Candida is an opportunistic pathogen that can cause serious health problems when it is allowed to grow and spread unchecked in our bodies. Additionally, Candida albicans (C. albicans) create biofilms around their colonies, which protect them from the body’s immune system and make Candida infections difficult to treat.
Antifungals work by either killing the Candida Yeast directly or preventing it from replicating. Some antifungals attack the biofilm itself making Candida Yeast cells more vulnerable and susceptible to the treatment.
The best way to treat Candida Overgrowth is by following an anti-inflammatory and low-sugar Candida diet, as well as taking probiotics and antifungals.
Though pharmaceutical antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole and nystatin, are effective against fungus growth, they may also cause serious side effects. These prescription antifungals should only be used under close medical supervision to avoid developing Candida’s resistance to the medication. Alternatively, you can find natural antifungal foods, as well as take antifungal supplements against Candida infections. The effectiveness of antifungal compounds and natural antifungal herbs varies according to the strain of Candida and your personal supplement compatibility, but some natural antifungal supplements have proven to be effective against a wide range of fungi.
The Benefits of Taking Antifungal Candida Supplements
There are several benefits to taking antifungal Candida supplements, including:
Antifungal supplements are not only easy to take but they can also be taken at any time without worrying about meal planning or preparation. Some antifungal supplements come in a capsule form, while others are liquid extracts.
The supplement enables you to manage the dosage and concentration of a specific antifungal ingredient. If you are taking multiple antifungal supplements, being able to control the dosage is key.
Complementary to antifungal foods
Even though antifungal foods are the most natural method to consume antifungals, it is tough to determine precisely how active the compound you are receiving. Antifungal supplements will make up for the dosage you’re missing from food. When you opt for supplements, you also have a wider array of options to choose from than if you were getting your nutrients solely from food. Not to mention, you can rotate your antifungal supplements to avoid antifungal resistance.
Supplements List for Fungal Infections
1. Caprylic Acid
Caprylic acid, which is found in coconut oil, is an effective antifungal agent. It works by disrupting the cell membranes of Candida fungi and preventing Candida Yeast overgrowth and reproduction.
Not only is it effective when used internally, but it can also be applied topically to help treat skin infections thanks to its antimicrobial properties.
Caprylic acid is also beneficial in helping to regulate blood sugar levels, as well as cholesterol. It can help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease by improving the way your body metabolizes glucose. Furthermore, Caprylic acid can help with digestion by aiding in the breakdown of fats and proteins.
Silymarin, a flavonoid derived from the milk thistle plant (Silybum marianum), has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Traditionally, it was used to treat liver and gallbladder problems, but in recent years, research has continued to show that Silymarin is also highly effective against several fungal infections.
Studies have shown that Silymarin inhibits the growth and spread of Candida cells. This makes it difficult for the fungus to survive in a host. In fact, the study has shown that Silymarin provides antifungal activity against Candida albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei strains. Furthermore, Silymarin can be taken together with prescription antifungal drugs as there are no negative interactions between the two (2).
Berberine is a bioactive compound that can be extracted from several different plants, including Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis) and Barberry (Berberis Vulgaris). Berberine is a powerful alkaloid with active compounds that can be used to develop new drugs. Alkaloids have a variety of physiological effects, such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, psychotropic, and anti-tumor activity.
Though it is commonly used to help regulate blood sugar and weight, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing heart disease, there have been studies that suggest Berberine may also be effective treating Candida infections. One study found that Berberine might reduce the strength of biofilms created by fluconazole-resistant Candida tropicalis cells in a laboratory setting (petri dish experiments, as opposed to animal studies) (3). The exact mechanism of action is not yet known, but it likely involves disruption of membrane permeability or cell wall integrity.
4. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is derived from the herb Oregano (Origanum vulgare), native to the Mediterranean. Oregano herb has been used since ancient times as a culinary and medicinal herb. Oregano oil is a concentrated extract of the Oregano herb, made by steam-distilling the leaves and flowers of the plant. This is different from the essential oil of oregano, which should not be consumed.
Oregano oil has long been used in traditional medicine for its potent antifungal properties and as a natural antibiotic. It contains Thymol and Carvacrol, two compounds that treat fungal infection and Candida biofilms (5). Another study revealed that Oregano oil is effective at inhibiting some Candida species, which provides an opportunity to use it alongside the prescription antifungals and reduce their dosage (6).
In addition to its antifungal properties, Oregano leaf extract may also provide additional benefits when used to treat Candida Yeast Overgrowth. This includes stimulating the immune system, reducing inflammation, and improving digestion.
If you decide to take Oregano oil in liquid form, make sure that it is mixed with carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. Oregano oil has a strong and spicy taste that can be difficult to stomach without the addition of carrier oil.
NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is a supplement form of Cysteine. Cysteine is found in most protein-rich foods, such as meats, seafood, and dairy products. It’s considered a semi-essential amino acid as your body can produce it from other amino acids.
NAC is primarily used as an antioxidant because it helps neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that can damage cells and tissue in your body. It is also routinely used as an antidote to acetaminophen (Tylenol) overdose because it helps prevent liver damage caused by the medication.
NAC aids in proper liver function, assisting your body to process and expel toxins produced by Candida Overgrowth. This helps reduce uncomfortable symptoms associated with Candida Yeast Overgrowth.
Echinacea (E. purpurea)or purple coneflower is one of the most popular herbs worldwide. Native to North America, Echinacea is an herb commonly used to treat colds and flu.
Echinacea plants contain an impressive variety of active compounds, such as caffeic acid, alkamides, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid, polyacetylenes, and many more. These compounds act as antioxidants and are responsible for the medicinal properties of Echinacea.
Polysaccharides, one of the main active compounds, help to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, making it a great natural remedy for fighting off Candidiasis (8).
In addition, Echinacea acts as an immune stimulant and helps to strengthen the body’s defenses against Candida infection. Studies have shown that Echinacea increases the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infection (9).
7. Garlic Extract
Garlic extract has been proven to be a powerful antifungal agent against Candida albicans, the most common cause of yeast infections.
Allicin and Ajoene are the two active ingredients in garlic extract known for their antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allicin works by inhibiting the growth of fungi on the skin and mucous membranes, while Ajoene blocks the biofilm formation of Candida Yeast infections and other pathogens (10).
Consuming fresh garlic is the best way to receive all of its antifungal properties, but some people cannot tolerate it well. If you have to interact with colleagues face-to-face at work, eating fresh garlic is out of the question because it causes bad breath. If you’re worried about garlic’s strong smell, there are multiple dietary supplements that allow you to get the benefits of garlic without causing bad breath.
Aged garlic extract and fermented garlic are better than raw garlic at providing antioxidant and antiglycation (anti-aging) benefits (11). If you can find them, aged garlic supplements are gentler on the stomach compared to other versions of garlic.
8. Pau D’Arco
Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa and Tabebuia avellanedae species) is a bark of a tree that has been used by native people of the Amazon to treat a variety of conditions, including fungal infections and inflammation.
The bark of the Tabebuia tree has properties that make it resistant to rotting, mold, and other common tree pathogens. The two main active compounds in the plant, Lapachol and Quercetin, are thought to be responsible for the medicinal benefits.
Several studies conducted using test tubes found that Lapachol was able to eliminate various disease-causing bacteria in the gut as well as viruses linked to common cold and flu symptoms (12).
Although animal studies show promise, there is still a lack of human trials. Furthermore, the doses that showed positive effects in the studies would be toxic to humans. Pau D’Arco supplements usually come in 500- to 550-milligram capsules. Because it’s difficult to control dosage when taking Pau D’Arco in its raw form as bark tea, it’s best to be extra cautious with this type of supplementation.
9. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract (OLE) is made from the leaves of the olive tree and contains phytonutrients and antioxidants. The main three phenolic compounds present in olive oil – oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and tyrosol, are responsible for the antioxidant properties. The concentration of these compounds is significantly higher in OLE than in extra virgin olive oil.
A study conducted on olive leaf extract against the presence of Candida showed that it was able to effectively suppress the fungus. The study showed that Olive leaf extract is effective in the treatment and prevention of Candidiasis and oral thrush caused by Candida albicans (13).
Not only does Olive leaf extract help cure Candida infection, but it also helps improve heart health and reduce inflammation. Olive leaf extract has been found to help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
Taking a supplement like OLE is a great way to get the health benefits of olive oil, even if you don’t cook with it.
Though most people associate Ginger with green tea, you would have to eat a lot of it to get an adequate amount of ginger. If you don’t eat much Ginger or find it hard to work into your dishes, ginger supplements may be the way to go in order to ensure you’re getting enough.
The natural antifungal properties of Ginger come from the antioxidant compounds – gingerols, shogaols, and paradols.
Several studies have shown Ginger’s effectiveness against Candida fungal cells. One study found that a mouthwash containing ginger extract was an effective natural antifungal compound against Candida albicans and Candida Krusei, as well as preventing biofilm buildup (14). In a study published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences, researchers discovered that Ginger is comparable in effectiveness to Nystatin, a prescription drug, in fighting off Candida (15). A study published in 2021 showed that using Ginger extract alongside Fluconazole is more effective in treating drug-resistant vulvovaginal candidiasis (16).
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound in turmeric with antimicrobial properties, is what gives turmeric its color. The actual turmeric spice only contains around 3% of curcumin by weight. You would need to consume large quantities of turmeric with your food to get the dosages used in the studies showing the effectiveness of curcumin against Candida. The right dosage of the active ingredient is easily attained through a supplement that also contains Piperine to amplify the absorption of Curcumin.
Curcumin has been shown to be effective against Candida in multiple studies over the years, but one study stands out because it tested Curcumin’s efficacy against 23 different strains of fungi. The study found that Curcumin is a powerful antifungal, more potent than Fluconazole against certain strains of fungi (17).
According to another study, Curcumin’s effectiveness against candida increases 10-fold when taken together with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (18).
Unlike other supplements, Curcumin is fat-soluble, meaning it breaks down and dissolves in fat or oil. For optimal absorption of the turmeric supplement, consider taking it with a meal that contains high levels of fat.
When Should I Take Antifungals for Candida infections?
The timing of when you take antifungals is crucial. Here are some general tips:
The Candida Meal Plan is the best place to start when you are trying to fight Candida Overgrowth because three factors are in play – dietary changes, taking probiotics, and antifungals. After 2-3 weeks of following an anti-inflammatory, low-sugar Candida diet, you may want to consider adding probiotics to your routine. After you begin taking probiotic supplements and consuming probiotic foods, it is best to wait a week before introducing antifungals. If you begin taking antifungals while in the initial phase of starting the Candida Meal Plan, they won’t be as beneficial because they will likely be cleared out by your system along with all the pathogens. Starting the Candida Meal Plan alone will likely cause the Candida die-off process. Candida is destroyed by both probiotics and antifungals. Starting antifungals and probiotics at the same time can lead to releasing toxins into your digestive tract because it kills Candida Yeast cells too rapidly. The Candida die-off process, also known as the Herxheimer reaction, can cause many uncomfortable Candida symptoms in addition to those caused by intestinal Candida Overgrowth.
It’s essential to allow adequate time for each step so that you can comfortably make the necessary changes and enjoy the process overall.
Take several antifungals consistently
For the best results possible, try taking at least two antifungals consistently at the same time. You need to be consistent with your treatment to prevent Candida albicans from adapting to the treatment. If you rotate antifungals before they have had a chance to work, Candida can build up resistance against them. It is more effective to use a set of antifungals and give them time to work their magic, rather than rotating them too quickly.
Take antifungals with probiotics
The Candida Meal Plan is designed to help eliminate Candida overgrowth by cutting off its food sources and destroying the yeast cells.
Antifungals and probiotics are both important in the fight against Candida Overgrowth, and they actually work together to provide effective treatment. Antifungals work by weakening the Candida biofilm and destroying its colonies. Then, probiotics replenish your gut with good bacteria to prevent Candida yeast cells from overgrowing again.
In a 2017 study, antifungals and probiotics were shown to be effective treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases. Antifungals and probiotics are very effective when used together because the former works to break down biofilms while the latter reestablishes gut flora (19).
Take antifungals at different times of day
To see the best results, it’s recommended that you take probiotics and antifungals at different times during the day. By doing this, you stop the mild antibiotic properties in your antifungals from interfering with your probiotics. Most probiotic bacteria strains, except for Saccharomyces boulardi, are very susceptible to antibiotics. So it’s important to take antifungals separately from probiotics.
Take antifungals after meals
Antifungal medication is more likely to be effective when taken with a meal or snack, to reduce the chances of upsetting the stomach. Also, eating meals stimulates digestion and provides a greater opportunity to properly absorb antifungals.
As a general guideline, it is best to wait at least an hour or two between taking your probiotics and antifungals. For example, you can take probiotics early in the morning before breakfast and take your antifungals with lunch or dinner.
How Long Should I Take Antifungals for Candida Overgrowth?
Antifungals, in contrast to probiotics, should be thought of as medication with a set length of treatment. You can discontinue taking your antifungals once you’ve completed your treatment plan and feel that you have overcome your Candida Yeast Overgrowth. Although it’s usually good to take probiotics for extended periods of time to maintain your healthy gut flora, taking antifungals for too long may have the opposite effect. Antifungals are natural antibiotics and can kill off healthy bacteria in your intestinal tract if used too long. Plus, Candida can become resistant to antifungals if you take them too long.
When you decide to stop taking antifungals, start tapering off both the dosage and frequency. Keep an eye out for any return of Candida Overgrowth symptoms. If you feel that your Candida Overgrowth symptoms are coming back, return to your original dosage until the Candida symptoms resolve. If you’re feeling okay after cutting back on your antifungals, then go ahead and keep reducing your intake until you don’t need the supplements anymore. If you have any questions or concerns about how to treat fungal infections, speak to your doctor about your possible options for antifungal Candida treatment.