What Is Candida?
Candida Albicans is a yeast organism that is commonly found living on the skin and cavities of humans.
In healthy individuals candida cells are not problematic because they are kept in check by the body’s barriers and immune system.
Susceptible persons can develop candida infections leading to vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush and overgrowth in the digestive tract, particularly the colon.
Candida infections can be passed between people by sexual contact, sharing toiletries or by handshaking if candida is living in the nailbed.
Lactating mothers can get candida infection of the nipple and pass the candida to their babies, who develop thrush.
The Relationship Between Candida & Eczema
Candida yeast produce potent allergenic compounds that can produce a dramatic immune response, especially in sensitive persons.
Eczema is caused by an exaggerated immune response to a trigger.
Studies have shown eczema and asthma sufferers produce a high amount of IgE immunoglobulin specific to targeting candida albicans.
Who Is At Risk For Candida Overgrowth?
1. Diabetics, or individuals with higher blood sugars
Candida love glucose and replicate readily in the presence of sugar, including that in bodily secretions.
2. Persons with diets low in beneficial bacteria
Probiotic species such as lactobacillus and bifidobacteria can populate the digestive tract and cause competition with the yeast cells.
They also trigger a better immune response and a layer of immunoglobulins (immune proteins) called IgA that help identify and neutralize candida.
3. Immune compromised people
This includes HIV/AIDs patients, those people undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer, persons with auto-immune conditions taking medications that suppress immune response and people with genetic immunodeficiency such as Immunoglobulin A Deficiency.
Much like sugar, candida loves to grow using alcohol as a medium for growth. A 1998 Sao Paulo study found over a 1/3 of alcohols can candida colonizing their throats, as compared to just 5% of non-alcoholics.
Symptoms Of Candida Overgrowth
- Abdominal pain
- Cramps and/or other menstrual irregularities
- Erratic vision
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Feeling “spacey” or “unreal”
- Feeling of being “drained”
- Loss of sexual desire
- Muscle aches
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Numbness, burning or tingling
- Pain and/or swelling in joints
- Persistent vaginal burning or itching
- Poor memory
- Premenstrual tension
- Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate, often with urinary symptoms)
- Spots in front of eyes
The Candida Eczema Diet
The candida eczema diet is comprised of foods that support a healthy immune system, decrease inflammation and inhibit candida growth.
All of the foods that candida love to eat are restricted, especially for the first two weeks of the diet when most of the candida will die off.
Sugar, alcohol and vinegary foods promote the growth of yeast in the body. Refined, packaged foods are low in nutrients and high in artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
People serious about eradicating their candida and eczema with this diet should expect to follow it strictly for at least 6 weeks.
After that, many people are able to going back to some of their normal eating habits but with caution to avoid sugary and processed foods.
You CAN Eat
- Fresh or frozen vegetables especially:
- Broccoli, onions, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, radish, cabbage and garlic
- Carrots, squash, yams, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
- Deep leafy greens
- 1 fruit each day after the initial 2 weeks are over
- Beans, peas and soy
- Healthy cuts of meat & poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Unsweetened dairy except cheese
- Raw nuts and nut butters
- Organic butter and natural cooking oils such as olive, coconut and safflower
- Whole grains can be eaten 1-2 times per day and cannot be made with sugar or yeast! Many yeast-free breads are kept in the freezer section of your grocer.
- Brown rice
- Herbal tea, if freshly made
- Water, including sparkling water
You CANNOT Eat
- White potatoes
- Canned vegetables
- Microwaved vegetables; microwaving breaks down anti-oxidants such as the sulforophanes in broccoli
- Boiled vegetables, as they have much less nutrient content – the nutrients leach into the water.
- Fruits for the first 2 weeks
- Yogurt with sugar (most flavored yogurts are very high in refined sugars)
- Partially hydrogenated oils; they promote inflammation and are carcinogenic (cancer causing)
- Breads and bakery made with yeast and/or sugar
- Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.
- Dried fruit and fruit juice. Although these sugars are naturally occurring they are too concentrated and can promote candida. Fungi often live on dried fruit.
- Cheese, as it is a food loves by fungi and can promote candida
- Vinegar containing foods such as vinaigrette dressings, barbeque sauce and pickles
Supplements To Help Eradicate Candida And Improve Eczema
1. Black Walnut
The hull of this nut has been used historically to help with digestive upset, parasites, high blood pressure and eczema. It was used both internally and topically to help with eczema lesions.
In vitro studies have shown black walnut hull extract to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth. The dosing of black walnut is typically 500mg of solid extract or 30 drops of liquid extract taken three times daily.
Black walnut has a high tannin content and therefore should not be used for periods longer than 6 weeks.
2. Caprylic Acid
This is a naturally occurring 8 carbon fatty acid found in coconut and palm oil, milk and breast milk.
It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, making it an appropriate supplement in the treatment of candida overgrowth.
Because caprylic acid is fat soluble, it is better able to penetrate the mucosa layer of the mouth and digestive tract, and directly neutralize candida.
Typical dosing is 400mg taken before meals.
3. Oregano Oil
The aromatic oil of this herb is a potent inhibitor of parasite, bacterial and fungal growth.
It has also been shown to decrease the risk for cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL (unhealthy cholesterol) and raising HDL (healthy cholesterol).
The carvacrol and eugenol constituents of oregano oil affect the surface of candida, breaking down the cell membrane. Dosing is 50mg taken three times daily.
It can be diluted in water or mixed in soft foods to make it more palatable.
4. Pau D’Arco
A native tree of Central and South America, Pau D’Arco is best known as an anti-cancer natural remedy.
However, it also has been used to effectively eradicate yeast infections, promote proper immune function and aid in wound healing.
Cell studies have shown Pau D’arco extracts to inhibit inflammation by inhibiting the COX-2 pathway, this is the same pathway targeted by aspirin and ibuprofen.
Pau D’arco most often comes in a liquid form and is dosed at 30 drops two to four times daily, from a solution of a 1:4 ratio of herb to menstruum (liquid solvent).
It is essential that once candida is eradicated, it is not welcomed back to the digestive tract.
Beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, can populate the colon and discourage takeover from candida cells.
Please read our complete article on eczema and probiotics to learn more.
Candida, Eczema And Your Health: Take Away Message
Now that you’ve learned about the complex interaction between yeast overgrowth, eczema outbreaks and symptoms of candida infection, it’s time to implement the diet and natural treatments outlined in this article.
Not only will you feel better but you’ll also get long lasting resolution of your eczema by treating the underlying cause. While candida overgrowth is a major cause of eczema, it is not the only trigger.
Please read the other articles on our site to discover more about the relationship between eczema and food allergies, eczema and environmental exposure, and a Chinese medicine approach to healing eczema.