Candida diets that utilizes fatty acids to correct fungal imbalances has proven to be the most effective approach.

Fatty acids have a long history of use against candida. Undecenoic acid is the first fatty acid that was noted to be very effective against fungal candida. With the introduction of antibiotics in the mid-1940s, there was a rapid increase in diseases that were linked to antibiotic use. Doctors and researchers began searching for effective treatments to address these conditions. Wyss et al demonstrated more than 50 years ago that the greater the number of carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain, the greater the fungicidal activity, up to the point exceeding eleven carbon atoms, where solubility becomes the limiting factor.” Keisel was the first to note this as far back as 1913, when he observed the same antifungal activity up to 11 carbon atoms. Undecenoic acid is an 11 carbon fatty acid. Other notable fatty acids are lauric acid and caprylic acid. Lauric acid has 12 carbons and caprylic acid has 8 carbons. All three fatty acids are found in the human body in minor amounts, which makes them a safe and excellent choice for use as an antifungal.

Most fatty acids have antifungal activity and have been in use for centuries in this role. The safety of undecenoic acid has been demonstrated repeatedly in clinical use. Caprylic acid can be associated with some possible toxicity to the kidneys at higher or prolonged doses, but in general is safe for most people. In my experience, lauric acid works better as an antiviral than an antifungal, but undecenoic acid has also shown some effectiveness against the herpes simplex virus. In comparing the effectiveness of a group of fatty acids outside of undecenoic acid, one study showed that capric acid was shown to be faster at killing candida in the short term, but lauric acid had better long-term success. Head-to-head with Undecenoic acid however, it has been shown that undecenoic acid is  “approximately six times more effective as an antifungal than caprylic acid,” making it the most effective choice of the three.

Candida requires a lot of fatty acids to maintain functioning in its fungal form. This requirement becomes the doorway for the use of fatty acids as antifungals. Unlike medications which aim to kill the candida entirely and thus create adaptive mechanisms that lead to antifungal resistance strains of candida, undecenoic acid merely weakens candida to the point where it cannot sustain the problematic fungal form and it has to revert back to its normal yeast form. The weakened yeast form is now more susceptible to the immune system, but still able to exist. By not trying to kill candida, the adaptive mechanisms that would lead to resistant strains is avoided.

The trick now is to eliminate the excessive amounts of yeast by boosting the immune response that is most capable of eliminating fungal candida. This would be the body’s Th1 immune response and the white blood cells known as neutrophils (PMN). This can be accomplished very effectively, as it has been for centuries, through the use of herbs and vitamins. Some of the more effective choices include vitamin C, echinacea, astragalus, and mushroom extracts.  If one were to only use the fatty acids and not consider the role of the immune system in correcting fungal imbalances, results would probably be short-lived. A good combination of these herbs would produce the best results.

With a long history of safe use as an antifungal, even at very high doses, undecenoic acid has proven itself as the best choice for correcting fungal candida imbalances throughout the body. A salt form combination of undecenoic acid, such as calcium undecylenate, has been shown to be more effective in an acidic environment, but beyond the stomach, it hasn’t been proven to be as effective as the liquid form which has a wider range of effectiveness for the body.

Based on the research and clinical usage, undecenoic acid becomes the obvious choice for correcting fugal candida imbalances. That being said, any approach should also address detoxification, immune system imbalances, inflammation, and restoring the diversity of the intestinal flora, and therefore the health of the entire body. The body as a whole must be considered and not just candida.

Applied science that makes sense.

Dr. McCombs’ Candida Plan.

Part I: Candida and Medications

Part II: Candida and Hydrogen Peroxide

Part III: Candida and Bacillus subtilis

Part IV: Candida and Sugars

Part V: Candida and The Quick Fix

Part VI: Candida and Herbs

Part VII: Candida and Probiotics

Part VIII: Candida and Fatty Acids

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is founder of the McCombs Center for Health, the Candida Plan, the Candida Library, and author of Lifeforce and The Everything Candida Diet Book.