What Is a Yeast Cleanse?

A yeast cleanse is a type of diet meant to reduce the amount of the Candida yeast in the body. Candida infections, also called yeast infections, are one of the most common complaints affecting the genitourinary tract 1. Treatment typically involves topical or oral medications. Some people find they feel better after making certain dietary changes, but it isn't clear whether this is because of the improved nutritional value of the new diet or because it actually affects Candida, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 34. Some yeast cleanses are more restrictive than others.

Supplement Version

A number of supplements are available to use for yeast cleansing. Supplements aren't independently tested for efficacy before they hit the market, however, and they can have side effects, so don't take them without first talking to your doctor.

Candida Diet

The simplest version of the dietary changes for a yeast cleanse involves avoiding dairy products with the possible exception of plain yogurt, sugars, peanuts and alcohol. Proponents of this diet recommend you follow it strictly for at least three months.

More Restrictive Cleanse

Some versions of yeast cleanse have a more restrictive first phase meant to help detox your body. This phase typically involves eating just vegetables, sometimes only vegetable juice, and taking supplements and may also call for colon cleansing and fasting. Such a restrictive diet doesn't provide you with enough of the essential nutrients you need, as it is low in calories, protein and many vitamins and minerals, so it isn't advisable.

Other Considerations

Speak with a doctor before taking any supplement to make sure the ingredients would be safe for you. For example, pau d'arco shouldn't be taken by pregnant women and can cause vomiting and interact with blood-thinning medications, causing uncontrolled bleeding at high doses.

Even the less restrictive versions of this diet can make it hard to get the nutrients you need in the proper amounts, and there are no guarantees it will work. The Columbia University Health Services website notes that the Candida diet claims haven't been scientifically tested to prove their effectiveness 5.

The Wrap Up

The simplest version of the dietary changes for a yeast cleanse involves avoiding dairy products with the possible exception of plain yogurt, sugars, peanuts and alcohol. This phase typically involves eating just vegetables, sometimes only vegetable juice, and taking supplements and may also call for colon cleansing and fasting. Some versions of yeast cleanse have a more restrictive first phase meant to help detox your body.

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