Have Candida Overgrowth? Why You Should Avoid Fermented Foods

In the Thryve Gut Health Program, we pride ourselves in crafting a healthy gut diet plan that will boost beneficial stomach bacteria and help rebuild gut flora. One of our go-tos for best gut health foods are fermented fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, if you suffer from Candida overgrowth, you may want to steer clear of these probiotic foods. Let’s learn why Candida overgrowth and fermented foods don’t mix.

Why Fermented Foods for Gut Health?

For those who are suffering gastrointestinal distress and other uncomfortable GI problems, some of the best foods for gut health are fermented. The reason for this food recommendation comes down to the very thing you’re trying to replenish–probiotics.

fermented foods
Preserves foods AND enriches them!

Fermented foods were first discovered as a means of preservation. Fruits and vegetables were pickled in a brine of vinegar and/or salt. These all-natural preservatives ensured that the fruits and veggies enjoyed an elongated shelf life. However, we know now that this preservation method offers much more.

As the pickled fruits and vegetables sit in the brine, yeasts within the contained atmosphere begin to feast on carbs. That means they start to eat the sugars in the food for energy.

Just like us, the yeasts expel waste. In the case of fermented foods, the yeasts’ trash is our treasure. Yeast dispels probiotics into the brine that enrich the preserved edibles. This process creates probiotic foods that have shown to improve intestinal flora for those who consume them.

How Fermented Foods Strengthen the Gut Biome

You can liken eating fermented foods to taking gut health supplements. When you consume probiotic foods, the beneficial bacteria enter your digestive system.

Research suggests that certain probiotic strains are beneficial in:

  • Battling GI Disorders [1]
  • Fighting off GI Problems (ex. Bloating, Feeling Constipated, Diarrhea, etc.) [2]
  • Improving Mental Health [3]
  • Fighting Inflammation [4]
  • Weight Loss [5]
  • Boosting Immune System [6]
  • Rejuvenating Skin Cells [7]

As you can see, eating probiotic foods have a load of benefits that compliment every aspect of your everyday life. That is, unless you are suffering from Candida overgrowth.

Candida Overgrowth and the Microbiome

Our microbiome is a diverse community consisting of trillions of microbes. These microbes can be anything from beneficial gut flora like Bacteroides that fight depression, agglutinins from food particles that trigger immune responses, or yeast like Candida that cause GI problems.

sugar for candida overgrowth
Looks good to you? Looks good for Candida overgrowth

For the most part, our system can handle an influx of harmful stomach bacteria or inflammatory molecules like gluten. However, a lifetime of poor dietary decisions, sedentary living, and stress can make the processing of these molecules more difficult. Eventually, the good intestinal flora begins to suffer, giving way to inflammation.

In turn, opportunistic microbes start to grow beyond the confined areas they’ve been allotted.

This biological process may lead to fungal infections such as Candida overgrowth.

What is Candida Overgrowth?

In general, Candida is considered a good microbe for your system to have. This fungus lives in your digestive tract. Before developing GI problems, Candida helps in everything from the digestion of food to absorbing nutrients in the small intestine [8].

Candida helps digest this, candida overgrowth complicates it
Candida helps digest this,
Candida overgrowth complicates it

Candida is a very efficient yeast. Therefore, your body doesn’t require much of this fungus to carry out such pivotal functions. The way that your gut biome contains this opportunistic yeast is thanks to probiotic bacteria and intestinal flora [9].

In a healthy gut biome, a diverse group of probiotics will ensure that Candida doesn’t leave the small intestine. However, the diversity of probiotics in our system gets compromised each passing year. Seconding with the rise of Leaky Gut Syndrome, the beneficial intestinal flora is stretched a bit thin. This lapse in efficiency lends credence to Candida overgrowth.

How Does Candida Overgrowth Happen?

Normally, we would suggest fermented foods to someone trying to improve the GI problems. Fermented foods can help destroy the inflammation that is causing free radicals to pop up. Plus, they replenish the probiotics in your gut biome that will keep Candida at bay. However, if Candida has already left the small intestine, then you need to devise a new game plan.

candida overgrowth loves sugar
An actual picture of Candida
in a gut biome

As we mentioned, Candida is a yeast. Like we learned about when discussing fermented fruits and vegetables, yeasts feed on sugar for survival. Anyone who follows the Standard American Diet (SAD) has a ton of sugar clogging up their gut biome.

The Western Diet transforms Candida into a kid in a candy shop…literally.

When you consume fermented foods, you are also digesting its prebiotics. Therefore, you are assisting in the growth of Candida in your system.

So, if Candida has left the small intestine, you will only make it stronger by consuming foods rich in sugars, no matter how “healthy” those sugars are.

Foods to Avoid with Candida Overgrowth

Now that you understand how Candida overgrowth happens, here is a list of probiotic foods you should avoid:

top 10 probiotic foods
Normally we suggest eating the Top 10 Probiotics Foods, but not with Candida
  • Beer
  • Champagne
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Kraut
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Vinegar
  • Wine
  • Yogurt

Once you eliminate these foods from your diet, you’re on the right path to fighting off your Candida overgrowth. Here is how to treat your condition.

How to Treat Candida Overgrowth

Seeing as Candida loves sugar, the first step to battling Candida overgrowth is to stop supplying the yeast. Just like an episode of Intervention, you can no longer enable this disruptor of your gut biome. Starve out your Candida overgrowth by ignoring your sweet tooth, ditching fermented foods, and steering clear of allergens such as gluten.

Caprylic Acid Supplements for Candida

From there, you want to use supplements that will help destroy Candida cells. One of the most effective gut health supplements for Candida is caprylic acid.

eating coconut
Go coconuts for caprylic acid

Caprylic acid is one of the primary saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil. Research on caprylic acid suggests that this compound can penetrate the cells walls of Candida [10].

When this happens, the Candida overgrowth dies off, effectively detoxifying the gut biome.

CAPRYLIC ACID FOR CANDIDA VS DIFLUCAN

One study looked at the effectiveness of caprylic acid in treating vaginal Candida overgrowth compared to prescription medicine, Diflucan [10].

Results found,

“One optimal dose of Diflucan, or Caprylic acid taken orally or externally applied, rapidly reduced the symptoms significantly.”

Acupunct Electrother Res.

Even more fascinating, in some instances, caprylic acid seemed superior. Researchers also noticed that this saturated fatty acid was more effective in increasing normal cell telomeres (NCT).

Telomeres are nucleotide sequences at the end of cells. They are believed to be critical in the lifespan of cells.

The study comparing caprylic acid and Diflucan stated,

“We found that an optimal dose of Caprylic acid increases normal cell telomere (NCT) to a desirable 750 ng BDORT units while Diflucan increases NCT by only 25 ng BDORT units.”

Acupunct Electrother Res.

These findings are exciting because it means you can start regenerating your gut biome to how it was before the Candida overgrowth. Once you have the right supplement to choke out the excess Candida, you need to up your probiotic firewall around the small intestine.

Microbiome Testing and Candida

If you have Candida overgrowth, it didn’t happen overnight. There were a series of events that set off a chain of reactions that made Candida overgrowth possible. The kick-starter for those chain of unfortunate events is the other microbes living in your system.

Those with poor gut health have a less diverse gut biome. That’s because the refined sugars and fatty acids we consume are snuffing out good bacteria in stomach and destroying gut flora. In turn, a small variety of opportunistic microbes feast on these carbs and sugars. They thrive, essentially opening the floodgates from the small intestine to the gut biome. Ever the opportunist, Candida follows the path into your bloodstream, causing overgrowth.

Each gut biome is unique. Therefore, any number of microbes could have caused this poor gut health downward spiral. To get to the bottom of the GI problems, try microbiome testing.

With the Thryve At-Home Gut Health Test Kit, we can pinpoint which stomach bacteria spawned Candida overgrowth in your system. Based on the information provided by our microbiome testing service, we can then formulate personalized probiotics supplements.

PERSONALIZED PROBIOTICS AND FERMENTED FOODS

The reason we recommend personalized probiotics is because your body needs this beneficial stomach bacteria to keep Candida at bay. While fermentation creased probiotic foods, it also creates prebiotics for Candida overgrowth.

Thankfully, personalized probiotics are just probiotics. There are no sugars that Candida can feast on. With personalized probiotics, you are replenishing your gut biome with the stomach bacteria it’s been missing. This gives your system a fighting chance in restoring gut flora.

Think you have Candida overgrowth? Let our specialists help you. Join the Thryve Gut Health Program today.

Thryve Probiotics Gut Health

Resources

[1] Wilkins, Thad, and Jacqueline Sequoia. “Probiotics for Gastrointestinal Conditions: A Summary of the Evidence.” American Family Physician, 1 Aug. 2017, www.aafp.org/afp/2017/0801/p170.html.

[2] “Infectious Diarrhea: Can Probiotics Help against Diarrhea?” InformedHealth.org [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 May 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK373095/.

[3] “Anxiety Might Be Alleviated by Regulating Gut Bacteria.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 20 May 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190520190110.htm.

[4] Plaza-Díaz, Julio, et al. “Evidence of the Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics in Intestinal Chronic Diseases.” Nutrients, MDPI, 28 May 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490534/.

[5] Brusaferro, Andrea, et al. “Is It Time to Use Probiotics to Prevent or Treat Obesity?” Nutrients, MDPI, 1 Nov. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6266556/.

[6] Yan, F., & Polk, D. B. (2011). Probiotics and immune health. Current opinion in gastroenterology27(6), 496–501. doi:10.1097/MOG.0b013e32834baa4d

[7] Kober, M. M., & Bowe, W. P. (2015). The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging. International journal of women’s dermatology1(2), 85–89. doi:10.1016/j.ijwd.2015.02.001

[8] Tyc, K. M., Kühn, C., Wilson, D., & Klipp, E. (2014). Assessing the advantage of morphological changes in Candida albicans: a game theoretical study. Frontiers in microbiology5, 41. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00041

[9] Kumar, Suresh, et al. “Evaluation of Efficacy of Probiotics in Prevention of Candida Colonization in a PICU-a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Critical Care Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23361033.0

[10] Omura, Yoshiaki, et al. “Caprylic Acid in the Effective Treatment of Intractable Medical Problems of Frequent Urination, Incontinence, Chronic Upper Respiratory Infection, Root Canalled Tooth Infection, ALS, Etc., Caused by Asbestos & Mixed Infections of Candida Albicans, Helicobacter Pylori & Cytomegalovirus with or without Other Microorganisms & Mercury.” Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21830350.