Candida albicans is the specific fungus responsible for vaginitis, the most common type of yeast infection. Yeast in the human body is present in moist areas like the vagina or mouth.
Even healthy women (20% – 50%) will have yeast present in the vagina. Vaginitis is characterized by symptoms like extreme itchiness, vaginal irritation, and discharge or burning sensation during intercourse or urination.
Yeast infections may be caused due to pregnancy, impaired immune system, overuse of antibiotics, uncontrolled diabetes or inadequate vaginal lubrication.
Yeast infections caused by the Candida albicans fungus respond well to conventional treatments. Other Candida types, on the other hand, are often hard to treat and will require aggressive treatment.
Although women suffer the most from yeast infections, men may also contract genital yeast infection due to unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Other causes of this infection in men include impaired immune system or diabetes. In men, symptoms include rash, burning or itching around the penis and it responds well to OTC fungal treatment.
Turmeric & Yeast Infection
Frankly, when I was starting this portal I was sure turmeric has many health benefits but never imagined so many. As I study more about turmeric I get more amazed by its miracles!
As I researched, I came to know that turmeric has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat many medical conditions. One such treatment is consumption of a tea made with ground licorice root and turmeric. This tea is said to help relieve some of the symptoms caused by yeast infections.
In a nutshell – turmeric has antimicrobial properties that can prevent the growth of infections due to fungi, bacteria, protozoa or viruses.
Anti-fungals are required to treat infections like candidiasis, athlete’s foot, thrush or ringworm. Hence, turmeric could benefit the treatment of yeast infections that are caused by a fungus.
Turmeric can be an effective treatment of Candida albicans that causes yeast infections, due to the benefits offered by curcumin, like its ability to strengthen the immune system by increasing CD4 and CD8 counts. These two are glycoproteins that are needed to help the body deal with infections.
Here are some studies which discuss how turmeric can be of help.
Studies have been conducted on the efficacy of using curcumin in 23 fungal strains – especially the Candida species in human buccal epithelial cells. HIV patients are prone to yeast infections.
Studies found that turmeric inhibited candida growth. It was found that curcumin had better effects than fluconazole in preventing yeast infection in AIDS patients. The Aspergillus species were not as affected as the Paracoccidioides brasiliensis Candida species. The studies show that turmeric compounds provide promising benefits for yeast infections.
In another study, the anti-Candida activity of curcumin was studied in Swiss mice. When curcumin was combined with piperine, it was found that there was a reduction in fungal growth in the kidneys of the mice.
Additionally, curcumin caused quick apoptosis of Candida cells. It was found that curcumin could induce oxidative stress in yeast cells.
This prevented the growth of Candida hyphae that can attack human cells. Since curcumin is an antioxidant, it can fight free radicals, therefore, allowing the immune system to function better and fight off yeast infections.
Studies were conducted in a laboratory to find if turmeric could benefit treatment of Candida albicans that was resistant to fluconazole. Curcumin was able to prevent adhesion of yeast cells.
It was found that curcumin lowered resistance of yeast infected cells to treatment with antifungal medications like fluconazole, thereby making these drugs more effective in treatment.
The benefits of curcumin medications in treating oral candidiasis were studied. Mice were infected with Candida albicans that induced oral candidiasis. After 5 days, the mice were given topical curcumin (in varying doses of 20, 40 or 80 µM) and LED light illumination.
At the end of the study period, it was determined that there was a significant lowering of Candida albicans cells in the mice with both the LED light and curcumin treatment.
The mice given the 80 µM topical curcumin showed the highest reduction in yeast cell colony counts. Turmeric compounds did not cause any side effects, therefore showing promise as a treatment for yeast infections.
There are many more studies concluding one or another of the above points.
Turmeric supplements are available as capsules, tablets, liquid extracts or tincture. The recommended dosage for adults is 400-600mg daily of standardized curcumin powder, 30-90 drops daily of fluid extracts or 1-3g daily of dried, powdered root. There is no recommended dosage for children. Remember, this is not necessarily dosage for yeast / fungal infection.
As I have always maintained, it is better to include turmeric in your regular diet rather than supplements. Enjoy its aroma and color in your food!
Turmeric used as a spice in food is safe for everyone. When taking turmeric supplements, always stick to the recommended dose, for otherwise, you could develop side effects like nausea, diarrhea, dizziness or indigestion. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and diabetes patients are advised to avoid turmeric supplements.
Patients with kidney stones, gastrointestinal disorders, gallstones, bile duct obstruction, stomach ulcers or hyperacidity must avoid turmeric supplements. Always consult your doctor when taking turmeric supplements for they could interact adversely with several drugs – e.g. anti-platelet medications.