Candida albicans is a naturally occurring fungus (yeast) found in the mouth, throat and digestive tract of all human beings. Candida overgrowth has many causes: including excessive use of antibiotics, sugar and alcohol in the diet. Curcumin (turmeric) combats candida "blooms" or systemic candidiasis.
Overgrowth of candida yeast in the intestines results in symptoms like fatigue, headache, jock itch, acne, gas and bloating, mood swings, sinus congestion, depression, poor memory and concentration, and cravings for sweets.
What is curcumin?
Curcumin (Curcuma longa) is Latin for turmeric. Curcumin extract is an antioxidant extract found in the spice turmeric. A member of the ginger family, the rich orange-yellow coloured spice is often found in Thai and Indian dishes. It has an earthy, slightly hot peppery flavour and a mustard-like smell. The roots of the turmeric plant are ground up and used in curry powders.
Curcumin combats candida
Widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for digestive disorders, curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antioxidant. It's been proven to inhibit the adhesion of candida yeast to human buccal epithelial cells (the walls of the digestive tract). Humans need candida, but curcumin/turmeric aids the immune system in keeping candida under control.
Where to find curcumin
Curry and pure curcumin/turmeric are available at most health food stores in the bulk spice aisle, along with recipes and cookbooks. Many delicious curry dishes are found at Indian and Thai restaurants. Curcumin/turmeric can also be purchased in supplement form as tablets or capsules.
Other candida related health issues
Candida albicans can get out of control causing intestinal upsets, vaginal infections or infections of the throat and mouth called thrush. In most cases, this is the result of frequent use of antibiotics, which can eliminate the "friendly" bacteria that keep yeast in check. Other drugs that wipe out intestinal flora or encourage candida blooms are steroids and oestrogen, either in the form of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Contact a naturopathic doctor for more information.