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Treating Candida with Grapefruit Seed Extract

by Allan Sachs(more info)

listed in colon health, originally published in issue 23 - November 1997

Candida albicans is a prime example of an opportunistic pathogen (disease causing agent). Its presence in the digestive tract and in the urogenital tract is, of itself, not remarkable-nearly every human harbors small amounts of this ubiquitous germ. The toxins that Candida produces are only mildly irritating as long as their numbers are in check. Rarely are high fevers, elevated white blood cell counts, severe diarrhoea, etc. associated with Candida, as might be the case with so many other pathogens. However, when the opportunity presents itself, the yeast can begin to grow at an alarming rate. And as Candida grows, so does the concentration of its toxins; eventually even the most stalwart individuals will begin to suffer from the effects of yeast imbalance.

Candida is usually found in the small and large intestines and the urogenital tract (of men and women) where it competes for food and attachment sites with other microorganisms. Many researchers now believe that certain forms of the yeast can travel through the blood and eventually inhabit any organ of the body. Once Candida overgrowth takes hold, the potential for adverse effects is enormous: fatigue, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, depression, anxiety, and a diminished libido are the most common effects: others include carbohydrate and alcohol cravings, frequent bladder and ear infections, various skin afflictions (acne, eczema) and reactions to perfume, cleansing agents, gasoline fumes, etc. For women, frequent vaginal infections and menstrually related symptoms signal the possibility that Candida is out of control.

The Genesis of Candida

How does an overgrowth of yeast come about? Studies have shown that the typical human digestive tract is inhabited by well over one thousand varieties of fungal, bacterial, viral, and protozoan species. The competition within this ecological environment is fierce: food and attachment sites are limited-only the fittest survive.

It is estimated that the microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract of the average adult number in the hundreds of trillions. In fact, there are many times the number of such microorganisms than there are body cells. Most of the microbes belong to species that neither help nor hurt us. This relationship between host and visitor is called commensralism. Other species of microorganisms that perform scores of life-sustaining tasks are absolutely essential for our well-being. These are the symbiots: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus belong to this group. A third class of microbes is considered parasitic because it grows at the expense of the host, often leading to illness and even death. The proportional balance of microbes residing within each individual depends on many factors: exposure to various microbes, age, diet, nutritional status, emotional stress, antibiotic-use (from drugs and food) and the general functioning of the immune system.

Given these (and other) factors, we can expect to find a different mix of microorganisms not only from one individual to another, but also from one geographical area to another. For example, the protozoa Entamoeba histolytica, is considered endemic in India and Pakistan. But the indigenous population has adapted itself to that amoeba which, though it may weaken them somewhat, is not as pathogenic as it is to an American tourist, for example, who is encountering it for the first time. Although mainstream medicine has perceived the endemic nature of E. histolytica in India, it has failed to recognize that people of the industrialized West have biologically selected out Candida albicans as one of our endemic species. And while symptoms associated with Candida imbalance are not as dramatic as those associated with certain amoebas, the insidious development of a Candida imbalance can lead to years of suffering, the cause of which often remains undiagnosed by conventional medical practice.

Beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium which secrete powerful antifungal enzymes that support the digestive and urogenital tracts are destroyed by pharmaceutical antibiotics, chlorine, and toxins found in food and drink. Once the health of our beneficial bacteria is compromised, an ecological niche opens up that is rapidly filled by other microorganisms, Candida among them. Because western diets are so rich in carbohydrates (sugars and starches), Candida and other carbohydrate-loving yeasts find the digestive tract an ideal environment.

While primary Candida imbalance inflicts great stress upon the immune system, it often happens that Candida is a secondary result of a longstanding immune dysfunction. AIDS, cancer, and chronic fatigue patients are always at risk of Candida imbalance. Their treatment must take into account the likelihood of additional stress from yeast.

Many of the pharmaceutical drugs that are used to fight Candida have proven quite toxic, especially to the liver. But there is good news too. According to world-wide reports from holistic physicians and thousands of their patients, Grapefruit Seed Extract is one of the best non-toxic remedies for Candida. Dr. Jay Gordon, a highly respected pediatrician practicing in California states:

I have been in private practice for sixteen years... I discovered Grapefruit Seed Extract about five years ago. We pediatricians treat a lot of oral and cutaneous yeast infections (the latter primarily in the diaper area of infants) and are often frustrated at the difficulty we have in clearing up these common and annoying problems. I now recommend Grapefruit Seed Extract at least three to four times every day to my patients and the response is uniformly positive... Grapefruit Seed Extract is an excellent formulation which I have found to be completely safe for even the youngest babies in my practice.

Treating Candida with Grapefruit Seed Extract

For chronic cases of Candida imbalance, it is best to prepare for Grapefruit Seed Extract therapy by performing a one week cleansing diet. Such a diet curtails starchy, sugar-rich foods and eliminates fermented foods, coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol; it calls for the following (approximate) proportions:
  • 65% high fiber, low starch vegetables (broccoli, celery, radish, asparagus, etc.-steamed or raw)
  • 20% high protein foods (fish, fowl [free of antibiotics], nuts, seeds, eggs, tofu, etc.)
  • 10% complex carbohydrates (rice, beans, millet, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat)
  • 5% fruit (papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, and all types of berries)
Such a diet reduces the unpleasant effects (known as the “Herxheimer reaction” after the doctor who described it) caused by the release of toxins when pathogenic microbes ‘die-off.’ A Herxheimer reaction may temporarily cause increased fatigue, nausea, headache, etc. These reactions are common but usually occur only in the first few weeks of treatment.

For optimum results I also recommend that my patients consume six to eight capsules per day of a high potency, high quality probiotic containing Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, etc. Garlic and Aloe vera assist the detoxification process. If a Candida imbalance is not chronic but has been brought on by a recently prescribed course of antibiotics, the above diet and the Grapefruit Seed Extract treatment can begin simultaneously and continue for at least three to four weeks.



Grapefruit Seed Extract should be taken between meals. If irritating to the digestive tract, it may be taken with meals or in powder form (capsule). Dosages given are for a person of approximately 150 lbs.; adjust dosage according to weight.

Days 1-3: ten drops (50/50 dilution, see page 124) twice daily in vegetable or diluted fruit juice (or one 125 mg. capsule twice daily)
Days 4-10: fifteen drops twice daily (or one capsule three times daily)
Days 11-28: fifteen drops three times daily (or two capsules two to three times daily)

Some people will show satisfactory improvement on the lower doses and therefore not require an increase; on the other hand, some resistant cases may require a slightly higher dose than given above. The schedule may also be modified: for some, the twenty-eight day course may prove unnecessary-two to three weeks may suffice. Once satisfactory improvement is noted, gradually reduce the Grapefruit Seed Extract dosage; if symptoms reappear, a return to a higher dose may be required. A four week treatment may not be sufficient-longstanding chronic cases may require four to six months of constant vigilance.

Vaginal Yeast Infection

Many holistic physicians believe that an imbalance in the vaginal microflora is often indicative of a similar imbalance in the intestinal tract. Therefore, for recurrent vaginal yeast infections, a complete, systemic anti-Candida program is usually required. However, certain isolated instances of vaginal yeast imbalance may be treated locally without resorting to a systemic program.

Before beginning any treatment for vaginal infection, a diagnosis by a qualified practitioner is necessary in order to establish whether or not the perceived symptoms are in fact being caused by Candida. The possibility of reinfection by transmission from a sexual partner must also be considered if a cure is to be permanent.


Vaginal rinse: add sixteen drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to sixteen ounces of room temperature water (use only filtered, distilled, or boiled water) and shake well in a closed jar. Douche once daily for three days. (For greater retention of the solution, douche in a reclining position.) Repeat every fifth day thereafter.

Caution: If severe vaginal irritation occurs, reduce mixture to five drops per pint of water. Discontinue if irritation persists. Do not douche if pregnant or menstruating unless advised by a physician.

Most chronic Candida problems, whether systemic or localized, are related to certain life-style habits. Therefore Grapefruit Seed Extract should be considered an adjunct to the changes required for permanent resolution of the problem. To conclude this chapter I offer a condensed version of my Ten Step Program for Controlling Candida.

Extract from:

The Authoritative Guide to Grapefruit Seed Extract by Allan Sachs Dc. Life Rhythm, 1997. P.O. Box 806, Mendocino, CA 95460. Tel: (707) 937-1825 Fax: (707) 937-3052. Available in the UK from The Tao of Books, Tel: 01379 890190.

Ten Step Program for Controlling Candida

1.    Be Informed: Read at least one book on Candida. (see suggested reading list). Seek a qualified practitioner who can direct your program but do not depend solely on his or her expertise-talk to others who have successfully overcome Candida.
2.    Starve the yeast: Candida thrives on carbohydrates: drastically reduce all foods high in starch and sugars.
3.    Avoid yeast products and fermented foods: Baker’s and brewer’s yeast, wine, vinegar (apple cider vinegar may be tolerated), tempeh, and tamari are potential trouble-makers.
4.    Use non-toxic antifungals: Botanically derived antifungals are preferred because they do not add to the body’s toxic load. Grapefruit Seed Extract’s broad spectrum capabilities detoxify the system not only from Candida but also from other yeasts and bacteria which accompany Candida. Grapefruit Seed Extract is also effective with other herbal antifungals such as Pao D’ arco, garlic, and goldenseal. (Consume antifungals between meals.)
5.    Restore the beneficial bacteria: Probiotics, particularly Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus help reestablish the normal intestinal flora. This phase of the treatment will, in the long run, protect against reinfection. (Consume probiotics with meals.)
6.    Support the beneficial bacteria: These helpful symbiots thrive in the presence of foods rich in fiber and chlorophyll. Fructo-oligo-saccharides (F.O.S.) is a type of sugar (found in the Jerusalem artichoke) which can dramatically increase the growth rate of beneficial bacteria, especially Bifidobacterium, an organism essential for a healthy digestive tract. F.O.S. cannot be metabolized by Candida, nor does it significantly raise the blood sugar.
7.    Detoxify: Eliminate (or greatly reduce) coffee, alcohol, food with chemical additives, and drugs. Aloe vera, Bentonite clay, and psyllium seeds can accelerate the detoxification process. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of non-chlorinated water daily.
8.    Support the immune system: Reduce emotional and chemical stress. Supplement your diet with the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (Vitamins A, E, C, lipoic acid, glutathione, selenium, pycnogenol, Coenzyme QIO, etc.) which are essential for reversing damage done to the immune system.
9.    Be observant: Write down all of your symptoms before starting the program and grade them on a. scale of 1-10 according to how they affect you. Compare those observations to how you feel four, six, and eight weeks later. You will have good days and not-so-good days so when you feel poorly, instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle of understanding: Did you go off the diet? Were you in a smoke-filled room? Did you clean out a moldy basement? Women: note where you are in your menstrual cycle; record your observations - you will learn more about how your body works and why sometimes it does not.
10.    Persist: A restoration of the internal environment does not happen overnight-this program takes time. It is a starting point, a general guide that can be adapted to your own needs. Once you feel an improvement, avoid the temptation to revert to former habits.


The Proliferation of Candida

Why is Candida so common in the digestive tracts of people living in the industrialized nations? Ironically, most of the blame lies in our technology and the way we use and abuse it. Some of the practices that create a susceptibility to systemic Candida overgrowth are:
  • Excessive use of pharmaceutical antibiotics
  • Ingestion of meat and poultry treated with antibiotics
  • Chlorination of drinking water
  • Exposure to pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, toxic metals (lead, mercury)
  • Hormonal treatment (including birth control pills and cortisone products)
  • Poor diet (insufficient essential nutrients; excessive use of sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol).


  1. Lisa said..

    Thank you for this information. Are Grapefruit Seed Extract tablets (125 mg) safe to take during pregnancy?

  2. Tamara said..

    I have been brewing/drinking my own water kefir (tibicos), dairy kefir, and kombucha for several months now in the attempt to build up the healthy bacteria in my gut, however, the candida has been persisting in spite of these attempts. Should I set these aside when using the GSE regimen?

  3. cindy parker said..

    I have self diagnosed myself wirh yeast overgrowth. I did take the spit test which showed positive. I need to find a doctor. Any ideas i live in st. Charles county missouri. I would appreciate any help please.

  4. julie lelsie said..

    Will taking GSE (2000 mg/day) affect the estrogen levels in a male teenager?

  5. Beckie said..

    If I take grapefruit seed extract (by capsule) daily, non-stop - will it still be affective against Candida? I have been researching Candida the past 5 years, and there are several authors that claim supplements cannot be consumed daily ongoing, due to the candida being able to adjust and resist defeat to the anti-fungal supplements (i.e. garlic, caprylic acid, pau d arco). Should grapefruit seed be rotated every 3-5 days?

  6. Eva Lonborg said..

    Have fought Candida for over a year now, and feel that I have not had the proper advice. Still lots of difficult-to-treat hyphal form of Candida.
    My therapist has not advised me to avoid barley, oats, millet and rye, which are my main protein sources being a vegetarian, and so has she not mentioned carrots, beetroot, and other root crop which are the main vegetables in my country.
    So now I am googling full time now and have come across Gymnema Sylvestre as a good supplement to fight Candida. Do you know of it? How much to take? Is it ok to kombine with Grapefruit Seed?

  7. Reginald Browne said..

    I put grapefruit seed extract on my penile yeast infection and it burns like he'll what can I do to stop it

  8. Anil said..

    Dear Sir/Madam

    Please provide me the Data how Grape Seed Extract acts ( Chemically) Mode of Action, trails in Vaginal Infection

  9. Dana said..

    Also a good treatment for vaginal candida is treatment with Cervugid Ovules.

  10. lynn said..

    Hi ive been seen a lot for this yeast&bacterial infection that are a every day battle foe me and ive tried just about everything so i went to the mayo clinic and he said i have these problems ihave said & hes had me on this boric acid for at least 3mo.& still taken this what should i do because he cant think of any thing else, please help me this has been going on for many years now and im sick of it i have to take the boric acide very night& still

  11. Maria said..

    Hi all, long time ago I posted a msg on this forum afraid of the consequences of the Candida virus (which I fought one year) ... well, I can breathe , after long treatment (no vaccine) I got rid of this virus!! I appeal to all girls and women who have similar problems, it's better to go to the doctor for not having anything to lose the contrary else can heal without complications! treatment only .. My gynecologist recommended treatment with Cervugid Ovules 3 courses with breaks for 7 days. This treatment can say it is miraculous. I did smear test again and it came out negative.
    I wish you good health.

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About Allan Sachs

Dr Allan Sachs D.C., C.C.N. is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and chiropractor in practice since 1978 and recognised as a leading authority on the use of Grapefruit Seed Extract. He is a pioneer in the field of clinical ecology and the creator of many herbal formulas used by holistic practitioners throughout the world.

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