What is Candida?

Yeast, including the organism Candida albicans, live in healthy bodies, on skin and mucus membranes, including the digestive tract.  In small amounts, their presence is normal and causes no harm.  However, when the immune system deteriorates, the hormonal balance is altered, or when the normal intestinal balance is affected, yeast can grow in number, a condition called “yeast overgrowth”, “Candidiasis”, or “Intestinal Dysbiosis”.  Candida is called an “opportunistic” pathogen because it only causes disease when it has the opportunity due to these imbalances.

What causes the normal body balance to be altered?

Anything that causes changes in the intestinal flora (bacterial and other organisms who reside there or lowers immune resistance can increase susceptibility to yeast overgrowth.  These include

What happens in the body then?

Overgrowth of yeast can occur on any mucus membrane in the digestive tract, in the mouth, skin, or in the vaginal area.  The organism can then release immunotoxins, which can suppress the immune system and allow further yeast growth.  Neurotoxic proteins from yeast can contribute to fatigue, irritability, headache, mood swings, and other neurological symptoms. Ordinarily, Candida exists in the yeast form that looks like a bud or ball.   The growth form of yeast is called the mycelial form, which resembles the roots of a plant.  These mycelia can damage the normal barrier in the intestinal lining, causing increased intestinal permeability or “leaky gut syndrome”.  Larger particles, such as undigested proteins from food, can then be absorbed from the intestine into the blood stream, setting the stage for food, mold, and other allergies, and chemical sensitivity as the immune surveillance recognizes these foreign invaders and launches an immune response.  Yeast and bacterial cell membrane fragments upregulate the immune system, increasing the tendency to allergies and auto-immune diseases.

How will I feel when this happens?

There are many general symptoms of a yeast infection.  You may have many of them or just a few.  They include: headache, depression, low energy, recurrent bladder or vaginal infections, prostatitis, rectal itch, chronic diarrhea or constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual irregularities, menstrual cramping, fungal skin or nail infections, heart burn, abdominal pain, bloating and gas, anxiety, confusion, disorientation, insomnia, impotence, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, joint swelling, chest pains, blurred vision, sore throats, persistent cough, rash and blisters in the mouth, sugar, bread, or alcohol cravings, chronic sinusitis, environmental and food allergies or worsening of symptoms in an atmosphere of smoke, perfume, mold, or on damp days.


Based on your symptoms and history, further testing may be requested by your doctor.  Some tests, which I have found particularly useful in diagnosing and treating Candida, include the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis or CDSA, the Intestinal Permeability test, and blood testing for elevated antibody/antigen levels to Candida.  The CDSA is the most useful test because it assesses digestive function, which is frequently impaired in patients with Candida. This test cultures not only for Candida and other yeast but assesses the state of all intestinal flora, favorable and potentially problematic.   It can also check for intestinal parasites.  The antibody testing can be useful in certain situations but has the drawback that it tests only for Candida and not other yeast and bacteria causing dysbiosis. Oral, vaginal, and rectal cultures can also be performed but are useful in a limited number of situations.  The Intestinal Permeability study is helpful in identifying damage to the intestinal tract, particularly important in those who have food allergies.  This test also assesses malabsorption.


The treatment for candidiasis is focused on restoring the normal balance in the system. In order to be successful, several important aspects must be addressed:

1. Reducing the total amount of yeast in your system by:

2.  Strengthening the immune system by:

3.  Restoring normal digestion, restoring the normal balance of organisms in the digestive tract by:

4.  Decreasing exposure to allergens and other substances that may depress immune function or encourage the growth of yeast by:

5. Immunotherapy:  Desensitization of allergic reactions to Candida and other molds, foods, and inhalants.


 What is a yeast free diet?

A yeast free diet eliminates food that encourages yeast to grow, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates, and foods that are likely to be cross-allergic, such as yeasted, fermented, or moldy foods.

Foods to enjoy as much as you like:

Foods that are helpful and should be eaten:

Foods to eat in moderation:



Sugar and refined carbohydrates in any form including sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, galactose, monosaccharides, honey, molasses, maple syrup and maple sugar, date sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, corn syrup, corn sweetener, white flour (also called enriched wheat flour), white rice, and any products made with these substances, fruit juice, fruit sweetener, high sugar fruits, cola or other soda.

Yeasted, moldy, and fermented foods:

YEASTED FOODS:  bread, crackers, pastries

FERMENTED FOODS: alcoholic beverages (including beer and wine), malt products, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Accent, MSG, steak sauce, barbecue sauce, and soy sauces.

MOLDY FOODS:  aged cheese, dried and candied fruits, leftovers (can be frozen instead of refrigerating to prevent mold growth), teas and dried herbs, mushrooms, morels, and truffles, fruit juices, peanuts.

OTHER FOODS containing yeast and/or chemicals, such as trans fatty acids: canned, processed, and “fast food”, processed and smoked meats, including ham, bacon, luncheon meats, sausage, or hot dogs.


LOW SUGAR: any melon, cantaloupe, rhubarb, *strawberries, watermelon

MODERATE SUGAR: apricots, *blackberries, *cranberries, *gooseberries, grapefruit, guava, limes, orange, papayas, peaches, plums *raspberries, tangerines, apples, *blueberries, *cherries, kumquats, *loganberries, mangoes, *mulberries, pomegranates.

HIGH SUGAR: *grapes, pears, pineapple, bananas, *figs, *prunes, *dates, *raisins, *currants, *any dried fruits.

If you have questions or problems with following this diet, please call our office or make an appointment to discuss it.  We also have recipes for soda bread, yeast free mayonnaise and salad dressings, etc.  Learn to read labels in order to identify which foods you can or cannot eat.

Can I ever eat these forbidden foods again?

The change in diet, while difficult and time consuming at first, will contribute to your recovery. The length of time that the diet should be followed varies greatly from person to person.  Depending on the extent yeast overgrowth and the severity of allergic reactions, your diet may be broadened again after a few months to include more foods.  However, sugar, refined, and processed foods, and commercially made products are best avoided for continued good health.

Where can I learn more about candidiasis?

Some relevant books include:

#1Crook, William G., M.D., The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough, (3rd edition, 1986, Jackson, Tennessee, Professional Books.) and other books by this author. (Also has a website by this name.)

#2 Connolly, Pat, The Candida Albicans Yeast Free Cookbook (New Canaan, CT:  Keats Publishing)

#3 Annechild, Annette and Laura Johnson, Yeast Free Living (New York: Putnam Publishing, 1986)

#4 Truss, Orion, M.D. The Missing Diagnosis, (Birmingham, AL  1983)

#5 Trowbridge, Dr. John Parks and Walker, Dr. Morton.  The Yeast Syndrome.

#6 Schepper, Le Duc, M.D.  Candida.

#7 Appleton, Nancy.  Lick The Sugar Habit.

The following organizations can also provide additional information and support:

International Health Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 3494

Jackson, TN 38303

(901)427-8100                FAX (901) 423-5402


Candida Research and Information Foundation

P.O. Drawer JF

College Station, TX  77841