The Candida Diet to Heal AutoImmunity
Candida diet strategies are all over the internet, yet many people do not get results with these. Yeast overgrowth, excess oxalates, and autoimmune disorders often go hand in hand and exacerbate one another.
Many people struggling with brain fog, digestive issues, fatigue, and sugar cravings are actually struggling with these three things and they do not even know it! I discover many clients have all three of these issues based off of the Organic Acid Test results and an in depth one on one assessment conducted with the patient.
Once these findings are discovered, the Candida diet protocol for healing all three of these issues at the same time can appear to be restrictive and potentially confusing. When a person first discovers this, the information can be overwhelming, discouraging and intimidating. However, I am here to tell you that this process can be done and this article will explain how to simplify the Candida diet protocol into a realistic lifestyle.
10 Common Candida Symptoms
- Seasonal allergies or itchy ears and skin
- Low energy, fatigue & malaise
- Digestive problems such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis or scleroderma
- Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
- Skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives and/or rashes
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression and irritability
- Vaginal infections, UTI’s, rectal or vaginal itching
- Brain fog, ADHD, concentration problems or poor memory
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
What is Candida Albicans
Candida Albicans is a fungal yeast that occurs naturally in the human body in places such as the intestinal tract, mouth, throat, and genitals. However, this species can overgrow and when this happens, it is able to burrow holes throughout the intestinal lining and enter into the blood stream (1, 2).
This is when yeast becomes dangerous and releases over 70 different toxins into the body that are extremely toxic and damaging to the liver, nervous system and digestive system. Some of these toxins, such as gliotoxin, have even been associated with killing liver and immune cells and have also been found to be higher in autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (3)
Yeast overgrowth typically happens when someone’s diet has consisted of sugars, grains, starches, processed foods, and preservatives as all of these things tear down the intestinal lining and feed Candida yeast organisms. The Candida diet helps to heal the intestinal lining and reduce the levels of the yeast organism.
Impaired Intestinal Lining
This is where oxalates and autoimmunity come in to play. Once the intestinal lining has become impaired, also known as leaky gut, large particles are able to get through the intestinal lining that would normally be broken down further before entering into the blood stream.
These large particles may include things such as protein particles in foods, oxalates, or pathogens. It is common for people with Candida overgrowth to have high oxalates because Candida produces oxalates (4). These oxalates can cause a number of different problems in the body that I describe below.
Autoimmunity occurs when these larger and undigested particles pass through the holes in the intestinal tract and into the blood stream prematurely. The immune system will tag some of these particles as foreign because they have not been broken down properly.
Once something has been tagged, the immune system will continue to attack any particle that looks like the original “invader.” It will attack the substance even if found on the thyroid, in the joints, in the nervous system tissue, or anywhere else. This can result in chronic autoimmune conditions. We address this by following an elimination diet and removing foods that are likely triggering an immune response as well as sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet.
Oxalates are common compounds found in foods, especially healthy foods. Excess oxalates can result in joint pain, kidney stones, gall stones and autoimmune conditions. All of these can be extremely painful and debilitating. This is why it is important to be aware of what foods contain them and how they affect people suffering from leaky gut.
Oxalates can be synthesized from various compounds such as excess vitamin C, fructose as well as yeast. Vitamin B-6 deficiency, magnesium and thiamine deficiency are also ideal circumstances for increased oxalate synthesis. (5, 6, 7) Foods such as beets, sweet potato, spinach, chard, brown rice, soy, nuts and chocolate should be avoided due to their high oxalate content.
Testing For Candida and High Oxalates
The test we use to determine Candida overgrowth and high oxalate levels is the Great Plains Laboratory Organic Acid test. This is a simple urine test that looks at physiological biomarkers and measures them against research based norms.
This test is so valuable because it analyzes for B vitamin deficiencies, neurotransmitter deficiencies, microbial overgrowth, oxalate levels and mitochondrial dysfunctions. For more info on the Organic Acid Test go here
7 Steps to Reducing Yeast and Oxalate Levels
Here are some key action steps to overcome Candida and reduce your oxalate levels. You should always consult with your physician before stopping or changing medications or taking on new health strategies.
Additionally, you should be working with a functional health practitioner to help guide you through these strategies. This is not an exhaustive list and there are other natural therapeutic strategies that I and functional health practitioners will utilize to help individuals with Candida and elevated oxalate levels.
1. Eat Healthy Fats:
Start by rethinking your food sources and ratios. Every single cell in our body is surrounded by a lipid membrane made of cholesterol, fatty acids, and protein transport channels. Low fat diets do not provide the nutrients we need to rebuild our cells.
Typically they also consist of high carbohydrate diets that feed yeast and other unwanted organisms in our bodies. Focus on getting the majority of your caloric intake from healthy fats such as coconut oil, ghee, grass fed butter, and olive oil.
2. Eat an Antioxidant Rich Diet:
Candida yeast releases toxins that leaves the body very acidic and also increases the amounts of free radicals floating around. Free radicals accelerate the aging process and also promote degenerative diseases.
Consuming large amounts of antioxidant rich vegetables and herbs reduce the amount of free radicals and reverse the growth of candida yeast and stress induced diseases. Be careful to avoid high oxalate foods. Use the following food guide shopping list to help make the right nutrition choices.
3. Remove Toxic Chemicals From Your Diet:
These substances are well known for tearing down the gut lining as well feeding organisms such as Candida. Common food additives to avoid include: soy, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, GMO ingredients, sucralose, aspartame, canola oil, and many more. All of these contribute to inflammatory disease processes.
The Candida diet is a low-toxin diet that is also low in blood sugar stimulating compounds found in these foods. I highly encourage individuals on the Candida diet to choose organic produce and meats as much as possible to limit toxin exposure and help improve the healing process.
4. Remove Sugar, Grains and Starchy Foods From Your Diet:
These foods are common gut lining irritants that should be avoided, especially when trying to heal from yeast overgrowth, autoimmunity, and leaky gut. These foods also induce spikes in insulin and blood sugar that cause inflammation.
It is important to be very aware of the foods you put into your body and how they impact you on the Candida diet. I recommend looking to adopt a GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) approach as described in the image below as you follow the Candida diet.
5. Increase Vitamin D Levels:
Vitamin D plays a large role in down regulating hyperactive immune systems and cancer cells. Most of the population is deficient in vitamin D, especially throughout winter and spring. It is recommended to take 5,000 IUs or get 30 minutes of sun exposure daily in order to maintain good vitamin D levels.
On the Candida diet you may get a small amount of food based vitamin D if you eat organ meats like liver, but unless you are consuming this everyday or sunbathing on a regular basis, it is wise to consider Vitamin D3 supplementation.
6. Use Antimicrobial Supplements:
Candida Elim is a supplement that we use and see great success with on our clients. It contains oregano oil which influences the activities of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, supports immune function, and may influence the natural inflammatory response.
It also has sodium caprylate which is a derivative of the medium chain fatty acid caprylic acid which is found in coconut oil. Sodium caprylate works to dissolve fungal cell walls and destroy yeast organisms.
This product also contains ginger and turmeric, which complement the actions of oregano to support healthy microbial activity, stimulate circulation, and promote mucous membrane health. Olive leaf extract is included in this formula for its immune-supportive effects.
Another anti-microbial we use commonly with Candida overgrowth is our Candida Combat which has specific herbs such as Pau D’Arco, oregano and astragalus which are powerful anti-fungal agents. This also contains soil based probiotics and adrenal support compounds to help the body deal with the stress of killing yeast.
7. Use Activated Charcoal:
Activated charcoal is a great way to reduce both oxalates and yeast in your system. This is because charcoal binds to these substances and holds onto them while being carried out in the stool. Charcoal doesn’t disrupt the intestinal mucus lining but instead acts to breakdown yeast, parasite and pathogenic bacteria biofilms and cleanses the intestines.
I recommend 1 gram of Activated coconut shell charcoal, 2 times daily, between meals for individuals with Candida overgrowth and high oxalates.
Supplements to Overcome Candida:
This is an advanced supplement protocol to help someone break through and kick out the Candida. This goes along with a nutrient dense, leaky gut nutrition plan and healthy lifestyle habits. We need to utilize clinically proven anti-microbials to reduce the yeast load while we support the liver and microbiome so we can effectively eliminate the toxic debris that will be released.
Additionally, we have to support the weakened digestive and immune systems in order to prevent the Candida from reinfection in the system and growing back stronger than ever.
What is the problem with eating fruit and meat together?
This can be a very tough food combination for your digestive tract because fruit metabolizes quickly while meat metabolizes slowly…so it can lead to incomplete digestion of the meat and fermentation of the fruit causing gas, bloating and indigestion.
I recently did a water fast after an elimination diet and I am now having more stomach bloating and discomfort then ever! I don’t think I took the reintroduction phase slow enough. I am also experiencing more symptoms then before, any suggestions on my next step? I think I should start over from phase one but I’m not too sure what exactly that is… Thanks for any advice.
Sorry to hear about this! I would be sure to add in enzymes and stomach acid support as you add foods back in.
You forgot to mention that you can get a candida infection from exposure to mold and environmental chemicals…..really anything that can suppress your immune system.
Yes absolutely Jean!
Dr Jockers I have had candida for over 30 years on and off. I have leaky gut and high oxalic. I now also have Lichen Planus oral and on my scalp (for 8 years). I have been following a low carb diet and just recently went on a metabolic diet.
Have you treated anyone with Lichen Planus if so would appreciate any helpful things to do or supplements to take.
Hey Regina! Have you followed an autoimmune elimination program such as the one mentioned in this article? This will help remove inflammatory foods from your gut and give it some ability to heal itself. You will probably also want to do a Leaky Gut and Candida protocol to make sure these things are taken care of.
Start with these articles:
If you want you can email email@example.com and we can get you started with your own individualized plan!
I too,have struggled with excess candida, on and off,and leaky gut, for the past 20-25 years. (I’m 50 now) About 6 yrs ago I was diagnosed with Lichen Sclerosis (vulvar). I’ve done a LOT if research and keep finding its connected to autoimmune issues. The Candida+Leaky Gut=Autoimmune. My mother has celiac, and I seem to be gluten intolerant. I’ve spent so much $over the years in naturopath help. I eat better than I used to,but now believe I need to follow a low Oxylate diet, because of my symptoms. I just want to get things straightened out.I had low thyroid and adrenal fatigue for a while, which is better. Kw. Not on any meds, and do no antibiotics. Finally off Dilantin after 40 yrs, as a result of eliminating excess gluten! I want my gut healed and the Autoimmune issues to be resolved. Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Hey Christin, you may want to work with one of our health coaches and do some lab work because it is hard to give a straight answer with just symptoms. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are up to it! Alternatively we have our Digestive health Restoration program https://drjockers.com/the-digestive-health-restoration-program/
Hi Dr Jockers,
I’ve just started you LOCA elimination protocol. I’m doing due to my extensive digestive issues (parasites, candida, food sensitivities, leaky gut etc etc). Is 30 days still the recommended time frame to use considering the bad bugs I have – will it help the candida numbers lower & parasites killed? What should I do if I don’t feel any different after 30 days ?
Hey Brittany, you could extend it for longer. 60-90 days even. If you don’t notice any improvements I would recommend working with one of our health coaches on this.
Hi, I read one article where said that there is new research that shows yeast (candida patients) converts hydrolyzed collagen into oxalates. I saw that you recomended hydrolyzed collagen on that low oxalate food list. Can you comment on this?
Hi Dr. Jockers,
I have been following your Candida and Leaky Gut Diet. When can eggs be included back in the menu please? Can goat’s kefir be introduced after 2-3 weeks since the start of the diet?
Thank you for this! I have heard you speak on summits and really enjoy your work. I’m curious what of the above advice would change for a 5 year old (confirmed yeast and bacterial overgrowths and high oxalates from OATS), including dosage for the charcoal. Thanks so very much. If the above would be guaranteed (ha I know… not possible) to work I would make it happen. I feel like we have tried so much over the past 1.5 years.
Yes, for a 5 year old, you would need to cut the dosage down by 1/4 to begin and it would be wise to work with a functional health practitioner. https://drjockers.com/functional-nutrition-tips-to-find-a-great-health-coach/