If you're into natural health and nutrition, there's a good chance you've heard of Candida somewhere along the way. It's a fairly common yeast present on skin, in the mucous membranes, and even the gut. In fact, over half of all humans have Candida albicans present in the body.  While species of Candida are normally harmless as long as you're healthy (good bacteria in the body keeps them in check), sometimes modern diet or lifestyle could cause an overgrowth. Now if that happens, you might develop an easily treatable infection, but that's about the extent of it.
The Issue with Candida
The problem comes in when someone has a suppressed immune system—maybe from AIDS or chemotherapy; under those conditions, Candida can thrive, and a deadly systemic infection (one spread throughout the body) can result.  Keep in mind: preemies could also be at risk of developing this often fatal infection because their immune system isn’t fully developed.
The number of systemic infections from Candida albicans is on the rise. According to estimates, about 25,000 Americans will develop them in any given year. But there are so few drugs to treat these fungal infections that they can often become drug-resistant. So, even with treatment, close to 10,000 Americans will die. And if we look at the bigger picture, about 1.5 million people will die from fungal infections worldwide. 
Natural Approaches to Candida
You might be wondering if there are any natural ways to fight Candida. With more and more of these infections developing drug resistance, researchers are often looking for alternative treatments. A recent study looking at lavender oil may be just what any nature-loving herbalist needs for supporting immune health and possibly fighting candida. But while the essential oil shows good antifungal uses, more research is needed to explore all its benefits.  Some reports even suggest colloidal silver could be helpful as an antifungal.  Now, while you might have heard taking garlic can help, recent research suggests that it's actually not as beneficial against yeast as originally thought.  That being said, I highly suggest using garlic every day for its wonderful diversity of health benefits.
Candida overgrowth could also lead to a condition commonly called leaky gut, something that can lead to food sensitivities and intolerances, among other things. If you suspect you have candida or have been diagnosed, you need to take immediate action. Using something like Mycozil on the onset of symptoms may help support whole-body health against yeast and fungal infections, but you should also seek advice from your doctor for further information regarding your specific condition.
Has Candida been an issue for you? What have you found to be an effective solution?
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM