Candida albicans

Diabetes, Women's Health | August 13, 2019 | Author: Naturopath

candida, women's health

Candida albicans

Candida albicans (C. albicans) is a yeast found in humans as part of natural microflora and commonly found in our mouth, gastrointestinal tract and vagina. Normally it resides without causing any harm, but in certain health conditions it can over-populate and become a troublesome infection. Antibiotic use, diabetes, low immunity and sexual activity have been implicated in its profusion.

When candida takes over

Candida adapts its metabolism to the environment and nutrients available and is able to proliferate in either a poor or nutrient rich environment. Sugar, particularly glucose, is an especially important nutrient to the growth of candida and candida species have adapted a variety of sugar-sensing systems leading to specific survival features of the fungii.

These include - being able to avoiding detection; tolerance to oxidative stress; resistance to antifungal drugs - formation of a biofilm and morphogenesis, and enhanced adhesive qualities. Meaning it is easily able to attach to cell walls, change, protect itself and resist destruction.

When candida takes overThis makes it a very successful pathogen.

When an overgrowth of Candida occurs, it can commonly affect the female genitals (vagina), urinary tract and kidneys, the mouth and throat, gastrointestinal tract and the skin. In some cases, it may also occur in internal organs and the brain.

Vaginal Candidiasis

Normally, a bacterium called Lactobacillus keeps the amount of Candida in the genital area under control. However, when Lactobacillus levels are disrupted in some way, Candida can over-populate and cause an infection. Vaginal candidiasis (thrush), is usually suspected if the vaginal area is itchy, red and swollen and a creamy, curd-like substance is visible.

Vaginal candidiasis is the most common cause of genital infection and is often associated with:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Oral contraception
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Diabetes
  • Excess intake of sugar
  • Low immunity

Urinary tract Infections (UTIs)

Candida albicans is often the microorganism causing an infection in cases of UTIs. The yeast can infiltrate the lower portion of the urinary tract, but may also travel up to the kidneys. Symptoms include frequent urination, painful or burning when urinating, pelvic or abdominal pain and blood in the urine.

UTI’s from candida can occur from:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Diabetes
  • Low immunity
  • Medical devices such as catheters

Oral Candida Infection

Infection with candida in the mouth is most common in babies, the elderly and the immune compromised. Poor oral hygiene and dentures may also contribute to C. albicans over-growth. Symptoms and signs can include pain, swelling, redness, lesions and white patches over the buccal membranes, throat and tongue.

Risk factors to infection include:

  • Impaired salivary gland function
  • Medications (such as corticosteroids)
  • Dentures
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • High carbohydrate diet
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Malignancies and immunosuppressive conditions

Sinus InfectionsSinus Infections

C. Ablicans could be responsible for your stuffy nose. If your sinus infection was caused by a bacterium, treating it with an antifungal may result in an over-growth of fungus. Inhalations with essential oils will often reduce or eliminate microbial pathogens and relieve symptoms.

Skin disorders

Allergies, dermatitis, aging or damaged skin can result in damage to the natural protective barrier of the skin. Products used for cleaning and moisturising can sometimes reduce the natural pH also interfering in barrier function. This can leave skin compromised and open for invasion by opportunistic pathogens – such as C. albicans. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial action against fungal infection, moisturising regularly can help skin retain its natural defences.
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Joint and Bone conditions

A candida infection in the blood can even infiltrate joints and cause inflammation and pain. Candida arthritis symptoms include pain, stiffness and swelling. Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone which results in tenderness in infected areas and can sometimes be caused by C. albicans.

Therapeutic strategies

Candida albicans is considered an opportunistic fungi which can become pathogenic when the immune system fails. Echinacea, vitamin C and Zinc are suggested to boost the immune system, support skin barrier function and aid repair. Echinacea has anti-fungal activity and has been shown to disrupt the cell wall of fungii.

Reduction of Pathogen

Some herbs and essential oils have been shown to infiltrate the protective biofilm of C. albicans. These include:

Pau d’arco

Two naphthoquinones contained in pau d’arco, lapachol and beta-lapachone, are believed responsible for its activity against C. albicans.

Golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

This herb can support immune function, improve wound healing and prevent bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Its active ingredient, berberine, is an alkaloid also found in Oregon grape and barberry. Studies show berberine has a strong antifungal action which can inhibit the growth of candida and protect against other pathogens.
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The antimicrobial properties of volatile aromatic oils from medicinal plants has been recognised for any years.

Reduction of PathogenGarlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic is a natural antifungal and antibiotic and has shown antifungal activity against C. albicans. Garlic oil was found particularly effective in eliminating C. albicans from dental prosthesis.

Oregano oil (Origanum Vulgare)

Oregano Oil has been shown to completely inhibit the growth of C. albicans. It is considered a natural antibiotic against bacteria, an antifungal, antioxidant and immune system enhancing oil (stimulating white blood cell production). Oregano oil can be taken orally or applied topically (diluted).
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Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

The antifungal activity of tea tree oil make it a suitable therapeutic product for topical application on skin or the mucosa (inside the mouth). Use this for oral thrush or skin fungal infections.
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Other nutrients which may be of benefit in the prevention of C. albicans include Aloe vera, pomegranate, ginger and turmeric.

Support the digestive tract

Probiotics 

Probiotic bacteria can inhibit the growth of pathogens and modulate human immune responses.

Saccharomyces boulardii is of particular benefit. It is a yeast which is classified as a probiotic and is useful for its ability to crowd-out harmful pathogens, inhibiting the growth, adhesion and biofilm formation of this pathogenic yeast. It is especially useful during and after antibiotic use and has been shown to help with the restoration of a healthy microbiome, help modulate immune responses, increases intestinal enzyme production and improves intestinal barrier function.
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Diet

Support immunity with a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and include nuts, seeds, wholegrains and healthy fats such as coconut and olive oils. Probiotic foods such as kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, yoghurt, fermented vegetables and fibres promote healthy microbial digestive function. Using coconut oil has also been found to reduce candida in the gastrointestinal tract.

Reduce sugarReduce sugar

It is important to reduce sugar in the diet. Feeding candida its favourite nutrient will not help with reducing its population. 

Sugar comes in a variety of forms and may be in some favourite foods.
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Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which has a very low glycaemic index and does not cause sugar or insulin to spike. It can be used as a sugar alternative, but is also available as a gum and may help reduce the risk of oral candidiasis by preventing adhesion of the pathogen.

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References

About Candida albicans: Natural yeast and problematic infections https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322722.php

Sugar Sensing and Signaling in Candida albicans and Candida glabrata https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6363656/

Candida Infections and Therapeutic Strategies: Mechanisms of Action for Traditional and Alternative Agents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6038711/

Oral candidiasis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1742467/

Candida Osteomyelitis: Analysis of 207 Pediatric and Adult Cases (1970–2011) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3657498/

Efficacy and safety of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii for the prevention and therapy of gastrointestinal disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3296087/

Antifungal activities of origanum oil against Candida albicans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11855736

Sensitivity of Candida albicans to essential oils: are they an alternative to antifungal agents? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27568869

In vitro activity of tea tree oil against Candida albicans mycelial conversion and other pathogenic fungi. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11589479

The essential oil of Allium sativum as an alternative agent against Candida isolated from dental prostheses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28578870

https://www.doctorsbeyondmedicine.com/listing/candida-pau-darco

Effect of dietary carbohydrates on the in vitro epithelial adhesion of Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10946407

Potential role of probiotic bacteria in the treatment and prevention of localised candidosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21672043

Disruption of fungal cell wall by antifungal Echinacea extracts. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20429770

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