Intestinal yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the naturally occurring fungus, Candida albicans. This yeast also causes infections of the vagina and oral cavities. Taking antibiotics, altering the diet, or suffering from a weakened immune system, which change the body's pH--the acid/alkaline balance--often leads to this overgrowth. Foregoing traditional treatments with antifungal drugs typically requires a combination of adopting an antifungal diet, taking natural antifungals and supplementing with probiotics.
The main idea of an antifungal diet is that yeast feeds on simple sugars, which include starches such as white flour and other refined carbohydrates. Allowing the yeast in your intestinal tract to multiply and feed off excess sugar and carbohydrates can result in the production of ethanol and acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical, according to The Environmental Illness Resource. Adopting an antifungal diet essentially requires eliminating processed foods and only eating complex carbohydrates and whole grains in moderation. However, the Mayo Clinic states that few to no clinical trials prove the validity of an antifungal or "Candida cleanse" diet. Many physicians believe that choosing more healthful foods simply reduces the stress on the digestive system and thus results in fewer gastrointestinal issues and weight loss.
Some of the most common antifungals, according to The Environmental Illness Resource, include saturated fatty acids, oregano, garlic, colloidal silver, cellulase, berberine and plant tannins such as those found in the black walnut plant.
Saturated fatty acids are found in palm and coconut oils, and extracts of castor bean oil. Up to 3600 mg per day of caprylic acid, which is found in palm and coconut oils, may be taken as an antifungal treatment. Undecyclenic acid, found in castor bean oil, may also be taken in dosage of up to 1000 mg daily.
Berberine is a common antifungal treatment in Chinese medicine that is found in the herb known as barberry. Oregano is commonly known as a spice used in most kitchens, but oregano vulgare is the antifungal treatment, while oregano marjoram favors your favorite Italian dishes. This treatment is available as an oil, and only requires a few drops in a glass of water.
Garlic is a common antifungal treatment because of its sulphur-containing compounds known to fight yeast overgrowth. Use fresh garlic in your food to fight Candida infections.
Colloidal silver is used to fight a variety of microbes, but is of interest as a home remedy for yeast infections because silver has been shown to kill Candida and other fungi. Cellulase, available in health food stores, is the enzyme that breaks down the cell wall of Candida, thus killing the yeast. Many eastern medicine treatments for fungi use tannins; black walnut is one of the most common tannin-containing supplements available.
While cleansing your intestinal tract and reducing the Candida population using diet and/or natural supplementation, you also need to take a probiotic supplement to restore the beneficial bacteria that promote efficient digestion. Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is found in yogurt, acidophilus milk and supplements, is the best-known probiotic.