Candida: Friend or Foe

The Candida species is one of the many microbes in our various microbiomes. Like most microbes, the candida species needs to be kept in balance. Not too many and not too few.

I often use the analogy of our microbiomes being like an apartment building – we want to have good, healthy and helpful tenants/microbes. Lack of good tenants means that the unhealthy and unhelpful if not harmful tenants move in. Interesting though that same tenants/microbes are only beneficial in their own apartment. They are harmful when they overgrow or move into other apartments.

In cases of overgrowth, physical and mental symptoms may result. Many women have experienced a thrush infection following a course of antibiotics. Other symptoms include fatigue, sweet or carbohydrate cravings, bad breath, digestive issues such as bloating or gas, or a white coating on the tongue.

Many of these symptoms are also present in other conditions, such as food intolerances, nutritional deficiencies, or possibly blood sugar imbalances. Therefore, I do recommend testing. Not only do we know which candida species but to ensure an overgrowth of candida is actually the core issue. Also, an overgrowth of one microbe usually means that a beneficial microbe is low so we need to know which one and encourage its healthy growth.

 As with many overgrowth states, treatment is focused on starving, crowding and/or killing off the candida. Gone are the days of no carbohydrates diets for long periods of time. Instead, we:

  1. adjust the diet to avoid refined sugar and alcohol whilst promoting immune boosting foods

  2. antifungal herbs and biofilm breakers to kill off the overgrowth

  3. probiotics and healthy yeasts, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, to crowd out the overgrown candida whilst promoting the beneficial or commensal bacteria.

Yeasts are one of the most resilient microbes in our body. Therefore, treatment does take time and consistent effort. Having a professional to guide you through the process and making treatment customised to you and your body means that the Candida species stays a friend, not a foe.

Sara Knight