Candida overgrowth is an increasing problem and can cause symptoms that mimic many other health conditions – fatigue, poor exercise recovery, brain fog and insomnia to name a few. Digestively, Candida overgrowth and other imbalances in gut flora (generally known as dysbiosis) can also cause a host of digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. In children, Candida overgrowth can lead to behavioral and cognitive impairments – I’ve seen kids diagnosed with autism-spectrum disorders improving a lot in terms of behavior, cognition and emotional regulation, once Candida was put back in balance. So today I’m sharing with you my five favorite remedies for Candida overgrowth.
Biocidin is a herbal blend made by a company called Bio-Botanical Research. It contains Bilberry extract, Noni, Milk Thistle, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Shiitake, White Willow, Garlic, Grapeseed extract, Black Walnut, Raspberry, Fumitory, Gentian, Tea Tree oil, Galbanum oil, Lavender oil, Oregano oil. It is a broad-spectrum formula, so also has application for SIBO, and other dysbiosis in the gut (bacteria can also get out of balance). It comes in a liquid which is actually tastes pretty good for a herbal blend! There is a liposomal form, which I use if I’m using Biocidin for more systemic bugs, not just gut bugs; and it also comes in capsules. I’ve found it to be safe and effective.
SF-722 is Undecylenic acid, a highly potent fatty acid that has anti-fungal properties. Made by Thorne, SF-722 just comes in gelcap form. Some say it’s as effective as prescription anti-fungals, and I’ve definitely seen it work well in patients I’ve used it with. The biggest downside of SF-722 is the dosing – suggested dose is 5 gelcaps 2-3 times daily, which is a lot especially for people taking other supplements and medications.
Nystatin is a prescription anti-fungal, but given that I’m an integrative practitioner I do use the prescription stuff as well as the natural. In my mind, there’s a time and place for both. Nystatin is very safe, as it does not absorb into the blood stream nor depend on the liver for detoxification. I’ve used it in kids as young as 2 and in many of my adult patients. In kids, I order it from a compounding pharmacy with stevia as the sweetener – the liquid commercial formulation is pretty gross and contains sugars and artificial colors. In adults, I tend to use the tablets. I find it safe and effective.
Diflucan, or fluconazole, is another prescription anti fungal. This one is a slightly heavier hitter than nystatin – it does cross over into the blood stream, and it does depend on the liver to detoxify it. Generally speaking I have found it to be pretty well tolerated and can only think of one or two occasions in 15 years that I could say for sure it was the culprit causing liver enzyme elevation. The up side of this absorption though is that it then acts systemically in the body. For people with more systemic symptoms (brain fog, lethargy etc) rather than just digestive symptoms, diflucan can be wonderful.
I often use diflucan as a kick-start for anything from 1 week to 4 weeks in people with fairly significant yeast issues (I deduce the severity of issues based on their symptoms and also on a microbial Organic Acid Test). From there, we transition over to nystatin and/or herbs/ supplements. It has worked well for me to do so, although I rarely use diflucan in children.
Part of the yeast killing process is making sure we’re mopping up the toxins that can be released in that process. GI-Detox, made by the same company as Biocidin, is a combination of activated charcoal and pyrophyllite clay. It is a great binder, and can help reduce symptoms or flares that come with yeast die-off. You can also make your own binder from this recipe, but the capsules are easy and convenient. They must be taken at least one hour apart from food, medications and supplements to prevent binding those.
These are not my only anti-fungal faves, but they are amongst the top ones I use in my practice. The other one I would mention is Dr. Nicola’s Anti-parasite Formula. I keep saying I need to change the name to Dr. Nicola’s Dysbiosis Formula, since it’s good for yeast, bacteria and parasites. It’s strong and powerful – quite bitter tasting so not great for the littles, but very effective for adults.
I always always always use probiotics in an anti-fungal regimen – we have to infuse the good while we’re killing off and crowding out the bad. Probiotics need to be taken 2 hours apart from any anti fungal so that they don’t get killed off too. I have my patients take it just before bed, so that it has the whole night to settle in and colonize.
Nystatin and diflucan both require prescriptions, but both are readily available at regular pharmacies. For SF-722, Biocidin and GI-Detox are available through our new online dispensary called Wellevate. They carry thousands of practitioner-quality supplement lines including Thorne, Metagenics, Designs for Health, Pure Encapsulations, Douglas Labs, BodyBio, Carlson etc.
Candida overgrowth can be a really stubborn problem. Of course I believe in restricting alcohol, sugars and carbohydrates so that we’re not feeding yeast at the same time we’re trying to overcome it. However, in my opinion, treating Candida overgrowth with diet alone is going to require massive restrictions for a very long period of time. Why not use antifungals as well to help the process along?!