How to tell if you’re at risk—and what you can do to protect yourself…starting today
Most people think of yeast infections as little more than an uncomfortable nuisance. But there’s absolutely nothing harmless about yeast overgrowth. In fact, Candida (the most common type of yeast to cause fungal infection) is a hidden cause behind a number of chronic conditions—from allergies to IBS.
And some shocking new research shows that if you don’t keep it under control, yeast can be downright deadly.
Candida hijacks your body—and turns it against you
For years, doctors simply assumed that any connection between cancer and Candida was opportunistic. (That is, the disease simply made it easier for fungal infections to take hold.)
But that notion is beginning to change. In fact, there’s growing concern among the medical community that yeast itself may be a driving force behind cancer’s development and spread.
As part of a recent review published earlier this year, researchers investigated the connection between cancer and Candida further. And they proposed several different pathways by which Candida may actually prove deadly.
For starters, yeast generates carcinogenic byproducts within your body. These include nitrosamines—the same compounds that have implicated processed meats in the development of several different types of cancer (including pancreatic, stomach, and colon cancer). As well as acetaldehyde. (Fun fact: This DNA-damaging toxin is also the main offender behind hangovers—and it spikes as yeast cells die off.)
But these toxic byproducts aren’t the only way yeast burdens your body. Yeast overgrowth also compromises your digestive tract’s integrity, weakening the walls of your gut and causing “leaks.” This allows food particles, yeast, and other toxins to permeate your gut’s lining and trigger systemic reactions.
This paves the way not only to allergies and other immune problems, but to inflammation, which is the underlying cause of any number of chronic and even fatal conditions—including cancer.
Finally, yeast also appears to hijack your body on a cellular level. It triggers responses from Th17 cells. These specialized cells combat Candida, but it turns out they may also promote tumor growth.
Obviously, yeast isn’t something you can afford to ignore. But how do you know if you have a problem with Candida?
The obvious—and not-so-obvious—red flags of infection
Sometimes, fungal infections are unmistakable. Maybe you have skin or nail infections—athlete’s foot, ringworm, tinea versicolor, or toenail fungus. Or maybe you’re dealing with recurrent vaginal infections and UTIs instead. Both of these situations are fairly straightforward manifestations of yeast overgrowth in the body.
But the signs and symptoms aren’t always obvious.
So if I see a patient dealing with a combination of the following issues—and especially one who hasn’t found any relief despite repeated attempts at treatment—I always consider the possibility of an underlying Candida overgrowth:
- Chronic fatigue
- Autoimmune disease (including skin problems like eczema or psoriasis)
- Severe seasonal allergies
- Irritable bowels (in the form of constipation, diarrhea, or bloating)
- Depression, anxiety, and other mood problems
- Extreme sugar and carb cravings
The bottom line? Hidden yeast/fungal infections are more common than you may think. And addressing them is more urgent than most doctors may even recognize.
If you want to cut off yeast, you need to stop feeding it
Dealing with yeast overgrowth requires eliminating yeast-promoting foods from your diet. This includes sugar or any food that converts into sugar in your body, like white bread, pasta, etc. (Of course, don’t forget: Ditching these foods will go a long way in helping you recover from just about any condition you may be dealing with—whether or not Candida is a problem for you.)
Cheese and fermented foods also fall into this category. So while I normally give these items the thumbs-up, if you do have a problem with Candida, you should keep very close tabs on your consumption of them.
I recommend looking online to find a complete rundown of yeast-promoting foods—unfortunately, it would be way too long to include here. But in the meantime, here’s a quick list you can use as a guide to get started:
- High-sugar fruit or fruit juice
- Simple carbohydrates and starches
- Fermented foods
- Smoked meats or fish
Six compounds that can banish fungus for good
Once you eliminate the foods that feed yeast from your diet, it’s time to start introducing nutrients that can actively fight fungal infections. And luckily, there are lots of them:
- Probiotics. Most yeast overgrowths start in the gut. And the only way to restore proper balance is to restore microbial diversity with a high-quality probiotic—which means one that contains multiple strains of flora along with a prebiotic. (I like Dr. Ohhira’s.) To combat yeast overgrowth, I recommend up to five capsules twice per day for two days, and then two capsules twice per day for three months.
- Grapefruit seed extract. This is one of the flavonoids in grapefruit that helps break down the Candida cell wall. I recommend 200 mg three times per day.
- Caprylic acid. This is a naturally occurring medium chain fatty acid used to fight fungal overgrowth. I recommend 100 mg three times per day.
- Garlic. The allicin or sulfur based component of garlic is a well-known anti-fungal. I recommend 240 mg three times per day.
- Olive leaf extract. The active ingredient here is oleuropein, which interferes with the production of amino acids essential to fungi formation. I recommend 500 mg three times per day.
- Curcumin. You may already recognize curcumin as a world-class antioxidant and inflammation fighter. But new research also shows that its potent anti-fungal effects may be particularly beneficial to cancer patients dealing with complicated yeast infections—offering a double dose of support where it’s needed the most.
These supplements all help to keep Candida in check—but even I’ll admit that yeast overgrowth can be stubborn and recurrent. And sometimes you need to break out the big guns to get the job done.
Anti-fungal medications like nystatin, ketoconazole, or fluconazole are available for this purpose. And you can work with your doctor to develop a more aggressive anti-fungal protocol, if necessary.
 Ramirez-Garcia A, et al. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2016;42(2):181-93.
 Onodera Y, et al. J Clin Invest. 2014 Jan;124(1):367-84.
 Chen J, et al. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Feb 5;772:33-42.