Best Probiotics for Candidiasis

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Candidiasis at a Glance

Candida infection is a fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus in the body. Candida is a type of yeast that normally lives in small amounts in the human body, especially in the mouth, gut, and female genital tract. That being said, when the balance of microorganisms in the body is disrupted, Candida can multiply rapidly and cause infections described as Candidiasis.

The most common strain of Candida Infections

There are several strains of Candida, but the most common is Candida albicans. This fungus can cause a variety of infections, including oral thrush, genital yeast infections, and invasive candidiasis, which can affect the bloodstream and internal organs.

What are the common symptoms of candida infection? 

Oral Candidiasis

  • usually tender 
  • milky-white or yellowish curd-like patchy growths on the palate, buccal/gingival mucosae, pharynx and dorsum of the tongue
  • If scraped away, a bleeding ulcerated surface remains.

Image courtesy: healthline.co.uk

Vaginal Candidiasis

  • Vaginal itching** or soreness 
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pain, discomfort or burning sensation** when urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

**Not all itching & burning of the vulva & vagina is Candida infection. Swabs should be taken for dx before committing to Rx empirically.

*Approximately 20% of women carry Candida albicans as genital flora but less than 5% suffer from repeated or intractable clinical candidiasis. 

Skin and nail infections

  • Red, itchy, and painful skin rashes, particularly in skin folds, such as the armpits and groin. 
  • Fungal infections of the nails may cause thickening, discolouration, and crumbling of the nail.

Systemic Candidiasis

When candida enters the bloodstream, it can present with a variety of symptoms depending on the organ system involved resulting in chronic fever, chest infections, and fall in blood pressure in severe cases. 

What are the favourable conditions for Candidiasis?

  • Antibiotics can kill the friendly bacteria that normally live in the body and help to keep Candida in check resulting in Candida overgrowing and causing an infection.
  • Weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS, cancer, autoimmune diseases or poorly controlled diabetes are more susceptible to candidiasis.
  • Hormonal changes during adolescence, pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause can alter the balance of microorganisms in the body and increase the risk of candidiasis.
  • Use of corticosteroids can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of candidiasis.
  • Sexual activity can introduce bacteria and other microorganisms into the body, which can disrupt the balance of microorganisms and increase the risk of candidiasis.

Impressive Roles of Probiotics for Candida Infection

Since candida infection occurs as a result of beneficial microbiota in the body, Probiotics which are friendly microorganisms that maintain the gut microbiota either in the diet or supplement form play a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of candida infection.

They play an important aspect in the management of candidiasis by:

💊Strengthening the gut barrier: Probiotics can help to strengthen the gut barrier and reduce intestinal permeability, which can help to prevent Candida and other pathogens from entering the bloodstream and causing systemic infections.

💊Modulating the immune response: Probiotics can interact with immune cells in the gut and other parts of the body, promoting a balanced immune response that can help to prevent Candida infections.

💊Competitive inhibition: Probiotic strains can compete with Candida for space and resources in the gut and other parts of the body. By competing with the growth and multiplication of Candida, probiotics can help to prevent its overgrowth and reduce the risk of infection.

💊Production of anti-fungal substances: Certain probiotic strains can produce anti-fungal substances, such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, that can help to inhibit the growth of Candida.

💊Reducing inflammation: Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system and promote Candida overgrowth. Probiotics can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and other parts of the body, which may help to prevent Candida infections.

Image courtesy: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Mechanism-of-action-of-probiotics_fig1_335774500

What does the recent research say about probiotics and candidiasis? 

❇️Probiotics with the greatest antifungal activity

Regarding probiotic efficacy against candida species, researchers have looked at the activity of dozens of Lactobacillus strains. In one study, of 30 lactobacillus strains tested against Candida albicans, L. paracasei 28.4, L. rhamnosus 5.2 and L. fermentum 20.4 isolates showed the greatest antifungal activity, helping to prevent the formation of Candida. 

❇️Anti-fungal properties

Lactobacilli strains produce lactic acid, which has a mild antifungal effect. Some lactobacilli, however, also produce stronger antimicrobial substances such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), bacteriocins, and other low molecular weight substances. 

❇️Prevent systemic fungal infection

A recent analysis of seven studies concluded that the use of probiotic supplements for premies was associated with a 57% reduction in the risk of Candida infection, and there was some evidence that probiotics may also reduce the risk of fungal sepsis.15

Best Probiotics for Candidiasis

I am Dr Tun Min working as a GP in NHS UK. During my 10 years of clinical practice, I have seen several patients who present with candida infections in different parts of the body. On such occasions, in addition to conventional antifungal medications and lifestyle modification, I have found out that the addition of some probiotics to the management plan has several beneficial effects in the treatment and prevention of the recurrence of Candidiasis. 

Some of the high-quality Probiotics that are effective for candida infection I would like to recommend are as follows;

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