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Candida & Vitamin B-12

by
author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Candida & Vitamin B-12
Yogurt spills from a spoon and onto a white counter. Photo Credit mayamo/iStock/Getty Images

Candida is a yeastlike fungus that can infect your mouth, stomach, urinary tract and vagina. Candida infections are associated with certain drugs, a weakened immune system and nutrient deficiencies, which include B-12 and folate. Some complementary and alternative treatment options include taking a B-complex supplement. However, this alone is not enough to treat an active infection. You should consult your doctor before taking supplements to treat or prevent candida infections.

Candida

Candida normally live in your body and do not cause problems unless allowed to overgrow. Candida are commonly known for causing vaginal yeast infections in women. About 75 percent of women will get a vaginal infection at one time or another, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You are at an increased risk of getting a candida infection if you have a weakened immune system. For instance, about 90 percent of people with HIV or AIDS get candida infections, according to the UMMC.

B-12 Significance

A deficiency in B vitamins and other nutrients such as vitamin C may increase your risk of getting a candida infection. Because nutrient absorption decreases with age, elderly people are most at risk of vitamin depletion. In a study of hospitalized elderly patients published in the November 2004 issue of "The British Journal of Nutrition," researchers found an increased incidence of oral candida infections in those with vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin C, B-12, C and folate.

Treatment

If you have a candida infection, your doctor will generally prescribe an anti-fungal medication. Anti-fungal medications are available over the counter, but it is important to receive a diagnosis from your doctor since other types of bacteria can cause similar symptoms. Treatment typically lasts between three and 14 days depending on the severity of your infection. In very severe cases, your doctor may prescribe intravenous medication.

Prevention

Because sugar can contribute to yeast overgrowth, reducing sugar intake may help prevent candida overgrowth, according to the UMMC. B vitamins work best together, so taking a daily B-complex supplement may also help. If you are prone to candida infections, it may help to reduce other foods that can promote yeast overgrowth, including alcohol and dairy products. If you have a clinical B-12 deficiency, your doctor can prescribe monthly B-12 injections.

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