Candida testing is something that most medical doctors aren’t trained in, as well as other aspects of this commonly acquired condition. Many doctors will tell you that there are no candida tests, so you’ll be surprised to find out that there are several tests for candida that can be ordered through your holistic practitioner.
There are several ways to test for candida. They include stool, blood, urine, and saliva tests. In general, the PCR tests are considered to be the most sensitive tests as they look for small pieces of genetic remnants of candida and other microbes.
The PCR stool test is considered to be one of the more accurate tests. Your doctor will send you a home collection kit that allows you to collect the sample and send it in to the lab. This test will cost around $400 and up with a consultation. General stool collection methods that gather 3 samples of stool aren’t as effective as the PCR testing. The majority of the microbes that live in the intestinal tract are obligate anaerobes, meaning that they die in the presence of oxygen very, very rapidly. The PCR test is designed to minimize this by placing the stool sample in a solution that “freezes” the sample and attempts to stop the rapid die-off of microbes. This method can give a better estimate of what’s taking place in the body.
Another test is the urine test. This is designed to look at the metabolites, or byproducts, of cellular metabolism/function. As cells function they create waste products. The urine test looks at these waste products to determine what is taking place in the body metabolically. This is a completely different approach than the stool analysis.
Another type of testing is blood testing. This is generally considered to be the least sensitive test. As foreign microbes or “bodies” enter the blood, the body will produce “anti-bodies” to eliminate the microbes. The blood test looks for antibodies to candida. There are two main antibodies, IgG and IgM (Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin M) that are usually considered. IgM will indicate that there is a current infection of candida and IgG will indicate that there was a previous infection of candida. Both can exist at the same time. Another antibody is IgA, which tells us that the mucus cells of the body are also responding to an infection.
The last test is saliva testing. This test is usually done along with stool testing and is less specific for candida. It is designed to identify a limited range of antibody markers that are associated with intestinal inflammation. A sample of saliva is collected and sent off to the lab for evaluation.
There is another pseudo saliva test called the Spit Test. This is not a valid test for candida. The spit test was used as a marketing tool to increase sales by misleading people into thinking that it was diagnostic for candida. In this test, someone spits into a glass of water first thing in the morning and observes if there are stringing mucus legs that extend down into the water. If there are legs extending down into the water, then we are to assume that we have candida. In truth, there are many conditions that would cause that result – viruses, bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, allergies, colds, yeast, fungi, mold, inflammation, and mostly the dehydration that follows a long night of sleep without drinking any water.
Testing has its drawbacks, regardless of what’s being tested. With the above tests, the labs don’t distinguish between the normal yeast form of candida and the problematic fungal form. Since the fungal form is the problematic form, it would be better if they could distinguish between the two, but they don’t. Each of the test above are most accurate for the tissue being tested. The stool test is most accurate for the lower bowel; the blood test is most accurate for the blood; and the urine test is most accurate for the lower urinary tract. When considering the body as a whole, each of these tests is limited to the area being tested. Testing can be costly, as to be truly reflective of what’s taking place, it should be done before and after a candida diet, which doubles the cost. All tests will state that a negative finding does not confirm the absence of candida, only that it wasn’t detected in the testing.
For people who want to do testing, I usually recommend that they combine the results of 2-3 tests (stool, blood, and urine) with a history of antibiotic use, signs and symptoms, past health history, and the results of any antifungal diet that they followed. This will provide a better assessment than any one test alone.
I personally do not recommend testing, as research has shown us that one antibiotic pill will create a systemic fungal infection within 4–48 hours. Researchers will also use antibiotics to create fungal candida in the lab. Based on these two facts, I believe that a history of antibiotic use alone is reason enough to confirm candida. If you exhibit many of the symptoms of candida and can relate it back to when you took antibiotics, that bears considerable weight, and can be reason enough to begin a candida program.
It’s important to know that testing can help to guide your choices, but shouldn’t be relied upon as proof positive or negative. For those people who do like testing, we have always seen excellent results pre- and post-Candida Plan.
Whichever way you wish to proceed, we believe that you should always think about your choices and not just react. You can consult with us or your doctor for additional consideration. The person who weighs their options and proceeds logically, will always be farther ahead.