Will Drinking Kombucha Help My Candida Or Make It Worse?
Is Kombucha Beneficial or Detrimental to a Candida sufferer?
A common question asked by Candida sufferers is whether drinking kombucha can help balance their intestinal flora and fight Candida, or whether it can actually aggravate the symptoms. The answer to this does not seem to be clear cut. Internet searches throw up all sorts of answers, from personal testimonials stating that kombucha cured their Candida completely and that they will never stop drinking it for this very reason, to doctors stating that science shows irrefutably that kombucha encourages Candida, to more personal testimonials from people saying that kombucha sent their Candida into overdrive.
Confusing much? If you are struggling with Candida and wondering if kombucha is going to be a help or an aggravation in lowering the Candida present in your system, then you are probably feeling a bit frustrated.
As there does not seem to be a majority sentiment about whether kombucha is good for Candida sufferers or if it is to be avoided, I am going to list the for’s and against’s concerning kombucha and Candida so that you can gauge for yourself whether or not you should be drinking it if you have Candida.
Why You Should Read This Article Even if You Do Not Have Candida
If you are not a diagnosed Candida sufferer, it might still be a good idea to read through the pros and cons of the regular drinking of kombucha when related to Candida. According to research done by Rice University, 70% percent of all people are affected by Candida.
As Candida infections can often manifest symptoms which are considered to be a separate illness or affliction (eczema, depression, insomnia, acne etc.), this seems logically quite possible. This brings to mind the question ‘why are we all so out of balance?’ Science says that the Candida yeast feeds on sugar and anything else that converts to sugar.
Sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption has skyrocketed over the past generation in conjunction with the manufacturing and marketing of ultra processed and convenient food products, which many say is the direct cause of the world’s problem with Candida. It would appear that all of us need to be mindful of the dangers of Candida overgrowth, and what we should and shouldn’t do to ensure that we are not putting ourselves at risk of a Candida infection.
So read on! : )
Disclaimer: We do NOT claim to be medical experts here, so please consult a doctor before making any drastic changes to your health regime. This information is our opinion, but we are not doctors!
What is Candida?
Candida is the short name for the yeast species Candida albicans. Candida albicans is also termed a fungus and is naturally occurring is very small quantities in our mouths and digestive tracts. In the right proportion to the other intestinal and digestive flora, Candida albicans works to assist in the breaking down of food and the absorption of nutrients. However, if the yeast gets out of control and grows beyond its correct population level, it can cause serious problems within the body. As mentioned above, many of these symptoms are not usually noticed as a side effect of a Candida infection, and therefore get treated without getting to the root of the problem.
Health Issues Which Could be an Indication of a Candida Infection
If you did not think that you have a Candida infection, but now are wondering if in fact it you might, here is a quick list of some of the most common health issues which can indicate an overgrowth of the Candida in your body.
- Low libido
- Lack of energy
- Stomach pains
- Strong sugar cravings
- Regular bladder infections
- Bad breath
- Itching anus
- Water retention
- Inability to lose weight
- Weight loss
- Muscle and joint pain
- Asthma and congestion
- Fungal infections of the nails and skin
- Frequent flu’s and colds
- Impaired immune system
The list goes on and on, but if you have trouble with a few of the above, it might be a good idea to go for a blood test to check whether you have a Candida infection.
The Candida Kombucha Debate
As you can see, getting Candida under control and to its natural level within in the body is vital for consistent good health. Most people who drink Kombucha want to consume it not only for its taste, but also for its probiotic and nutritional health benefits. Establishing whether kombucha is beneficial, neutral or detrimental to a Candida infection, or whether it might cause a Candida infection over time, is quite important!
Pros for Drinking Kombucha for Treating Candida Infections
There are many sources which claim that drinking kombucha is one of the best things you can do for an overgrowth of Candida. Natural Candida control write ups and diet guides often list kombucha or a similar probiotic as a very important component of a Candida fighting diet.
The science behind this is the fact that as kombucha is a powerful pro-biotic, it rebalances the internal flora of the body, encouraging the beneficial bacteria and yeasts which have been outcompeted by the Candida yeast. The strengthening of these microbes are said to in turn outcompete the Candida, resulting in it dying down to its natural level within the body.
There are personal reports and testimonials which state that the individuals experienced a lessening or complete clear up of their Candida infections in direct relation to their consumption of kombucha. While these reports are not scientific in nature, and there is the possibility that the Candida die-off’s were caused by some other dietary factor not realised, the number of these personal reports is large enough to indicate that people have experienced positive effects with regards to regulating Candida levels from regular drinking of kombucha.
Cons for Drinking Kombucha for Treating Candida Infections
On the other end of the spectrum, there are health care experts who strictly advise against the consumption of kombucha and other fermented foods if one has a Candida infection. There are also personal statements saying that the symptoms of Candida worsened drastically along with the regular drinking of kombucha.
The doctors and other health care professionals who warn against the consumption of kombucha do so on the grounds that kombucha contains its own strains of yeasts, which are thought to be able to aggravate a Candida infection. There have also been tests done on SCOBYs which show that some samples actually contained the yeast strain Candida albicans. For this reason many medical professionals advise patients to stay far away from kombucha if they have Candida overgrowth, and definitely not to treat the infection with kombucha.
As there are also numerous personal accounts stating that the individual’s Candida infection symptoms increased in severity with their consumption of kombucha tea, this backs up the health care warnings. Again some of these cases of the worsening of Candida symptoms might have been caused by other factors not realised by the individuals, however there is a large enough volume of these accounts to indicate that the drinking of kombucha regularly by Candida sufferers might worsen their symptoms.
In the middle of these two schools of thought is the stand point that kombucha is neutral in treating or aggravating Candida symptoms. According to a study done by Department of Food Science at Cornell University, strong kombucha acted against all the pathogenic microbes included in the test except Candida albicans, but also did not encourage it.
While the results of the above study are conclusive, it might be good to keep in mind the fact that the tests were done on samples of the pathogenic microbes, and not conducted on humans who had these infections.
What’s What With Candida and Kombucha
As you can see, there are many different and conflicting schools of thought and opinions on the drinking of kombucha while suffering from Candida. Perhaps the personal reports and testimonials are actually more valuable that the scientific studies carried out, as the studies which are published are not undertaken using people and their digestive systems, and are only carried out in lab environments.
That said, the personal reports and experiences of people who have Candida and consumed or are consuming kombucha vary so widely that one is still not much closer to knowing what’s what.
The Healing Crisis
There is however a phenomenon which might explain the different results experienced by people with Candida drinking kombucha. Referred to as the ‘healing crisis’, natural health experts often mention this in connection with adverse symptoms experienced when consuming kombucha on a regular basis. A healing crisis is similar to what happens sometimes when people decide to undertake a detox program. While the detoxification is in and of itself a very good thing for the body, unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, nausea, skin rashes, tiredness and dizziness sometimes manifest while the body is in the process of expelling the toxins.
Apparently this healing crisis can take place when someone with high levels of Candida consumes regular doses of kombucha. The science behind this is that as the probiotic components start to re-balance the internal microbial flora, this causes die-off’s of the Candida albicans. The dying Candida albicans releases toxins into the blood stream which cause a flare up of any Candida related symptoms which the individual has.
As most anti-Candida diets and programs recommend the daily intake of a good probiotic to assist the digestive system to heal itself and regain its microbial balance, and Candida is known to release large amounts of toxins into the blood – hence its diverse range of symptoms – the theory of a healing crisis might go a long way to explain why some people cure their Candida with kombucha in a short space of time, and others can suffer a worsening of Candida related afflictions.
Conclusion: What to Do
Natural health authorities seem to quite largely agree that the adverse affects of kombucha drinking in Candida suffers is merely a healing crisis, and that if kombucha taking is continued it should result in a rebalanced digestive system.
They do not however recommend that one puts up with the adverse effects. Perhaps such a sudden and intense die off of the Candida is too drastic for the body. Either way the advised thing to do if one is drinking kombucha while suffering from Candida, and experiences a flare up of symptoms, is to reduce the daily amount until the flare up dies down. After a little bit of time has passed drinking the reduced amount, and symptoms have died down, the amount of kombucha can be increased slowly once again.
It would seem that kombucha can be an effective helper in curing and recovering from a Candida infection. However all people are different and respond in different ways to treatments and programs. Another point to consider is that all SCOBYs are different. As the Cornell study showed, some SCOBYs can contain the actual Candida albicans yeast itself. Whether or not this is a problem is another matter of debate, as it might be that the rebalancing of the gut will automatically ensure that only the right amount of Candida albicans is present, no matter if it is also in the kombucha or not.
However, when trying to get rid of a Candida infection it is probably advisable to be on the safest side there is. You might be best off by purchasing a SCOBY from a reliable source where the chance of the culture having been invaded by Candida albicans is very low. Being certain that your culture is not going to encourage the proliferation of Candida in your body is probably more valuable than the cost of a purchased culture.
So that’s our take on the Candida debate. As extensive tests and studies have not yet been done with regards to kombucha and Candida, all new information is welcome. If you have any questions or personal experiences to relate, please feel most welcome to comment in our comments section below.
If you are suffering from Candida, all the best on your road to good health, and hopefully this article provided you with a helpful overview on the Candida-kombucha riddle.