Treating Yeast by Rotating Natural Antifungals
Note: The specific natural antifungals I chose were for my son's individual needs, and were the best ones I knew about at the time, 7 years ago. Please see the BrainChild Candida Program at www.brainchildnutritionals for the best natural antifungals I know about TODAY, particularly for very sensitive children. - tkm 4/18/08
As you may already know, many kids with autism are very susceptible to 'gut bugs', especially candida (yeast overgrowth). Those of us treating them struggle with keeping these buggies under control. We went through a very hard time while chelating our son for mercury, when his bugs grew out of control, requiring over 2 months of prescription antifungal and antibacterial meds, which left him pale, weak and, I believe, with a very unprotected gastrointestinal tract, that was susceptible to... more gut bugs! Since that time, I (in conjunction with other moms on some email lists) have developed an alternate approach that can be used both for getting rid of and keeping away more candida and other buggies. In this journal entry, I'll describe the approach I use, and the ways I've used it. This may need some modifying for each particular child, since each one seems to tolerate the antifungals and probiotics a little differently. Also, this approach is primarily designed to keep down candida, which is the main bad guy for most of us, so other natural agents may be more effective against things like clostridia or other bacterial or fungal 'bugs'.
This strategy has been successful in keeping them under control in my son for three years now, including the time since June, 2004, when we started DMPS chelation (chelation of any kind stirs up yeast). First let me tell you that different specific antifungals may work better for each kid, and I'm not sure how important it is to pick the "right" ones, as each one probably does a little different job to help keep candida down, and/or kill it. I think the most important thing is to find some that the child tolerates well, and then just keep doing it, adding probiotics or other things to help make things tough for the yeast as you go, to tweak it until it seems to help.
Here's what I do:
Probiotics I give all the time: Theralac and Primal Defense are my current ones. If we haven't had much candida sometimes I drop the Primal Defense, but when we see a flareup of it, I give it again for awhile, as it really seems to help. Theralac we use all the time. Website to buy it is www.theralac.com . Before starting TD-DMPS, we were down to 1 Theralac every other day. Since we started, I've increased to 1 a day. This stuff is potent, and doesn't require giving many capsules like others I've tried. My son responded poorly to lots of other probios before this, including Pro Bio Gold, Culturelle, Klaire, etc. Different kids may do better on different probios. You may also want to rotate between different ones, but I haven't found the need to do this, so can't really comment.
Natural Antifungals- these are all non-prescription. We do them one at a time, 4 days each, i.e.
4 days of Uva Ursi, then
4 days of Grapefruit Seed Extract, then
4 days of Biocidin
4 days of Thorne SF-722
I use moderate amounts - my son is big, 110 lbs, and I use the lowest end adult dose from the label with him.
(we've tried a few others, but these are my favorites. there are lots of others you could try, see below)
A few notes on these products:
- Uva ursi is an herb. I use it in a tincture form from Gaia Herbs. I chose it as one of my tools because testing indicated that it would probably be effective in killing my son's candida. Some kids may react badly to it, as it is a little strong, but works great for my guy.
- I buy Grapefruit Seed Extract in concentrated drops at the health food store, Nutribiotic brand. Grapefruit Seed Extract kills good flora as well as bad, so definitely not something to over-use. Just using it 4 days at a time seems to be fine for us, but I use it as kind of a last resort, only if I really think we have active yeast. GSE is also not recommended for use by people on SSRI medications. My son takes zoloft, and yet seems able to use GSE without problems, but like I said I don't use it often. GSE may be a little phenolic, so you'll have to see if the child tolerates it (like everything! ;-) I give this mixed in his liquid vitamins.
- Biocidin is a tincture of many herbs, made by Biobotanical research (there is another product of this name, so make sure you get the right one). I buy it in a tiny bottle of drops, and the dosage is like 10 drops a day for a big kid, not much at all. It is an anti parasite, anti bacterial and anti fungal, so I like using it. I also give this mixed with his liquid vitamins.
- Thorne SF-722 is an oil cap from the castor bean, and I understand that it is a pretty mild antifungal. You may want to read up on it. It's easy to take as a gel cap, but I'm told that it tastes terrible if you squeeze the oil out. The good thing about it being mild is maybe it's easier on the body/better tolerated, and of course the bad thing is it may not fight yeast as well as the others, I'm not sure, but my intuitiion has me use it less than some. Of course in a rotation like this one, not every player has to hit a home run, and you may want to use mild things as well as strong ones, to keep it easier on his body. I give this in oilcap form with the pills he takes.
There are lots and lots of things that are supposed to help fight candida. Here are a few of the others
Oil of oregano
You could even rotate prescription antifungals, such as nystatin and diflucan. I know some people who do this. I would still worry that they'd depopulate the gut too much, but in rotation, this effect might not be as hard. I'd still start the natural ones rotating the minute I stopped the prescription ones, if it was me, though, because I'd be paranoid that bad bugs would see the nice cleaned out GI tract and move in fast. I just don't think we can count on our kids' bodies to colonize the intestines with good bacteria quickly and effectively like normal bodies do. I think primal defense is the best probiotic I've found to help with this.
Here's how I decide whether/when to rotate these things:
If he has overt yeast symptoms, (hysterical giggles, increased stimming, crotch or anal itching are my guy's external signs of yeast - MANY moms report the hysterical out-of-control giggling as the first sign), I start using one of these. If it goes away in a few days, I stop. If it doesn't go away, I keep going, switching to a different one every 4 days. I do a little round at least once a month, just to keep things away, usually 4 days of one then 4 days of another. It's not very scientific, more by intuition at this point, but this has been very successful for us and I haven't had to do an OAT/CDSA to check for gut bugs, or use prescription antifungals for 3 years now.
I got a lot of good information at the following website, although I use different specific products, my approach is very similar to this: http://www.modernherbalist.com/ .
NOTE: VERY TOUGH CANDIDA CASES - WHAT IF THIS KIND OF ROTATION ISN'T ENOUGH?
Someone on another list I'm on just posted a variation to this theme that helped them when a rotation like the above wasn't enough to kick out the yeast. It's basically doing 2 antifungals at a time, but still 4 days each then change. Here's a sample schedule:
Day 1-4: caprylic acid with GSE
Day 5-8: GSE with uva ursi
Day 9-12: Garlic and Caprylic acid
Day 13-16: Oil of oregano and caprylic acid
Day 17-20: Caprylic acid and GSE
I guess I would have preferred it just a bit if they weren't using the same thing for such long periods, i.e. GSE for 8 days, Caprylic acid for 16 out of 20, but this is what they said worked for them, so there you go... one more idea.