Alcohol and Candida: How They’re Linked and What to Do

This article addresses the subject of alcohol and candida, which is a yeast that can overgrow and lead to a wide array of problems. Sugar cravings, headaches, and bloating can be triggered by candida overgrowth.

how to get rid of candida

While some level of candida yeast in the body is totally normal, excessive drinking is one of several factors that can lead to overgrowth of this strain relative to the “good” bacteria in our guts.

Mainstream doctors often deny the existence of candida-related problems in the general population. However, there have been many anecdotal reports about this disorder and its resolution. This article will review the most effective natural anti-fungal agents, diet changes, and drugs that have been used to resolve overgrowth in the gut.

How do I know if I have Candida?

Symptoms of this yeast overgrowth in the gut most often involve the following symptoms:

  • Intestinal discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Gas and bloating
  • Loose stools

If you suspect that you have overgrowth, a healthcare professional can administer a test to determine whether or not you do.

Can drinking alcohol cause candida?

Candida albicans is a yeast commonly found in the human body, including the skin, gut, and cellular membranes. Candidiasis occurs when these yeasts multiply to abnormal levels. Mainstream doctors typically recognize this condition only in the context of localized areas such as the mouth, vagina, or bloodstream.

But what causes this to get out of control in the gut? An overgrowth of yeast – or even non-beneficial bacteria – could be caused by a variety of modern diet and medication practices. Here are just a few that are cause for concern:

  • Overprescription of antibiotics can decimate the healthy bacteria, or probiotics, that we need to maintain optimal gut health, allowing opportunistic yeast to multiply.
  • Excessive sugar or alcohol consumption, or chronic exposure to highly refined sugars like alcohol, can feed yeasts and cause inflammation in the gut, leading to symptoms of imbalance.
  • A low-fiber diet reduces the amount of healthy bacteria that compete in the gut with yeasts and other bacteria.

In recent years, a mysterious disease known as “auto-brewery syndrome” has been observed in multiple countries, causing individuals to produce alcohol from yeast overgrowth in their gut. (source)

Many cases of self-diagnosed “candida” appear to be a combination of gut health maladies, involving various forms of bacteria and yeast overflowing and spilling into the small intestine. The good news is that most cases are fixable via diet changes and anti-fungal supplements. In severe cases, doctors turn to drugs to resolve the problem.

We will now proceed to discuss all of these remedies to get rid of overgrowth.

Supplements

how to get rid of candida

Minor cases of candida overgrowth can sometimes be resolved with one or two supplements. But since anti-fungal agents often combat this in different ways, they tend to work synergistically with each other.

The following supplements have been used very effectively to get rid of overgrowth:

  • Probiotics – These healthy gut bacteria compete with the yeast and help to maintain an optimal balance of microorganisms in the gut
  • Oregano Oil – Powerful natural anti-microbial and anti-fungal oil
  • Caprylic Acid – Kills the yeasts by dissolving their cellular membranes
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract – Kills the yeasts and parasites gently and effectively
  • Black Walnut – Contains a natural compound called juglone, which is a potent anti-fungal agent
  • Pau D’arco – Herb with well known anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory activity
  • Anise Seed – South American seed known to fight fungus and other parasites
  • Wormwood – Anti-parasitic herb that has been used for centuries
  • Cellulase – Plant enzyme that breaks down candida biofilm
  • Biotin – B-vitamin that keeps this yeast in check and helps fight sugar cravings

A few years ago, people would purchase all of these supplements and use them together. Blends were available but extremely expensive, often costing hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, newer supplements have hit the market for under $20 and can be obtained on Amazon.

If I were struggling with this yeast infection, I would use my favorite probiotic (Oweli Probiotic) along with one of the two following anti-fungal supplements:

how to get rid of candida

NOW Candida Support is not quite as strong as Candida FX, but it’s not necessarily a worse supplement. I would select one based on the severity of my problem.

I would take the above formulas along with a potent probiotic and extra biotin.

As for the efficacy of these supplements, the reviews by verified buyers on Amazon speak for themselves. If overgrowth in the gut does not occur, as many mainstream doctors suggest, then these individuals are clearly experiencing relief from a serious gut issue that deserves to be studied further.

What can you drink when you have candida?

If you want to get rid of the overgrowth, the most important diet change is to temporarily eliminate sugar from your beverages and overall diet.

The reasoning is simple: this yeast and invasive bacteria species thrive on sugar. When you cut the sugar, you “starve” the yeasts from multiplying in your gut. The supplements described in the section above will be far less effective if you eat a diet filled with sugar.

In many regimens, people excise all sugar – including fruit – for a month or two, and then slowly reintroduce low-sugar fruits like apples back into the diet.

Beyond cutting sugar from both beverages and foods, the following two natural remedies have a VERY powerful effect on minimizing yeasts, invasive bacteria, and even parasites:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coconut oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Cloves & Cinnamon

The foods above contain compounds that fight yeast and fungus while preserving good bacteria. You can find some of these foods in supplement form, but it’s best to buy some at the store and incorporate them into your diet.

Eating enough fiber is also very important for maintaining gut health. Dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are sources of both fiber and micronutrients that reduce gut inflammation.

Health practitioners who specialize in overgrowth often recommend very specific diet changes. Because everyone is unique in terms of particular diet needs to begin with, it’s best to work with an expert who has experience in treating the overgrowth.

Can probiotics make Candida worse?

Generally, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement is recommended as part of a regimen to get rid of it. The science on various probiotic foods is a bit less clear.

The foods below can be part of a healthy diet for people with normal levels of yeast, as they help to feed good bacteria in the gut:

  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Grass-fed plain yogurt
  • No-sugar-added kombucha or kefir
how to get rid of candida

The potential problem is that in some cases, these foods also contain prebiotics that feed bad bacteria and yeasts. This is why it may be best to wait until after you resolve your overgrowth to incorporate these foods.

Prescription Drugs

When supplements and diet changes are not enough, health practitioners have turned to three prescription drugs with a high degree of success. If you go this route, you will have to obtain prescriptions from your doctor:

A full explanation of how these drugs work is beyond the scope of this article. You can use the links above to learn more about these medications.

For an overview of restoring your health through diet, including preventing yeast overgrowth and overcoming food cravings, I highly recommend The Diet Cure by Julia Ross.

How long does it take to heal?

how to get rid of candida

Healing from this overgrowth can take anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on:

  • The severity of your infection
  • Treatment protocol – natural or pharmaceutical

If you opt to heal overgrowth naturally, healing can take up to 6 months or longer for a stubborn infection. The good news is that natural methods of healing, including cutting sugar consumption, make it less likely to return over time.

If you opt for medications that treat this or other yeast infections, symptoms can subside in a matter of days or even hours for mild cases.

People with yeast overgrowth commonly report extremely stubborn sugar cravings.

If this problem afflicts you, then you can use several grams of L-glutamine powder under your tongue to help these physical cravings dissipate. Over time, your brain will rewire itself – and you will no longer crave sugar.

Since alcohol is a highly refined sugar, lots of people experience sugar cravings after quitting. As it turns out, the L-glutamine trick works just as well for cravings. You can read more about this topic in my article on beating alcohol cravings with L-glutamine.

Alcohol itself is extremely toxic to the gut, and many people who want to repair their bodies after quitting alcohol experience symptoms of overgrowth. If this is the case for you, then in addition to the information above, you will also want to read about the best supplements for recovery.

Alcohol is known to weaken the immune system. Because a weak immune system is often a culprit in overgrowth, it’s important to eat healthy foods and replenish the body with nutrients after conquering addiction.

How do you know if candida is dying?

When it dies off, either because it is starved of sugar or killed by anti-yeast medications, you may experience flu-like symptoms that are unpleasant.

These symptoms are usually not dangerous, but they can cause discomfort. They include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Fatigue
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Heart rate increase

Coping with candida die-off is beyond the scope of this article, but there are many online resources that can help.

Scientific Research

how to get rid of candida

Despite the controversy surrounding this topic in medical circles, research is just beginning to illuminate some of the associations between yeast and gut health:

  • A recent study at Johns Hopkins found a correlation between these infections, mental illness, and memory loss (source)
  • Recent research shows that a high concentration of this yeast is associated with inflammation and several gastrointestinal tract diseases that affect many people (source)
  • High blood sugar levels are associated with mechanisms that increase susceptibility to these infections (source)
  • The gut and the brain are inextricably linked, with important connections between microorganisms in the gut and emotional centers in the brain (source)

The gut-brain connection is a promising research frontier that should eventually yield answers for people who struggle with candida-related problems.

Conclusion

I hope you’ve taken some useful – maybe even life-changing, or at least diet-changing – information away from this article. I expect gut health to be studied more intensely in the years to come.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment box below.

Hierarchy of Alcohol Recovery

Authors

  • Chris Scott

    Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

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  • Dr. Rebeca Eriksen

    Dr. Rebeca Eriksen is the Nutritional Consultant for Fit Recovery. She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction. In addition to her work at the exclusive Executive Health clinic in Marbella, Spain, she helps to keep Fit Recovery up to date with emerging research.

    View all posts
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Patricia Wilson
6 years ago

I never knew that alcohol can weaken that immune system! I understand that having one too many drinks is not really ideal, but a weakened immune system? I definitely didn’t see that one coming. I’m very happy that I came across your article when I did. The doctors found out that my dad has an irregular candida overgrowth. I’d be sure to share this article with my dad, so he can better understand how he got that overgrowth in the first place. Thanks for this very educational article!

Chris Scott
Admin
6 years ago

Thanks for your comment Patricia! Some interesting research on how exactly alcohol weakens the immune system can be found here. Best of luck to your dad.