Can Probiotics Help With Candida Infection?


According to research, there is therapeutic potential for probiotics to reduce Candida infections. Probiotics help fight Candida by reintroducing beneficial bacteria to the gut, regulate stomach acidity, boost the immune system, secrete capric acid and displace Candida populations.

Candida infections are fungal infections caused by the overgrowth of Candida, a type of yeast naturally found in the body, leading to various localized or systemic symptoms. Probiotics like Lactobacillus on the other hand are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer health benefits by improving the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Below, are 5 probiotics strains evaluated for reducing candida.

What Probiotic Strains For Candida?

The 5 best probiotic strains with the most scientific evidence for candida are 1. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1®, 2. Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14®, 3. Saccharomyces Boulardii, 4. Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and 5. Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-1 as shown below in the graphic.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: A 2012 study authored by GA Köhler, found the 2 probiotic strains L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 can suppress the growth of Candida albicans, the main cause of vulvovaginal candidiasis. The study demonstrated that lactic acid produced by these probiotics at low pH levels plays a significant role in inhibiting fungal growth. The interaction between lactobacilli and C. albicans resulted in the loss of metabolic activity and eventual killing of the fungal cells. Transcriptome analyses revealed that the probiotics led to increased expression of stress-related genes and decreased expression of genes associated with fluconazole resistance, potentially explaining their effectiveness in eradicating Candida.
  • Saccharomyces Boulardii: A 1982 study authored by R Ducluzeau, found that Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast, can influence the colonization of Candida species in the digestive tract of monoxenic mice. C. albicans was significantly lower (10 to 50 times) in S Boulardii mice compared to mice colonized with C. albicans alone. Another 2010 study authored by A Murzyn, found Saccharomyces boulardii, inhibits the growth, adhesion, and biofilm formation of Candida albicans. Capric acid, secreted by S. boulardii, was identified as the main compound responsible for these inhibitory effects.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, NCFM and LA-1: A 1998 study authored by RD Wagner found that two isolates of Lactobacillus acidophilus, NCFM and LA-1, had variable effects in protecting immunodeficient mice from candidiasis. L. acidophilus NCFM prolonged survival and inhibited disseminated candidiasis in certain mouse strains, but did not reduce orogastric candidiasis. L. acidophilus LA-1 reduced Candida albicans numbers in the digestive tracts and alleviated mucosal candidiasis, but did not improve survival after oral challenge with C. albicans and caused lethality in certain mice. These findings indicate that the two L. acidophilus isolates differed in their ability to protect against candidiasis in immunodeficient mice.

How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Treat Candida?

According to research it takes between one week to four weeks or 7 to 28 days for probiotics to treat symptoms of candida. A 2021 study authored by Z Vahedpoor, found probiotics supplementation for 4 weeks showed a significant reduction in vaginal candidiasis symptoms. Oral and vaginal supplementation with probiotics for 1 month played a significant role in eliminating vaginal candidiasis symptoms. 

Do Probiotics Cause Candida Die Off?

Yes, Probiotics can cause a Jarisch–Herxheimer die off reaction. A 2013 study authored by JJ Rucklidge, is relevant to candida die-off as it investigates the impact of yeast infections, specifically Candida. It was hypothesized that the infection might impair the absorption of micronutrients, potentially influencing the occurrence of candida die-off symptoms.

Candida die-off refers to the temporary exacerbation of symptoms experienced by individuals during the elimination of Candida overgrowth as a result of the release of toxins and byproducts from the dying Candida cells.

Can Probiotics Make Candida Worse?

Probiotics cannot exacerbate candida infections by stimulating the proliferation of the yeast fungus or facilitating its spread. Extensive research has shown no documented instances of probiotic bacteria worsening candida infections. Probiotics have been investigated as a potential adjunctive therapy for candida management due to their ability to restore microbial balance and support immune function. While individual responses may vary, the overall evidence suggests that probiotics are safe and unlikely to worsen candida infections.

Can Prebiotics Make Candida Worse?

Prebiotics like fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) or inulin can worsen Candida infections by providing nourishment to the Candida yeast and promoting its growth. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that serve as a food source for various microorganisms, including both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Prebiotics cannot differentiate between the different types of bacteria and fungi present in the gut, including Candida.

What Causes Candida?

Candida overgrowth can be caused by factors like high sugar consumption, stress, medications, and imbalances in the gut microbiome. Systemic Candidiasis can manifest as localized yeast infections, and it may also be associated with mental health disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, skin issues, joint pain, and other chronic health complaints. Symptoms of Candida overgrowth in the gut can include digestive issues, white tongue coating, food intolerances, and leaky gut.

Does Leaky Gut Cause Candida?

When Candida overgrowth occurs in the gut, it can contribute to the development of Leaky Gut syndrome. This syndrome involves increased permeability of the intestinal lining, allowing Candida toxins to enter the bloodstream and potentially affect other areas of the body.

Scientific evidence supporting Leaky Gut syndrome is limited, but according to CA Kumamoto, there is a connection between Candida overgrowth and certain digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease, which are associated with food sensitivities and allergies. 

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