Does candida inhibit Lactobacillus in the body? The intestinal tract is an ecosystem ruled by checks and balances. In a balanced system, pathogenic organisms are kept in check. Upset that balance and the pathogenic organisms can take over and play a role in determining the composition and function of this system. This relationship is exemplified between the Lactobacillus bacterial species and Candida albicans. Lactobacillus strains are known to inhibit candida through their overwhelming numbers and their production of acids, peroxidases, and hypothiocyanate. Taking antibiotics destroys the balance in this ecosystem allowing for pathogenic organisms like fungal Candida albicans to take root and grow unchecked. Once candida begins to increase in numbers, it plays a regulatory role and shapes the composition of the intestinal flora by increasing certain bacterial species, such as Enterrococcus strains, and inhibiting others, such as Lactobacillus species.

While most studies look at the effect of Lactobacillus against Candida albicans, very few look at the opposite effect. Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan found that after antibiotic use, “the presence of C. albicans resulted in a long-term reduction in Lactobacillus spp. and promoted Enterococcus faecalis populations.” An earlier study by the same group of researchers found that following antibiotic use,  “C. albicans can prevent the regrowth of Lactobacillus spp. “. Note, that it first took the use of antibiotics to wipe out the Lactobacillus populations before candida could grow and spread in its fungal form. An established Lactobacillus population can make this conversion more difficult.

The majority of probiotic formulations contain of high numbers of Lactobacillus bacteria. In spite of companies marketing their probiotic formulas and fermented foods to the contrary, probiotics have not been found to be a successful way to treat systemic fungal infections. Once candida has established a strong fungal presence, probiotics alone are of little use. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison, Wisconsin, found no clear benefit in treating candida with probiotics alone. The overgrowth of the Enterrococcal strains can be another factor that prevents the re-establishment of pre-antibiotic flora.

Fermented foods and drinks are another way that some people have used to attempt to correct fungal candida imbalances. These foods are high in Lactobacillus species, as well, and are unlikely to create any significant changes in fungal candida populations, post-antibiotic. Fermented foods are also high in histamine and can add to the overall allergic and inflammatory state that candida perpetuates. Fungal candida causes a shift in the body’s immune response towards one that is strongly associated with allergies and asthma, among other things.

Probiotics have a place in correcting fungal imbalances once the fungal form of candida has been converted back to its normal yeast form and the correct immune responses are in place. Fermented foods have a very long history of effectiveness in creating and maintaining greater levels of health and should be a part of everyone’s diet. When correcting the fungal form of candida back to its normal yeast form on the Candida Plan, I have found that avoiding them until Week 9 of the Plan provides the greatest chance of benefit.

Probiotics have great potential. How and when they are used will determine the degree of their effectiveness.

Get started on a healthier life today with Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.