Top 8 Antifungal Supplements to Fight Candida

by Katie Stone, ND January 12, 2020 7 min read

Top 8 Antifungal Supplements to Fight Candida

An imbalance like Candida overgrowth can lead to digestive problems, weak immunity, low energy levels, frequent yeast infections, and more.

Eating a low-sugar diet is generally accepted as one of the best ways to tackle a yeast overgrowth, but antifungal supplements can really boost your defences against Candida too.

Over the last decade, yeasts like Candida albicans have begun to develop resistance against prescription antifungal treatments, with the result that people have increasingly turned to natural antifungals instead. These tend to be well-tolerated, have fewer side effects, and are still very effective.

Here are the top antifungal supplements to consider when fighting Candida. 

Caprylic Acid

Coconut oil is made up of three fatty acids: caprylic acid capric acid and lauric. Of these, caprylic acid is its most important active ingredient. Caprylic acid is renowned for its ability to kill Candida cells, and also for restoring normal acidity levels in the gut. Taking caprylic acid during your treatment can get your intestinal tract back in shape and help to prevent Candida colonies from growing again.

Studies have shown caprylic acid’s potency to be similar to prescription antifungals.

It works by interfering with the cell walls of the Candida yeast. Its short chain length means it can penetrate the cell wall of the yeast relatively easily. It then inhibits the growth of the yeast by incorporating itself into the cell membrane and causing it to rupture. This effectively destroys the yeast cell and can even prevent it from returning.

A study conducted by Japan’s Niigata University found that the fungicidal effect of caprylic acid on Candida albicans was “exceedingly powerful” (1).  More recent studies have found that oral supplementation with caprylic acid reduces the symptoms of Candida more quickly and efficiently than some pharmaceutical antifungal drugs such as Diflucan. 

Undecylenic Acid

Undecylenic acid is a less well-known treatment for topical Candida-related infections, but it’s becoming more popular. It’s an unsaturated fatty acid derived from castor oil which was discovered in 1877 when scientists distilled the by-products castor oil.

Since then, undecylenic acid has become recognized as a powerful antifungal agent that can help with stubborn Candida-related infections such as athletes’ foot and intestinal Candida overgrowth.  Some studies have even shown that undecylenic acid is around six times more effective than caprylic acid!

The fungicidal actions of undecylenic acid come from its organic fatty acid components. It’s believed to inhibit the hyphal growth of Candida albicans and biofilm formation. These factors play a major part in the development of skin infections, and also in Candida’s ability to spread throughout the body. (2

Oregano Leaf Extract

Numerous studies have reported the efficacy of oregano oil’s ability to fight Candida infections.  This extract has been shown to completely inhibit the growth of Candida albicans and prevent it from returning.

Oregano oil contains two naturally-occurring antimicrobial agents, carvacrol and thymol. These agents work to fight Candida overgrowth by reacting with the water in your bloodstream, which effectively dehydrates and kills Candida yeast cells.

Other studies report that each of oregano extract’s major components has potent antifungal activity. This includes terpenoid phenols carvacrol, thymol, and eugenol. These powerful terpenoid phenols are effective in not only killing planktonic cells but also the biofilms of Candida albicans that are resistant to many pharmaceutical antifungal drugs. Of these, carvacrol appears to be the strongest; studies show it continues to be effective regardless of the maturity of the biofilm. (3)

Berberine

Berberine is the active ingredient in barberry, Oregon grape and goldenseal. It has been demonstrated to have a host of powerful therapeutic actions as an antimicrobial agent. Berberine has also shown antifungal action against yeast and fungal infections such as Candida overgrowth.

One of Berberine’s most important actions is its ability to prevent the spread of yeast and fungal organisms that are resistant to drugs.

A 2016 study found that berberine has antifungal activity against several types of yeast, including fluconazole-resistant Candida. When researchers treated fluconazole-resistant resistant samples with berberine, it killed off the yeast cells by breaking down its plasma and mitochondrial membranes. Berberine can also be used alongside fluconazole to enhance its overall antifungal activity. (4)

Another way in which berberine works is by activating an enzyme within our body cells called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme regulates metabolism and has a major influence on our immune system and how our body fights disease.

Berberine can also be used as an immune stimulant in treating colds and flu, as well as speeding recovery from infection. Its ability to activate macrophages (white blood cells) has been shown to enhance the body’s overall defence system, allowing it to fight not only Candida infection but other invading pathogens.

Betaine HCl

Betaine hydrochloride supplements are often used by people who have low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria). Hydrochloric acid serves many functions. It’s the main digestive juice involved in breaking down proteins so that the body can absorb amino acids properly.

It also acts as a protective barrier in your stomach and a crucial part of your immune system, killing off any potentially harmful micro-organisms that may be present in the food you eat.

When the body isn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid, Candida has a better chance of growing and spreading throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

Betaine HCl also has an important role to play in antifungal formulations. Other antifungals like undecylenic acid require an acidic environment (which is naturally found in a healthy gut) to maximize their antifungal activity. Pairing your undecylenic acid with Betaine HCl will provide it with the optimal environment to fight yeasts and fungi like Candida.

While many people believe they suffer from over-acidity, the opposite is often the case. Appropriate HCl levels in the stomach kill off many pathogens that otherwise would enter into the intestinal tract and potentially lead to serious health issues. This is why Clostridium difficile, a common bacterial infection after taking antibiotics, is also linked to the overuse of antacid medications.

Without adequate HCl, your liver and gall bladder will not be able to function effectively and your digestion will also suffer. Over time, this can lead to nutritional losses of fats, fat-soluble vitamins and proteins that are necessary for proper immune function. (5)

Your own dosage of HCI will depend on your own needs, so you’ll have to experiment to see what works for you. This may mean some trial and error until you figure out the correct dosage.

N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC)

NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) is a supplement form of cysteine, a semi-essential amino acid. NAC is a particularly powerful antifungal treatment that can break down Candida biofilms.

Yeasts like Candida albicans are protected by a type of shield known as a biofilm. This biofilm makes it even more difficult to kill off yeast, as antifungals often cannot get through it. One study showed that treating patients with antifungal drugs Nystatin and Diflucan may be successful, but only until the Candida biofilm developed. The drugs were then rendered much less effective and within 72 hours, the biofilm made the candida cells highly resistant.

Although many herbal antifungals such as oregano oil, black walnut, garlic and berberine can be helpful in treating Candida; these alone aren’t enough to kill it completely. In order for antifungals to do their work properly, they can be paired with a biofilm disruptor – such as NAC. (6)

NAC is also effective in treating numerous bacterial infections, especially those of the upper respiratory tract. In fact, its efficacy in eradicating the biofilm in bronchitis-causing bacteria is what led researchers to test NAC on Candida patients. NAC was found to reduce biofilm mass when used on its own but was even more powerful when used in combination with ketoconazole combinations. It also appeared to inhibit Candida albicans growth and prevent it from spreading. 

Garlic Extract

Garlic is one of the world’s most-researched herbs – and one of the most powerful! There’s a massive amount of scientific evidence supporting its use as an antifungal, particularly against Candida albicans.

One of garlic’s most important antifungal agents is Ajoene, an organosulfur compound that has been shown to kill off a variety of fungal infections. Ajoene is formed from a compound named allicin and an enzyme named alliinase. When garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin and alliinase come together to form the powerful antimicrobial agent ajoene.

Much research has found ajoene to have the strongest activity of all garlic compounds in inhibiting the growth of Candida albicans. One study showed garlic markedly inhibited the growth of Candida when the samples of the disease were treated with aqueous garlic extract. This was later supported by further research showing that garlic has the power to halt the growth and spread of Candida albicans. (7)

Although ajoene’s antifungal properties are well-documented, its exact mechanism of action is not so clear. As with other antifungals, scientists hypothesize that ajoene works by disrupting the cell walls of the Candida yeast cells and thus preventing them from functioning properly.

A typical recommendation is to take two or three antifungals at any one time as this helps to prevent Candida from adapting to a single ingredient. Garlic works well when used in combination with other natural antifungals.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is derived from the dark green olive leaves and contains an active ingredient named oleuropein.

Research has shown that oleuropein has an incredible array of health properties as an antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic and antiviral.

As well as being a natural and effective antifungal, olive leaf extract is shown to have anti-parasitic properties. It also appears to contain almost double the antioxidant capacity of green tea, Vitamins C and E, and grape seed extract. A 2015 study on fresh olive leaf extract showed that it exhibited antifungal activity against Candida yeast. (8)

A similar study in 2016 showed oleuropein to have powerful antifungal activity against Candida albicans, with researchers noting that the oleuropein appeared to target various factors that the fungal infection needed to survive. It was also found that the oleuropein was able to inhibit Candida from growing. (9)

A Combination Of Natural Antifungals

Practitioners often recommend taking 3 or more natural antifungals at the same time. The idea is that this will prevent the yeast from adapting to a single antifungal treatment.

The problem is that taking several antifungal supplements can be inconvenient and expensive.

That’s why we developed Candida Cleanse. It contains a combination of 8 different antifungal supplements, including all of the natural antifungals mentioned in this article.

Candida Cleanse

It uses delayed-release capsules to get those ingredients safely to your gut, and it comes in small, easy-to-swallow capsules.

Here are a few key reasons why Candida Cleanse is such an effective supplement:

  • 8 natural, antifungal ingredients to fight Candida
  • Caprylic Acid, Undecylenic Acid, Oregano Leaf Extract, Berberine HCl, Betaine HCl, NAC, Olive Leaf Extract, and Garlic Extract
  • Delayed-release capsules to get those ingredients safely to your gut
  • 90 delayed-release capsules per bottle (enough for a whole month)
  • Free of nuts, dairy, gluten, soy. Non-GMO and vegan.

You can read more about Candida Cleanse here.

Katie Stone, ND
Katie Stone, ND



Also in Updates from Balance ONE

What Happens When You Start Taking Probiotics?
What Happens When You Start Taking Probiotics?

by Katie Stone, ND March 24, 2020 4 min read

How To Improve Your Nutrient Absorption
How To Improve Your Nutrient Absorption

by Katie Stone, ND February 05, 2020 6 min read

Your Liver And Acne: How Poor Liver Health Can Damage Your Skin
Your Liver And Acne: How Poor Liver Health Can Damage Your Skin

by Katie Stone, ND November 13, 2019 5 min read