There are a variety of Candida tests that may be used in acquiring a diagnosis and each one has its strengths and weaknesses that you should be aware of before making a purchase. Although, there are many different choices out there, they may or may not detect overgrowth of Candida and often come back with false negatives. None of them are very reliable or accurate and it's a crapshoot.
While it is true that having a test that identifies which type of Candida you have can be of great benefit, acquiring an accurate diagnosis is hard to come by in many cases. Candida is notoriously difficult to detect. It often evades a stool test because yeast doesn't really hang out loosely; it's attached to the colon wall. Antibodies may not show up in blood work because the immune system is not working properly or Candida is evading detection in the biofilm.
By far, the easiest and most effective way to identify an issue of yeast overgrowth is by your past and current symptoms, your case history and your response to treatment. The most reliable and precise test for Candida is the yeast questionnaire that was created by Dr. William Crook and can be found in Dr.Crook's book called The Yeast Connection.
Dr. Crook is one of the original pioneers who brought the issue of yeast overgrowth to awareness in our society and his written questionnaire has been used for decades by natural health practitioners to make an accurate diagnosis. If you rank high on the questionnaire, then you can feel pretty assured that Candida is a problem. Not only that it costs you nothing beyond the very affordable price of the book, which should be part of your library anyway if you have a yeast problem.
The second most reliable test is the Organic Acids Test by Great Plains Laboratory. Many labs have an organic acids test, but you must use the one that is from Great Plains for the purpose of diagnosing Candida, as it has more Candida markers that are more reliable. This test detects byproducts or wastes of Candida and other fungi like aspergillus instead of the organism itself; which makes it much more accurate and reliable. As far as lab tests go, this is your best bet; but if your results come back negative and your symptoms say otherwise, then do not disregard the possibility of yeast overgrowth. It is not fool proof either and I still see a fair amount of people with negative results for yeast on an organic acids when their symptoms very clearly indicate a yeast issue.
Additionally, the organic acids test will also provide you with a vast amount of information about other important factors involved with your health like neurotransmitter production and function, Krebs Cycle (energy production), nutritional deficiencies, methylation, metabolism, oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, oxalate levles, and detoxification. The Great Plains OAT is also very good for identifying bacterial overgrowth and malabsorption. You can learn more about the OAT test on the following page.
You can also use the OAT test to monitor your progress. Initially, when you begin treatment, you will likely see an increase in byproducts, because as you kill yeast, it will release more byproducts. Then it should gradually decrease, if overgrowth is reduced. So, essentially it indicates the level of die off that is occurring. But, an increase could also mean your Candida has increased, so one must take all aspects into context.
The organic acids test is one of the most valuable tests you can perform to help identify the underlying causes of any and all chronic mental and physical health conditions or just to evaluate the overall level of health for any individual and practice preventative health maintenance. It will also provide an indication of any further tests that may be needed to identify deeper problems.
It's a simple kit that you can perform in the privacy of your own home. No doctor visit is necessary. A kit will be mailed to you; you collect your urine and mail it back to the lab. The results will be sent to you electronically. I think it's a test that everyone should have for the many reasons I just discussed. If you're interested in the Great Plains OAT, you should contact me for a phone consultation. I can provide you with information on where to purchase it, as well as an interpretation and review to explain what your results mean and where to go from there. If you have already purchased it from another practitioner, and would like me to help you interpret it, I can do that as well.
There is another simple, do it yourself, at home test called Candia5 that is appealing to many people and considered to be fairly accurate. It is also quite affordable at only $39.95 plus shipping. It looks at antibodies against Candida, but do keep in mind that if your immune system is impaired or Candida is hiding in a biofilm, then antibodies may not be produced. If that is the case, then they would not show up in the test. This means there may be a high percentage of false negatives with this test. Candia5 identifies antibodies for Candida, Albicans, Candida Glabrata and Candida Parapsilosis; the three most commonly occurring species.
A stool test is one of the poorest and least reliable tests there is for diagnosing Candida. However, if it does find it by some miracle, it can then test to see if your species or strain is resistant against a variety of different natural and pharmaceutical antifungals. On the other hand, just because you aren't resistant at the time of the test, doesn't mean you won't be resistant within one or two weeks of taking the antifungal, as resistance develops with exposure. However, the strong point of a stool test is that it can provide you with an abundance of other information about the health of your gut like digestion and absorption, the level of healthy flora that is present, inflammation, and other unfriendly organisms that may be present like H. pylori or other bacteria and parasites, if you get the right test. This information can be valuable.
I prefer the GI Effects Stool Test test; it identifies pathogens through DNA and culture, which is much more reliable and accurate than searching for the organism itself. Although it does have its limits, I feel it is another test that should be performed by everyone. You can learn more about the GI Effects test on the following page. There are other stool tests as well by Biohealth Labs and Doctor's Data that are considered to be of high quality. Doing more than one stool test can improve your chances of getting an accurate diagnosis. It's not uncommon for results to vary from test test.
A particular type of stool test called the Chromagar can identify the species of Candida. Additionally, in the book Beyond the Yeast Connection, Dr. Warren Levin states that he has found a test called an anascopy to be more reliable not only for Candida, but parasites as well. The anascopy is performed by swabbing the rectum lining and generally requires a specialist in infectious medicine.
Another very popular test that many natural health practitioners use is called the "spit test." However, I would like to point out that many health practitioners do not feel this test is reliable. It has a high rate of false negatives and false positives. Personally, I do not advocate the spit test, but you will find other practitioners who stand behind it whole heartedly. So, I am going to provide the directions further below in case you're interested, but please be aware of its potential limits.
For starters, the spit test was created by a large nutraceutical company that sells probiotics and anti-candida products for the purpose of marketing their products, and therefore may not be an unbiased approach since they may have an underlying motive. Additionally, results are not consistent from day to day within the same individual.
Most importantly, the only thing the spit test is really telling you is how thick your mucus is and there are many other factors that can affect thickness of mucus like consumption of dairy products, changes in the weather, airborne allergies, bacteria, mold, viruses, high levels of toxins in the body, and dehydration. So whatever conditions occur in your glass of water when you spit in it could be caused by numerous other factors and may not have anything to do with Candida.
Here's how the Candida spit test is done:
As soon as you wake up in the morning before you put anything in your mouth, get a glass of water in a clear glass that you can see through. Don't use tap water.
Collect saliva in your mouth with your tongue and spit it into the glass.
Now keep an eye on your saliva in the glass for the next 15 minutes and observe what it does.
According to advocates of this method, if you see any of the following, then it indicates the presence of yeast colonies:
- Your saliva stays at the top and you see thin strands that look like strings or spider legs extending downward.
- Your saliva floats to the bottom and looks cloudy.
- Your saliva is suspended in mid-air and looks like little specs are floating.
See the picture below for guidance.
Again, I would like to point out that I do not feel the spit test is a reliable means of identifying a yeast problem. I strongly encourage you to take the written questionnaire in Dr. Crook's book. Additionally, you can help increase your chances of an accurate diagnosis by performing a variety of different tests - (get a couple different types of stool test, an organic acids and an antibodies test) if one doesn't find it, then another might.
However, as a society, we have been conditioned to be dependent on a physician to make a diagnosis for us and that they are the beholder of all knowledge. Although the assistance of a skilled physician is essential, your body is the one who holds the answers. Regardless of which health condition we are speaking of, lab tests are notoriously unreliable and inaccurate. They should be used as guides and not Gods.
Many people get really hung up on the fact that there is not a reliable test that can tell them definitively that they have Candida overgrowth, which only hinders progress and wastes time. Your time is better spent on making changes in diet and lifestyle that will discourage yeast overgrowth. I encourage you to try and let go of the need to have a lab test for validation. Your body is the best Candida test you can find.
Your symptoms are the most reliable means you have for a diagnosis for not only yeast related conditions, but any health issue. Listen to what your body tells you and let it guide you accordingly and find a doctor who shares this viewpoint who can support you. A good practitioner will use a variety of different tests, but they will also take your symptoms and history into account as well to arrive at a diagnosis.