This is information on Candida albicans, along with a good yeast overgrowth diet. All excerpts are from scientific journals found on the NCBI search engine. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or disputes at 1(626) 869-4474 (it’s a text-only app). Also, I apologize to anyone who was waiting on this post, took me longer than I imagined.
Warning, super long.Actual diet is in Part 2; the thread above this one.
Infections are a common cause of FBO. Perhaps the most prominent is Candida albicans, a fungus well known for its tenacity during host invasion and its unpredictable resistance to a number of different treatments. Four important factors in candida pathogenicity are often overlooked.
- Adhesins and Biofilm formation
- Morphology, ph, and stress response
- Nutrient adaptation
- metal interactions
- In the case of Body Odor , we also have to be aware of gut permeability.
The first four categories represent the characteristics of Candida yeast that contribute to its overgrowth. These are not ‘causes,’ but the way in which they occur. In other words, while a cause may be ‘unhealthy diet’ or ‘prolonged Antibiotic use’ the categories explain the characteristics of Candida that lead to overgrowth under these circumstances. These factors need to be addressed in order to successfully control the condition:
Candida is unique in its ability to bind to a wide range of microorganisms. However, C. albicans is rarely a primary infector, and normally presents once an infection is already underway. As a secondary infector, it shows preference to growth where other bacteria have already colonized.
It’s not only probable, but very likely that you’re dealing with multiple, simultaneous infections. Candida is very prone to forming biofilms with other opportunistic and invasive species. They can exchange genes and improve each other’s resistance to antimicrobials. In some cases, mixed biofilms can be up to 1000 times more resistant to medication than its individual components. Interaction also improves the biofilm’s adhesive capabilities, allowing Candida to sustain a solid grip on its host.
Truly, candida and other biofilm forming species are masters of synergy.
This is why all of our symptoms are so common, yet different when it comes to the details (like specific trigger foods). While we are all dealing with a yeast overgrowth, we are also facing a unique “mixture” of harmful bacteria (the Candida biofilm itself consists of layers upon layers of them).
So some of us could be facing candida and a streptococci strain, others candida and Escherichia coli, or candida and S. epidermidis, or any combination of biofilm forming organisms. One thing is clear; to successfully remove the biofilm we need to attack both the yeast and the bacteria. On top of that, we must make sure our body is well equipped to regulate its own defenses.
Candida overgrowth (and gut dysbiosis as a whole) is a symptom rather than a disease. The yeast is present throughout nature and the human population, usually in a benign state. Furthermore, a large portion of people who do present with elevated yeast levels are asymptomatic. This might be the root of disagreement between western and alternative medicine regarding Candida: From a medical standpoint, it’s really difficult to define or even identify a “candida infection,” because neither the presence of Candida nor commonly associated symptoms are definite signs of the condition (except in medical emergencies, where the cause and damage are easily identified).
This phenomenon, combined with a few older misconceptions that are somehow still floating around (ever been to one of those doctors who’s getting by on his education from the late 70s?) and the fact that ‘yeast overgrowth’ treatments aren’t really profitable for pharmaceutical companies, is why the whole thing is pushed under the rug and forgotten.
But what does this mean for us? To start, that "starving the Candida" is not a priority, and to a lesser extent, neither is "killing it" with candidacidal foods. The priority should remain in keeping your body well nourished and at an optimal state of overall health. This includes bringing your digestive enzymes back to normal. You could diet for years and you still wouldn't be able to return to a normal diet unless your enzymes are adequate. How else is your body supposed to digest food?
The priorities for anyone on a Candida diet should be as follows ( Body Odor considered):
- Keeping your body well nourished
(Consume all dietary macromolecules and vitamins needed. Stay hydrated, stay relaxed [because hormones])
- Eat conventionally healthy: no junk food, sweets, or greasy foods.
(This is the second priority because it's the way that everyone should eat regardless of Candida or Body Odor or any medical condition. This is the baseline healthy diet. What I mean by this is sticking to a realistic diet you set for yourself is more important than eating SUPER healthy for like a week and then a day of comfort food. Be realistic with your goals.)
- Eat non-odorous foods (this is where it starts getting specific for us odor sufferers. Since our guts are permeable - more on that later - what we smell like strongly reflects what's going on in our gut. For example, even if steak, broccoli, and asparagus don't feed Candida, for us they would mean a couple days of strong odor. We could call this the onion-effect, as a similar situation causes folks to smell like onions after eating them. I guess the rule of thumb is anything you don’t want to smell like, don’t eat. Theoretically, we could all stop here and our body odors would be gone or greatly minimized after a while, but we'd never be able to eat "normally" again.
- Increase dietary enzymes and probiotic count: (this one speaks for itself, if we ever want to enjoy some our favorite foods again, we have to make sure our body is compatible with those foods. As mentioned above, our diet is built to take care of this. Combined with regulated vitamin intake, this will lead to a huge boost in our health.
- Starve Candida. Only once the previous priorities are met should we begin to focus specifically on the Candida (I should say the 'mixed Candida-bacterial biofilm). This is the classic no carbs-no Sugar scenario. Grains, starchy plants, and most fruits are off the table. A lot of fruits would have already been eliminated in the "non-odorous" section, as some smell downright terrible during spoilage. This includes a few different metals we need to watch out for.
- Cut into the biofilm / attacking the yeast growth. This is the "offensive" of our whole operation: bringing down the Candida numbers so our probiotics can begin to repopulate and our other symptoms start to improve. We will incorporate a number of antibacterial, antifungal, biofilm dissolving, anti-adhesive, and immune boosting foods and substances into our diet.
Once we’re actively doing all these things, not only will we be Candida free, we'll be in great overall shape. I want to emphasize that low carb low Sugar isn't as important as energizing our body the right way. If you have Candida now, you will never get rid of it. But the good thing is you don't need to, because it's not the main problem.
Luckily this diet meets every one of those categories. It is great for both your body’s requirements and killing the heck out of Candida. And unlike the previous chia based diet I posted about, it is both conventionally practical and delicious.
“When Candida infections arise, they often occur in association with bacteria.”
“Of particular relevance to the formation of mixed-species biofilms is the property of C. albicans (and C. dubliniensis) to bind a range of bacteria. It is this property, together with the spectrum of other adhesive interactions as portrayed in Fig. 2, that enables Candida to persist so successfully as a commensal on mucosal surfaces.”
“C. albicans exhibits a wide range of adhesion capabilities (Fig. 2) and is especially predisposed to forming mixed-species
communities with bacteria.”
“Drug susceptibility studies further indicated that fungal cells may modulate the action of Antibiotics and that, conversely, bacteria can affect antifungal activity…Candida resistance to fluconazole was enhanced in the presence of slime-producing staphylococci.”
“Surface attachment causes Candida albicans cells to enter a special physiological state in which they are highly resistant to antifungal drugs and express the drug efflux determinants CDR1, CDR2 and MDR1. C. albicans biofilms produced under different conditions differ in their cellular morphology and matrix content, which suggests that biofilms formed within a host, for example on indwelling medical devices, would also differ depending on the nature of the device and its location.”
“Candida albicans is the most prevalent human fungal pathogen, with an ability to inhabit diverse host niches and cause disease in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised individuals. C. albicans also readily forms biofilms on indwelling medical devices and mucosal tissues, which serve as an infectious reservoir that is difficult to eradicate, and can lead to lethal systemic infections. Biofilm formation occurs within a complex milieu of host factors and other members of the human microbiota.”
It’s an old debate... acid or alkaline ph to fight yeast? Both sides present valuable arguments, but factual, reliable information is scarce. Proponents of alkalinity will claim that candida yeasts thrive in acidic environments, and even that a high pH disrupts the growth and development of fungal cell walls. You also hear about how Alkaline Water can help regulate your body’s overall ph – which is necessary for optimal health. So is this true?
Well, absolutely not. The notion that you can control your systematic ph in this way is ridiculous. No amount of Alkaline Water is going to significantly raise your overall ph level. But does alkalinity affect candida? Yes:
“at low pH (< 6) C. albicanscells predominantly grow in the yeast form, while at a high pH (> 7) hyphal growth is induced.”
“The hyphal form has been shown to be more invasive than the yeast form.16 On the other hand the smaller yeast form is believed to represent the form primarily involved in dissemination”
But while this may sound beneficial, it actually leads to a stress reponse.
“ A robust stress response contributes to the survival and virulence of C. albicans by facilitating the adaptation of the fungus to changing conditions and protecting it against host-derived stresses. Phagocytic cells of the immune system produce oxidative and nitrosative stresses. pH-stress occurs, for example, in the gastrointestinal and urogenital tract.”
Candida utilizes different proteins to adapt to its environment. Not only can it adapt, it can change the ph of its surroundings to its advantage.
“depending on the host niche, the environmental pH can be very dynamic. Therefore, C. albicans must be able to adapt to changes in pH … Among the first proteins identified as being important for adaptation to changing pH were the two cell wall β-glycosidases Phr1 and Phr2.79 PHR1 is expressed at neutral-alkaline pH. In contrast, PHR2 is mainly expressed at acidic pH.80 Correspondingly, Phr1 is required for systemic infections, and Phr2 is essential for infections of the vagina”
*”Phr1, required for systematic infections, is expressed at neutral-alkaline pH”
“C. albicans is not only able to sense and adapt to environmental pH, but can also modulate extracellular pH, actively alkalinizing its surrounding environment under nutrient starvation and, thereby, autoinducing hypha formation … Hyphal formation itself is considered a key virulence factor of C. albicans as non-filamentous mutants are attenuated in virulence (see above).28 Therefore, C. albicanssenses, adapts to and, strikingly, also actively modulates extracellular pH. All these features contribute to its remarkable capacity to co-exist as a commensal, and to prevail as a fungal pathogen in humans.”
So, when it comes to pH, Candida is the undisputed king of the playing field. We can’t harm it directly via ph regulation, as it lives comfortably in both acidic and alkaline environments. However, there seems to be some merit to a more acidic internal pH, because it would keep candida from entering its hyphal form. Also, while acidity doesn’t decrease yeast, it does tend to be hostile to a large number of nasty bacteria; very useful when trying to tackle biofilms. Furthermore, the type of bacteria we want to encourage – probiotic Lactobacilli strains - thrive in acidity. Over time these probiotics will recolonize and create their own protective peptides and defensins.
Because probiotics thrive in acidity, it’s recommended that you take two large glasses of lemon water (just a squirt in a glass of water, nothing fancy) right after taking your probiotics each day.
What else can you do to make your digestive tract more acidic? Nothing! You don’t need to. As previously mentioned, your body is capable of regulating itself when it has everything it needs. In the case of pH, it really comes down to vitamin (especially D) and mineral intake (especially calcium, potassium, magnesium), respiratory health, and liver/kidney efficiency. The reason alkaline diets are a fad nowadays is because… surprise! People eat like shit. Too much meat, too much salt, sugars, creams, etc. The alkaline diet is really just more raw foods and less animal proteins, nothing new in the world of dietary health by any means.
The good news is that our diet is still very well balanced in terms of pH. The spices we will incorporate are important for this balance, so don’t hold off on all those flavorful seasonings!
If you still want to try alkaline water, I just want to make a suggestion. Try water with sodium bicarbonate instead of buying bottled alkaline water. You’ll effectively raise water’s pH… but SB also has powerful candidacidal effects. So if the alkalinity doesn’t help, at least the sodium bicarbonate will.
So to recap, pH wont be a problem as long as we keep a close eye on vitamins and minerals and we consume the spices listed in the diet section. Also, 2 large glasses of lemon-water with your probiotics can help them recolonize your gut.
Candida is fierce stuff, check this out:
“During systemic candidiasis, fungal cells can disseminate to virtually every organ within the human host, each with potentially different availability of nutrients. In the liver for example, C. albicans has access to large quantities of glycogen, the main storage molecule of glucose. The brain has high concentrations of glucose and vitamins as potential nutrient sources.91 In other tissues, C. albicans faces relatively poor glucose concentrations and uses alternative metabolic pathways to utilize host proteins, amino acids, lipids and phospholipids. The fungus can use secreted proteases (see above) to hydrolyse host proteins. It was recently shown that adaptation to different nutrient sources by C. albicans not only promotes survival and growth, but also affects virulence…”
“In summary, during infection the main nutrient sources for C. albicans are likely to be host-derived glucose, lipids, proteins and amino acids, depending on the anatomical niche. Besides being able to use these different nutrients individually, the ability of C. albicans to rapidly and dynamically respond to host and pathogen-induced changes in micro-environmental nutrient availability contributes to its success as a pathogen.”
So, what we eat feeds the yeast in our guts… but they also feed on us. Candida eat glucose, lipids, proteins, amino acids, and even vitamins straight from our bodies - another reason we can’t simply ‘starve’ them. They even break down some amino acids into ammonia – not good for body odor! This explains why eating high carb foods causes flares in other areas of the body, not just the gut. (the colonies in our gut are just lucky enough to live where food just sort of falls from the sky).
There’s not much we can do about this besides be mindful of Candida’s incredible capabilities. The saying “you are what you eat” is very true in this case, but for our body to respond to a diet, it has to be long-term. So we have to really stay strong, apply ourselves, and always keep our goals in mind. It’s going to require a few weeks to see clear improvements (body odor can improve faster than that, sometimes longer), a number of months for our symptoms to go away, and about a year to normalize your sensitivity to triggers. What I mean by this is you can be symptom-free in six months, but as soon as you eat the wrong thing, boom, symptoms. As more time passes, you’ll be able to freely eat some of the foods you used to as long as your overall diet remains healthy. This is what takes the longest, restoring your body to a normal state.
So, if this sounds too difficult or like too much time, I don’t know what to tell you. Few successes in life come easy, and this isn’t one of them. Getting better will be hard work. Nothing more nothing less.
Like pH, metals are yeast’s playing field, and Candida is the damn MVP. Not only are yeasts very resistant to metal toxicity, in a biofilm (like the one surely growing in your gut at this very moment) they are ~65 times MORE resistant to damage from metals. Colloidal Silver ? Forget about it. In a test by researcher Harrison JJ, Mercury was the only metal that killed Candida biofilms on a surface. Even then, massive quantities were used. It would be unwise for us to use this to our advantage :P
But metals wouldn’t be such a big deal if they merely lacked anti-candida benefits. Its more than that, Candida cultures actually absorb metals from their surroundings – including your cells - and use them to grow, strengthen biofilms, and regulate their environment. Copper, zinc, manganese, and iron are the most important metals for fungal growth, with iron being the single most important.
So what can we do about this? Again, not much. We need these metals for optimal health (our main priority) so losing them is out of the question.
What we can do is closely watch our mineral intake so we don’t take a single microgram too much. I’ve charted the vitamin/mineral content of the foods in the diet to determine exactly which vitamins you’ll need to supplement. They are listed in the vitamins section in part 2.
“Among the most important metals are iron, zinc, manganese and copper, all of which are essential for the proper function of a large number of proteins and enzymes. Pathogenic microorganisms, as well as their respective hosts, have evolved elaborate mechanisms to acquire or restrict access to these metals.”
“Although C. albicans does not synthesize its own siderophores, the fungus uses an uptake system to steal iron from siderophores produced by other microorganisms, also known as xeno-siderophores.”
“ The fungus secretes the zinc-binding protein Pra1 (pH-regulated antigen 1), which, analogous to siderophore-mediated iron acquisition, acts as a zincophore by binding extracellular zinc and re-associating with the fungal cell. Re-association of Pra1 is mediated by the zinc transporter Zrt1”
“Copper and manganese are also essential for fungal growth; however, the mechanisms by which C. albicans acquires these metals is currently poorly understood. A putative manganese transporter, Ccc1,120 and a copper transporter, Ctr1,134 have been identified, although their roles in virulence have not yet been determined”
“The effect of iron overload on susceptibility of mice to Candida albicans infection and on the type of T helper (Th) immunity elicited was investigated. Iron overload greatly increased susceptibility to disseminated infection with low-virulence C. albicans cells of exogenous origin. The candidacidal activity and the ability to release nitric oxide and bioactive interleukin (IL)-12 were greatly impaired in neutrophils and macrophages from infected mice. CD4 T cells from spleens of iron-overloaded mice were found to produce high levels of IL-4 and IL-10 and low levels of interferon-gamma. Treatment of iron-overloaded mice with the iron chelator, deferoxamine, resulted in the cure of mice from infection, restored the antifungal effector and immunomodulatory functions of the phagocytic cells, and allowed the occurrence of CD4 Th1 protective antifungal responses. “
Ah, leaky gut! Another notorious medical myth that isn’t actually myth but that alternative medicine has riddled with the bullets of misconception. Just want to clarify a few things:
- You don’t have literal holes in your gut that food leaks out of. Well, you do and you don’t. The thing is everyone has ‘holes’ in their gut, yours just don’t work right.
- you can’t see leaky gut in action. The bubbles-in-the bath myth is… wrong. (bubbles in the bath forming on your skin is 100% normal and has more to do with physics than whatever your body is going through internally.
- There is no feces in your bloodstream or anywhere else in your body that isn’t your intestines. Well, there is and there isn’t. Yes, it may smell like feces, but its not downright poop. I guess this is debatable, as poop is really just a collection of dead/living bacteria, left-over material from foods, and whatever you didn’t manage to digest. And these could very well migrate to other parts of your body in varying amounts under permeable gut conditions. So… depends how you look at it.
So, what’s the best way to explain gut permeability?
These guys do a great job:
“Much of the epithelial barrier is formed by the rigid lipid bilayer of the enterocyte brush border. As in most cell membranes, this structure has appreciable solubility to lipid compounds but offers a strong barrier to water soluble constituents…. In order to regulate traffic through this paracellular pathway, mammalian epithelial cells form a series of intercellular junctions along their lateral margins. Closest to the luminal surface lies the tight junction and underneath is the adherens junction…. We now recognise that the functional state of the tight junction, once considered a static parameter, is in reality incredibly dynamic. Epithelial tight junctions open and close all the time in response to a variety of stimuli. These include dietary state, humoral or neuronal signals, inflammatory mediators, mast cell products, and a variety of cellular pathways that can be usurped by microbial or viral pathogens… Many bacteria alter tight junction state, presumably to enhance their own growth requirements. Vibrio cholerae secretes a variety of toxins and one of these, zonula occludens toxin, was recognised as increasing paracellular permeability. The mechanism by which this occurred was novel and involved binding to an apical membrane receptor on the enterocyte with subsequent activation of an intracellular pathway resulting in actomyosin contraction and increased paracellular permeability. “
Luckily, we can address every single one of these LG issues via the use of spices.