What effect does progesterone have on candida?

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There is a myth doing the rounds that vaginal candida is exacerbated by progesterone.

This is simply not true.

It is in fact exacerbated by oestrogen at in vivo levels and studies done on the two hormones show only too clearly that progesterone does not cause an overgrowth, that it is in fact protective.

Oestrogen reduces the ability of vaginal epithelial cells to inhibit the growth of candida, and has been found to induce the conversion of candida from it's yeast form to it's mycelial form, the more virulent of the two. Progesterone and oestrogen work to balance each other. If there is a high level of oestrogen, either endogenous, or from external sources, there is nothing to inhibit the candida.

In women a high level of endogenous oestrogen can be caused by a low level of progesterone. In both men and women a high level of oestrogen can also be caused by oestrogen mimics found in our food, water, air and the skin care products we use.

Our planet is so polluted with synthetic oestrogens, over 100 have been found that mimic our own, that every living thing is affected. Particularly fishes and reptiles living in water.

What is needed is a clean planet, organic food and clean water.

Another concern is the skin care products we use, particularly women, but increasingly men. Most are made with petrochemicals, antioxidants that mimic oestrogen like BHA and BHT and other toxic substances such as preservatives. BHA and BHT are also found in baked goods containing oil, such as biscuits, crisps, breakfast cereals etc. (see websites below for more information on endocrine disruptors).

Approximately 1.5 kilos of bacteria live in the gut, most of it friendly (probiotics), some of it not. A diet high in sugar, refined grains, processed food and fruit cause the un-friendly bacteria and fungi to proliferate.

To aid the body in ridding itself of the pathogens the supplements listed below will help. Note also the 'avoid' and 'diet' lists below.

As candida is notoriously difficult to test for, it is best to go by the symptoms and try both the supplements and the diet.


  • Abdominal bloating after eating grains or sugar
  • Aching joints
  • Acne
  • Allergies- seasonal/respiratory
  • Allergies or sensitivities to food or chemicals
  • Athletes foot (increased susceptibility)
  • Bladder infections (increased susceptibility)
  • Constipation
  • Cravings for sugary foods
  • Cystitis (increased susceptibility)
  • Depression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Endometriosis
  • Erratic vision
  • Fatigue/tired all the time
  • Fungal nail or skin infections
  • Fuzzy brain
  • Irritability
  • Itching of the vagina, penis or anus (thrush)
  • Loss of libido
  • Lung infections
  • Muscular aches
  • PMS
  • Post nasal drip
  • Prostatitis
  • Sensitivity to fumes- chemical, perfumes
  • Sinus infections
  • Skin on hands and feet peeling
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginitis

  • Supplements Directions, daily dose or application
    Lactobacilus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum/ lactis - to replace beneficial bacteria, this must be in an active, alive form. If thrush is present use the probiotics vaginally or rectally A minimum of 10 billion bacteria per dose

    Caprylic acid - an extract from coconuts which suppresses and kills some pathogenic fungi. Comes in tablets or an oil (MCT). The oil can also be used externally, rub it over the affected area Tablets: 300-400mg

    Oil: 5ml

    Fructo-oligo-saccarides (FOS) or inulin - non nutritive sugars which the friendly bacteria live off. 3-5g
    Progesterone - has anti-fungal properties by suppressing oestrogen, which is known to exacerbate candida at in vivo levels 100-200mg
    L-arginine - this amino acid is the precursor to NO (nitric oxide). NO is the intra-cellular defence against pathogens 3000mg
    N-acetyl cysteine - a sulphur amino acid, the precursor to glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant found in all cells 1000mg
    B3 (nicotinamide) - nicotinamide treatment results in a loss of cell viability associated with abnormal filamentous growth 100mg
    L-methionine is a sulphur amino acid which aids the digestive system and detoxifies the build up of heavy metals. It promotes the excretion of oestrogen, which has been found to induce the conversion of candida from it's yeast form to it's mycelial form, the more virulent of the two. Oestrogen also reduces the ability of vaginal epithelial cells to inhibit the growth of candida 500mg
    L-taurine is another sulphur amino acid. Excessive losses can occur through an overgrowth of candida 500mg
    Biotin - this, together with oleic acid, (found in olive oil) prevents the candida from converting into its mycelial form 3000mcg with food
    L-glutamine - Candida can cause leaky gut, which allows undigested food particles to enter the blood stream causing allergic reactions. L-glutamine is an amino acid and the only substance the body can use for healing the lining of the gut 1000-8000mg/day
    A good parasite cleanse, parasites can cause similar symptoms see container for instructions
    Purified phyllosilicate
    - causes mycotoxins to be adsorbed onto the surface of the clay, which are then excreted
    Yoghurt - to replace beneficial bacteria, this must be live unsweetened and unflavoured
    Flax seed - grind it first - an anti-fungal, bacterial and viral 15ml three times a day
    Betaine hydrochloride - if the stomach has a low acid content this can cause an increase in the pathogens living there 300-500mg at each meal
    Digestive enzymes - many people are deficient in these see container for instructions
    Vitamin C anti-viral and bacterial 1-20gm
    Soluble fibre, such as xanthan, guar, apple pectin, pysllium 5-15ml daily
    Omega 3 flax oil, increases oxygen and metabolism 15-60ml daily
    Olive oil - this contains oleic acid which is anti-fungal 10ml daily
    Aloe vera juice - an anti-fungal 15-60ml daily
    Butyric acid, found in butter, serves as food for probiotics
    Garlic - contains sulphur, a natural anti-bacterial


    • All sugars and anything containing sugar, i.e. chocolate, honey, jams, drinks, preserves
    • Alcohol
    • All grains, especially wheat and anything made from it, i.e. cakes, biscuits, pastries, bread
    • Canned foods, which often contain sugar
    • Breakfast cereals
    • Fruit and fruit juices and dried fruit because of high sugar content and surface moulds
    • Root vegetables, because of high sugar content, especially potatoes as these damage the lining of the gut
    • Stimulants such as coffee and tea, as these increase sugar levels in the body
    • Any preserved meats and fish, these can contain high amounts of nitrates
    • Any fermented foods as yeasts are used in their manufacture, i.e. soya sauce, black tea, beer, wine, vinegar, cheese, (except cottage and yoghurt). Although candida does not live off yeasts, the body is already sensitive to them and they might cause allergic reactions
    • Mushrooms, fresh and dried, yeast extracts
    • Antibiotics - these kill off the probiotics as well as the pathogens
    • Vitamins and minerals derived from a yeast source, get yeast free
    • Meat from animals which have been given antibiotics
    • Stress - causes a reduction or the complete disappearance of the probiotics
    • Radiation
    • Cortisone
    • Oestrogen, particularly that found in The Pill and HRT
    • High blood sugar
    • Under cooked meat and fish, salmonella bacteria are only killed when the temperature reaches 74C or 165F


    All food should be organic if possible...

    • Green leafy vegetables, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, aubergine etc
    • Apples, under ripe bananas and under ripe pears
    • Eggs
    • Cottage cheese and yoghurt
    • Fish
    • Meat

    Some common probiotics

    • Bifidobacterium bifidum and lactis - natural inhabitant of large intestine and vagina
    • Lactobacilus acidolphilus - natural inhabitant of small and large intestine
    • L. bulgaricus - transient bacteria - found in yoghurt
    • L. casei - transient bacteria found in cheese
    • L. kefir - transient bacteria found in kefir
    • L. plantarum - transient bacteria found in sauerkraut
    • Streptococcus thermophilus - transient bacteria found in yoghurt

    Some common pathogens and their Symptoms...


    • Candida spp. particularly albicans see above
    • Fusarium graminearum - found on wheat and maize, produces zearalenone, an estrogen-like steroid associated with episodes of precocious puberty
    • Tinea corporis - ringworm
    • Tinea cruris - Jock itch, ringworm of the groin
    • Tinea pedis - Athlete's foot, ringworm of the foot
    • Trichophyton spp. one of the leading causes of hair, skin, and nail infections in humans


    • Bacillus species - anthrax, food poisoning
    • Clostridium species - botulism, food poisoning, tetanus
    • E. coli - virulent strains can cause gastroenteritis, neonatal meningitis urinary tract infections
    • Proteus mirabilis - kidney stones, pneumonias, septicemia, wound infections
    • Salmonella species - food poisoning, paratyphoid fever, typhoid fever
    • Staphylococcus aureus - abscesses, boils, cellulitis folliculitis, carbuncles, furuncles, impetigo, meningitis, osteomyelitis endocarditis, pimples, pneumonia, scalded skin syndrome, septicemia, toxic shock syndrome

    The probiotics can sometimes benefit the following...

    • Ankylosing spondylitis - a link has been found with klebsiella
    • Labialis - Herpes simplex
    • Infection of the genitalia - Herpes
    • Mouth lesions - Herpes simplex
    • Mouth ulcers - Herpes simplex
    • Rheumatoid arthritis - linked to proteus
    • Ulcers of the cornea - caused by herpes
    • Diabetes - a possible link to E Coli overgrowth
    • Graves disease - a link to yersinia enterocolitica
    • Ulcerative colitis - an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria
    • High cholesterol levels - some L. acidophilus strains break it down
    • Acne - effective treatment
    • Diarrhoea - very effective treatment
    • Migraine - linked to streptococcus faecalis, which causes the amino acid tyrosine to be converted into tyramine. Tyramine is found in cheese, chocolate and many wines
    • TEXT

    The Herxheimer reaction

    Die-off of the candida can occur rapidly after treatment or it can take up to ten days. Toxins are released into the blood stream faster than the body can remove them, which temporarily worsens symptoms and causing new ones. Some of the symptoms appear to be due to an immune response, releasing histamine, causing pain and swelling.

    Die off can cause...

    • headaches
    • dizziness
    • mental confusion
    • flu like symptoms, fever, swollen glands and throat
    • inflamed eyes
    • fatigue
    • sleep disturbances
    • irritability
    • joint pain and inflammation
    • muscle pain and cramps
    • rashes
    • gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, bloating, cramps, gas, constipation and diarrhoea
    • low or high blood pressure
    • palpitations
    • heavy perspiration
    • night sweats

    Do not discontinue the treatment, as this is a critical stage in the control. The feeling can persist for days, sometimes weeks if the infestation is severe.

    The Herxheimer reaction is often mistaken for an allergic reaction. The chief difference is that the allergic reaction will last for hours, the Herxheimer reaction can last for weeks. It is worth remembering that eventually the adverse symptoms will pass and health will be restored.


    Parasites are often overlooked, but they are aggressive organisms, which need to be eliminated before real health can be achieved. They can weaken an immune system allowing other pathogens to take hold. The plant extracts of black walnut, wormwood and cloves are potent anti-parasitic agents. If you suspect you have an overgrowth then it is worth taking a tincture made of these. There are no adverse side affects from taking these three herbs. See label for dosage instructions.

    Mycoplasmas are often overlooked. They are bacteria that lack a cell wall and several species are pathogens in humans. Causing atypical pneumonia, respiratory disorders, and possibly pelvic inflammatory disease. As they lack a cell wall, they are unaffected by some antibiotics. Cholesterol is needed for their growth.

    Mycotoxins are produced by fungi. Some can be helpful, one such is penicillin (unless a person is allergic to it, when it can be lethal), most are harmful though. A few well known examples are aflatoxin from Aspergillus spp, wild mushroom mycotoxins which have mild to lethal affects, Fusarium graminearum which produces zearalenone, an oestrogen mimic.

    Nystatin -is an anti fungal medicine made from the soil bacteria Streptomyces noursei, it kills candida by rupturing the cell membrane. Nystatin is not absorbed from intact skin or mucous membranes, including the gut lining, it therefore has no side effects as it remains within the gut. If candida is severe is would be advisable to take this. Please be aware that the Herxheimer reaction could occur rapidly, see above.


    Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2012 Aug;7(2):111-22
    Potential applications of antimicrobial fatty acids in medicine, agriculture and other industries

    Med Mycol J. 2012;53(4):255-61
    Inhibition of Candida mycelia growth by a medium chain fatty acids, capric acid in vitoro and its therapeutic efficacy in murine oral candidiasis

    Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Jul;56(7):650-4
    Short- and medium-chain fatty acids exhibit antimicrobial activity for oral microorganisms

    Acupunct Electrother Res. 2011;36(1-2):19-64
    Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc., caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury

    Eukaryotic Cell January 2006 vol. 5 no. 1 180-191
    Cellular and Molecular Biology of Candida albicans Estrogen Response

    J Biomed Sci. 2001 Mar-Apr;8(2):153-9
    Genistein effects on growth and cell cycle of Candida albicans

    J Infect Dis. 2000 Apr;181(4):1441-6
    Estrogen effects on Candida albicans: a potential virulence-regulating mechanism

    Ann Clin Lab Sci. 1997 Mar-Apr;27(2):151-6
    The effect of estradiol on Candida albicans growth

    J Immunoassay. 1991;12(2):225-31
    Rapid identification of Candida albicans by dot-enzyme immunoassay

    J Clin Microbiol. 1988 October; 26(10): 2110-2115
    Dermatophyte-hormone relationships: characterization of progesterone-binding specificity and growth inhibition in the genera Trichophyton and Microsporum.

    Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences (CMLS)
    Volume 53, Number 9 / October, 1997
    Candida albicans morphogenesis is influenced by estrogen

    Infection and Immunity, February 2000, p. 651-657, Vol. 68, No. 2
    Effects of Reproductive Hormones on Experimental Vaginal Candidiasis

    The Journal of Infectious Diseases , volume 184 (2001), pages 1489-1493
    Growth Inhibition of Candida albicans by Human Vaginal Epithelial Cells

    Australian Prescriber, 2001;24:62-4
    The treatment of Candida vaginitis and vulvitis

    Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2001 Aug;41(3):326-8.
    Oestrogen, glycogen and vaginal candidiasis

    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 2004 54(5):909-914;
    Evaluation of carvacrol and eugenol as prophylaxis and treatment of vaginal candidiasis in an immunosuppressed rat model

    American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 193, Issue 4, October 2005, Pages 1376-1381
    Signs of chronic stress in women with recurrent candida vulvovaginitis

    Mycoses, Volume 49, Number 2, March 2006, pp. 104-108(5)
    Utility of the oestrogen-dependent vaginal candidosis murine model in evaluating the efficacy of various therapies against vaginal Candida albicans infection

    European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
    Volume 131, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 198-202
    Clinical aspects and luteal phase assessment in patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis

    DermNet NZ March 2008
    Vulvovaginal candidiasis

    Web sites...

    Dr Fungus

    Candida spp
    Tinea corporis, Tinea cruris and Tinea pedis
    Fusarium graminearum
    Trichophyton spp


    Bacillus species
    Clostridium species
    E. coli
    Proteus mirabilis
    Staphylococcus aureus
    Salmonella species

    Theo Colborn's website, Our Stolen Future, is excellent on the subject of endocrine disruptors

    How to best absorb progesterone

    A good skin cream (such as Natpro) is the most user friendly of all the ways progesterone can be taken. Oral progesterone is a waste as 80-90% is destroyed in the digestive system and liver. Injections are inconvenient and painful. Buccal drops or pills are very bitter and suppositories are not much fun!

    The cream can be applied anywhere... in the vagina or nose for dryness, on piles or painful, achy or itchy areas. Its the best thing for burns and wonderful on the face and elsewhere.

    All the successful studies done on progesterone use between 100mg to 200mg per day. This equates to 3ml to 6ml of Natpro per day. Some authorities suggest as high as 400-600mg/day. Orally administered forms need 5 to 10 times as much to compensate for the digestive losses. The cream is best applied twice a day, to keep levels up.

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