Natural Remedies For Yeast Infections
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|How Do Natural Remedies Work?
In treating women with recurrent yeast infections, the primary function of using natural remedies is to rebuild the immune system. Recurrent infections are characterized by a depressed immune system. Chronic yeast infections lead to a further depression of the system, leading to more yeast infections and a vicious cycle ensues. Conventional medicine tends to overlook this connection; instead it focuses on killing the infection present at the time, rather than taking a holistic view of the whole system. There is no one magic bullet for restoring a depressed immune system. It requires a combination of nutritional supplements, dietary changes (see Candida diet guidelines and yeast infection diet plan), exercise and stress management techniques.
Recommended Daily Allowance Debate
Nutritional supplements are important for women suffering from recurring yeast or thrush infections. Many nutritionists in fact suggest going above the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamins and minerals. RDAs were designed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council. They were designed for groups of people and not individuals. In fact the board states that 'individuals with special nutritional needs are not covered by the RDAs'. A significant amount of scientific research indicates that the level required of many nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium may be much higher than the current RDAs. For example RDAs do not take into account smoker requirements, and smokers require at least twice the vitamin C as non-smokers. While RDAs are important, there is still much research to be carried out. If you do suffer from chronic yeast infections, it may be worth discussing additional supplements and allowances with your doctor. These supplements are discussed below. When buying any vitamin or supplement choose a brand which is yeast-free, artificial color-free and sugar-free.
Not sure if you have an infection? See Yeast infection symptoms for a list of signs.
Antioxidants, Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Antioxidants and free radicals are frequently used terms these days. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that bind to cells in the body and gradually destroy them. They are responsible for aging (which is why many cosmetic products now promote protection from free radicals) and too much exposure can increase the rate of aging. They have also been linked to many diseases and illnesses including heart disease and cancer (see causes of cancer). Antioxidants are the compounds which help protect cells against free radicals. Antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. They are most commonly found in fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are taking a good multi-vitamin you are likely be taking enough beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. The dosage you need to watch out for is vitamin C and vitamin E. Depending on how chronic your symptoms are, vitamin E can be taken daily in dosages of between 400 and 800 iu and vitamin C from 500 mg to 1500 mg.
As the average American diet includes too much fat, it may seem unusual to recommend adding more fat. However, flaxseed oil is a wonderful source of essential fatty acids and 80 percent of Americans do not consume enough fatty acids. These nutrients provide us with energy, they help protect against all sorts of illnesses including auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis as well as cancer and heart disease. Organic flaxseed oil is the one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acid and omega-6 fatty acid. It contains twice the amount as fish oils. Add one tablespoon a day to a salad or over a meal to help prevent a yeast infection.
These contain 'good' bacteria (bifidum bacterium and lactobacillus acidophilius) which help to keep a healthy balance of microorganisms in the digestive tract. There are quite a few different types in the market place and they come in the form of capsules, pills, yogurt, drinks and powders. Although they are unlikely to cure a severe yeast infection they may help. Ideally a probiotic should be taken in a form that is most likely to survive the stomach acid: that is, enteric-coated. Additionally choose a brand that offers at least one billion bacteria per serving. Refrigerated products are always better as the bacteria are more likely to survive. Consumerlab.com, an independent online resource recommends the brands Puritan's Pride and Vitamin World Naturally.
Olive Leaf Extract
This herb may work as a natural anti fungal as help protect against parasites and viral infections. It can also protect against colds, flu’s and some research indicates it may even lower blood pressure and reduce 'bad' cholesterol. Those with low blood pressure (hypotension) or diabetes should avoid it.
For a Doctor's Take: see Yeast infection treatment
A new product from New Zealand, Kolorex it is marketed as an advanced treatment for Candida. It contains the herb Horopito which may be even more beneficial than olive leaf extract. According to some nutritionists, Kolorex can kill Candida more rapidly than many medications. Recommended dosage is one capsulate a day for 5 days, then twice a day for 8 to 12 weeks. The initial lower dosage is to help reduce to the side effects of die-off reaction (where the yeast cells die rapidly releasing toxins). Kolorex is also available in a cream which can be applied topically to the vagina.
The body naturally produces small amounts of caprylic acid but it is also extracted from palm and coconut oil. Available in nutritional supplements, caprylic acid taken regularly acts as an antifungal, cleansing the entire digestive system. It needs to be taken in an enteric-coated time release capsule for best results. It should be taken once a day for 5 days to avoid die-off problems and then 3 times a day with meals for 3 to 4 months.
This product appears to kill off harmful bacteria and fungus without harming good organisms. It acts as a natural antiseptic in the digestive tract and seems to prevent Candida colonization. Some doctors prescribe its use after a prescription antifungal has run its course. Check out books on yeast infections for published self-help guides.
Citrus Seeds & Grapefruit Extract
Similar to tanalbit and caprylic acid this supplement acts as a natural antifungal and discourages growth of Candida. However grapefruit extract can interfere with some medications, so before taking it, do discuss it with your doctor if you are on other medications. The recommended dosage is 500 mg three times a day.
Pau D'Arco Plus
Not readily available in America, it can be bought from Australian online stores. Paracan comes in liquid and tablet form. It is a blend of several ingredients which have been used over time for the treatment of worms and parasites. Its main active ingredients include Pau D'Arco, olive leaf, garlic, citrus seed extract, chamomile, barberry, black walnut, pumpkin seed and Echinacea. Some reports show that it helps control the overgrowth of Candida.
A study by Cornell University in 1998 showed that oregano oil was effective against 30 different bacteria and in preventing the overgrowth of Candida albicans. Other studies by Georgetown and Tennessee Universities indicated that is a potent antimicrobial. It is sold in capsule and liquid form and as an essential oil for massage.
Douching is a method of washing the vagina with a fluid mixture (image). It is a popular home remedy used by women with yeast infections and vaginitis. Popular douche mixes include using lactobacillus acidophilus, boric acid or yogurt.
Numerous studies show a direct link between stress and depression of the immune system. And as we have discovered, depression of the immune system commonly leads to the overgrowth of Candida albicans. Stress inhibits the growth of white blood cells, the cells which protect us from infection and disease. The level of white cell production is usually proportional to the level of stress. This is why it is critical to manage the stress in your life. Think about where your main sources of stress come from, and put a plan in place for managing them. Are you juggling too many tasks, can any of these tasks be off-loaded to someone else or set aside? Are you getting enough sleep? Lack of sleep leads to irritability, in its own way, a form of stress. Regular exercise has many benefits, it helps to reduce stress and prevent the onset of many diseases. Aim to include 30 minutes a day into your schedule; a brisk walk is an ideal option.
|Related Articles on Yeast Infections
For more information related to the condition, see the following:
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