Stressor Spotlight – Candida Albicans
Have you ever heard of the word Candida and wondered what it was all about?
Candida albicans refers to a type of fungus that, if it gets out of balance, can cause problems in the body. From itchy skin to digestive complaints, Candida can be behind a wide range of symptoms and health concerns.
Let’s take a closer look at this potentially harmful microorganism, what can lead to an overgrowth, and how you can use natural approaches to restore balance.
What is Candida albicans?
Candida albicans is the name of a particular type of fungus that can grow in the body.
It is normally present in small amounts on your skin and on the inner linings of the body like in the mouth, vagina, and digestive tract. However, it can have harmful effects if it grows too much and gets out of control.
Candida albicans overgrowth and infection
Normally, there are a wide variety of microorganisms living in the body including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. And that is okay when everything is in balance. Beneficial microbes keep the potentially harmful ones in check, and they can all coexist in harmony.
The problem occurs when that balance gets upset for one reason or another, and certain types of microorganisms begin to grow out of control.
This can happen with Candida albicans. At normal levels, it can grow on your skin and inside your body without any issue, as it is kept under control by other friendly microorganisms and your own immune response. But if the environment Candida is growing in changes and the fungus is allowed to grow more than it should, it can lead to an infection.1 3 4
A Candida overgrowth can happen in various parts of the body, and depending on where the infection is located and how much it spreads, you can have a wide range of signs and symptoms.
Symptoms of Candida overgrowth
- Oral thrush. Thrush is the name for a mouth infection caused by Candida albicans. You may notice white patches or sores around your lips, tongue, palate, and inside your cheeks.
- Inflamed esophagus. If a Candida infection affects the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach), you may notice that it is difficult or painful to swallow, or that you have chest pain.
- Vaginal symptoms. Vaginal Candida infections are very common, affecting about 75% of women at least once in their lifetime. These infections can lead to symptoms like itching or burning in the vagina, vaginal discharge, and pain or discomfort during sex.
- Rash, itching, or other skin concerns. Candida infections of the skin can lead to red, moist, itchy, or rashy skin.
- Infected nails. Fungal infections can affect your fingernails or toenails, causing discoloration, brittleness, splitting, thinness, or other issues.
- Digestive issues. Candida in the gut may lead to digestive-related issues like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, lack of appetite, or nausea, and it may even be linked to digestive diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- General, non-specific symptoms. An overgrowth may lead to a wide variety of symptoms that can be difficult to link to Candida including fatigue, cognitive issues, pain, sinus problems, and much more.3 5
What causes Candida overgrowth?
As we’ve learned, a small amount of the Candida fungus living in the body is perfectly fine. It’s when it grows out of control that it becomes an issue. But what causes an overgrowth and what can put you at higher risk for getting an infection?
There are various factors that can disturb the natural balance of microorganisms in the body. Everything from medications to illnesses, stress, and lifestyle factors can upset the balance and set the stage for an overgrowth.6
You may be more likely to develop a Candida infection if you:
- Are taking (or have recently taken) antibiotics
- Use oral contraception
- Have a weakened immune system (as with cancer, HIV, autoimmune disorders, etc.)
- Take medications that weaken your immune system, like steroids
- Wear dentures
- Have recently had another type of infection
- Have diabetes
- Take medications that cause dry mouth
- Are pregnant
- Are stressed 3 4 6 7 8 9
Conventional treatment for Candida infections
If you go to a conventional doctor to get treated for a Candida overgrowth, you will most likely be prescribed some sort of antifungal prescription medication.
If you have a localized infection, you may be prescribed an ointment or cream that can be applied to the affected area, such as on the skin, inside the mouth, or in the vagina. If your symptoms don’t go away or you have a more severe infection that has spread in your body, you may be prescribed an oral antifungal medication.3 4
Some common antifungal medications used for Candida include:
But there are several possible drawbacks to using antifungal drugs. For one, Candida species are known to develop resistance to antifungal medications.2
Additionally, many people prefer to avoid these medications due to the possible side effects. Creams and ointments, for example, can cause irritation, itching, burning, and redness. Prescriptions taken by mouth can cause digestive upset, liver issues, and more.
That is why many people prefer to treat Candida infections with a more natural, holistic approach.
Natural approaches to Candida overgrowth
There are a variety of complementary approaches that can help you to fight off a Candida overgrowth and restore balance to your body.
Whether or not you and your doctor choose to include antifungal prescriptions in your treatment plan, these approaches may help to support your healing:
1. Avoid sugar and refined carbs
Most functional practitioners will recommend a change in your diet to address a Candida problem. The idea is to eat in such a way that will reduce inflammation, starve the fungus of its fuel, and rebuild the microbial balance in your body.
An important component of a Candida diet is to remove sugar. Fungi like Candida love sugar, as sugar feeds the Candida so that it will continue to grow. That means that you will want to stay away from foods that contain sugar and refined carbohydrates like desserts, bread, candy, pasta, and more. Yeast-containing foods can also be problematic.5 8
Dietary changes can have great results when it comes to Candida. One study found that people who followed dietary recommendations to fight Candida in addition to getting treated with the antifungal drug nystatin had better outcomes than patients who received nystatin by itself. The authors of the study conclude that dietary modifications “could reduce excessive prescriptions of antifungals.”10
The bottom line is to eat as many whole-foods as possible and to avoid sugar, sweets, refined carbs, alcohol, and even sweet fruit for several weeks.5 You can also add in certain herbs and foods that can help you to fight off Candida albicans thanks to their antifungal qualities.
2. Consider anti-fungal herbs and oils
Several plants have antifungal properties, meaning they can help to kill fungal overgrowths. You might try consuming the herbs or oils in your cooking, using essential oils, or taking supplements.
Some of the natural herbs and oils that show promise for use against Candida include:
Before using any supplements, even if they contain natural herbs, talk to your healthcare provider.
3. Take probiotics
Probiotics are another common approach to treating Candida infections. The idea is to replenish the good, friendly bacteria that help to keep harmful microorganisms like Candida in check. Probiotics can also help to strengthen immune function and keep an infection at bay.5
Consult with a holistic healthcare practitioner to discuss the use of probiotics, including a preparation and dose that will best support you.
4. Manage stress
There is evidence that when our bodies are under stress, we are more likely to be susceptible to infections like Candida.8 9 Because of this, it is important to manage your stress levels in order to support your body’s immune system and microbe balance.
Consider useful stress management tools like journaling, meditation, therapy, exercise, yoga, deep breathing techniques, and others to help your body stay more grounded as you face life’s challenges and daily stressors.
Be sure to also make time for hobbies and activities you love, spend time with people who make you feel loved and supported, prioritize down time and rest, and experiment with daily routines that allow you to feel your best.
5. Take care of your body with healthy daily habits
Sometimes, caring for your body in simple ways can make a profound difference. To help manage and prevent Candida albicans overgrowth, be sure to:
- Focus on skin care, keeping your skin clear and dry.
- Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing regularly.
- Prioritize sleep and rest.
- Limit alcohol.
- Stop smoking.3 8
Candida Albicans stressor Virtual Item
A digital signature representing Candida albicans is available to scan in the ZYTO Select and Elite software, and this Virtual Item is automatically scanned in the Balance Biosurvey. If Candida Albicans is out of range, it will show up in several areas in the Balance Wellness Report: Detoxification System, Gastrointestinal System, Toxic Stress, and Mental/Emotional Stress.
Along with Candida Albicans, the Select and Elite software gives you an opportunity to scan for even more candida-related Virtual Items, including:
- Candida Diet
- Candida Kresei
- Candida Tropicalis
- Lung Candida
It should be noted that just because you had an out-of-range response to the Candida Albicans Virtual Item or any candida-related item doesn’t mean that you literally have a candida overgrowth, as ZYTO technology is not diagnostic. To learn more, visit our article on 5 Questions for Out-of-Range Responses.
Candida Albicans balancer Virtual Items
The digital signature that assists with bringing an out-of-range Candida Albicans Virtual Item back into range may be a supplement, oil, herb, food, lifestyle change, or other balancer Virtual Item. If this item was out of range, you can see what item specifically brought it back into range in the Advanced Report. Additionally, digital signatures representing wellness services that show up on your report may be beneficial for helping you balance this item.
Because Candida albicans can also be triggered by stress, it’s important to address the underlying emotional causes of any stress or emotional problems you are dealing with. The ZYTO EVOX allows you to do this easily by simply analyzing your voice as you speak about a topic, and then providing feedback that helps you subconsciously change the way you are thinking about that topic, leading to a healthier, more functional reality.
About Chelsea Clark
Chelsea Clark is a writer and certified health and wellness coach who is passionate about supporting others along their own health journeys. She enjoys helping people make positive, lasting changes so that they can live the happiest, healthiest life possible.
1. Spampinato, C., & D. Leonardi. “Candida Infections, Causes, Targets, and Resistance Mechanisms: Traditional and Alternative Antifungal Agents.” BioMed Research International (2013): 204237.
2. de Oliveira Santos, G.C., C.C. Vasconcelos, A.J.O. Lopes, et al. “Candida Infections and Therapeutic Strategies: Mechanisms of Action for Traditional and Alternative Agents.” Frontiers in Microbiology 9 (2018): 1351.
3. “Candidiasis.” Harvard University. Health.harvard.edu.
4. “Candida infections of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Cdc.gov.
5. Rusu, A.V., B.A. Penedo, A. Schwarze, & M. Trif. “The Influence of Candida spp. in Intestinal Microbiota; Diet Therapy, the Emerging Conditions Related to Candida in Athletes and Elderly People.” IntechOpen (2020).
6. Nobile, C.J., & A.D. Johnson. “Candida albicans Biofilms and Human Disease.” Annual Review of Microbiology 69 (2015): 71–92.
7. “Vaginal Candidiasis.” U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Cdc.gov.
8. “Thrush.” Cleveland Clinic. My.Clevelandclinic.org.
9. Núñez, M.J., S. Novío, J.A. Suárez, J. Balboa, & M. Freire-Garabal. “Effects of Psychological Stress and Fluoxetine on Development of Oral Candidiasis in Rats.” Clinical and Vaccine Immunology 17, no. 44 (2010): 668–673.
10. Otašević S, S. Momčilović, M. Petrović, O. Radulović, N.M Stojanović, & V. Arsić-Arsenijević. “The dietary modification and treatment of intestinal Candida overgrowth – a pilot study.” Journal of Medical Mycology 28, no. 4 (2018):623-627.
11. Gunsalus, K.T., S.N. Tornberg-Belanger, et al. “Manipulation of Host Diet To Reduce Gastrointestinal Colonization by the Opportunistic Pathogen Candida albicans.” American Society for Microbiology 1, no. 1 (2015): e00020-15.