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Dr. Bruce Fife, a naturopathic physician and certified nutritionist and president of the Coconut Research Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the author of Coconut Cures (Piccadilly, 2005) and The Coconut Oil Miracle (Avery, 2004). Info has been taken from his book.
Q. How does virgin coconut oil work against yeast infections?
A. Virgin Coconut oil has several unique properties that make it an excellent treatment for yeast infections.
Among the most potent natural yeast-fighting substances are lauric acid and caprylic acid, both derived from coconut oil.
All medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil kill yeast, viruses and bacteria.
Some of these substances are stronger against one type of organism and some work better against others, so when all these elements combine forces in this unique type of oil, they become a daunting weapon against dysbiosis.
When I began researching coconut oil, I noticed that many patients mentioned they were getting relief from a wide variety of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, irritability and recurrent bladder infections.
Of course, you’re aware that people suffering from candida infections often complain of precisely these symptoms.
That’s when I realized that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil must be killing candida in the intestinal tract.
Medium chain fatty acids penetrate cell membranes. They’re used as food to produce energy in beneficial cells of all sorts. But when they’re absorbed by an organism that is not beneficial, they penetrate the cell membrane and weaken the cell, so it just disintegrates. Then white blood cells go in a gobble up the waste material.
I recommend taking a good quality coconut oil if you’re suffering from yeast problems because it contains a full spectrum of antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties that can handle the many varieties of organisms that may be affecting you.
Many people get very good results taking about 3.5 tablespoons of a high quality organic extra virgin coconut oil daily.
If you have been suffering from candidiasis for a long time or if your case is particularly severe, it may be necessary to combine your coconut oil regimen with prescription antifungal medications.
Of course, you’ll need to adhere to the basic anti-candida diet, since diet and medications are the only methods assured to stop fungal overgrowth.
Q. Will coconut oil cause die-off like other anti-fungals?
A. If you’re familiar with candida, you’ll also be familiar with the term “die-off.” This refers to the flu-like symptoms some people experience when they start to detoxify and large numbers of fungal organisms begin to die and release their toxins into your bloodstream.
This is a sign your treatment plan is working and it should encourage you to continue. However, many people give up at this stage, thinking their condition is worsening.
For some people, the symptoms of die-off can be quite intense while, for others, the disturbance is minor.
Die-off rarely lasts more than a few days and can be managed by increasing your fluids and planning a light schedule for those first days.
Q. What are some other conditions that coconut oil can help?
Coconut oil is also a very effective remedy for fungal infections of the skin.
Diaper rash, usually caused by candida organisms, can often be cleared completely with external application of coconut oil.
It’s also a good flu prevention measure if you begin taking a tablespoon of coconut oil every two hours at the first sign of flu symptoms. In most cases, the flu will disappear overnight.
Q. Will coconut oil complement the anti-candida diet?
A. Absolutely, and I have a detoxification program that will psweed up your recovery. If you’re suffering from candida overgrowth, I strongly recommend the virgin coconut oil described in my latest book, Coconut Cures. I’ll warn you, this is an intense detoxification, but it can produce equally powerful improvements.
On this seven-day fast, you’ll eat primarily coconut oil throughout the day. You may add a little unsweetened yogurt and a couple of drops of stevia and a little sugarless lemonade to help promote the cleansing.
In seven days, people achieve fantastic results, killing off all the harmful microorganisms and leaving the beneficial ones alone.
The cleanse is not only good for candida infections, it can also help clear up serious digestive problems.
I know of one medical doctor who suffered from Crohn’s disease (a potentially life-threatening intestinal disorder) for two years, trying every available remedy. When he finally tried the coconut oil , his symptoms disappeared within a week.
Q How can I use coconut oil in my diet?
A Among the beauties of coconut oil is that you can cook and fry with it, bake with it and use it as-is.
Many people like to blend it into a morning health drink or smoothie and enjoy the light coconut taste. Coconut oil can be used in tea or coffee and blended into soups and casseroles.
Because coconut oil is naturally solid at room temperature, it’s not a good choice for salad dressings unless it’s mixed with another oil such as olive oil.
It is also a stable oil that can sit on your shelf for months without becoming rancid.
I’ve had patients express concern about the extra calories they are taking in using coconut oil—probably more than 300 calories a day.
However, this should not be a worry, since ample clinical research shows that a single meal containing coconut oil actually helps raise the metabolic rate by as much as 48% for a full 24 hours after you eat it, burning calories faster and actually helping you lose weight.
In fact, if you have weight concerns, as do many people suffering from yeast overgrowth, coconut oil is probably one of the best additions you can make to your diet.
Coconut oil has actually been shown to help you feel full sooner and stay full longer, keeping you from feeling hungry between meals.
The Yeast-Fighting diet has four distinct stages. For best results, it should be followed in order from elimination to maintenance:
1. Elimination of sugar and yeast containing foods
2. Challenge - Re -introduce some foods you've eliminated and check for
3. Reassessment - Explore food allergies and sensitivities
4. Maintenance - Eat those foods that work for you
Each stage includes foods choices that are permissible and not permissible. The right supplements and prescription medications can help you deal with your body's imbalance from several angles.
In the first stage, you'll eliminate foods that feed yeast organisms and encourage overgrowth. These include sugar, yeast, mold, starches and fermented foods.
The Elimination Stage usually needs to last for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on how long it takes your major symptoms to subside. The simplest approach is to focus on eating fresh meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds, unprocessed oils, water and tea. Our shopping list will get you started.
Eating other foods during this stage may slow the process of clearing yeast and toxins from your body. It may also be more difficult to notice a direct link between foods and symptoms. You may find that some of these don't cause you trouble at all. Our books recommend foods to eat cautiously or experiment with that aren't on the grocery list. Feel free to experiment. Just tune in to your body's signals and document what happens.
As you eliminate yeast-feeding food from your diet and incorporate supplements or other medication, you may experience "die-off". This is actually a great sign that you're on the right track!
To help you through this limited diet, check out our site's recipes and The Yeast Connection Cookbook for easy, quick, tasty meal ideas. Try This and Expert Advice offer other ideas for relief.
You are ready for the challenge stage when you have experienced some relief and begun to control your yeast overgrowth. Now you're ready re-introduce or "challenge" some of the foods you avoided in Stage 1.
Continue following the food plan from the elimination stage. Add one portion of one new food a day and notice any reactions or symptoms your body experiences in response to the new food. If you notice a reaction, give yourself at least one day without symptoms before introducing another new food. If you don't notice a reaction, continue another new food per day and observe your body's response.
When re-introducing foods, start with foods containing only one ingredient . If you experience a reaction to bread, the culprit could be yeast, wheat, eggs, or sugar. Instead, Dr. Crook suggests taking a tablet of brewer's yeast to find out if you're sensitive to yeast.and proceed from there.
Next, you may want to re-introduce fruit. Try only one type of fruit initially and watch for your body's response. Then move on to another food, and so on. For best results, don't eat sugar until your body has been clear of symptoms for a much longer period of time.
Record the foods you eat each day and body symptoms and sensations linked to eating those foods.
The Challenge stage can be just that - a challenge! Vent your frustrations on online discussion boards. Communicating with people who have made it through the program can give you hope to hang in there.
When you have a good list of foods that your body seems to tolerate and not tolerate, it's time to move to Stage 3, Reassessment.
If you are feeling much better, you may choose to go on to Maintenance. But maybe you still have quite a few symptoms. At this point, you might have accumulated a long list of foods that set you off. The Yeast Connection and Women's Health discusses allergies, asthma, and food and chemical sensitivities in greater depth.
Now it's time for the reassessment phase. Avoid the following foods for at least two weeks:
• Food coloring and additives
• Fruit punches
• Processed and packaged foods
• Soft drinks
• Wheat • Yeast
• White potatoes
Also avoid any food or beverage you consume over once a week. Track your normal week's intake and note which foods appear on the chart frequently. Some bodies need 3-4 weeks to clear out enough to notice a distinct change. If you don't detect a noticeable difference in symptoms, continue this process for a few more weeks.
Once you do feel more "clear", gradually integrate each food back into your diet. Add only one new item at a time. Allow at least a day or two between each addition to help you clearly identify any symptoms that might be caused by that particular food. Make sure you track in detail your food and symptoms as you do these experiments.
If you don't notice any symptoms, wait another four to seven days before eating that particular food again. This rotation of foods helps you detect hidden sensitivities.
If you notice symptoms, avoid that food. You may want to discuss allergy treatments with your health care professional. This may allow you to eat a particular food without problems. You may, however, need to avoid it on a regular basis.
By the end of reassessment, you'll have developed a list of foods you can and cannot tolerate. It's now time to move to Maintenance.
Congratulations! You may not be all the way back to where you want to be, but you have faced a challenge -- and you've acquired valuable knowledge about yourself and your body. Now you can loosen up a bit. You now know what to watch for and return to a more restricted food plan any time you run into trouble. And remember, diet is only one part of the program.
Don't forget other ways to care for yourself. Most importantly, notice and trust your intuition. Humans have great instincts about what works for them and what doesn't. Remember, even respected professionals don't know everything. Don't let anyone convince you that you don't know what you're talking about. You alone are the "expert" on yourself and your body. Take advantage of available resources, and talk to others, but don't devalue your own instincts