Is Candida Syndrome Real?

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez, RN

Like any conventional nurse, when I first heard of Candida syndrome, I was admittedly skeptical. It seemed like a “catch-all” phrase to explain a set of unrelated symptoms like fatigue, allergies, and sugar cravings.

I heard way too many people attributing their symptoms to what sounded like a “fad syndrome”, from a distance.

Well, that was until I started seeing more and more evidence of its existence. As I came across more people and heard more experiences, it dawned upon me that Candida syndrome may just exist after all. 

What is Candida Syndrome?

Candida is a type of yeast that lives in your body. It’s benign in normal quantities but a problem when it overgrows. A weakened immune system, a high-sugar diet, birth control pills, and antibiotics can upset the delicate floral balance in your body and cause Candida overgrowth in your gut.

The idea of Candida syndrome was popularized by Dr. William Crook. He described it as a low grade chronic Candida infection in which patients experience symptoms such as chronic fatigue, chronic yeast infections, irritable bowel, allergies, skin problems, decreased concentration, depression, and sugar cravings. The culprit: yeast overgrowth.

The theory is that Candida overgrows in the GI tract, weakens the intestinal lining, and causes a “leaky gut.” Contents that were formerly kept out of circulation, like undigested food and Candida, make their way into the circulatory system, sparking a variety of symptoms.

Does Candida Syndrome Really Exist?

Conventional doctors treat typical Candida infections like oral thrush and yeast infections, but they don’t buy the idea of a syndrome. Some argue there isn't enough evidence. On the other hand, many integrative doctors have seen patients who fit the description and have improved with treatment.

The truth is there really isn't much research on the topic. So far a few studies have shown a potential link between Candida and conditions like irritable bowel and chronic fatigue.1-3 One study in particular found that patients who met the criteria for the Candida syndrome had significantly improved symptoms (compared to placebo) after taking nystatin, an anti-fungal drug.3

So what’s the final verdict? Candida syndrome is still a hypothesis. We’d definitely like to see more research on the topic. Nevertheless, Candida is an issue for many people, causing frequent infections. If this sounds like you, keep reading for tips to combat this problem.

How to Combat Candida

So how do you get rid of a potential Candida problem? It typically takes four steps.

The first step involves cleaning your diet. Avoid wheat, mushrooms, yeast, sugar, refined carbohydrates, beer, wine, and starchy foods. They encourage Candida growth.

Second, cleanse your gut. Staying regular with fiber and taking anti-fungal nutrients are key. Nutrients with anti-Candida action include lactoferrin, garlic extract, and goldenseal.4-6

Third, rebuild your gut. A strong gut lining keeps Candida at bay. Glutamine for example, has been shown to protect and rebuild the lining of the gut. It also decreases gut permeability.7-8

Lastly, take probiotics. Clinically beneficial strains that prevent Candida infections include Lactobacillus rhamnosus and reuteri.9-10

What about You?

Do you have a Candida experience to share or know anyone who has battled it? Please let us know about it in the comments!

References:

  1. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Jan;17(1):21-6.
  2. Med Hypotheses. 1995 Jun;44(6):507-15.
  3. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec;42(12):1514-5.
  4. Fam Pract. 2001 Jun;18(3):258-65.
  5. Jpn J Infect Dis. 2011;64(4):292-6.
  6. Trop Doct. 2005;35(2):99-100.
  7. Adv Dent Res. 2011;23(1):56-60.
  8. Am J Physiol.1997 Apr;272(4 Pt 1):G879-84.
  9. Dig Dis Sci. 2012 Apr;57(4):1000-12
  10. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003 Mar 20;35(2):131-4.
  11. CurrOpinClinNutrMetab Care. 2009 Nov;12(6):583-7.

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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You suggest avoiding mushrooms, does that include cordyceps?

Lynda said...

Are there specific birth control pills that contribute to the Candida Syndrome? It's kinda scary if you think.

Anonymous said...

I suffered from systemic candida for several years until I found a clinical nutritionist who was very successful in curing it with a rotation of natural anti fungals and immune support followed by Probiotics and adrenal/hormone balancing. It was costly and took about a year but it changed my life! From bedridden to best health ever! I hope a less expensive (but equally effective) way to treat this can be found so more people can be helped.

Life Extension said...


Anonymous - Most medicinal mushrooms are okay (like cordyceps) because they have immune boosting properties.

Life Extension said...

Lynda - The caution applies to birth control with estrogen. Higher estrogen levels create a more favorable environment for Candida.

Life Extension said...

Anonymous - That's awesome! We're glad you're doing well. :-)

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