What is the Connection Between Candida and Probiotics?

B. Schreiber

Candida and probiotics are related in that probiotics, which occur naturally in the body, might be able to help control candida. Candida refers to Candida albicans, a type of fungus that is normally found on the skin, in the digestive tract, and on most of the body's mucous surfaces, like those of the mouth and lungs. Usually candida does not have harmful effects, but when it grows excessively, it can cause thrush or yeast infections. Probiotics are so-called friendly bacteria that normally inhabit the same areas of the body, especially the digestive tract. Healthy populations of probiotics reduce the opportunities for candida to grow and cause infection.

Candida and probiotics are in constant competition in the digestive track.
Candida and probiotics are in constant competition in the digestive track.

The human gut flora, which is the population of microorganisms that is normally found in the digestive tract, is mostly made up of various kinds of bacteria and yeasts. C. albicans is a type of yeast, and all yeast species are types of fungi. Candida and probiotics are in constant competition in the digestive tract, so higher levels of friendly bacteria can crowd out candida. This reduces the chances of candida infection.

There are a few different ways to create or restore a healthy balance between candida and probiotics. One of the most common ways to do this is by adding the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus to the diet, either through food sources or supplements. >L. acidophilus and other probiotics occur naturally in some fermented dairy products such as yogurt, specifically those that contain live cultures. Some other probiotics include different species of Lactobacillus and some species of Bifidobacterium, which are available as supplements.

Dietary supplements can be taken to exploit the connection between candida and probiotics. Probiotics can be taken in supplements as pills or as powders. Different strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are available, some of which are patented. In addition to L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium bifidus are often taken. Combining fermented dairy foods with supplements may help to ensure the presence of a variety of health-promoting bacteria.

The infections that sometimes occur after taking antiobiotics can help illustrate the relationship between candida and probiotics. Sometimes candida infections occur after taking antibiotics. This is because antibiotics kill friendly bacteria as well as unfriendly bacteria. The loss of friendly bacteria can lead to candida infections because these helpful bacteria are no longer present in the digestive tract and are therefore unable to compete with candida. Using probiotic supplements to recolonize the body with healthy bacteria can help prevent these infections.

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