Candida albicans is part of the frequent gut microbiome in human body and animals, but when the fungus gets out of equilibrium in the body, it can lead to infection. Though antifungal medications are frequently used, a new research recommends coconut oil may be a powerful therapy.
The research – guided by Prof. Carol Kumamoto from Tufts University in Massachusetts – is launched in the American Community for Microbiology’s publication mSphere.
She and her co-workers explain that in individuals with damaged immune systems – such as cancer patients, transplant affected individuals, premature newborns and often the older people – C. albicans can get away from the gut and enter the bloodstream, where it can cause deadly microbial infection, having an effect on the kidneys, liver, spleen, lungs, brain and heart valves.
They note that almost half of affected men and women today with systemic C. albicans disorder will die from it.
“People who get this disease are very sick and tired and typically in the hospital,” says Prof. Kumamoto. “Candida is one of the most consistent cause of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients.”
Although the present first line of defense is to use antifungal drugs, the researchers explain that they can bring about to the emergence of drug-resistant strains, so clinicians are cautious about using them.
Previous in vitro studies have shown that coconut oil has antifungal properties; simply because it changes the amount and type of fat that can alter gastrointestinal microbiota, the team developed a research including different high-fat diets and their effect on the guts of mice.
’10-fold drop in colonization in mice fed coconut oil’
The high-fat diets fed to the mice comprised of either coconut oil, beef tallow or soybean oil. On the other hand, another group of mice was fed a standard diet.
All groups of mice were fed these diet plans for 14 days before the researchers inoculated them with C. albicans, and they extended on their respective diet plans for 21 more days.
Results demonstrated that 21 days after the inoculation, the mice that were fed the coconut oil diet had C. albicans colonization in their stomachs that was significantly reduced than the mice that were fed the beef tallow diet, the soybean oil diet or the standard diet.
Prof. Kumamoto notes that there “was about a 10-fold drop in colonization” in the mice that ate coconut oil, in comparison with those that ate either beef fat or soy bean oil.
In a further research, she and her team changed the mice on the beef fat diet to the coconut oil diet and found that just 4 days after the diet change, “the colonization changed so it seemed almost accurately like what you saw in a mouse who had been on coconut oil the entire time.”
Commenting further on their results, Prof. Kumamoto says:
“We found that diet can be an efficient way to decrease the amount of Candida in the mouse. The expansion of this finding to the human inhabitants is something that needs to be resolved in the future.”
She explains that they would like to find out the mechanism behind how coconut oil produces these effects and whether these outcomes can be replicated in humans.
If all goes with respect to plan, the research team will launch a clinical trial regarding hospitalized infants who are at high risk for systemic candidiasis and how coconut oil may help.