This article is published at The Environmental Illness Resource (EiR) website.
A small intestinal candida/yeast overgrowth is a common finding amongst environmental illness patients according to lab tests such as the organic acid urinary analysis and gut fermentation profiles, as well as patient repsonses to Dr. William Crook’s yeast questionnaire. As a result, anti-fungal therapy is usually a major part of an overall functional/integrative medicine based treatment plan for these illnesses. This is usually made up of three distinct parts, an anti-fungal diet, anti-fungal medications and/or natural products and finally, probiotic supplementation. Most people seem to get the best benefit when treatment involves all three parts, implemented properly at the same time, as they work together to restore the normal balance of organisms in the small intestine. If anti-fungal agents were taken without concurrent probiotic supplementation for example, with the amount of yeast reduced and no supply of beneficial bacteria to replace it, the opportunity is there for pathogenic bacteria to become dominant.
The Anti-Fungal Diet
First outlined by Dr. William Crook in his book ‘The Yeast Connection’, the anti-fungal diet has been an integral part of treating intestinal yeast overgrowth ever since. The aim of the diet is to reduce intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as moldy foods and yeast products. The reason for reducing sugar and refined carbohydrate intake is that yeast feed on sugar and ferment it producing alcohol in the form of ethanol (drinking alcohol) and an even more toxic chemical called acetaldehyde. By reducing the amount of sugar in your diet you are also reducing the amount available to the yeast in your intestines. This may help to keep their growth in check and will also reduce the amount of toxic waste products they create as a result of fermentation. Elimination of moldy foods and yeast products is suggested because as a result of an intestinal yeast overgrowth the likelihood of developing an immune reactions to these things is greatly increased. This is as a result of yeast overgrowth leading to leaky gut syndrome and the possibility of “translocation” of the organisms from the intestine into the blood stream and other body tissues where they may cause immune reactions, mainly of the IgG mediated delayed reaction type. As a result, the immune system may cross react with molds and yeasts from your diet.
A typical anti-fungal diet has the following restrictions:
Foods that must be avoided are: