oil in these cases. Its anti-candida activity is greater than that of caprylic acid, which is the main base of antifungal medicines. Origanum oil does not negatively affect the gut flora; indeed, it corrects all its imbalances by collaborating in the elimination of harmful bacteria and enhancing the development and reproduction of fermentative bacteria, which are more beneficial. It also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clove essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllata Thunberg)

Eugenol is one of its most important components and represents 80-90% of it. Several studies have proven that the eugenol in clove oil is antifungal since it inhibits the growth of pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans. Further research shows its efficiency against a wide variety of other fungi and yeasts (including those affecting the skin and vagina). It acts as a vermifuge and an intestinal antiparasitic.

Pau d'arco (Tabebula impetiginosa Sandley)

Pau d’arco is a tree native to the Americas. The inner part of its bark contains compounds that give it antibacterial, antifungal (mainly against Candida albicans) and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has anti-clotting and anti-psoriatic effects.

How can I prevent intestinal candidiasis?

A strong immune system and a balanced intestinal microbiota are the keys to preventing the development of intestinal candidiasis. In this light, probiotics are an essential aid. It has been shown that some strains, such as Lactobacillus, produce antifungal substances that help inhibit the growth of the fungus. Therefore, supplementing with suitable probiotics may help improve the symptoms and, once the infection is healed, reduce the risk of relapse.

It is also extremely relevant to use a probiotic to help reestablish the balance of the intestinal microbiota after the infection.

If you have suffered from candida, some dietary changes may help slow down the overgrowth of the fungus and prevent the disorder from recurring.

  • Candida feeds mainly on refined carbohydrates and sugars, so it is important to reduce the consumption of sweets, cookies and other processed foods.
  • We also should avoid refined products based on wheat and other yeasts.
  • Do not take alcohol, soft drinks or energy drinks. The consumption of stimulant drinks such as coffee is not advisable as they increase acidity and unbalance the intestinal pH.
  • It is recommended to replace milk with plant-based drinks, as it contains lactose, which is a sugar and may enhance the growth of the fungus.

Eventually, bet for a well-balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins. In addition, eat probiotics such as kefir or yogurt in order to maintain a balanced intestinal flora.

Tags #tips #health #medicinal plants

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