Alternative medicine and treatment for fungal infections focuses on creating an internal environment where the fungus cannot survive. This is accomplished by eating a diet low in dairy products, sugars,
including honey and fruit juice, and foods like beer that contain yeast. This is complemented by a diet consisting, in large
part, of uncooked and unprocessed foods. Supplements of vitamins C, E, A-plus, and B complex may also be useful. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium will replenish the good bacteria in the intestines. Antifungal herbs, like garlic (Allium sativum), can be consumed in relatively large doses and for an extended period of time in order to increase effectiveness of alternative medicine.
Most of the substances practitioners recommend of alternative medicine help create an environment that yeast do not like or that the bodys own defenses do like. Some of the more common substances this investigator has used include aloe vera, astragalus, basil, beet root, bentonite, berberis root/berries, betaine hydrochloride, bile, biotin and other b vitamins, caprylic acid, castor oil, Chinese herbs (various), chlorophyll, citrus seed extract, cinnamon, cloves, colostrum, deer antler velvet, digestive enzymes, echinacea, essential monosaccharides, flowers (various), food multiple vitamins, garlic, goldenseal, glandulars, homeopathic & isopathic remedies, horsetail, l-glutamine, l-valine, lactoferrin, licorice, n-acetyl glucosamine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, oxygen (in various forms), paudarco (and other South American herbs), probiotics (including non-traditional ones), olive leaf, oregano (wild and oil forms), psyllium (seeds and/or hulls), Saccharomyces cerevisiae, silver (in various forms), thyme, tillandsia, una de gato (cats claw), vitamin C, wheat germ, white fish, and zinc. Caution about self-treatment needs to be stated: not everyone tolerates all these substances well, no one probably needs all of them, and perhaps most importantly, inadequate treatment seems to often leave the stronger fungal strains to become dominant. Because a compromised immune system or hormonal cycles can be involved (symptoms sometimes worsen near a womans menstrual cycle), nutritional support for the thyroid is also often a useful adjunct. This investigator has also had some success using other alternative medicine and naturopathic interventions, such as bioelectrical stimulation, proper food combining, fasting, and hydrotherapy. Those with dual infections perhaps take the longest amount of time to help get back to normal, and dual-infections seem to present relatively frequently in this population.
Die off and other adverse reactions sometimes are encountered
when interventions are successfull--normally these are frustrating as opposed to detrimental. Some holistic literature words
it, When yeast cells are rapidly killed by the immune system, drug treatment, or dietary intervention, a die-off or Herxheimer reaction occurs. This reaction is caused by the massive release of toxins from dying candida cells. Toxic proteins from the dead yeast cross cell membranes, enter the bloodstream, and trigger an intense immune reaction...Die-off reactions may last from a few days to a few weeks but usually in less than a week...A die-off reaction is especially pronounced when using powerful antifungal drugs like Nystatin that literally cause yeast cells to burst apart ; whereas medical literature has stated, For the 3 oral antifungal agents the more common adverse reactions (are)...nausea, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and administration of nystatin became impossible in three patients because of vomiting. Tiredness sometimes accompanies die-off.
Stressful situations, die-off, dimorphism, and the tendency
of one type of yeast to become dominant while another is being controlled, all make successful interventions complicated (as
does use of antibiotics or multiple infections). But naturopathic interventions are often the most appropriate ones to help
the body naturally fight the fungi itself and regain control of health. Weight-loss is difficult to sustain for overweight
people while most are combating a mycotic infection and that much of the progress in this arena does not take place until
the infection is controlled.
As there are 100,000 known
types of fungi, there is little doubt that more will be found to be pathogenic to humans. Additional mycobacilli species are
also being found to have clinical importance and even mycoplasma is being investigated. Candida, Aspergillus, and Mucor are
ubiquitous contaminants which colonize normal skin or gut without causing illness--it is only in immunosuppressed individuals
do these opportunistic fungi give rise to life threatening infections.
However, even though most of the symptoms are not life threatening, overgrowths of any of them can make human life miserable. All yeast produce toxins. It appears to this investigator that these toxins are responsible for symptoms such as itching, mucus, bowel difficulties, and can trigger an autoimmune reaction. Triggering of autoimmune response then seems to cause arthritic and some other pain-related symptoms. If one can reduce yeast populations, then the amount of toxins will be reduced and ultimately the body will be able to shut-off (or at least seriously reduce)
its autoimmune responses.
Practitioners need to understand that not all pathogenic mycotic organisms are known, few are ever tested for, relatively few are ever detected through the course of most medical appointments, some are not detected when tested for, and perhaps most importantly, all do not respond to the same dietary factors. Furthermore, there is no single herb, diet, electrical device, or naturopathic formula that this investigator has ever found that will always eliminate it. Getting systemic mycoses under control is a difficult and frustrating process, but the results are worth the effort; for many who are not leading normal lives now, can live normal (or near normal) lives after control.
About the Author
Dr. Robert Thiel is a
naturopathic physician, as well as a licensed naturopathic scientist. He is science editor for the American Naturopathic Medical
Association Monitor. He received his M.S. from the University of Southern California, Ph.D. from the Union Institute &
University, and his N.M.D. from First National University of Naturopathy. Dr. Thiel is the author of several books, including
Combining Old and New: Naturopathy for the 21st Century. He has written other papers on mycotic infections, and sees many
people with mycotic infections at the Doctors Research clinic in Arroyo Grande, California.
DrWeil.com suggesting garlic is effective
Systemic Mycoses: An Overview for Natural Health - Dr. Robert Thiel
Health: Alternative: Resources