Candida and pH

The pH level of the body is believed to be a major contributing factor in Candida. We explore the most effective way to balance pH.

There is great confusion in the field in regard to pH and Candida yeast; some people say yeast will thrive in an acidic environment and other people say it will thrive in an alkaline environment.   

While it is true that an acidic body (acidosis) can lead to a variety of health conditions like osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, muscle loss, high blood pressure, kidney stones, cravings for sugar and carbs and more, in regard to Candida, we are talking about the pH level in the “gut.”

Yes, your “blood” pH should be slightly alkaline for optimal health. However, the pH of your “gut” should remain acidic to function properly. It is acid that keeps pathogens like Candida yeast from growing out of control. Thus, the word “acidophilus.” It is the acid in the dophilus that is important for helping to eliminate yeast overgrowth. Acidophilus is acid forming; e.g. lactic acid and acetic acid. Acid in your stomach and your intestines is your first line of defense against pathogenic intruders.

When you take antibiotics, it kills off your acid forming bacteria and makes the environment too alkaline, which is why antibiotics promote Candida overgrowth. So not only do antibiotics directly eliminate the good guys that help keep Candida from taking over, they also change the pH in your digestive system to one that is more hospitable for yeast and other pathogens.

Different parts of the body have a need for different pH levels. In a healthy body, body tissue and blood pH runs about 7.3 or 7.4, which is slightly alkaline; while an empty stomach is somewhere between 1 and 3, which is highly acidic; and the small intestine ranges between 6 and 6.5, which is slightly alkaline; while the colon runs between 5.5 to 7, which is slightly acidic; and the vagina is typically between 3.8 and 4.5, which is moderately acidic. However, there is variation even within these parameters; for example, the pH may be different in different areas of the small intestine like the duodenum and the caecum.

All species of Candida can survive in a wide range of pH levels. Candida Albicans has been found to thrive in everything from 2 to 10. However, studies demonstrate that it needs an alkaline environment to change from its yeast form into the pathogenic fungal hyphae form. In the vagina, yeast and other pathogens like bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis will flourish in a pH that is higher than 4.5.

Some of the toxins that Candida emits, like ammonia, are actually used by the yeast to alter the pH in the environment it is in so it will be more alkaline, which then allows it to morph into hyphae form. If the environment is too acidic, Candida will simply release ammonia to create the conditions that it prefers. Thus, once again illustrating the astounding abilities of Candida to adapt and survive.

pH is a very important factor for other microbes as well. For example, E-coli becomes pathogenic in an alkaline environment, but in an acid environment it is beneficial and helps produce vitamin K. Many other microbes have this same ability to alter pH and some microbes like H. pylori may even become resistant to and survive in an acid environment.

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