It’s important to stay out of ketosis. The low carb might work for a month or two, but after that it will just hurt you.
Yeast and fungi are eukaryotes that have mitochondria which can rapidly absorb ketones once they adapt to ketones as a primary fuel source. The adaptation is very slow and can take months. Once they do adapt the high fat low carb diet will provide lots of fuel for the mitochondria within the Candida.
Additionally, you need fermentable carbohydrates to keep high levels of gut flora and to keep mucin production up, which is crucial for the gut barrier and immune system.
Low-carb diets, alas, impair immunity to fungal and protozoal infections. The immune defense against these infections is glucose-dependent (as it relies on production of reactive oxygen species using glucose) and thyroid hormone-dependent (as thyroid hormone drives not only glucose availability, but also the availability of iodine for the myeloperoxidase pathway). Thus, anti-fungal immunity is downregulated on very low-carb diets.
Moreover, eukaryotic pathogens such as fungi and protozoa can metabolize ketones. Thus, a ketogenic diet promotes growth and systemic invasion of these pathogens.
As the fungal infection case studies on our “Results” page illustrate, low-carb dieters often develop fungal infections, and these often go away with increased starch consumption.
Another issue is that mucus is essential for immunity at epithelial surfaces, and glycosylation is essential for the integrity of cellular junctions and tissue barriers such as the intestinal and blood-brain barriers. Thus, reduced production of mucus can impair intestinal immunity and promote gut dysbiosis or systemic infection by pathogens that enter through the gut.
Finally, a very low-carb diet is not entirely free of risks of gut dysbiosis, and not just from fungal infections. Bacteria can metabolize the amino acid glutamine as well as mucosal sugars, so it is not possible to completely starve gut bacteria with a low-carb diet. Nor is it desirable, as this would eliminate a protective layer against systemic infection by pathogens that enter the body through the gut…
Dietary carbs can feed Candida in the gut, but they also feed competing probiotic bacteria and promote intestinal barrier integrity and immune function, and thus their effect on the gut flora is complex. More importantly, ketosis promotes systemic invasion by Candida and glucose is needed for the immune defense to Candida, so a moderate carb intake is helpful to the defense against systemic Candida. As Candida is an effective intracellular pathogen that can flourish systemically, this is a very important consideration. No one with a Candida infection should eat a ketogenic diet.
The ability to neutrophils from diabetics to kill candida was inhibited by increased concentrations of glucose and beta-hydroxybutyrate, both independently and in combination.
These data indicate that although phagocytosis occurs at similar levels in diabetics and controls, killing of candida by the diabetic neutrophil is impaired under conditions of hyperglycaemia and ketosis.
Therefore, prolonged ketosis may be a significant risk factor for candidiasis. This study was undertaken to investigate whether C. albicans itself produces a ketotic metabolite as a virulence factor which can effectively undermine host defense by neutrophils.
“Starvation of yeast cells induces exponentially grown cells (and usually non-germinative) to germinate. This phenomenon is also observed in cells that are transiently treated with metabolic inhibitors. During each of these treatments (starvation, metabolic inhibition), expression of a growth regulatory gene (CGRI) increases. Candida albicans: adherence, signaling and virulence.” Calderone et al. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11204138