Can Coconut Oil Help Fight Yeast Infections?

12 Jan

Do you suffer from Candida albicans (commonly called a yeast infection) and not know it? Many people do. Often times, one may be struggling with fatigue and other symptoms and not know candida is the culprit. For example, statistics show that 75% of all women will suffer with at least one yeast infection during their lifetime. Nearly half of these women will experience at least one more episode of infection. A small percentage (5-8%) will suffer from at least four recurrent infection per year.

What is candida albicans? Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over twenty species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans. Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop that can vary depending on the area of the body that is infected.

Symptoms can include a sore throat, a white coating on the tongue, blisters or sores in the cheeks, a burning tongue, bad breath, food allergies, gas, abdominal pain, gastritis, rectal itching, sugar cravings, ulcers, bladder infections, burning urination, kidney infection, bronchitis, chronic cough, clogged sinuses, excess mucous, nasal itching, sinus infections, wheezing, sneezing, pneumonia, chronic congestion, diaper rash, eczema, red rashes, itchy patches on the skin, sores, and blurred vision. When Candida is present in the gut, it can generate toxins that can affect the brain causing apathy, confusion, dizziness, foggy thinking, poor concentration, poor coordination, and spaced-out feelings.

Candida infections can be persistent and difficult to treat, but new research indicates there may be a natural solution to this problem. A recent study led by researchers at Tufts University found that coconut oil effectively controlled the overgrowth of Candida albicans in mice. The research, published in the journal mSphere, suggests that it might be possible to use dietary approaches as an alternative to antifungal drugs in order to decrease the risk of infections caused by Candida albicans. In the study, mice who ate a coconut oil-rich diet experienced a 90% reduction the amount of Candida albicans in the gut when compared with mice in a control group. Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University writes, “Food can be a powerful ally in reducing the risk of disease… This study marks a first step in understanding how life-threatening yeast infections in susceptible individuals might be reduced through the short-term and targeted use of a specific type of fat.”

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