Depression and Yeast

By Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.

Depression casts a shadow over the lives of 19 million Americans, two-thirds of them women. The precise cause, in many cases, remains a mystery. Genetics, brain chemistry gone bonkers, even environmental depredation have all been mentioned, and documented, as causes of depression.

We suggest that systemic yeast overgrowth is another often-overlooked cause of depression.

In their latest book, The Yeast Connection and Leaky Gut Syndrome and its effect on chronic health conditions.

Candida toxins, basically products of their metabolism or toxins released when they die, number in the dozens. In fact, by 1977, seventy-nine different toxins had been identified. Two in particular, are alcohol and acetaldehyde. In some cases of severe intestinal Candida, people have measurable levels of alcohol and acetaldehyde in their blood. And they feel intoxicated just as if they were drinking alcohol. We know about acetaldehyde because it has been shown to be breakdown product of alcohol that is responsible for hangover symptoms.

When acetaldehyde reacts with the neurotransmitter, dopamine, it can cause mental and emotional disturbances such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, and feeling spaced-out. If you look up the toxicology of acetaldehyde you find that it adversely affects many tissues and organs in the body. Is it any surprise, then, that depression and fatigue are two of the most common complaints of people suffering from dysbiosis? Is it any wonder that yeast overgrowth plays a role in the symptoms of such a wide variety of chronic health conditions? See for more information about overcoming these conditions and finding relief and health.

Without proper treatment for Candida, a whole cascade of problems creates a downward spiral that triggers a cascade of symptoms and the following scenario.

You feel more sick, so …

The dysbiosis becomes more severe, and …

Candida toxins directly affect your brain making you feel depressed

Candida overgrowth causes sugar and carb cravings and your diet spins more out of control

More nutritional deficiencies develop and …

More endocrine disturbances occur,

Further weakening your immune system,

Promoting a release of brain chemicals, disturbing the normal balance of mood-regulating chemicals in your brain and …

Causing even more depression and/or anxiety.

Unfortunately, there has not been any significant research on yeast-related causes of depression since Dr. Crook introduced the topic in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association 20 years ago in 1984.

And sadly, there is no magic bullet drug treatment.

However, Dr. Crook did formulate a successful treatment for dysbiosis and the many symptoms that accompany Candidiasis. The treatment involves a five-step approach:

  • Diet and exercise.  A diet rich in meats, fish, chicken, eggs, seeds and nuts, vegetables, and oils (free range and organic) while avoiding sugars, carbohydrate-rich foods, and fermented products like vinegars and preserved meats begins to restrict the amount of fuel the yeast in your intestine has available to it. With time, in combination with the appropriate anti-candida supplements (see below), your digestive tract returns to its natural, healthy balance of organisms and your immune system becomes stronger. In turn, your brain chemistry returns to normal and your low moods stop. A grocery list of foods to get you started is available on Stevia* is recommended as a sugar supplement. Once you’ve started on the diet, exercise, even if for only five minutes a day, will also begin to rebalance the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. You’ll find help for deciding where to start with exercise on
  • Supplements
    Probiotics. These supplements contain friendly bacteria that help you keep a natural, healthy balance of microorganisms in your digestive tract. There are many different forms and brands of probiotics available in foods and pills and capsules. However, to be effective, they need to be able to bypass the harsh stomach acid and deliver at least 1 billion live organisms to the intestines.
  • Digestive Enzymes. These supplements provide a combination of digestive enzymes to help maintain a natural, healthy digestion. Most good products contain several enzymes to promote optimal digestion. It’s also helpful to include phyto-nutrients to help maintain and calm an upset stomach. Among their many benefits, digestive enzymes help you comfortably digest problem foods like broccoli, cauliflower, beans, fruit, and milk.Herbs and nutrients to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans. In addition to prescription antifungal medications, a variety of herbs and nutrients can help support a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria, reining in yeast growth. Among the nutrients that work together to stop candida overgrowth: caprylic acid, pau D’Arco, oregano oil, black walnut, grapefruit seed extract, garlic, beta carotene, and biotin.Vitamins and minerals. Taking a good quality daily multivitamin and mineral supplement helps supply your body with the nutrients it needs to help you regain your health. A good calcium, magnesium and vitamin D supplement are also essential to optimal health, especially for women.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals
    Paints, household cleaners, perfumes and scents may cause allergic reactions. Chemical sensitivities are very common in people with yeast overgrowth.
  • Address emotional and psychological issues
    This step also profoundly impacts your appetite for certain foods and helps balance the chemistry of your body and brain.
  • Work with a kind and care health professional
    Dysbiosis is a tremendously complex, multi-faceted condition that is often difficult to understand. Use the Physician’s Packet and the referral service available on to find a health care professional in your area to help you find the relief you’re looking for and to take charge of your health.


Iwata, K., and Yamamota, Y. Glycoprotein Toxins Produced by Candida Albicans. Proceedings of the Fourth international Conference on the Mycoses, June, 1977, PAHO Scientific Publication #356. and Iwata, K., Recent Advances in Medical and Veterinary Mycology, University of Tokyo Press, 1977.

Feldman, D. et al., Steroid Hormone Systems Found in Yeast. Science Aug 31, 1984;225:913-915.

Crook WG, Depression associated with Candida albicans infections.

JAMA. 1984 Jun 8;251(22):2928-9.

Truss, C. 0. Metabolic abnormalities in patients with chronic candidiasis: the acetaldehyde hypothesis. J. Orthomol Psychia­try. 1982;3:66-93.

Hunnisett, A., Davis, H.J., Gut Fermentation (or the “Auto­Brewery”) Syndrome: A New Clinical Test with Initial Observa­tions and Discussion of Clinical and Biochemical Implications. Nutr Med 1990;1:33-38.

As a physician, I have found that reducing sugar intake is one of the most important ways to control hypoglycemia, diabetes, and intestinal yeast. Reduce your sugar intake by supplementing your tea, water, and other beverages with Stevia. Please go to and click on Dean Wellness for my personal Stevia recommendation.

Dr. Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.

Proficient in both conventional and alternative medicine Dr. Dean offers Consultations for Health by Phone. If you require individualization of the advice offered in this article, you can contact Dr. Dean at or by email at At, under Dean Wellness, you can find a list of food and supplement resources including food-based organic vitamins and angstrom-size minerals that Dr. Dean recommends.

Dr. Dean graduated from medical school in 1978 and holds a medical license in California. She is also a graduate of the Ontario Naturopathic College, now the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, where she sat on the Board of Governors for six years.

Dr. Dean is an expert in difficult to diagnose conditions such as digestive and intestinal disorders (IBS); hormone imbalance and estrogen dominance; and yeast overgrowth as evidenced by three of her books, IBS for DUMMIES, Hormone Balance, and The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health. Another of Dr. Dean’s areas of expertise is magnesium. In her latest book, The Magnesium Miracle she uncovers evidence of magnesium deficiency in 22 health conditions including heart disease, arthritis, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and anxiety. Dr. Dean is able to advise what types of magnesium are best suited for these conditions.

Dr. Dean has authored a total of twelve books to share her extensive knowledge in both traditional and alternative medicine. These titles include Natural Prescriptions for Common Ailments, Menopause Naturally, Homeopathic Remedies for Children’s Common Ailments, The Miracle of Magnesium, Everything Alzheimer’s, Hormone Balance, The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, IBS for Dummies, Death by Modern Medicine, The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health, Solve it With Supplements, and The Magnesium Miracle.

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