How do probiotics kill Candida?
You may be wondering how probiotics kill Candida and how useful they are in treating vaginal yeast infections. Probiotics, known as friendly bacteria, can provide many health benefits, such as boosting the immune system or reduce the number of dangerous fungi, parasites, and viruses in the body.
They produce lactic acid and acetic acid which help to maintain the correct levels of acidity in your body and stop Candida from changing into its pathogenic form that causes an infection.
So it’s crucial to keep the levels of friendly bacteria at the right level to prevent Candida overgrowth and inhibit pathogenic bacteria and yeast. The balance between probiotics and potential harmful fungus and bacteria can be disturbed by:
- taking estrogen-based contraceptive pills
- changes in hormone levels caused by the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause
- low immunity
Some of these factors are out of our control, while others can be easily eliminated. You can also take probiotic supplements or probiotic suppositories to prevent a Candida yeast infection.
What’s the evidence that probiotics actually work?
A few recent studies investigated the effectiveness of using probiotics to treat or prevent vaginal yeast infections and Candida overgrowth. Let’s look at two of them:
- In a study from 2009 fifty-five women diagnosed with vaginal candidiasis were treated with a single dose of fluconazole followed by two doses of placebo or probiotic composed of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri. After 4 weeks, the probiotic-treated group had much less vaginal discharge and there was a significant reduction in Candida cell numbers, compared to the placebo group.
- Another study focused on administering the probiotics vaginally in the form of probiotic suppositories. They used Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum. They showed that inserting a probiotic capsule straight after an azole suppository (eg. Clotrimazole) halves the risk of developing chronic yeast infections and significantly reduces vaginal discomfort including burning or itching.
The conclusions of the investigations are very promising, but we still need much more research about how probiotics influence Candida to find the most effective probiotic species and how they can be used to come up with new treatments.
How to choose the right probiotic to fight Candida?
Finding the right probiotic supplement for your body may be a daunting task with thousands of different probiotic products on the market, all with varying levels of efficiency and ingredients. I have come up with a few tips to make choosing the best probiotic for you a little bit easier. The most important one: read the label. It should provide you with all the necessary information:
- What strain of bacteria does it contain? In case of vaginal yeast infection, you will need Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum. It’s worth knowing that because women need different probiotic strains to maintain healthy vaginal flora, depending on their genes and geographical location, a probiotic supplement should contain multiple probiotic strains to ensure its effectiveness.
- How many organisms are there in a single capsule? Try to choose those with at least five billion CFU (colony forming units). The higher the CFU count, the more probable that your vagina will get colonized with the probiotics it needs to get long-lasting protection against harmful pathogens, such as Candida albicans.
- Where should I store it? Some species need to be refrigerated, while others need dark environment. As a general rule, always keep your probiotic supplement refrigerated, or at least in temperatures lower than 23°C (73°F).
- Has the probiotic been tested and certified by an independent third party? If it is not regulated, the number of bacteria stated on the label might be different than what’s actually inside.
- “Viable through the end of shelf life” means the living bacteria are still alive. If the label says “viable at the time of manufacture,” it means that the bacteria could be already dead when you bought it. To make sure the bacteria in your supplement are alive, do a milk test. Prepare two cups of milk. Add one teaspoon (about 4 capsules) of your probiotic powder to one of the cups and leave both at room temperature overnight. In the morning, the milk with probiotics should be curdled, you may notice a yogurt layer or bubbles. If the “probiotic milk” looks the same as the milk in the other cup, most probably the bacteria in your probiotic supplement are dead and taking it won’t have any effect on your health.
Probiotics can also be found in probiotic foods, such as sauerkraut, natto, tempeh and green peas. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods in your Candida diet will help you strengthen your immunity and stop Candida overgrowth in your body.
What are the best probiotic supplements for women?
There are many great products on the market when it comes to probiotic supplements for women. However, not all of them offer high quality and there is often the risk of buying a supplement with no live probiotic cultures present, making it completely useless.
I’ve chosen the following two probiotic supplements because of their high CFU count and a great variety of probiotic strains, some of them able to colonize the vagina when taken orally.
They are guaranteed to be alive at the time of consumption as long as you keep them at the right temperature. I recommend them to my readers because they are high-quality products guaranteed to make a difference:
Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Women
This probiotic supplement ticks all the boxes. It’s got 32 probiotic strains (among them L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri, especially beneficial to vaginal health) and 85 billion CFU which makes it a very effective supplement for Candida treatment.
It’s also got 17 types of vitamins and minerals, which further boost its health benefits. The probiotic strains are guaranteed to be alive until the best before date as long as they are kept under 77°F (22°C).
Garden of Life Probiotics is regulated by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and certified organic. It’s got glowing reviews on Amazon and the only disadvantage is that being a very potent supplement, it can occasionally cause diarrhea and bloating.
If you think this could happen in your case, try a bit milder probiotic supplement, such as Women’s Complete Ultimate Flora by Renew Life.
Renew Life Ultimate Flora Women’s Complete
Ultimate Flora Women’s Complete is a high-quality probiotic supplement with 10 probiotic strains and 90 billion CFU count, which will help you treat and prevent Candida yeast infections. In 2015 it was a finalist in Best Women’s Health Supplement category by Delicious Living magazine!
The probiotics in Ultimate Flora are guaranteed to be alive until the best before date if you keep them under 73°F (23°C). Some users still complain of an upset stomach after taking the supplement, but the number is lower than in the users of Garden of Life Raw Probiotics.
It’s because there are fewer probiotic strains which make this supplement less potent, but it’s still very effective and it’s got glowing reviews on Amazon.
How to take probiotics for the best results?
A recent study shows that the efficacy of probiotics depends on what they are ingested with. The researchers used Lactobacillus casei in mice with colon inflammation.
Those that ingested the probiotic with milk had significantly fewer symptoms than those that consumed milk without the probiotic, and the ones that were given the probiotic as a nonfood supplement.
The question of how dairy products boost probiotics’ healing properties needs more investigation. However, we can conclude that for best effects it’s best to mix your probiotics with milk or yogurt.
Eating yogurt rich in Lactobacillus casei is another great option. On my website, you will find more information about how yogurt can help you reduce vaginal yeast infection symptoms.
Introduce probiotic-rich foods in your daily diet
Probiotic-rich foods are an important part of an effective Candida diet. They strengthen the immune system and support Candida treatment by replenishing the levels of friendly bacteria. That’s why probiotic foods are recommended for people who suffer from chronic yeast infections.
Apart from yogurt, the most common foods that contain probiotics are:
- Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage
- Olives in brine
- Tempeh: A fermented grain made from soybeans
- Kimchi: Asian style fermented cabbage
- Raw and unpasteurized cheese
- Natto: A Japanese dish made of fermented soybeans
- Miso Soup: A Japanese soup made from fermented rye, beans, rice or barley
- Microalgae: Spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae
- Coconut water kefir
Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your daily diet will help keep a balance between friendly bacteria and other microorganisms, and avoid bouts of Candida albicans. That’s why probiotic-rich foods and probiotic supplements can be effective in fighting Candida and preventing Candida infections.
However, as certain strains of probiotics are more effective against vaginal yeast infections than others, it will be beneficial to complement it with probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum.
Probiotic suppositories are very useful for those of you who tend to get yeast infections after swimming or taking antibiotics, they work faster than probiotic supplements taken orally and help rebuild friendly bacteria cultures and healthy pH immediately.
Probiotic tampons will be especially beneficial to women who tend to get yeast infections during or straight after their periods. They work in the same way as probiotic suppositories, but at the same time, they can replace normal tampons further cutting the risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection.
Have you tried using probiotic supplements to keep Candida albicans at bay? Or perhaps you started eating more probiotic-rich food with great results? Please share your experiences and questions in the comment section below.