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Erica's Corner

Nutritious Soups

As we in the UK find ourselves in the middle of a very cold spell of weather, don't forget that soups can be particularly warming and filling. If made with herbs and mild spices rather than yeasted stock-cubes, soups are are great addition to the yeast-free diet. Erica White's Beat Candida Cookbook has a section with recipe ideas for soups, and these are a good way of keeping up your intake of vegetables.

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Announcing Candida Info Pack

Books for a healthier life

by Erica White

Beat Fatigue Handbook

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Beat Fatigue Handbook

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Beat Candida Cookbook

To use as part of a Four-Point Plan. More...

Beat Candida Cookbook

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Doughnuts and Temples

Be nice to the body God gave you! More...

Doughnuts and Temples

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Help with Candida albicans - Erica White

Frequently Asked Questions about Candidiasis - an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans

Please note that the following answers do not constitute medical advice, nor are they a substitute for specific personal advice based on a full analysis of your symptoms and history. No responsibility can be accepted by Nutritionhelp Ltd or Erica White for any effect of the general advice given on this web site in those attempting self-help treatment. For details of an on-line Personal Nutritional Report, click here.

General information about Candida

Candidiasis, otherwise known as yeast infection, is an infestation of the common yeast Candida albicans which is found in every human being in small amounts but, under certain conditions, grows out of control and migrates from the colon to any other tissue in the body causing many different symptoms, both physical and mental. Particular factors which encourage this to happen are antibiotics and steroid treatments (which include hormonal intervention), together with a diet high in refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, and the wide-spread use of antibiotics and hormones in the animals we eat. We therefore have a modern epidemic of yeast-related health problems which is largely due to the over-use of antibiotics, steroid drugs, the contraceptive pill and HRT, together with the high sugar content of our present-day diet.

When Candida albicans proliferates, it changes into a fungal form which is able to break through the intestinal wall leaving it porous, and this allows both toxins and minute particles of incompletely-digested foods to leak through from the digestive tract into the blood-stream. Not only does this lead to problems of food sensitivity, but it places a heavy load on the immune system, making it even weaker in its fight against Candida albicans and other invaders.

Although it is possible that other invaders such as bacteria or parasites might be playing a part in an imbalance of microbes in the intestines, it is usually helpful to tackle Candida albicans first as it is one of the most prolific and opportunistic of unfriendly microbes. An initial attack on candida will help to decide whether or not it seems necessary to consider other possibilities.

A carefully designed questionnaire can help to assess the possibility or severity of candidiasis. A suitable strategy is then required, aimed at reducing the score on the candida questionnaire. The following Four-Point Plan has been proved many times over to be totally effective.

Four Point Plan

1. Starve the yeast in the colon with a strict anti-candida diet. (For menus and recipes, see ‘Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook’ (Thorsons).

2. Boost the immune system by taking a tailor-made supplement programme of vitamins and minerals. The initial levels should be taken for three months before reviewing the situation when hopefully improvements in health will show that the supplement programme may be reduced, and eventually a maintenance programme will be sufficient to meet ongoing needs.
(These first two parts of the plan are often enough to trigger some ‘die-off’ reaction, an increase of symptoms which occurs when yeast is killed and releases extra toxins).

3. After a month or so on the diet and supplement programme to allow initial die-off symptoms to settle down, antifungal supplements should be introduced and gradually increased, as die-off symptoms allow.

4. At the same time as point 3, probiotic supplements should be introduced to provide beneficial bacteria which will help to redress the balance of microbes in the intestines.

Click here for the complete Four Point Plan


Bringing candida under control is not easy nor is it necessarily pleasant, but with commitment and perseverance, it can be done. When general improvements suggest that candida is under control, and this is confirmed by a drop in the Candida albicans score, the anti-candida diet may be relaxed (sensibly!) for a month to ensure that this will not encourage a return of symptoms. If all goes well, antifungal supplements may be discontinued but it is wise to stay on a maintenance programme of vitamins and minerals and essential to return to the strict anti-candida diet for a further year, in order to consolidate the newly-established healthy balance of bacteria which has just been achieved in the intestines. This follow-up year pays real dividends because, after that, it should be safe to leave aside the anti-candida diet - although it is valuable to see the whole regime as an opportunity to learn how to enjoy eating healthily because this will lay a foundation for the best possible health in the years to come. Taste buds will have totally changed so, hopefully, anyone who has once experienced the miseries of yeast infection will never again give in to the temptation to eat sugar or pre-packaged junk foods!

One of the most crucial parts of the Four-Point Plan is taking the correct levels of vitamins and minerals to improve your nutritional status and strengthen your immune system. It’s a waste of time and money to take a multivitamin, for instance, if it doesn’t come close to providing levels which your body actually needs. For an on-line Nutritional Analysis and Report providing you with a tailor-made programme of advice, why not register for a detailed on-line Questionnaire?

 

 

 

How can candida be diagnosed?

Although various laboratory tests are available, they are not necessarily reliable and can even be misleading. Candida is notoriously difficult to diagnose. For instance, it does not swim around ‘loose’ in the intestinal tract, but lives burrowed in the gut walls. This means that not only can it go undetected by endoscopy examination, but it will not necessarily even show up in a stool specimen. Antibody tests will only be accurate if the immune system is able to produce candida-specific antibodies, but in many cases the immune system has been weakened to such an extent that it cannot perform this task effectively. An organic acid urine test might be useful as it can detect by-products of yeast produced in the intestinal tract and filtered into the urine. However, it is expensive and is frequently not necessary if an appropriate questionnaire is used, giving information about symptoms and predisposing factors. This approach gives a candida ‘score’ indicating the probability and/or severity of a candida overgrowth, and is useful for monitoring progress when following an anti-candida programme. Since no harm can be done by initiating such a programme, and many people with candida can report a degree of improvement within a month, in the end this is actually the best form of diagnostic test available, and a degree of improvement will strengthen motivation to continue with the programme. A simplified questionnaire to give an idea of the possibility of a candida problem can be found at the back of my ‘Beat Candida Cookbook’ (Thorsons) or ‘Beat Fatigue Handbook’ (White Publications), or on www.beatcandidapack.com.

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Why do I feel so poorly when I try the anti-candida diet?

You are experiencing ‘die-off reaction’, caused by the large number of toxins released by candida as it is destroyed. The anti-candida diet is starving your candida to death!

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What sort of symptoms can I expect with ‘die-off reaction’?

You might experience a temporary worsening of any symptom you’ve ever had before – whether it’s an increase in skin conditions like eczema, sinusitis or thrush, or a worsening of aches and pains and fatigue. You might feel sick or have an upset tummy, and you could have a headache, often with a ‘muzzy’ head and depression or anxiety. In other words, die-off can be most unpleasant and needs to be minimised as much as possible!

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What can I do to alleviate ‘die-off reaction’?

Drink plenty of water, and help your liver to off-load the toxins by drinking dandelion root coffee and taking a milk thistle (silymarin) supplement. Avoid constipation – try Vitamin C and add linseeds to your breakfast. If you are taking antifungal supplements, either reduce the level or have a complete break until things feel better. If depression or anxiety are bad, this suggests that your immune system is reacting to the die-off toxins, and you would benefit from some extra help with that.

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I thought vitamin and mineral supplements should help me feel better, so why do I feel worse?

Just as starving candida to death with the anti-candida diet causes die-off reaction, so does boosting your immune system with vitamins and minerals. A strengthened immune system can fight more efficiently, so you are likely to experience die-off symptoms caused by the toxins released by dead candida. (See my answer to the previous question.)

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I’m taking caprylic acid capsules to kill off my candida and expected to start feeling better, so why do I feel worse?

You are experiencing die-off reaction caused by toxins from dead candida. Before starting to take caprylic acid or any other type of antifungal supplement, you should first spend at least a month on the anti-candida diet and some immune-boosting vitamin and mineral supplements (preferably a tailor-made programme). These are points 1 and 2 of my Four-Point Plan, and they can often cause enough die-off reaction to cope with, on their own! After a month or so, most people have come through the initial die-off effects and feel ready to start on antifungals. Even then, to minimise the die-off effects, you should start at a low level and increase only gradually – no faster than your body can comfortably cope with. Never be afraid to reduce the level of antifungals if die-off becomes unpleasant, or even have a complete break from them – you won’t be losing time in the long run.

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I’ve heard about different types of natural antifungals. Which should I take?

Caprylic acid is an oil found in coconuts. It is an excellent substance for dealing with candida in the intestines and, to some extent, it is also absorbed into other tissues of the body. However, being a long-chain fatty acid, it has some difficulty in penetrating fatty cell wall membranes. On the other hand, there are antifungal plant oils which have a short-chain fatty acid structure, and these are able to penetrate outlying tissues (muscles, joints, skin, sinuses, etc.) far more easily, so supplements containing the oils of oregano and cloves, for instance, are often very helpful once gastrointestinal symptoms have improved but other symptoms remain. Other anti-candida agents include olive leaf extract, propolis tincture and the herb uva ursi – but never take more than one type at a time, because you could be asking for a double dose of die-off reaction!

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In your ‘Beat Candida Cookbook’, you advise gradually increasing antifungals till you are on a high level. Wouldn’t this make you feel ill even if you had got rid of all candida overgrowths?

No, once candida is fully under control you can take any type of antifungal at a high level without experiencing a single symptom! You only have die-off symptoms if there is any candida around for the antifungal to destroy. This is why increasing antifungals to a high level is a good test of whether or not you have really brought all candida overgrowths under control.

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I’ve been taking acidophilus supplements. Would that be why I’m feeling worse?

Quite possibly. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the types of friendly bacteria which is needed in our intestines to keep candida under control. When you take it in supplement form, it will push back some of the overgrowth of candida, and dead candida releases toxins which cause ‘die-off reaction’. I include acidophilus supplements in my Four-Point Plan as point 4, to be introduced at the same time as antifungal supplements. If you take them any sooner, it will simply add to the die-off effects being caused by points 1 and 2 of the Four-Point Plan, the anti-candida diet and the immune-boosting supplement programme.

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If I have to vary the number of antifungal capsules I take – either increasing or decreasing them – should I also vary the number of acidophilus capsules I take?

The usual number of acidophilus capsules is two daily, one with breakfast and one with your evening meal. You don’t need to increase them when you build up the antifungals. The only time it can be helpful to take more than two daily is if you have had a tummy bug or if you have had to take a course of antibiotics. In those cases, I recommended six capsules daily for two weeks, in order to restore the levels of friendly bacteria in the intestines.

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Will I have to stay on the anti-candida diet for life?

Most people will be able to leave the anti-candida diet behind once they are fully well – and have remained fully well for a year after that! That follow-on year is essential in order to consolidate the newly-established healthy balance of bacteria which will just have been achieved in the intestines. By then your taste-buds will have changed so much, that you shouldn’t find it a problem to stay on the diet for another year. After that, you should be home and dry – but of course if you went back to eating the very foods which helped to make you ill in the first place (sugar, stimulants and junk foods) you could expect it to make you ill all over again! If you determine to live a healthy lifestyle and eat a healthy diet (including fruit, wholemeal bread, and possibly wine), you can expect to stay in the best possible health for the rest of your life without a return of candida symptoms.

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Why does the anti-candida diet have to be so bland and boring?

I know you don’t believe me right now, but in fact it need be neither bland nor boring! The problem is that sugar and sweetened foods have the effect of deadening our taste buds, so when we first eat food without sugar it seems to have no flavour. The good news is that your taste buds will come alive again – and you will find there is far more flavour in natural foods than you ever imagined! In the meantime, make good use of herbs and mild spices to give your food some interest. And with a whole new range of foods to discover that you’ve never before considered, the diet really doesn’t need to be boring. Treat yourself to my ‘Beat Candida Cookbook’ (Thorsons) and see for yourself. One client told me that all the food for his 40th birthday party was prepared from my book – and every single plate was left bare!

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Why do my candida symptoms become worse when I’ve been stressed?

Because one of the effects of stress is to trigger the release of the body’s sugar stores into the bloodstream, and this gives your resident candida a wonderful picnic!

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How long will it take before I am well?

How long is a piece of string? Truly, I can’t answer this question because everyone is completely different. It depends on so many factors like how long you have had a candida problem, how many antibiotics and/or steroid medications you have taken, whether there is stress in your life, whether the situation is complicated by allergies, whether you have a very toxic liver – and, perhaps more than anything else, how well you keep to the anti-candida diet! For the vast majority of my clients, it is true to say that after one year on the four-point plan they feel better than they have felt for years – some might be completely well or even have felt well for some months by that point. For others, it does take longer – but even they are able to say that they know they are moving well in the right direction.

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My year-old baby has severe eczema which gets worse with lots of foods. I now believe that I have candida; could it be my baby’s problem too?

It certainly could! If you were carrying vaginal candida at the time of giving birth, it would almost certainly have been the first microbe which entered your baby’s gut through his mouth on his journey through your birth canal. Prior to birth, a baby’s intestines are completely sterile, and in a healthy situation the first microbes to get in are friendly bacteria provided by the mother’s breast milk. However, if candida has got in first, the battle is on from the baby’s first moment of life in the world. The baby is then likely to suffer from colic, nappy rash and/or eczema, and will be predisposed to food sensitivities, ear problems and asthma. Unfortunately, antibiotics and steroid treatments simply make the matter worse. Even a small baby can win a battle over candida; keep strictly to the anti-candida diet guidelines and introduce appropriate friendly bacteria by giving Bifido infantis (order on-line through nutritionhelp.com), starting with 1/4 teaspoon in cool boiled water once a day. After a week increase to 1/4 teaspoon twice a day, after another week increase to 1/2 teaspoon in the morning and 1/4 teaspoon at night, and in the fourth week increase to 1/2 teaspoon morning and night. Continue for as long as necessary – and don’t forget to give your baby a good multivitamin/mineral supplement appropriate for the baby’s age. Your local clinic should be able to help.

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