Candida is a frustrating health problem. It can leave your energy drained, your body itchy, and your
joints sore. Not to mention all the stomach problems. Like many other Candida patients, you probably
wish there can be a quick shortcut to cure this disease. Before jumping into the latest treatment hype,
you should learn about the five mistakes people make when treating Candida overgrowth:
1. Assume You Have Candida
Many people assume that they have Candida after reading an article on the disease and following the
spit test self-exam. If you are wondering what the “spit test” is, it is precisely how you imagine – spitting
into a glass of water and examining your saliva. According to the instructions, you suffer from Candida
overgrowth if your spit appears cloudy and sinks to the bottom of the glass. Fact. The general scientific
consensus is that spit test is “completely bogus”, but there are also people like myself who believe that a
positive spit test can be seen as a sign which can potentially indicate a range of various kinds of digestive
problems. There are many explanations for the cloudy, sinking result, anything from what you just ate to
other underlying health problems. Problems like poor starch digestion, stomach or pancreatic issues,
even including a range of oral/dental issues including periodontitis. Clinical experience has shown me
that many patients who had a positive spit test were also more likely to return a positive urinary indican
test, a sign of protein malabsorption leading to dysbiosis, which we call SIBO today.
It is easy to assume you have a problem with yeast when in fact you don’t. A study shows that out of
150 female patients seeking medical attention for vaginal yeast infection, only 26% of them actually
suffer from the condition (1).
Another problem with treating yeast infection without professional diagnosis is that you can damage
your digestive system and gut microbiome, and induce a severe leaky gut problem.
If you think you may have a case of Candida, then we recommend that you seek professional help. For a
more comprehensive yeast infection checklist, please check out the Candida quiz on yeastinfection.org.
2. Follow Ultra-Strict Diets as Long-Term Diet Plan
You may have heard that you must live your life following an ultra-strict diet such as an SCD diet, GAPS
diet, or FODMAPS diet if you suffer from Candida. These diets are not long-term diet plans or lifelong
diet rules. They are short term cleanse that aims to balance your gut microbiome and retrain how you
view food. In the long run, no one can sustain a healthy lifestyle eating this way. You are likely to get
bored or fall sick from nutritional deficiency. Many people end up falling off the diet and return to their
old eating habits.
The most recent diet hype concentrates on high protein and low carb intake. You may think that low
carb must be good for controlling gut bacteria. Even though too much carbs and added sugar can cause
Candida overgrowth, extremely low blood sugar levels can also fuel yeast infection. How can this be
true? When individuals go through hypoglycemia and experience ketosis, they experience symptoms
such as lightheadedness, fatigue, and brain fog. And to adjust their blood glucose level, they end up
eating high sugar content food and fruits. Once this happens, their blood sugar level spikes and creates a
perfect environment for Candida to thrive.
3. Concentrate only on Diet and Neglect Changes in Lifestyle
Stress plays a crucial role in blood glucose levels. When we are stressed out, increased cortisol level in
your bloodstream puts your health at extreme risk of developing various health problems such as high
blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and migraines. Increased cortisol level is also
known to block insulin release, and causes two effects on blood sugar level:
- It creates spikes in blood sugar level
- It makes our bodies react more sensitive towards sugar intake (2)
As mentioned earlier, these significant fluctuations can fuel a yeast infection.
So what can create stress in your life? Long working hours, irregular sleeping schedules, poor
relationships with family, and even lack of exercise can all contribute to physical, psychological, and
emotional stress on your well-being. In a way, Candida overgrowth is a warning sign that you need to
lower your stress level and work on your life.
Many people also do not consider that when you spend so much time and energy obsessed with your
diet, you are causing both physical and psychological stress on yourself. Scientific studies suggest that
stress plays a role in influencing the immune system and increasing the risk of developing yeast
4. Poor supplementation or No Supplementation Thinking the Problem Will Go Away
Although mild cases of a yeast infection may seem to go away, it is a misconception. Just because
symptoms decrease does not mean you have fully recovered from the condition. Over time, you will
discover that each bout of infection resurgence becomes worse than the previous experience. When the
overgrowth condition escalates to moderate or severe levels, you can no longer shake off the symptoms
and become aware you have a serious health problem. So even if you suffer from mild cases of Candida,
always seek professional help and receive treatment. It is easier to rid the problem when overgrowth is
at earlier stages.
Another mistake many people make is to self-medicate with a concoction of supplements from different
health brands. One, not all health brands are reputable and produce quality supplements and
treatments. Two, mixing formulae from various brands can cancel out the healing property or create
unexpected side effects. Let health professionals do their job.
5. A glass of alcohol is okay
No, it is not okay. One drink can wipe out all your hard work to recovery. Regardless of all the studies on
how red wine may benefit our health, alcohol can be damaging to our bodies. According to health
correlation studies, alcohol is responsible for causing more than 200 health diseases (4) that include:
- Heart diseases
- Lung diseases
- Liver cirrhosis
- Liver cancer
- Intestinal diseases
- Reproductive disorders
- Mood and psychological disorders
- Hormonal imbalance
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Why is alcohol so damaging? When we consume alcohol, it is converted into acetaldehyde. This
chemical is known to cause damage to body cells and tissues. In small doses, it causes sleepiness,
amnesia, incoordination, and hangover. The big problem with alcohol is that many simply drink too
much, and too often.
How does it affect the gut? Clinical studies show that acetaldehyde kills the gut lining cells and gut
bacteria, slows down the gut’s functioning, and impairs the cell repair process (5). It means every time
you drink alcohol, you are not just stopping your progress. You are taking steps back and making your
recovery more difficult.
Aside from the digestive system, alcohol also impairs the immune system. Scientific lab results show
that alcohol suppresses the production of two types of white blood cells (monocytes and natural killer
cells) (6). Monocytes build adaptive immunity; natural killer cells are responsible for killing cells that
have been infected. This means that alcohol suppresses the immune system in two ways:
1) Lower the detection of infected cells and killing them before they cause infections and cancer growth
2) Impairs the immune system from building immunity against bacteria and virus
Many people drink to elevate their mood and lower stress. Although it may seem to work for short
durations, alcohol consumption increases the secretion of glucocorticoid and corticotrophin-releasing
hormone in the body (7). What are these two chemicals, and how do they affect our bodies?
Glucocorticoid is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. It has anti-inflammatory properties
and controls the body’s metabolism rate. It is also known to influence mood and sleep-wakefulness
cycles. An overabundance of glucocorticoid can trigger immunosuppression, osteoporosis, insulin
resistance, depression, insomnia, muscle atrophy, and sudden fat gain (8).
Corticotropin-releasing hormone is a hormone that is released by the hypothalamus in response to
stress. Once released, it triggers the secretion of cortisol (stress hormone). The more corticotrophin-
releasing hormone is released into the bloodstream, the more cortisol is secreted by the body.
In combination, alcohol consumption suppresses the immune system, makes the gut more sensitive to
sugar intake, increases the stress level, triggers depression, and disrupts your sleep. If you suffer from
Candida, drinking alcohol is like throwing water onto an oil fire.
(1) Ehrstrom, Sophia M. et. al. (2005). Signs of Chronic Stress in Women with Recurrent Candida
Vulvovaginitis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 193(4): 1376-1381.
(2) Wong, H., Singh, J., Go, R. M., Ahluwalia, N., & Guerrero-Go, M. A. (2019). The Effects of Mental
Stress on Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes: Determining the Relationship Between Catecholamine and
Adrenergic Signals from Stress, Anxiety, and Depression on the Physiological Changes in the Pancreatic
Hormone Secretion. Cureus, 11(8), e5474.
(3) Saint Louis University. (2007, September 16). Common Misdiagnosis: Most Women Believe They
Have A Yeast Infection When They Don't. ScienceDaily.
(4) Shield, K. D., Parry, C., & Rehm, J. (2013). Chronic diseases and conditions related to alcohol
use. Alcohol research : current reviews, 35(2), 155–173.
(5) Tamura, M., Ito, H., Matsui, H., & Hyodo, I. (2014). Acetaldehyde is an oxidative stressor for gastric
epithelial cells. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 55(1), 26–31.
(6) Loyola University Health System. (2014, December 29). Binge drinking disrupts immune system in
young adults, study finds. ScienceDaily.
(7) Anthenelli, R., & Grandison, L. (2012). Effects of stress on alcohol consumption. Alcohol research :
current reviews, 34(4), 381–382.
(8) Caratii, Giorgio, Pauline Pfander, & Laura Matthews. (2018). Glucocorticoids: Restoring Balance
During Stress. Endocrinologist: 130(Winter 2018).
Eric Bakker Bio:
Eric Bakker is a naturopath, author, and researcher. Eric has professionally represented many top-level nutritional companies in the world. For thirty-four years his clinic has embraced the integration of natural therapies and science-based conventional medicine. Eric has practiced in conjunction with many different doctors for many years throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the USA and has gained extensive knowledge of both natural and orthodox medicine. You can learn more about Eric Bakker on his youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/CandidaCrusher/).