Hi all! I’ve received this question in various forms for YEARS now. These questions seem to have the same underlying concerns, so here is an updated version of my answer – as well as a good representation of most people’s unease.
I’m very concerned though about the issue of Absorb Plus (or Absorb Element+ in the UK) feeding Candida. I decided to use Absorb Plus to do The IBD Remission Diet because your book says that it would starve the good and bad bacteria in the gut, almost creating a clean slate for the gut, to be then populated with probiotics (incidentally I have been taking probiotics twice daily anyway, whilst on the diet).
Now I’m feeling this description of Absorb Plus wasn’t accurate: it seems it may starve off some bacteria but actually feeds, and can contribute to one of the most harmful, the Candida, increasing rapidly! This seems like a huge problem! – and I’m now concerned about the ultimate success of the Remission Diet for me. Perhaps I’ll be able to kill it with oregano oil, which I’ve used before. But If I’m still ingesting a product with so much fructose all the while, it seems it will be a difficult battle to fight with the Candida getting fed well all the while – and the body likely to go out of balance again when I stop the oregano. Added to that, I always get more diarrhea when taking oregano oil – and I could certainly do without that.
How will my gut be able to heal with this imbalance going on, and Candida colonising the gut more than before? And having to spend more money on Oregano oil to fight the problem, whilst the Absorb Plus feeds it, makes no sense to me.
Please don’t panic – thousands of people have successfully used Absorb Plus (or Absorb Element+ in the UK) to date (and all people with IBD have some degree of Candida overgrowth) and nothing has happened to change that.
So, first of all, Candida albicans is NOT a bacteria. It is a yeast organism. And it is a natural and beneficial resident throughout our entire bodies – as long as it is in a healthy balance with other microorganisms.
The problem occurs when there is a Candida overgrowth. This happens for numerous reasons but it is usually triggered by drug antibiotic or steroid use. These drugs kill off the good bacteria in the gut, which normally keep Candida in balance.
Like many microorganisms, simple carbohydrates (sugars) are also the preferred food of yeast organisms like Candida albicans.
Now, when it comes to healing gut disorders, the healing often has to occur in layers, because you just can’t treat everything at once – the body can’t handle it. So, compared to intestinal bleeding, malnutrition and malabsorption, continual pain, etc. Candida is definitely a ‘lesser stage’ problem and can be dealt with after the more serious symptoms are resolved.
This is because there is NO elemental product in existence that will not feed Candida – because ALL carbohydrates are broken down into sugars. So even if you ingest a fructose-free elemental product, the maltodextrin (or whatever else the carbohydrate source might be) will still feed the Candida.
If you get more diarrhea when taking wild oregano, that too is normal and is actually a positive thing. It shows that the body is flushing all the dead pathogenic microorganisms and their toxic by-products from your gut. Candida overgrowth alone produces more than 178 toxins. By taking the high dose of probiotics before bed every night (as advised in Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol), you are also helping to stabilize and support the healing of the gut flora. Simultaneously, the Absorb Plus during the day is helping to heal and restore the mucosal lining of the intestine and resolve malnutrition.
The wild oregano oil and probiotics combined should be sufficient to keep Candida in check whilst on the elemental diet – for some it is even enough to resolve the Candida issue.
If it doesn’t resolve the Candida issue, then this issue can be fully addressed after completing the elemental diet. Our recent teleseminar with Dr. Carolyn Dean (Candida, Detox & More!) gives you exact instructions for how to accomplish this.
Getting back to the “healing in layers” concept: What heals inflammation, ulceration, malabsorption in the gut is not what heals Candida overgrowth. They require different therapies and protocols. That’s just the way the body works. If you go really hard on an anti-Candida protocol before strengthening the gut and gaining enough weight to withstand a detox reaction, you will trigger a full-blown IBD flare. Which is worse?
I had one reader who had severe Crohn’s symptoms and she knew she needed to go on the IBD Remission Diet, but she wouldn’t use Absorb Plus because of the fructose. She insisted she would wait for the fructose-free Absorb Plus. Except that without healing the ulceration and malnutrition, her Crohn’s escalated and she died. Now who knows what other factors were involved here, but the bottom line is: heal the most serious symptoms first and then work your way down the list, gradually clearing the rest.
Now, regarding the information in The IBD Remission Diet book, in the first edition of the book I wrote that the elemental diet starves out the bad bacteria in the colon and at the time of writing, that was what the medical literature proclaimed. It has since been theorized that no, some of the maltodextrin does actually pass undigested into the colon, so it does not completely clear the bad bacteria. This update is included in the series of emails you should have received after purchasing the book. If you didn’t receive these emails, or have lost them, please email us. The second edition automatically includes all this information.
Regardless, this is another reason why I recommend (in that same series of emails) that you simultaneously either go on Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol, or. start the high dose probiotics at the beginning of the Diet, rather than waiting until the end. These will help to keep Candida in check whilst on the Diet (and afterwards).
So, in your case, if you didn’t have a severe Candida problem to begin with, you may be fine with just taking the high dose probiotics (1 tsp of each, 3x/day) and that may be sufficient to hold the Candida in check without too much diarrhea. However, if you feel the Candida increasing, then start Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol and follow that.
I hope that has relieved some of your fears and given you a better picture of what’s going on.
Original post February 2009. Most recently updated October 2019.