The medication most commonly used to treat candida-related problems is nystatin, which is not absorbed into the body at all but kills Candida on contact on the gut walls. Millions of women have used it, over some decades, with no serious side effects. It can also be taken during pregnancy and does not interact with other medications or vitamins.
Sometimes people are told to use this drug, in the form of Nizoral, straight away, but please be aware that, while sometimes useful and even necessary, this anti-fungal is not without some danger of side effects.
The MIMS manual, which all doctors and trained nutritionists use to look up possible side effects, contraindications and interactions with other drugs as well as foods, vitamins or minerals, has this to say about Nizoral.
Liver disorders which may not be symptomatic but which may be potentially serious and possibly fatal may occur, hence liver function tests before and during treatment are desirable. If tests or other signs and symptoms suggest hepatocellular dysfunction, discontinue. Patients should be instructed to report any signs and symptoms suggestive of liver dysfunction.
Along with many other drugs, especially those used for the treatment of ulcers, ketoconazole has a disturbing effect on the liver detox system (cytochrome P 450) and as such may slow down the body’s ability to process other drugs and any toxic chemicals. Before using it, I recommend that a liver detoxification profile test should be carried out.
In addition this drug cannot be taken during pregnancy and a woman may well be pregnant for several weeks without knowing it. Nizoral, in other words, is the kind of medication that should be used only as a last resort. One such last resort is when Candida is causing chronic cystitis. If no organism can be cultured from the urine, doctors may be tempted to prescribe antibiotics. If there are foci of Candida albicans in the kidneys or urinary tract, the antibiotics will destroy any competing bacteria and Candida will live on happily ever after. So will the cystitis! Nystatin, anti-fungals and other preparations are unable to reach the kidneys in a form that will be effective. Ketoconazole will. I have seen this particular anti-fungal medication cure cases of cystitis that had been going on for years.
This drug is similar to ketoconazole but more specific, more efficient and far less dangerous to the liver. It is the anti-fungal of choice when nystatin and other measures have not succeeded or when the infection is very serious. Pre-treatment and after-treatment tests for liver function appear quite normal, suggesting it does not affect the liver as much as ketoconazole does. In spite of this, I only use it as a last resort and, whenever possible, perform a liver detox profile test (cytochrome P-450) beforehand.
Other Anti-fungal Agents
Pau d’arco tea, also known as Ipe Roxo; caprilic acid; tea-tree oil; essential fatty acids; and special odourless garlic potions have also been used with some success, as have homeopathic remedies. Their usefulness depends greatly on the degree to which the infection has spread. Nystatin, to be really useful, has to be taken in large quantities, up to three teaspoons of the powder daily for many weeks, and the male partner is required to take a short course as well. During this period sexual contacts should be avoided. The pure nystatin powder is preferable, because it does not contain as many fillers that may cause allergic reactions. Natural resistance can be increased with proper supplements, especially vitamins A, E and C, pantothenic acid and zinc, and it is essential to replace the friendly bacteria (acidophilus/probiotics). Acidophilus is the same bacteria that turns milk into yoghurt and if you take some when undergoing antibiotic treatment the yeast Candida does not get a chance to crowd out the friendly bacilli. Freeze-dried forms are available and they work best. Ideally one should take five to ten tablets (or one teaspoon of powder) on awakening, before any food, for a couple of days after the nystatin treatment. A maintenance dose of one-third of a teaspoon a day after that helps to prevent recurrences.
Adaptogenic tonics, such as Siberian ginseng, and the elimination of other allergic foods also help to increase natural resistance.
Starving out the yeast albicans means simply no yeast foods and no sugars or else, when large starch molecules are not broken down properly, they feed the yeast fungus. Therefore an important part of the treatment should be the establishment of successful digestion.
Special digestive enzymes can help here. At this point one should undergo a full allergy screening to find out if there are any foods to which one has become hypersensitive. As we have seen, some of the old tests for food allergies, such as the cytotoxic, are notoriously inaccurate as well as expensive. Others, like the scratch test, are usually invalid for foods. The new techniques of capillography and avoidance followed by challenge are the best ways to assess food allergies when properly conducted by an experienced therapist.