Probiotic Strains & Studies For Candida
I have had Candidiasis a couple of times before learning about probiotic bacteria.
The symptoms were unpleasant for me and I came across a lot of conflicting advice that actually can make candida worse.
I had vaginal issues, dandruff, dry itchy skin, and a lot of fatigue.
I have spent hours combing through medical studies for this guide and will share some of the best probiotic strains that may help.
What Is Candida?
Candida Albicans are typically present in small amounts throughout the digestive tract, mouth, rectum, skin, and of course the vaginal tract.
Most people with the candida yeast won't even notice any problems with small amounts and the candida pathogenic yeast simply will exist normally as part of the flora that contains good bacteria, bad bacteria, and yeast.
The Candida fungus can however become a problem for people at the point when it overgrows and begins to spread.
This can happen when you don't have enough good lactobacilli bacteria in your microbiome to fight off the candida yeast.
Gut Dysbiosis, stress, antibiotics, diet, and lack of probiotic foods can all limit the amount of Lactobacillus bacteria someone has in their microbiome. Let's take a look at these potential causes in more detail.
Probiotics For Candida Studies
The use of probiotic bacteria for candida has been well studied in recent years these studies help answer questions like if probiotics can make candida worse and if they can help in any way.
This amazing study was published on the 9th of June in 2022 on Nature.com and tested the use of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus.
The study started by claiming that "Intestinal microbiota dysbiosis" was a cause for the growth of various Candida species and this study tested the effects on the intestinal epithelial cells.
The study found that L. Rhamnosus suppressed C. Albicans infection whilst reducing damage to the intestinal tissue which is also an interesting finding for those suffering from leaky intestinal gut issues.
The study showed that L. Rhamnosus created a hostile environment for C. Albicans by depleting Glucose, fructose, mannose, and N-acetylglucosamine/N- metabolites. The strain was also able to reduce certain amino acids that acted as a source of food for Candida.
The study showed that antibiotics were able to kill the L. Rhamnosus bacteria which subsequently stopped the reprogramming of C. Albicans. The study was carried out in vitro intestinal model that mimicked the intestinal cell environment.
Lactobacillus Fermentum, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Paracasei
This next study from Rhode Island Hospital & The University of Estadual Paulista isolated 30 different Lactobacillus Strains and found that Lactobacillus Fermentum 20.4, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus 5.2, and Lactobacillus Paracasei 28.4 had the most effective inhibitory effects on C. Albicans.
The one negative to this study is that it wasn't carried out in humans but in a vitro setting so it's unclear if these probiotic strains could also help in humans who have candida. It wasn't stated how long it took for these probiotic strains to work against the Candida albicans biofilms.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus & Lactobacillus Plantarum
In 2015 researchers from the same Brazilian institute set out to test in a vitro setting if the Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356 probiotic strain would be able to stop biofilm formation of C. Albicans in vitro analysis. In a vivo setting, Galleria mellonella moths were first infected with C. Albicans.
They were then given via injection to the L. Acidophilus probiotic bacteria. The vitro study showed the strain stopped biofilm formation and the vivo study showed that moths had increased protection from candidiasis compared to moths not treated with the L. Acidophilus bacteria.
Another study also gave credence to the Lactobacillus Acidophilus strain when it tested it against different oral candida species extracted from human patients. The study tested L. Acidophilus along with L. Plantarum and there were varying positive results.
L. Acidophilus was most beneficial against C. krusei & C. glabrata whilst L. Plantarum helped against C. krusei, C. albicans and C. glabrata. One good probiotic supplement that contains both of these strains is FlowFlora.
Best Probiotic Brands For Candida
Whilst it's totally possible to get Lactobacillus bacteria naturally from fermented foods like Kefir or Sauerkraut it's not always known what Lactobacillus strains you will get and at what CFU count.
Taking a probiotic supplement offers the benefit of knowing what specific strain you will get and if that strain has been studied for Candida or not. I do, however, enjoy washing down my probiotic capsule with some organic kefir milk.
Rexall L. Acidophilus probiotic has a low CFU of 100-Million active cultures from just 1 probiotic strain and contains no prebiotic fiber. It is quite a weak probiotic compared to some others. Rexall is however available at dollar general for a low price of under $6.00 and the customer reviews are generally quite positive. It featured the L. Acdiohpilus probiotic strain that was featured in some Candida studies and is a good daily probiotic to take if you want to minimize the side effects you often get from higher CFU probiotic supplements.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifdobacterium Lactis, Lactobacillus Plantarum & Lactobacillus Paracasei.
FlowFlora is a probiotic supplement I created after testing a bunch of probiotic supplements for this blog and discovering what made a probiotic supplement work. My probiotic features L. Acidophilus & L. Plantarum which were two strains featured in a candida effective study I shared. FlowFlora also has prebiotic fiber which can help feed probiotic bacteria helping it colonize your intestines better.
Lactobacillus Reuteri, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG, Lactococcus Lactis, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Paracasei, Lacobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Brevis, Bifidobacterium Lactis & Bifidobacterium Infantis.
RenewLife is a brand that offers a lot of different probiotic supplements for various health issues. Their 25-billion CFU supplement Women's Care Probiotic was made to help maintain vaginal PH & yeast levels. It's a probiotic that features 12 strains featured in some candida studies. It's quite cost-effective at just $16.44 for 30-capsules and can be bought physically at retailers like Target or Walmart.
What Causes Candida Yeast Overgrowth?
The health of your microbiome is vitally important for the overall function of your digestive and immune health and when you damage the gut a whole host of issues can occur.
An imbalance in gut bacteria is called Gut Dysbiosis and it has been well studied in the past. Candida overgrowth can best be described as Dysbiosis since there is too much yeast and not enough good bacteria to balance things out.
I recently wrote about my decision to take my Doctors advice and take antibiotics for quite a nasty infection and it was a difficult thing to do because I am fully aware of the effects that antibiotics have.
Not just the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria in the gut and the consequences this can later have for conditions like Candida Albicans.
According to at least one recent study from 2020 published in BMC Genomics, it was concluded that oral antibiotics "decreased gut microbiota diversity".
This is significant because, without a diverse range of Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria in the hour microbiome, a prime setting for candida yeast to grow is created.
If you have run a course of antibiotics recently and ended up with a yeast infection this could be one reason. You may also want to limit yeast intake with a candida infection and a lot of beers are super high in yeast.
Recently I wrote a blog post about the effects that alcohol may have on the microbiome and probiotic bacteria.
I discovered that some red wines contain polyphenols that have the potential to boost gut bacteria & also work as a type of prebiotic fiber but despite this, it was still vital to drink alcohol in moderation.
A 2019 meta-analysis found that high consumption of alcohol could lead to gut dysbiosis. If you drank too much alcohol then this gut dysbiosis imbalance in the natural gut flora could lead to candida.
Some types of alcohol can also be high in sugar which could result in inflammation in your intestines.
Foods High In Sugar
A review published in 2020 by Reetta Satokari from the Human Microbiome Research Program in Helsinki Finland looked at the effects of a high sugar diet and pro-inflammatory effects on gut bacteria.
It claimed the highly processed modern western diet was low in plant fiber and high in sugar and it was found that high intakes of sugar could "stagger the balance of microbiota", and increase gut permeability and inflammation.
Aside from these effects internally in the digestive tract, sugar unfortunately is an excellent source of food for candida yeast and allows it to thrive and multiply.
Sugar can cause candida in a two-pronged approach by first causing inflammation in the gut leading to the death of probiotic bacteria and then after that feeding the yeast.
Sugar can be found in white bread, pasta dishes, and other high-carb dishes. Glucose is not only found in candy or fructose fruits.
Different Types Of Candida
For women, Candida often shows up in the vaginal area as Vaginal Candidiasis. This happens because the area is typically warm & moist making it an ideal condition for the candida to grow.
For those with an imbalance in bacteria, there may not be enough Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria in the vaginal microbiome to fight off the candida yeast. Not everyone will experience symptoms in the vagina though, and here are some other common types of candida.
The largest microbiome in the human body is the colon and gut so because of that it's likely most people with Candida issues will also experience gut issues. These may include farting, bloating, fatigue, pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and just a general feeling of being unwell. If you have cravings for junk sugary foods this is another tell-tale sign of candida in your gut.
The opening of the ear is another good area for yeast to grow because of the warm conditions. Whilst fungal infections of the ear are rarer, some people do experience candida of the ear. It can be caused by the Aspergillus mold and cause itchiness, fluid, and hearing loss. If you experience any of these symptoms you should consult with your doctor ASAP and not use probiotics.
Mouth & Throat
Candida in the mouth (thrush) is perhaps one of the easiest to diagnose. If you stick your tongue out and look in the mirror you should be able to notice white spots that cause a burning feeling. If you breathe on your hand you will notice that your breathe smells bad.
Candida in the nose is known as fungal sinusitis and is a result of either fungus or yeast. You may experience a runny, blocked, or inflamed nose that results in a loss of smell or headaches. These symptoms can mimic other conditions so it's important to first consult with a doctor.
Leaky Gut & Candida
Leaky gut isn't a widely accepted medical term by most doctors but more studies are being released that support the condition with good evidence.
Epithelial cells in the intestines support Tight Junctions that allow nutrients to pass through the bloodstream and are small enough to stop toxins from passing through.
In someone with a Leaky Gut, these T-junctions can become damaged leading to intestinal permeability.
This is when the t junctions are less tight allowing toxins to break through this barrier. Since Candida is a toxin its thought that it can also pass through these T Junctions into the bloodstream allowing it to spread to other places but more human studies on this claim are needed.
There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to Candida and most people will need to try more than one solution.
The first port of call should be to contact your doctor to get a diagnosis and qualified prescribed treatment.
They prescribe anti-fungal creams and recommend changes in diet. If your candida fungus spreads into an infection then you may also need antibiotics in your recovery.
I may come across as a bit biased here as I am the Probiotic Review Girl after all but the science shows that a lack of lactobacillus probiotic bacteria is one major reason that candida yeast can spread and grow so fast.
Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement can repopulate your gut with vital probiotic bacteria making it a hostile environment for candida to continue to spread around your entire body.
You can also get lactic acid bacteria from fermented foods like Kefir, Kimchi, and Sauerkraut but be careful with Miso Paste as this is high in Aspergillus oryzae a type of fungus.
After visiting your doctor they prescribe anti-fungal creams like Canesten, Lamisil, Diflucan, Daktarin, or Nystan. If you are Candida Albicans has already grown too much then these creams may be necessary to kill off the fungus.
Probiotics and topical anti-fungal creams can be taken at the same time together but make sure you let your doctor know first so that they can add it to your medical history and offer any further advice.
The Candida diet has gained popularity in recent years despite no clinical human studies proving that it works. One Reddit user called Ekoloy on Reddit claimed that the candida diet left them feeling exhausted with a recurring yeast infection without great results.
Over in the Candida subreddit, many people chimed in with how the diet also initially made them feel terrible, and not many people praised the diet as helping curb their Candida apart from one person who said that along with antifungals it took 1-month to work.
The diet is pretty close to a Ketogenic diet in that it promotes excluding carbs, sugar, alcohol, dairy, and gluten. Some of the reasons are to protect the intestinal lining which is because of the leaky gut and candida connection. The diet also perpetuates the idea of avoiding foods high in a mold but this hasn't been studied as benefiting candida infections.
On a Candida diet, it's okay to eat low-sugar fruits, gluten-free grains, some fats, probiotic kefir, and some nuts if you don't have Diverticulitis, Stevia, and decaf coffee as a replacement. A typical breakfast may include Kefir, Scrambled Eggs on gluten-free bread. Dinner could include beef steak with asparagus which is also a great source of non-starchy prebiotic fiber.
One Serbian study published in 2018 recruited 120 patients with Candida overgrowth. They were split up into 2 placebo groups with one taking nystatin fungal cream along with candida diet recommendations and another with just the cream and no dietary changes. Stool tests 10 days and 3 months after the pilot study showed lower fungus in the candida group stools.
If you experience any symptoms of Candida it's vital that you contact your physician right away and follow all prescribed medication. I am not a doctor and this guide is not medical advice.
Now that I have got that out of the way, it's clear that things like antibiotics can lead to guy dysbiosis which is essentially the root cause of Candida. Probiotics are rarely offered as a treatment for whatever reason.
Things like boric acid may also upset this balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. The key to helping Candida according to my hours of research is by making sure your microbiome has a healthy diverse balance of good Lactobacillus bacteria.