Are Supplements Making Your Candida Worse?

Supplements for Candida

So you’ve started your Candida Diet, stocked up your fridge with lots of non-starchy vegetables and gone to the health food store to buy all the supplements that you need. You’re all ready to go, but there’s one last thing that you need to check. Take a good look at the back of those supplement bottles, because there might be some ingredients listed there that can make your Candida worse.

The trouble is that very few supplements are made specifically for Candida sufferers. So for example a supplement for digestive problems might contain dextrose, which is fine for most people, but it could cause a reaction in a Candida sufferer. You need to check that ingredient label very carefully before you buy a supplement, and today I’m going to share with you four ingredients that you really should avoid.


Out of all the ingredients added to Candida supplements, Maltodextrin is probably the one I am asked about most often. It is frequently added to probiotics, antifungals and anything else that the manufacturer wants to give a slightly sweet taste. However, Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide (a type of sugar) that can feed your Candida.

One type of Maltodextrin (made from barley malt) has actually been shown to grow Candida colonies even more rapidly than regular white sugar. The problem is that Maltodextrin is absorbed by your body extremely rapidly, just like glucose, and so it quickly affects your blood sugar levels. That sweet taste that your supplements have? It could be feeding your Candida.

Avoiding supplements with Maltodextrin will deprive those Candida colonies of one more food source. In fact, you should make sure that nothing you eat contains Maltodextrin, including cereal, processed foods and salad dressings. Many sweeteners contain Maltodextrin too. Which sweeteners are OK on a Candida diet? Try Stevia (a low-GI, herbal supplement) or Xylitol (a low-GI sweetener used by diabetics to maintain stable blood sugar levels).


First of all, don’t confuse cellulase with cellulose. Whereas cellulose is an organic compound that forms the cell walls in plants, cellulase (note the different spelling) is a group of enzymes produced mostly by bacteria and fungi. They are two very different things but, as the similarity in their names suggests, they are certainly related to each other.

The role of cellulase is to break down cellulose and turn it into beta-glucose, a form of sugar. This quickly raises your blood sugar and can also feed the Candida colonies in your intestines.

You will find cellulase in lots of digestive enzyme products, but it also appears in many other supplements. Cellulase is not actually produced naturally by your body – your gut flora can do a perfectly fine job of breaking down the cellulose that makes it through to your intestines.

Fructose, Glucose & Sucrose

I already mentioned Maltodextrin, which is the kind of ‘hidden sugar’ that many people see on ingredient labels without really realizing what it is. But you need to watch out for simple sugars (fructose, glucose and sucrose) in your supplements too.

Many vitamin supplements contain added glucose, although sometimes it might be listed as dextrose. You’ll also find it in a number of probiotics and antifungals. To find great brands that don’t contain added sugars, do your research online and read the ingredient labels before you buy.

Another surprising place to find sugars is Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from a plant found in Paraguay and Brazil. Regular Stevia is a great substitute for regular sugar because it satisfies that craving for sweet tastes without raising your blood sugar. However, many brands of Stevia contain added glucose, dextrose or Maltodextrin. It’s pretty easy to find a Stevia brand that contains no added sugars (here’s an example), just remember to read those ingredient labels!


Alcohol is generally a bad thing when it comes to Candida, for the simple reason that it is a toxin. The acetaldehyde that is produced when alcohol is processed in your liver is the exact same chemical as one of Candida’s byproducts. Although alcohol does not really ‘feed’ the Candida as some people suggest, it will make your symptoms worse. It also releases free radicals into your blood that can damage your internal organs and weaken your immune system.

That all sounds pretty bad, but you may have noticed that alcohol is often present in herbal remedies. This is mostly because it is a great preservative, but it also enables the herbal remedy to be administered in a liquid form, improving absorption among those with digestive problems.

You should also know that there are some great supplements out there that use alcohol as a part of the manufacturing process and as a preservative. One example of this is Candidate, an herbal supplement made by Native Remedies. Although this does contain a small amount of ethanol, it is still a very useful supplement for reducing Candida symptoms.

So what’s the verdict on alcohol in supplements? I would recommend that you avoid it if possible, but if there is an herbal remedy that you really like, there’s no harm in trying it. Additionally, some herbal remedies are available both with and without alcohol, in which case you should seek out the non-alcoholic version. For example, if you take bitters for your digestion, look for a brand of noon-alcoholic Swedish bitters instead.

If you’re looking for more information, the Ultimate Candida Diet program contains lots more on how to choose effective antifungals, probiotics and detox supplements.

A 5-Step Program to Beat Candida

From Lisa Richards

If you're looking for a more comprehensive Candida treatment plan, check out Lisa Richards' new program, the Ultimate Candida Diet.

Lisa's plan is based on the latest research into Candida, and contains everything you need to know to beat your Candida overgrowth.

What the program includes
A 60-day plan to eliminate your Candida
A clear 5-step timeline
The latest research into Candida
Shopping lists you can take to the store
My 25 favorite Candida-fighting foods
A 10-part email course
Lots of tasty anti-Candida recipes
Get Relief Now


  1. Dana says

    Thanks so much! I actually just checked my probiotics and they contain maltodextrin… what a disappointment. Luckily I hadn’t opened them so I’ll take them back to the shop tomorrow.

    I’m definitely going to be a lot more careful when I buy supplements in the future. I think the manufacturers actively try to hide the truth from us, especially by using all those different names for sugar and sweeteners. My new rule is going to be if I haven’t heard of it, I won’t buy it!

    • Mari Ann says

      I just checked my enzyme from Wholefoods called “wholeszymes” Digestive Enzyme Complex, and it has Cellulase! I have been taking them and trying to beat Candida! Thanks!!!!!!

      • Vailhem says

        I googled ‘wholezymes’ and didn’t find anything but a link back to this article but…

        Might I suggest looking at the box to note the amount of cellulase contained therein? (again, I’d do this myself but I couldn’t find the product via a google search).

        Then, cross reference that with the amount of Cellulase in the product ‘Candex’ made by Pure Essence Labs.

        Crossing that to other candida cleaning kits and enzyme products, it is nearly 100x the amount of cellulase than any other product that I’ve found on the market. Also, if you read the brochure you can find on the website (just google: ‘candex’ and look for the Pure Essence Labs link) you’ll see/read that they also include *other* enzymes that not just allow the cell walls of the candida to be broken down (thus, like stated in this elsewhere… just making them easy food for candida down the line… ie, just a feedback loop; kill one only to feed it to another? doesn’t get one very far)… but these enzymes *then* attach to those sugars created or freed up by the cellulase and hold onto it in such a way that it isn’t readily bioavailable to other candida cells, but also so that it *is* readily bioavailable to bacterial strains … that, in turn, compete against candida themselves… so, sorta like canibalising the competition to feed the resistance :)

        but, Candex also recommends taking a probiotic while taking it… and the best probiotic I’ve found on the market (even bang for buck) … regardless of whether you’re taking Candex or *not*… is Garden of Life’s RAW probiotics (for men/women/men 50+/women50+ <—taking the one relative to you)

        but, back to the product… 'wholezymes'… with cellulase being the most critical ingredient that I see any supplemental form fighting candida … the quantity/concentration of it is a big deal. … as well the other enzymes being available to make sure that the sugars freed up from the candida killed don't just go on to feeding another candida cell somewhere in the surrounding area.

        Probiotics help replace the areas that the candida was with bacteria or healthy fungal strains that will also fight candida such to not only help fight it back during the actual attack, but also to help stop it from *coming* back after you're slowing down your cleansing process.

        Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon-Lime water, cayenne, turmeric, etc… but mainly the first two… anything that is acidic (like ACV or Lemon-Lime water) will also help to initially lower the ph (fungi doesn't like ph's below 6.5, and nearly doesn't even exist in environments with ph's below 6.3… vinegars are like mid-to-low 2's on the ph scale)… this will either out right kill or drive back candida and other fungi from the area that it initially gets to… then, the bacteria that move in feeding off of the resources will farther help to establish a frontal offense (and defense) against candida.

        Hope this helps more than it confuses!

  2. April says

    I had read that…”some brands of Vitamin B are derived from yeast. Disodium guanylate can be derived from yeast…especially if it is listed as a vegan source.” I did find “Twin Lab” brand…do have B Complex without yeast. But also found out from Twin Lab that the B12 is fermented.

  3. Kathy Reid says

    Thanks for the info on maltodextrin, I brought a probiotic yesterday (MultiFlora Digest) and started it this morning and just checked the ingredients now and surprise, surprise it too has maltodextrin in it!!!

  4. says

    when baking with xylitol – can you replace it cup for cup with sugar in cake recipes for example? I see that is 50% less sweet and that’s okay with me, but adding 50% more product could change the consistency of the batter… so i’m just wondering if it’s recommended to replace it cup for cup?

  5. Sue says

    To be honest I could have done with knowing this information right from the start. Maybe it should have been more prominent on the website, because I have spent a fortune on supplements which I probably can’t use now!

  6. mike j says

    I was taking a 3 part herbal cure for candida years ago and cellulase was one of the pills…supposedly ,taken late at night it cracks the candida shell? and then the herb in the morning can get in there and kill candida…worked for a week…

  7. Louise Girard says

    Just bought the book by Jeanne Marie Martin: Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook. Lots of information contradict what is found on the Candida website, for ex. : camomille tea Not to be used? Coconut milk Not to be used, stevia Not to be used! Is the book a bit dated with the info ? Does anyone know? Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Louise! It looks like that book was first published in 1996 (and probably written well before that!). So the information it contains is likely to be 20 years old or more, and it disregards all of the research done on Candida and fungal infections since then. You’re absolutely right to be skeptical, and as always I encourage everyone to do lots of their own research before committing to a plan.

  8. Kerri says

    I have a product called ‘Digezyme’ that I took this morning. It has celluase in it. I also have a blood glucose monitoring system to check my levels and wondered why today it was up around the 7 when it never is! , now I know why. I’m normally around a 5… What a shame because it made me feel so good for a while! Does anyone know any decent digestive enzymes in Australia which are safe and don’t contain this ingredient?

  9. says


    For those of you taking tinctures — or herbs preserved in alcohol — you can just add hot water to them like a tea. The hot water helps dissipate the alcohol.

  10. Chelsea Paurus says

    Hi Lisa,
    I have been taking Acidolphilus supplements and just read the label. It says in contains Rice Maltodextrin. But at the bottom of the label says it does not contain sugar?

  11. Chelsea Paurus says

    Hi Lisa,
    I have been taking Acidolphilus supplements and just read the label. It says in contains Rice Maltodextrin. But at the bottom of the label says it does not contain sugar?

  12. Kelly says

    Just checked the label on my probiotics—a very expensive one (AOR brand) and it has glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltodextrin! No wonder I was getting a terrible breakout! It’s very disappointing and just means more money down the toilet….Now I know to check the labels, but this is trickier than it should be, especially for people on a tight budget!…

  13. Teresa says

    Besides Candida, I was diagnosed with leaky gut and multiple food allergies. There’s been a real learning curve as far as learning to read labels. I just threw out my Trader Joes Stevia–it had milk in it, which I am now allergic to. I’d wake up in the morning and smell milk and I couldn’t understand why until I looked on the back of that container. I bought it before the diagnosis. Trader Joes does have pure Stevia–and it comes with a teeny spoon. It will last me forever.

  14. Teresa says

    I was on Diflucan for 6 weeks, and during that time, my nutritionist told me to buy a certain brand of probiotic, which I did. I took it for two days and it really upset my gut, so I looked on the label and saw it had Saccharomyces boulardii. I looked this up on the Internet and was blown away by the fact she had told me to ingest a type of brewer’s yeast while I’m taking Diflucan. On top of that, I tested allergic to brewer’s yeast. I called her up right away, and she told me it was good yeast. I called the dispensary where she worked and they told me I could bring it back, however next time there’d be a restocking fee of 25% I thought the whole thing was pretty outrageous considering it wasn’t my fault. I’ll never buy anything from them again. Did I over react–is Saccharomyces boulardii good for candida and leaky gut syndrome?

  15. Lesley says

    i have been suffering from chronic yeast infections for years. been on fluconazole for years. been to many gynos and specialists. they now told me there is nothing they can do for me. keep taking the fluconazole. why am I taking it if it doesn’t help? they’re hoping my body will start responding to it again. now my skin has broken out in a yeast infection. constantly uncomfortable. cant have sex. think I already lost my mind. been trying holistic approaches. different supplements. better diet, yogurts, oi vey, so sick of them. any new suggestions? need help.

  16. anna says

    hi lisa, i’ve heard mixed things about glycerine/glycerin- as per the books encouragement i bought a non alcohol vanilla extract (frontier brand, organic) and have been using it a lot in smoothies and breads and stuff, to compliment the bitter taste of stevia when i use it. i just realized the vanilla has organic glycerine, which online i seem to be getting mixed messages about. i would really love your advice. i will cut it out if it is hindering my healing for sure, but i don’t want to if i don’t have to! does it feed the yeast? or is it more like a sugar alcohol? i read somewhere that your liver turns glycerin/e into glucose… candida eats glucose. help!!!

    • Lisa Richards says

      Hi Anna, glycerin doesn’t raise blood sugar levels in the way that other sugar substitutes do. That’s why its often used by diabetics. I think it should be OK, especially in the very small amounts that you will be using.

  17. HJ says

    Please oh please, do tell me how alcohol–which breaks down into GLUCOSE at a similar rate to table sugar–doesn’t feed yeast. I feel like this cognitive dissonance is going to be HILARIOUS.

    • Lisa Richards says

      Thanks for the (misinformed and slightly unpleasant) comment HJ. Actually alcohol is more likely to lower your blood glucose that raise it. That’s because it promotes insulin secretion.

      Of course, if you didn’t read the article fully and are talking about mixed alcoholic drinks (e.g. rum & coke), that’s a completely different matter. But that’s not what we are discussing here at all.

      Lastly, please look up cognitive dissonance because you clearly don’t understand what it means!

  18. Kathryn says

    Hi Lisa,
    I’ve been suffering from really bad adrenal fatigue and on a anti-candida diet for most of my adult life, but I’ve been working hard to recover from adrenal fatigue by taking supplements, resting, and researching everything I do to help the cortisol level return to a more normal range. Recently, I took a twice daily dose of licorice root extract solution without alcohol (glycyrrhiza spp in pure vegetable glycerin with water), and despite everything I can find online, I reacting to it like I’m growing yeast. I’ve been very sensitive to candida toxins to the point where I feel slightly numb, depressed, have hair loss and itchy scalp, develop a milky film on my contact lenses, and feel off whenever I get into a sugar-like substance as well as anything that will either grow candida or kill it. I’m not sure if any of the ingredients in this product will grow yeast or kill it, but I’d be so grateful to you for information as to why I’m not feeling a good response to a product that is supposed to be excellent for treatment of hypoadrenalism.

  19. Jamie S. says

    Yes, you use 1 for 1 when replacing sugar with xylitol. If the recipe calls for 1 cup sugar you use 1 cup xylitol.

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