Candida is a yeast-like fungus that can grow into an infection (candidiasis). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) 75% of women and 90% of people who have HIV will develop yeast infections. For women, yeast infections commonly affect the vagina, though candida can also affect the mouth, skin, stomach and urinary tract. Though it isn't entirely clear how effective supplements are in treating candida infections, people claim to reap benefits. Seek your doctor's approval prior to taking supplements for best results.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria, similar to those found in the body. According to the UMMC, taking probiotics or "friendly bacteria" while taking antibiotics can help prevent candida overgrowth. Since antibiotics are a common trigger for candidiasis, you may wish to incorporate probiotic supplements into your diet when your doctor prescribes antibiotics, particularly if you're prone to developing yeast infections. Natural health expert, Andrew Weil, M.D., also suggests reducing refined sugars and dairy products in your diet as a means of preventing or reducing candida overgrowth.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are healthy fats the body can't produce on its own. The UMMC suggests taking 2 tablespoons or 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acid (evening primrose oil) mixed with omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) twice per day for those prone to yeast infections. Essential fatty acids help reduce body inflammation and are associated with positive heart health. You may also wish to reduce your intake of saturated fats, such as those found in red meat, whole milk and butter. Instead, choose fatty fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds or canola oil, which provide omega-3 fatty acids. Some essential fatty acids are associated with increased risk of bleeding. For this reason, without your doctor's approval and guidance, they should not be taken along with blood-thinning medications or if you have a bleeding disorder of any kind.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin supplementation may help keep your immune system strong and better suited toward fighting infection and disease. The UMMC recommends that people prone to candida infection consider 500 to 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 200 to 400 IU of vitamin E, and 200 micrograms of selenium per day for boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation. B complex vitamins are known to support healthy digestion and skin renewal, which can help improve candida symptoms that appear on the skin and evident in the stomach and urinary tract. B vitamins can be purchased individually (B1, B2, B12...) or as a B-complex supplement. The UMMC recommends the B-complex supplement as it provides the broadest range of potential benefits.