You can start your antifungals soon after you begin your strict anti-Candida diet. As with probiotics, there are some good reasons to wait until you have finished the cleanse before you start your course of antifungals. If you take them while you are cleansing, they are liable to quickly be expelled from your system with all the pathogens, bacteria and other matter that are washed through with the cleanse. And you don’t want to put too much stress on your body by prompting Candida Die-Off while you should be focusing on the cleansing process.
You will be introducing a probiotic around the same time, soon after you have finished the cleanse. These are both powerful elements of the Candida treatment plan, so we would recommend leaving a week or two between starting each of these. The reason is that both probiotics and antifungals are liable to cause Candida Die-Off, so to start courses of both at the same time could potentially make for a very challenging start to your treatment. If you leave a couple of weeks between them, you will be less likely to experience a severe Die-Off and more likely to finish the diet!
Why you need to choose a good antifungal
Antifungals play an important part in the Candida Diet by destroying the cells of the Candida Albicans yeast. They work with probiotics to first kill the Candida overgrowth, then repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria. Some antifungals (e.g. caprylic acid) can also help to restore your stomach to its correct acidity and restrain the Candida yeast even further.
Candida can adapt to some antifungals over time, so many dieters rotate their supplements. Some good options are caprylic acid, garlic, grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and oil of oregano. Take a look at our choosing an antifungal page for more information. Be aware that rotating your antifungals too frequently can actually lead to the Candida strain building resistance to particular products. We recommend taking two or three antifungals at the same time to prevent this happening, but you should increase your dosage slowly to avoid a severe Die-Off reaction.
Can you take probiotics and antifungals at the same time?
There is no good reason why you shouldn’t take probiotics and antifungals at the same time. Yes, its true that some antifungals have antibiotic properties, so they might kill a few of the beneficial bacteria that you are using to repopulate your stomach. However, if you think about it this is actually a reason to keep taking probiotics. If the antifungals are potentially reducing your healthy gut flora even further, reintroducing ‘good’ bacteria is exactly what your digestive system needs. This is very much the same argument as why you should take probiotics during a course of antibiotics.
As mentioned above, its important that you leave at least 1-2 weeks between starting your probiotics and antifungals. This is to avoid a severe Die-Off reaction, and it will help you to complete the diet with less discomfort. To get the most benefit from both supplements, you should also try to take them at least 2 hours apart during the day.
Will you always need to take antifungals?
You should finish your antifungals after you have completed the Candida diet and you feel that you have beaten your Candida overgrowth. On the other hand, there are very good reasons for continuing the probiotics indefinitely to maintain your balance of gut flora and the acidity in your digestive tract. Remember also that the yeast can adapt to many antifungals, so you may find that they lose their effectiveness over time anyway.
When you end your course of antifungals, we would recommend coming off the treatment slowly and monitoring your health carefully. If you feel that you are regressing and your Candida overgrowth is starting to resume, return to your original dosage until you feel comfortable again. If you cut the dosage and you feel fine, then feel free to keep reducing your intake of antifungals until you have quit the supplements altogether.
For lots more information on how to choose the right antifungal, take a look at my Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program.