Join us in this comprehensive episode as we address Candida from a functional medicine perspective. Our discussion is based on the understanding that the body is an interconnected system and aims to identify root causes rather than just treating symptoms. We cover essential topics like the importance of a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle, and a robust gut microbiome in preventing and managing Candida overgrowth. Furthermore, we provide in-depth insights into the role of stress management and sleep, the importance of specific lab tests, and personalized treatment approaches. Be prepared to gain valuable knowledge about potent natural antifungals and probiotics. Don't miss this opportunity to empower yourself in achieving optimal health and combating Candida through a holistic lens.
In this episode, we cover:
00:16 – What is Candida?
01:50 – Why is Candida there?
04:21 – Rebound Overgrowth from Antibiotics
05:50 – Adrenal Stress
07:01 – Foods not Broken Down
08:49 – Clinical Symptoms
10:11 – Nail Fungus Treatment
12:19 – HCL
15:56 – Testing and Topical Treatment
19:35 – Dr. J's Recommended Products and Natural Remedies
21:55 – SIBO
22:48 – Summary
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Today, we're going to be doing a podcast all on the topic of Candida. I'm really excited to dive into this important topic that's affecting many people today. Before we do, please smash that like button. It really helps the search algorithm and I'd love to see your comments below on the topic.
All right, cool, so let's dive in. Candida, what is it? We have this big umbrella called fungus, and under fungus, we have mold and Candida. Candida is essentially a yeast, which is a type of fungus. You're always going to have some degree of Candida in your intestinal tract. It's always going to be there to some degree. The question is, is it overgrown? Is it at a higher level where it's creating stress in the body? It has different metabolic byproducts called acid aldehyde, which can be very stressful on the liver and can also produce various mycotoxins as well.
Candida can impact motility and create a whole host of symptoms, everything from bloating and gas to motility issues, whether it's constipation or diarrhea. You can have fatigue issues because Candida can eat up a lot of B vitamins and spit out a lot of lactic acid. So, it can create a lot of fatigue. Anything that impacts absorption of nutrients, whether it's amino acids or vitamins, can impact energy, mood, and cognitive function causing brain fog issues. So Candida can create a lot of problems.
Now, very rarely is Candida just there by itself. A lot of times, you may see Candida with H. pylori, or you may see it with other bacterial or SIBO, or generalized dysbiosis. You may see it with other types of infections and parasites. So, very rarely is it something that just happens in and of itself. A lot of times it's going to have other companions along with it. So, just keep that in the back of your head. It's never going to be a standalone issue typically.
So Candida, we talked about what it is. It's essentially a yeast, and that's under the greater umbrella of a fungus. How does it get there? Well, there's a couple of reasons why Candida hangs out or why its there. The first thing is, you're eating too many carbohydrates. Let's just say processed sugar, grains, and inflammatory food, typically on the processed carbohydrate and processed sugar side.
Now, you could even be eating too much potential starch, too much potato, sweet potato, or too much fruit, especially higher sugar fruit. That could potentially be enough in some people because Candida loves easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Having too much of these foods could potentially be an issue, especially if you notice that you get bloated or gassy after those foods versus a meal that's, let's say, better for you, like more vegetable-based and good protein and fat-based, and it's low-starchy or low-carb non-starchy vegetables, and you feel better. That's a good sign.
Another big thing that we may look at is just post-antibiotics. If you are doing antibiotics, a lot of times you can get this a rebound overgrowth of yeast. A lot of doctors now are actually giving antifungals either with an antibiotic or after, as a means of preventing a rebound yeast overgrowth.
Many people are given antibiotics for anything. You go to the doctor with any kind of issue – sinus, whatever – it could even be a viral infection, a lot of times they'll still throw an antibiotic at you. So, you have to be very careful with that. A lot of times, those antibiotics can wipe out a lot of your good bacteria. They can wipe out bad bacteria too, and then typically what starts to happen is, the bad bugs start to grow back, and they're more superbugs, they're now antibiotic-resistant, and then you wipe out a lot of the good stuff that does not necessarily grow back. Because you have to really come in there with good fermented foods and good healthy probiotics in your diet or supplementally to help those foods grow back.
And so, then you start to have this Candida grow back instead, and that can create a whole host of issues. Sometimes, diet is enough. Sometimes just following a really good, lower carb, paleo template is enough. Anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, really great healthy foods, that's maybe enough. So, you have your meat, which is going to be your protein, and then you'll have some fat in there if it's grass-fed beef or if it's salmon.
You may have to add fat to it. You may be adding grass-fed butter, maybe adding coconut or avocado oil to that meal. Maybe you're steaming your vegetables and you're putting a fat on your vegetables. So, we may be adding these fats to your food, and then maybe most of your carbohydrates are going to be non-starchy vegetables. Maybe you can handle a little bit of low sugar fruits – some berries, a green apple, grapefruit. Again, these are all good options to keep that fuel source for Candida at bay. That's really something good to be on top of food-wise.
Now, so we have rebound overgrowth from antibiotics. Antibiotics are overly prescribed for everything. Many kids get it. For instance, my kids had an ear infection last week, swimmer's ear. I'm using a topical grapefruit seed extract. I'm using some garlic and some Mullen oil in their ear. You go to the doctor, you know your conventional allopathic MD, they're putting them on antibiotics all day long. In my home, I'm not doing that. We're using hydrogen peroxide, we're using silver, and we're using some herbs, maybe some homeopathic to help with the pain. We try to use things, especially if we can hit things topically, there's no reason to drop a bomb in the gut. You know, two, three feet away from where the ear is when we can hit certain things topically. Right, so we want to have that kind of mindset of like, what's our goal? And is doing an oral antibiotic going to be the best way to do that?
So we have antibiotics, we have processed carbohydrates, extra refined processed sugars, and grains. You can have certain medications that can cause problems. So if you're on a steroid for chronic pain, steroids are going to mobilize blood glucose, that's what steroids do. So if you're on Prednisone or hydrocortisone cream, you could increase your blood sugar, and that could be a fuel source for candida. If you're on any immunosuppressant medication, you see a lot of like AIDS patients in the 80s and early 90s, many of them would pass because of chronic candidiasis, because of the medications they were on, were immunosuppressants, and then candida could kind of come up and create a whole systemic issue and could be very, very stressful on the body.
Again, if you're on like chemotherapy drugs or if you're on like a drug that could be severely immunosuppressing, that could be an issue. I would say also under a lot of adrenal stress, if you're under lots of chronic stress where you're surging cortisol, you have a lot of HPA dysregulation, that brain hypothalamus pituitary talking to that adrenal is dysregulated, it's chronically under stress, that feedback loop can get this connected if you will, it's like cutting wires from your thermostat to your AC or heater, and that can make it harder for you to deal with cortisol and stress, and you may have lots of cortisol, which could potentially be surging glucose because from an evolutionary standpoint, why would that matter?
You would surge glucose so you have the ability to run, fight, and flee, but if you're just stressed and you're sitting in traffic and someone cuts you off and you're surging all those glucose, it's not like you're using it to run, fight, or flee, so it's just sitting there in your bloodstream, and that could potentially be a fuel source for some of these bugs, potentially, right? Theoretically, it could be. And so if you're under a lot of stress, that could be a fuel source. We've got to keep that in the back of our head.
Now, testing methods. So I think those are the big couple of things I wanted to highlight regarding where the exposure would be. It's going to be food, it's going to be antibiotics, it's going to be, you know, corticosteroid medications, it's going to be immunosuppressive medications, it's going to be just from being chronically stressed. Yeah, it's a sympathetic kind of nervous system type of thing. I would also say just having really crummy digestion can be an issue too, right? If you're not breaking down protein, breaking down fats, breaking down carbohydrates well, you have a greater chance for that food to ferment, to rancidify, and kind of putrefy in your gut. And the more that food hangs around and it doesn't quite get broken down adequately, possibly the microbes in your gut can eat more of it, and it can be a fuel source.
So we want to make sure we have our enzymes and our acids and our bile salts, if needed, dialed in so we're breaking everything down. So when I start working with a patient, I'm like, we're dialing in the six hours, right? We're removing the bad foods, we're getting them on a really good diet, replacing enzymes and acids, maybe bile salts as well. Maybe we're adding in some motility support if our motility is really slow because sometimes our motility is slow, that food can sit in there longer, we can reabsorb a lot of toxins in our fecal debris, so that could be a potential stressor. So we want to make sure we have good motility and we're moving everything adequately.
And then after that, I would say depending on how irritated the gut lining is, if you have histories of ulcers or a lot of gastritis or a lot of intestinal pain, we may want to really work on fueling and supporting the cells in the intestines, in the gastric mucosa. That's important as well. And then the fourth thought, we work on removing the bugs. And when that happens, we're looking at everything holistically. We're looking at, is there H pylori? Is there bacterial overgrowth? You know, bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, or we'll call it generalized dysbiosis? Is there fungal overgrowth or small intestinal fungal overgrowth? And then from there, we'll try to treat everything systematically.
And when we address candida, it's almost always the last thing I address. We're almost always addressing H pylori first, generalized dysbiosis or parasite second and third, and then yeast last. And depending on what's going on, we may focus on just hitting that candida for 30 to 45 days at the very end. And of course, we're going to use different herbs to make sure we knock that down.
Now, clinically, we may also see another sign of candida. I always look at clinical symptoms on the outside of the body. So that could be tinea versicolor on the skin, where you start to see almost a hypopigmentation on the skin due to candida, and then it sets in and you can go Google image, say mild form of tinea versicolor because Google image will always give you the worst-case scenario, and it'll give you like a systemic issue in an immunocompromised person. But the average tinea almost looks like vitiligo, where the spots are a little bit white, and that can come back and heal when you address it. Tinea versicolor is a thing.
Also, dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis in the scalp can also be a thing. And then you can also see it with toenails. Like if you start to have that thicker toenail where it starts to get a little bit yellowy, the toenail first starts to get thick because the dermatophytes, which are little yeast cells, they eat the keratin on the protein of the nail, and they form what's called keratin debris. So instead of that nail being more translucent, now it's opaque, and it starts to get thicker and rougher and raised. So one of the first things we'll do is we'll come in there, and we'll kind of file it down.
Let me just get a file like this here, and we'll just file that down so it's nice and smooth. That way, think of like the keratin debris as the shield, and so we may file it down so nice and smooth. We may add something topical on that nail. Let me show you what I have here. We may do like, this is a great topical. I'll put the links down below so you guys can find it. This is a nail microsis formula. This has tea tree oil in there, and it has jojoba oil, which is really nice, and you can topically put a drop on each nail.
And then I'll usually use this brush here to brush it in afterwards. And then this, in and of itself, if you twist this, you get an acid compound that comes out of here, and then you can also paint the nail with this. This is more of an oil, so this will stay on longer. It'll stay on, you know, 30 minutes to an hour, so you have to let your feet dry a little bit. This will dry usually in five or ten minutes, and so you can always do this.
So what I'll do is I'll do a soak. I'll do a fungal soak. I have a nail fungus soak formula that I've used for a while. I'll get water up past my ankles. I'll add about a cup of apple cider or white vinegar, and then I'll add about two tablespoons of this herbal essential oil formula into the water, I'll soak my feet, let them soak 15-20 minutes, pull them out, and then I'll dry them off and then I'll add either one dab to each nail and then I'll maybe brush it on with this or I'll add this instead of that. So I'll kind of rotate back and forth.
I like to make sure my nails are relatively smooth ahead of time so I'll file down any keratin debris that's formed if there is any, just so it's more effective, and I find that putting these on is always going to be better when the skin's really moist. When the skin's moist, it's going to be more receptive to something topical.
o these are great because when you have fungal issues, you can do all these things diet-wise or we'll talk about internal supplements that you can do but when it's on your skin, it's so far away from anything you put in your stomach, blood flow wise, you may not be able to get a therapeutic level of whatever that supplement is to the skin, to the nail, to the scalp, and that's where you have to add something in topically to help.
So on the nails, we'll do this formula, we'll do the one of the nail pens that usually has an acid compound in there that's really good at providing a good pH, and then we'll file it down and we'll do a good nail soak. I'll put the soak down below as well. And then just a good, I'll get like a gallon of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar and just a good clean organic one and then we'll just put it in there, put a cup of it in, and you're good to go.
Now, acid's a big one right, so I'm a big fan of making sure you have, we talked about hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a big one because that helps acidify the stomach, it lowers the pH, it activates enzymes, it's harder for microbes to grow when it's acidic. There's one other vector where fungus can grow that can be pH raising, going higher, so with women, you'll see vaginal yeast infections very common with birth control pills because they're giving super high amounts of hormones especially, usually like an ethinyl estradiol or some kind of a synthetic estrogen.
Sometimes they'll do like a NorEstrogel, you'll see that more like a Mirena IUD, but these synthetic hormones can raise the pH. When the pH is higher, it's easier for microbes to grow, essentially, and so vaginal pH should be under five and so you can get the Monistat pH strips and you can test it and see kind of where you sit on that. But when you start to raise that pH, it's not going to be helpful, it's going to make it easier for microbes to grow, so birth control pills can also be another vector, similar to antibiotics or even steroids, to increasing yeast overgrowth.
So we talked about symptoms, hair, nails, skin, and then also vaginal area. So and that can be transferred, you know, men to women during intercourse very easily just because that tissue can transfer. Supposedly tinea versicolor on the skin not as much but I definitely seen it in intercourse as well. And so with that topically, within it with that, we want to make sure we fix the issues of the birth control pill, if we can go to a Paragard IUD or just use some kind of other barrier, non-hormonal methods are better, and then depending on if it's yeast or not we may use something like a boric acid, we may use something very gentle to bring the pH down and maybe even add in some probiotics too, especially internally.
Because probiotics like acidophilus literally means acid-loving in Latin, and so probiotics do increase the acid which lowers the pH, right, one through six is more acidic, seven's like water, that's neutral, and then eight to 14 is going to be alkaline, and so when you increase the acid load, you lower the pH. So high acid means low pH, so we can add that hydrochloric acid in, we can add in like a boric acid or even a vitamin C suppository which is an ascorbic acid, that's can be helpful.
And then we would also add in like some other things that can be really helpful as well. There are a couple formulas that I use, whether it's some topical or internal things as well that can be helpful.
Alright, so we talked about that out of the gate, we talked about women and the hormonal issues, and so on that note, perimenopausal women are prone to also have the pH go up because their hormones are dropping as well. So is their estrogen and progesterone drops, that can also be an impact on the pH, and so perimenopausal women going into menopause, lower hormones can also be a driving factor. So we want to look at that holistically as well. You want to look at where that person sits, you know, in their life cycle.
Are they kind of getting closer to a perimenopause, menopause, you know, mid to late 40s, early 50s, or are they a younger girl on birth control? You want to take into account everything because you could be on birth control, eating a crummy diet, and have had lots of antibiotic exposure and there could be a lot of vectors coming in to play, and that's where you really got to troubleshoot and kind of line everything up.
Great questions or great things to think about, right. You may have a lot of questions when I put these things out, which one's mine, you got to look at everything, you got to look at the history and I like to look at the timeline of where this person was and when did these issues start to happen. Did it start to happen right around antibiotics or after antibiotics? Did it happen when they were on birth control pills? Did it happen later as they went into perimenopause, menopause? So you want to look at things from a timeline, history perspective. That's how you really start to understand how things unfold organically.
Alright, so now testing wise, how do we look at this, how do we test? Well, I like to look at clinical findings like I mentioned. Seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, look at topical stuff with the skin, look at the nails, look at vaginal yeast issues.
Now with the hair, we may do like a tea tree oil shampoo, you could do like a Nizoral or a ketoconazole two percent, two percent is the better one, one percent over the counter, two percent requires a prescription. You can get the two percent at Keeps.com as well, they'll do it for you there, they have online doctors that will prescribe it if you have a hard time getting it. One percent over the counter, you can also do a really good tea tree oil formula, I'll put some down below, like a really good herbal tea tree oil one. If you put it in, make sure you leave it in your scalp for three to five minutes, that's helpful.
Now, on your skin, I'll use a 10% sulfur soap, I use one by Derma Harmony, that works excellent, we'll put a link down below. You basically lather that up, leave it on your skin for three to five minutes and then rinse it off, but sulfur is incredibly anti-fungal, antibacterial, really cleans out the pores. You want unscented sulfur, and again it usually comes from a volcanic ash and then you can use that, it has very good effects of cleaning out the pores. It's great for acne as well, great for any like folliculitis.
If you get folliculitis on your backside because of moisture or because of clothes rubbing up against it and your follicles get inflamed, sulfur is excellent for clearing that out, I highly recommend using it, lather it up, leave it on for a minute or two, rinse it off. If you have tinea, leave it on for at least three minutes, that's super helpful as well.
Now, there are medications like Nystatin, Ketoconazole, Fluconazole, Amphotericin B, you know, these medications, some can be really hard on the liver, some stay more localized like a Diflucan stays a little bit more localized, some like a Ketoconazole, they can go more systemically, or like you see it with a Lotrimin, you see it with the feet, I think it's a Lotrimin, they have an oral version of Lotrimin for fungal nails where you take it orally, that's very hard on your liver.
So I always recommend going to herbal things first. I find that tends to be safer and has a lot more antioxidant support in there, and we'll use a blend of them in case there's resistance, that way we can make sure we support the body and it helps other microbes that are there as well, there's bacteria and such.
Now, in Candida, we have Candida. Usually, that's going to be Albicans, but we could have Crucii, we could have Candida Rototrollers, the other species of Candida. We can just look at Candida overall. Like on a lab test, we may use a stool test to assess this. We may see Candida species. May also see Candida Albicans or Crucii or Rotatorola or Microsperidium. So there's different types but I just kind of put Candida as a whole and we just address it all as a whole.
So ways we test it, we may look at like a really good stool test. I'll put the links to the tests that I use down below. We'll use a good stool test that we'll look at and colonize that yeast which can be helpful or culture it. It's easy to miss Candida on a stool test so we may not rely fully on that. We may look at an OAT test as well where we're going to look at D-arabinose or tartaric acid or oxalic acid or glycolytic acids, things that may be Candida metabolize that may come out in the urine.
That may give us a better systemic window into what is happening so we may look at that as well which can be super helpful because if we see Candida in the urine that tells us there's a potential issue. We may culture it in the stool as well. We may also run blood. We may run like an IGA, IGG, IGM blood test to see if there's an immune response to it. And we can order that through like Labcor Request Labs. That can be a great test to assess is there a systemic issue.
But I'll always run stool. I'll always run your typical good organic acid test. That'll give me a big window into what's happening with Candida. A lot of times, Candida's missed on a stool test but we'll see it on the organic acid test. We want to really holistically look at it. Make sure we get it.
Now supplement wise, what I'll use in my line, we'll do usually a GI clear 5 and 6 to knock down Candida. Five to be an emulsified or all of oregano 75 carbon call extract or the six is going to have a lot of party Arco in there which is very helpful for knocking down Candida. Other things I'll use. I'll use biofilm Busters. I'll use silver which is my GI clear 3 product which the silver is really good for biofilms and then I'll use NAC as well. That could be excellent for biofilms.
Now there's other products I may use. I may use different fatty acids whether it's a Capric or Caprylic acid which are like C6, C8. We may use Monolaurin which is like C12, carbon-12. That's like in your medium chain triglyceride families. We may use some of these Monolauric acids to help under Selenic acid from like a Castor bean. Those are excellent fatty acids that are really selective,…
We could use some garlic as well. These are really good things and we could even use things like cinnamon as well, Ginger can be really good. So a lot of times we'll recommend ginger tea which can be super helpful at with inflammation with motility. It's a bitter so it can support digestion. It's anti-inflammatory, it's an anticoagulant. So a lot of times we'll throw ginger tea in there with Manuka Honey to calm down the gut lining, to support inflammation. While at the same time, it could also help with knocking down the yeast as well.
Now on probiotic side, we always want to come in with probiotics after the fact because that's going to help one. We've kind of cleaned out, we've kind of let's say we scalped the front lawn, we've killed all the grass, all the weeds. Well, you don't ever have to go and put weeds down, weeds grow back automatically. It's the grass you have to worry about. So we have to throw down some good seeds. We want to throw down like your Bifidobacter, Lactobacillus species whether it's Plantarum, KCI, Parakeet.
We want to add in the really good Bifidobacter, Lactobacillus Blends. We'll also add in a Saccharomyces blend which is a beneficial yeast that can be very helpful with crowding out Candida. It can also out-compete against it. It can out-knock, it can out-compete, knock down things like H Pylori or Blastocysts Homina. So these are great things that can be really helpful on supporting the guts and so Sacromyces.
So in my line, we use like a Sacral Flora or Probio Flora. I'll put links down below if you guys want to. See what I'm specifically using with my patients. That can be helpful. Sometimes we'll even come in there with a spore-based probiotic especially if someone's histamine sensitive or gets bloated or gassy with some of these things as well.
Now a lot of times you'll see SIBO or bacterial overgrowth with Candida overgrowth and people will kind of lump in SIFO or small intestinal fungal overgrowth. That's just more of a specific diagnosis that's location-driven. But in the end, when you're treating the intestinal tract, you're taking something orally or you're making a food change so it's impacting the whole entire track. You're not just coming in there and injecting something into the small intestine or to the duodenum or to the colon. So anything you do diet, lifestyle, digestive-wise, supplement-wise, it's going to impact the whole intestinal tract. So getting super location specific doesn't really help me.
So just a generalized diagnosis like fungal overgrowth or dyspotic overgrowth is enough for me. Because it doesn't really change the treatment. So you can look at different lactulose or different breath tests that may give you more information on the gases that are being produced by these microbes.
All right, excellent guys, I hope that makes sense so far. So we went over the top causes right, went over the causes and over the food, the carbohydrate, some of the medications, the cortisol, the stress, the antibiotics, the hormonal imbalances whether it's perimenopause or antibiotics. We talked about some of the treatments, some of the herbal supports that we'll use. We got to be holistic and make sure we address everything. A lot of times Candida may be one stress or in that stress bucket but there could be five or six other things. You really want to look holistically at what the impacts are.
And then I would say after that, testing is good so utilizing a blood test, utilizing a stool test, utilizing organic acid tests can be very helpful. Now when it comes to Candida, there could be systemic or it should say localized Candida issues on your nails, on your skin, on your hair, in the vaginal area. So you have to look at different options that we have. We have different soaps that are more natural like sulfur. We have different products for the nails. We have different soaks that we'll use for the feet and the nails. A lot of times you can get like that extra scaly feet, that can be Candida on the feet as well. That's why a soak is so helpful to knock all that down.
So we talked about the diet approaches, the topical approaches, the supplement approaches, a testing and assessing as such. I'm try to giving you guys like a lot of information here and I'm trying to give it to you like in bite-sized places so you can take whatever, you know whatever part of the spectrum works for you. You can take one piece as you go.
If you want to dive in deeper and you want more clinical support on this, you want someone that has experience doing this hundreds of times with patients over the last decade and a half, feel free that my link will be down below from my coordinates to reach out to my team. We see patients on the functional medicine side for all these gut issues all over the world. So you want to reach out, there'll be a link down below where you can reach out.
We'll put a list of recommended products that I personally use down below as well so that can be helpful. Any other questions, feel free to reach out. And if you have family or friends that could benefit, please feel free, have them watch this, share it with them. And make sure you comment as well guys. So if you have these issues and you're struggling, feel free and connect. Hope.
This information was powerful and you can at least take one thing and start to implement it and execute on it. Alright guys, have a phenomenal day. Dr J signing out. Take care. Bye.
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