Candida infections, also referred to as yeast infections or candidiasis, are relatively common infections most frequently caused by an overgrowth of the fungus known as Candida albicans. While candida infections can occur on many parts of your body, including your mouth, skin and esophagus, women typically experience vaginal infections of candida. Certain nutritional supplements, like chia seeds and l-glutamine, may offer some relief from the symptoms of yeast infections. However, you should consult your doctor before using any nutritional supplement.
Candida albicans is a type of fungus that naturally lives on certain parts of your body, including in your vagina and esophagus. Normally, the fungus, also referred to as a yeast, goes unnoticed, as with many other types of harmless bacteria that your body hosts. However, certain factors, such as using birth control pills, antibiotics, illness or having a weakened immune system, can cause candida to multiply too quickly, resulting in candida overgrowth. Vaginal yeast infections are caused when the natural acid balance in your vagina, which normally controls candida growth, becomes disrupted. Symptoms of vaginal yeast infections include itching or burning around your vagina, thick, white discharge, pain during sexual intercourse or swelling of the vulva. Although prescription and over-the-counter medications are normally used to treat yeast infections, nutritional supplements may provide complementary benefits to certain medical treatments.
Chia Seeds for Candida
Chia seeds come from the chia plant, a variety of the Salvia Hispanica plant. They are often referred to as a superfood due to their high content of a variety of nutrients. In his book, "Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation," author Andreas Moritz writes that chia is rich in a number of nutrients, including omega-3 acids, calcium, fiber, iron, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Because of their high fiber content, chia seeds may help to maintain a healthy balance of flora, or bacteria, in your digestive system, which may, in turn, inhibit candida infections. In fact, in her book, "Prescription for Natural Healing," certified nutritional consultant Phyllis A. Balch recommends taking fiber supplements to help candidiasis. However, there's no clinical research to support the specific benefits of chia seeds for candidiasis.
L-Glutamine for Candida
L-glutamine is an amino acid derived from another amino acid, known as glutamate. L-glutamine, also referred to as glutamine, plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system and digestive tract. For these reasons, it may be a beneficial supplement for women affected by candidiasis. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that glutamine may help strengthen the immune system and reduce the likelihood of infections. However, as of the date of this publication, there are no clinical trials on humans to support the benefits of glutamine supplementation for candida infections.
If you think you have a candida infection, do not attempt to self-diagnose your condition. While chia seeds and glutamine supplements may provide some benefit for candida infections, you should never use dietary supplements to self-treat your symptoms. Consult your doctor to obtain a proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.