Candida is a type of yeast-like fungus that grows in the gut, mouth, skin and vagina. When it starts to proliferate it can cause infections of the mucus membranes. Candida overgrowth has a number of causes, including antibiotics, weakened immune system, cancer, AIDS, serious burns and poor diet. Most often, it is due to an overgrowth of yeast flora within the gastrointestinal tract and can be treated using probiotics.
What Are Probiotics
Probiotics are nutritional supplements that contain live bacteria able to colonise the human gastrointestinal tract and prevent the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and fungus. As well as having an overall balancing effect on the health of the host and a strengthening effect on the immune system, specific strains of probiotics are beneficial for the treatment of specific disorders such as urinary infections and candida.
Symptoms of Candida
Although Candida albicans does occur naturally in the human body, when its growth gets out of hand it may cause a wide range of health problems that often go undiagnosed. The lengthy list of symptoms includes bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, alcohol craving, anxiety, diarrhoea, mood swing, constipation, inability to concentrate, skin irritation, muscle weakness, indigestions, sore throat and joint pain.
Acidophilus is one of the most common strains of friendly probiotic. Because it prevents the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and fungus, it can help cure and prevent candida. This prevents vaginal yeast infections and yeast infections of the mouth and throat. It also aids with the breakdown of food for digestion and can prevent infectious diarrhoea. Further, it reduces the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and can improve lactose absorption.
Bifidobacteria are among the friendly strains of probiotics and can inhibit the growth of candida. This types of probiotic promotes the production of hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and acetic acid, all of which increase the acidity of the intestinal tract, making it an unsuitable environment for the growth of candida and harmful bacteria. It also helps to repair damage in the lining of the intestinal tract and strengthens the immune system.
How to Take Probiotics
It's best to take probiotics on an empty stomach, at least thirty minutes before your next meal. Ensure that the supplement you choose contains live bacteria and check the expiration date on the label. Keep the supplement refrigerated so that it remains viable. A probiotic with an enteric coating will ensure that the maximum potency survives your stomach acid. The dosage of probiotics is measured in the number (in billions) of live organism contained in one daily dose. Five to ten billion per day are recommended.