A number of very effective treatments can be used to eliminate a yeast problem. I find that the best approach is to combine dietary changes, natural remedies, and prescription medications.
Natural Yeast Treatments
The most important part of treating yeast overgrowth is avoiding sugar and other sweets, although I will add the three magic words, "except for chocolate." You can also enjoy one or two pieces of fruit a day, but you should not consume concentrated sugars like fruit juices, corn syrup, jellies, pastry, candy, or honey. Stay far away from soft drinks, which have ten to twelve teaspoons of sugar in every twelve ounces. This amount of sugar has been shown to markedly suppress immune function for several hours. Be prepared to have your CFS/FMS symptoms flare for about one week when you cut sugar out of your diet.
Using stevia as a sweetener is a wonderful substitute for sugar. Despite some misconceptions, stevia is safe and natural, and you can use all you want. There are even cookbooks available for using stevia. The brand of stevia that you choose is very important, however. Most brands of stevia are not filtered and therefore are bitter. The two that won the taste test in our office are made by Body Ecology (1-800-4STEVIA) and Stevita. Ribose (Corvalen), a very effective nutrient for treating CFS, FMS and heart conditions, is not readily digestible by yeast and is usually well tolerated.
Several books have been written on the yeast controversy and offer additional dietary methods to try. One of the best is The Yeast Connection and the Woman by the late Dr. Billy Crook, a physician who advanced our understanding of CFIDS/FMS considerably.
One of those dietary methods that can help restore balance in the bowel is the intake of acidophilus—that is, milk bacteria, a healthy type of bacteria. Acidophilus is found in yogurt with live and active yogurt cultures. Indeed, eating one cup of yogurt a day can markedly diminish the frequency of recurrent vaginal yeast infections.9 Acidophilus is also available in supplement form, but which brand you use is important. Many brands do not actually contain the amount that the label claims or contain dead bacteria—which do not put up much of a fight against the yeast. I like to use Probiotic Pearls by Integrative Therapeutics or Acidophilus Pearls by Enzymatic Therapy. The pearl coating acts like a little tank—which protects the milk bacteria as they pass through the acidic environment of the stomach. Without this coating to protect against stomach acid, it is estimated that 99.9% of these yeast fighting bacteria will NOT survive the trip through the stomach. This means that to get the number of healthy bacteria in 1 pearl to your colon, you'd need to eat around 3 gallons of yogurt! Once the pearl hits the alkaline environment of the small intestine, it dissolves and releases the bacteria to fight the yeast. I recommend that you take 2 pearls twice a day for 5 months, after which time many people choose to continue taking one a day for prevention. Although the box claims 1 billion bacteria per pearl, the laboratory assays actually show that these pearls contain 2.4 billion bacteria. If you are on antibiotics (not antifungals), take acidophilus at least three to six hours before or after the antibiotic dose.