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Is It Gluten, a Yeast Overgrowth, or Both

A Case of Yeast Overgrowth Caused by Antibiotics

This case study is important, so make sure you read all the way to the end of this post. Yeast (fungi) overgrowth is one of the most common issues people face and the symptoms are often identical to that of gluten sensitivity.

I recently saw a patient who was suffering with chronic sinus infections, headaches, severe fatigue, and brain fog. She had been to several doctors and the standard course of treatment consisted of anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics. She had actually been prescribed 5 courses of antibiotics over an 8 month period of time! The outcome? No improvements…she was actually getting worse.

Part of her problem was gluten sensitivity. You see, gluten was overwhelming her immune system, and over several years, weakened it to the point that she was no longer to protect herself. As a result she began developing sinus infections from yeast (fungal) overgrowth. Her general doctor’s solution was to assume that her sinus problems were coming from a bacterial infection instead of performing a culture to try to determine the actual cause.

By prescribing antibiotics, he actually made her yeast infection worse. Overuse of antibiotics destroy the healthy bacteria that serve as a natural regulator of yeast overgrowth. So in this case, the yeast infection was allowed to grow out of control, making her symptoms worse over time.

Here is what we did to help overcome yeast overgrowth & gluten

  • Performed a yeast culture and sensitivity test (this helps to determine whether yeast is the culprit, and also what type of agent to use to help eliminate the overgrowth).
  • Used a natural anti-fungal based on her test results.
  • Used a very strong dose of probiotics for 1 month to help restore her healthy bacteria and prevent future yeast overgrowth.
  • Used a strong dose of natural immune support containing natural antibodies.
  • Because she tested positive for gluten sensitivity, I had her go gluten/grain free.
  • Maintained a strict sugar free and alcohol free diet for 10 weeks (sugar and alcohol “feed” yeast and contribute to persistent overgrowth).

Remember, the symptoms of gluten sensitivity and yeast infections overlap greatly, which is why yeast overgrowth & gluten sensitivity share the many of the same symptoms – muscle pain and inflammation, fatigue, and memory loss, skin rashes, headaches, and symptoms of IBS. Yeast can also contribute to a leaky gut. If you have gone gluten free and are still having persistent health issues, consider yeast overgrowth as a potential problem.

Yeast Overgrowth – What You Can Look For

Yeast overgrowth & glutenAside from specialized lab testing, there are some simple ways to identify a yeast overgrowth:

  • Check the nail beds in the fingers and toes. Yeast will discolor the nails white and yellow. They will also disrupt nail growth leading to horizontal ridging and pitting of the nails.
  • Check the mouth. Yeast can present as a pooled white film over the tongue and inside cheeks(see picture below). This film can be scraped off by a tongue depressor.
  • Vaginal yeast overgrowth can present as a white discharge. It can also cause pain and itching.
  • Check your stools. Sometimes a yeast overgrowth presents as white flecks or specks in your bowel movements.

Candida Infection Tongue - Dr. Osborne


Please share this with someone you love or care about. Together we can help more people find awesome health!

Always looking out for you,
Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior

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54 Responses

  1. I have struggled with GI issues my whole life. Doctor after Doctor no answers and I had a purse full of pills. after one of my vacations of the normal over eating and drinking I hit rock bottom. I have been living with constant bloat and stopped wearing a bra. I could no longer ignore The pressure and bloating in my chest and abdomen. I researched and found one article saying they had chest bloating and I decided to go gluten free. Immediately I started to feel better,but after a while I missed beer and pizza so I found a gluten digest pill. The pill seemed to work for a little while and that allowed me to go right back to eating anything I wanted. I now after another vacation am in complete misery with the worst GERD symptoms. I have been 90% gluten free for 5 days and my severe allergies have cleared up but I am still trying to calm my intestinal tract down.

    1. I would . I have gluten sensitivity because I tested positive for dq8 celiac Gene I have sibo I have histamines in my small intestines can I have no disaccharides which means my small intestines have no enzymes to break down sugars and starches. I’m on Sucraid to help me break down the simple sugars and sugars and fruits but I have just gotten to the point now I don’t eat no sugars no starches no wheat no Rye no barley and finally feel like how a normal person supposed to feel.

      So get off of anything that is sugary starchy maltos.

    1. Generally speaking, no. You should limit your servings of fruit to 1 1/2 cups total per day. Avoid dried fruits and fruits with a higher glycemic index scores (bananas, grapes, etc)
      All the best,
      Dr. Osborne

    2. Which natural antifungals did you use.

      5 different strains of Candida were identified in the finger stick test.

      I have cut out sugar and ETOH white flour etc,
      Taken Sacromyces Boulardiea
      ( sorry about the spelling)

      My tongue is coated white in the mornings ( morning like the picture that you posted)

      What should I do next?

  2. I do notice a coated tongue somewhat and have been GF for 6 months now, take probiotics, ACV, limited fruits and feel so much better. I can tolerate some rice and corn but limited amounts. All grains seem hard for me to digest. Will eating healthy as this, help to minimize yeast to a normal level? Will this be a lifetime problem? Will I always need to avoid grains/gluten?

  3. I would be an interesting case as I have now gone gluten free, sugar free, ketogenic (so, really low arbs) and yet I still have yeast flare ups that show up in my blood (leaky gut). I have spent the last 4 months going after the leaky gut first as to get it out of other parts of my body & then go after my GI. I am/have done all the things you list.

    1. I can relate, I have been GF, since 2007. My issues have never resolved in all of these years. As a Holistic Health Coach, I completely overhauled my diet, I eat 90% squeaky clean, organic, kosher, non-dairy, GF, diet. To this day I am sicker then I have ever been, no answer in sight. The only choice these Dr.’s around here are giving me is an endoscopy and a stomach biopsy. At the end of my rope, really don’t want to go through that invasive testing, but may have no choice.

      1. Vicki,
        90% clean is not enough if you want to heal. Have you read No Grain, No Pain? If might contain many of the missing elements in your approach. Additionally, you can find which lab tests to have your doctors run on you.
        Best of luck,
        Dr. Osborne

        1. Vickie, I did not start to feel better til I gave up potatoes! That was after going off gluten, eventually dairy too. I just did not believe potatoes were an issue! The fallacy of ‘picking and selecting’ what you want from results! Not that all results are guaranteed to be correct! Good luck, hope you get to the nub of your issues.

        2. Well I’ve been tested for diabetes and I’m negative apparently my doctor has never heard of testing for this! 🙄 I’ve told her this! Someone should contact Family pratice in Lexington ky and tell them what this is cause they live under a rock! 🤦🏻‍♀️ They don’t even have tests for it! Sad

          1. You should look for a functional medicine Dr. in your area. Or and integrative medical practitioner. They can do some testing stool/saliva testing at a reasonable price. You will have to pay out of pocket which we are not accustomed to in this country but your health is your wealth! Good luck!

      2. How about cutting all grains /carbs /starches ? Did you try CARNIVORE ??? look into it! I started it in May and I’m not as strict now ( I was pretty strict for about 5 wks – ate only meat and butter , had some lettuce , few Olives but I was pretty strict ) . Then at work In June , had no food left so ate a granola bar – they were 2 small bars , I was desperate- OMG , that entire week my stomach was a MESS!! I was sooo lethargic and depressed and felt like complete crap , it was just brutal!!! I’ll never eat oats ever again !!!!! Took 1 wk to settle my tummy and feel back to myself . So it’s Aug 27 as I type this . I’m pretty much carnivore but now i have included the occasional pasta dish , or pizza slice . I do love regular chips so they have been my little daily treat . It’s also summer so I am having peaches and nectarines just bc its summer and I love Ontario fruit ! But come fall , I’ll be back to apples ( if I want to spend the $$ on them!) … I did have severe constipation when i started carnivore and it’s not anything new for me . My entire life I have suffered. I spent alot of $$ on supplements from the US but they did not help 🙁 I had to start doing enemas just for some relief but things were festering bad inside. But what i wasn’t paying attention to was my EMOTIONAL HEALTH and my narcissist mother who I live with ( I was stressed due to her abusive behavior) . When I started to journal and decided to cut off pretty much my family – my bowels started to move. When I journal my TRUE feelings and let out all my anger – wow – bowels are happy ! … so it’s been 2 months now and my stomach is so flat/calm ( I’ve suffered since childhood w stomach issues all from STRESS AKA narcissist mother ) . but look at your EMOTIONAL health as well which causes symptoms in the body . Many are sick from being in toxic relationships. So what I have learnt firsthand is EXPRESSING TRUE EMOTIONS & LETTING OUT ALL THE ANGER /RAGE – IS SOOOO therapeutic & releases so much stress . & is absolutely necessary as is healing childhood wounds !! It’s not just about food – unresolved trauma is stuck in our bodies manifesting all sorts of health issues . Also being a people pleaser was killing me so I’m working on not being one anymore & living authentic . Hence I cut off my siblings who are all toxic for me . I’m left living w my narc /psychopath mother but I finally Detached & see her for who she really is . I can’t afford to move out so that’s why I’m here living w my parents . She is no longer my mother but just a woman I live with . No attachment to her at this point ( she will never know this ) . These people drive us to either kill ourselves or to early death. I decided enough was enough & finally the trauma bond has been broken .
        We can’t be healthy if we are living INAUTHENTICALLY . PERIOD . check out Dr Gabor . He is a Canadian dr who truly understands the lifelong affects of unresolved trauma & how being a people pleaser leads to cancer etc .

        I hope you find answers & I hope something I said can help!

        My main & ongoing health complaint at this point is this psoriasis I suffer with . I have a huge patch on my lower back that just will not go away it cleared years ago from my pelvic area to my back . I really think it’s yeast /parasite . I have tiny spots that come n go from face & I just had a new spot show up on forehead . I just don’t know how to heal it .

    2. I am the same. I am now using Andrew Cutler’s protocol for mercury and lead removal and am finally making progress.

    3. Hi,
      I have the same issue.. i like so many have spent yrs and countless hrs determining whether it was gluten or yeast.. The research is astounding.. so many link yeast and its ability to test the same as gluten as well as damage the villi ( commonly tested in endoscopy to pin point whats thought to be gluten damage) and that it is the originator of leaky gut! Im not diagreeing that gluten causes an immune response but I question whether the candida is what causes your gut to leak than your immune system to respond.
      Although I cut out all grain my symptoms continued. As well as all the other issues including hormonal. Again the research into yeast and its effect on hormonal imbalances is profound. I think gluten is only one factor or result of chronic yeast overgrowth.. chicken/egg syndrome! Which came first! I personally believe yeast. Grains feed yeast hense why I felt better but other symptoms continued. Only when I was put on Bio- identical progesterone and had massive cystic breakouts on my face did my NPath say I had Candida overgrowth… thats when the bells went off! And the research started! There is so much info out there it’s overwhelming and confusing. I seriously believe Candida is the quiet undiagnosed killer.. again so many have their version of what it does in the body and how to treat. Studies I have found link Candida to all autoimmune. Its truly frightening and again overwhelming. I think we all have to pay attention to our guts ( gut feeling) no pun intended.. if you believe its Candida , which so many do .. find what works for you! No one doc or Npath or specialist has all the answers!

  4. Is there a dairy free natural immune support product available? I’m lactose intolerant & have a severe milk protein allergy. Have been gluten free for 15 yrs & on the specific carbohydrate diet for 2 yrs. Dealing with chronic sinus infections & the antibiotics are wreaking havoc on my GI tract!

  5. I would like to be your patient. I have stubborn weight gain and cannot lose weight but gain 4 pounds in a week! I’ve had some food allergy testing, gluten sensitivity and thyroid antibody testing and everything is negative except one thyroid antibody – Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody came back at 22. My Dr says my thyroid is fine and the results are all within range. Is there a chance to cherry pick the lab testing so the cost is more economical?

    1. read book by Isabella Wentz high top means you have thyroid problem!! She says no soy sugar dairy wheat and take 2-400mcg of selenium daily for starters

  6. I have a huge long story, but to summarize, my 2 year old has had sinus problems since she was about 8 months old….shortly after she started eating. She has had persistent sinus drainage to the point where I was worried that she had congenial/anatomical anomaly or even a tumor 🙁 We didn’t eat much gluten or dairy but enough to cause her troubles. She had been to the chiropractor multiple times, had been given homeopathic drops after computerized testing. We finally decided to try an antiinflammatory diet, which made an incredible difference….initially, unfortunately now, her sinuses are still draining. She sometimes will get a flare of her facial redness and swelling,but for the most part that has improved. I feel like we have tried everything besides specific allergy testing. It is just so frustrating. She is so limited already with the antiinflammatory diet…any thoughts are appreciated!

    1. High too means you have a thyroid problem read Hashimoto’s thyroiditis by dr Isabella Wentworth the top shows up years before thyroid probs show up

    2. I do believe your child is dealing with Candida/yeast. I have had the same experience with many of my children. But last, My 1 yrs old, we have finally found the culprit! He had a hair frequency analysis body function test and same type allergy test run on him. Removed all allergens-We suspect his parasite and high Candida levels are causing many of these allergies! But the high Candida levels where the direct cause of his chronic sinus problems, thrush, raw throat, horrible bleeding diaper rashes, etc. Parasite caused chronic diarrea. We put him on an extensive sugar free diet, grains, dairy-allergic also, fruit, all factors of sugar. We used pau’d arco tincture for Candida, Black walnut for parasite, extensive probiotics and digestive support with Amazing results! Always be sure to work with a liscensed, holistic or functional healthcare practitioner. Always test! Can’t stress this enough. Always test! And retest. You can spend many years shooting in the dark.. wasting money, ineffective treatments and do more harm in the end. Not to mention it’s incredibly painful to watch your loved one suffer! Good luck to you on your health journey!

  7. I have Celiac, Sjogrens and graves( post radioactive iodine) had C-diff for 9 months and was treated with antibiotic. Now have multiple allergies and sensitivities and react to many supplements and medicines and foods. I know I need Vit D level 29 and have reacted to 5 different kinds so far and am afraid to try sixth. Same with probiotics, I take the smallest amount and am sick in bed with flu like symptoms for days. Any suggestions?

  8. I have Mercury exposure after a nonbiological dental removed some fillings. I recently found out I have candida when my stomach was scoped for ulcers. Should I remove the Mercury first before before going on a Candida protocol?

    What order should I deal with my health issues? Heal my gut (leaky gut, healed ulcers, reflux) through gluten-sugar free diet first.Then make sure my liver and kidneys are healthy before I detox heavy metals. then lastly, go on the candida protocol?

  9. can you mention which essential oils? I am trying tea tree oil on a suspected fungal thumb nail presently…but I am in water a lot with my hands so not so easy to deal with!

    1. A fungal infection in my nail was what actually got me started on essential oils. i am a nurse so have to wash my hands often and with all the antibacterial soaps, they figured that was the cause. I put tea tree oil on a cotton ball and placed it on my thumb for about 30 min 3 times/day. It didn’t necessarily get rid of the infection and make the nail return to normal, but when it got rid of the infection, the nail grew back normal 🙂 Best of luck!

      1. Tea tree oil every night on toe nails. One esp gross rotting crumbling nail grew back clear . On every toe pretty much every night

  10. I know someone that when showering, when cleaning the ears, have a lot of “white stuff” on the rag – is that yeast or candida? Also sometimes bothered with dandruff.

    1. My sister in law just did my hair tonight. I have had bad dandruff recently. She said consider hormones. She said she has several relatives with PCOS who have dandruff since diagnosed, and her 13 year old daugter–hitting puberty has all of a sudden had dandruff. I have been pregnant and breastfeeding for the last several years and it has gotten bad. I have no doubt that mine is hormonal related

  11. This is exactly what happened to me. Dr said I was “a-typical celiac” but after a year on a gf diet I got worse. They finally figured out it was candida but only through blood testing, I had none of the above symptoms.
    My problem is, I think there is still more. I believe I have trouble with high histamine foods, high oxlate food & possibly high sulfer food. Also my body is not digesting fat. This doesn’t leave me much to eat!
    My question is, is there a connection to it all? Is this common?

    1. Karin,
      Sounds more like you have a problem with digestion altogether. Have you read No Grain No Pain yet?
      Chapter 10 is all about functional medicine and putting the pieces of the puzzle together – beyond going gluten free.
      All the best,
      Dr. Osborne

  12. Dr. Osborne, thank you for this information, which is not only good, but your answers to the health issues that we as humans face, is the best advice, to help us to keep on the healthy way of life. I find it difficult to find what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner,with the limit on gluten,wheat, rye and barley. Do you have a recipe book for sale? Also, can you send me a link with low glycemic foods? Thank you so much, for helping people everywhere, including myself. God bless you and family.

    1. My daughter is on a very strict diet. We use pinterest for a lot of recipes. we have gotten creative in learning what she can and can’t have over the years, but if you pinterest anti-inflammatory diet, you will come up with an abundance of gluten, dairy, egg, etc free recipes.

    2. I have had diarrhea all my life. I’d get flare ups when I was nervous and not be able to handle it. Then in 1999 I had my gallbladder removed and had diarrhea worse than ever. I’m now 41 and I have been on a gluten free diet for about 2 whole months. I was told by my Dr that gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist. When I told her how much better I felt going gluten free, she finally acknowledged I have a sensitivity to gluten. I was wondering what type of Dr I could go to and get the right testing done??

  13. been gf for two yrs now thinking I have non celiac gluten sensitivity, just had a 60 scratch test done on my back and didn’t have a reaction. Does this mean that I’m okay. I definitely know that daily bothers me

  14. Vicks Vaporub definitely got rid of my toenail fungus. After trying other things, eliminating sugars and putting essential oils on it for several months, it kept getting worse. But within a week after putting Vicks on it, 2 or 3 times a day, I noticed improvement. Took awhile, like 3-4 mo for it to all grow out clear.

    1. Your problem may not be gluten but the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used in the growing of grains. Consider Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, Food, What the Heck Should I Eat, for a strong explanation of the contamination of our food supply.

  15. Just wanted to say thank you, Dr. Osborne! I love your website and info you are sharing. The forum looks like it will be a great success (i actually got here rather than many other sites and that’s a great start for me because i don’t do Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

    On toenail fungus: i’ve had it before. Stopping all forms of sugar got rid of it for me. I also eat very clean (no artificial stuff), so that helps too.

  16. Dr. Osborne, Thank you so much for all the information you put out there, to help us all!!
    I am celiac and I am sure I have a yeast overgrowth. I am weary of guessing and trying things. The nearest functional medicine doctor is about 300 miles. What do you suggest I do, with testing and treating?

    1. Dr. Osborne does offer phone appointments. For more information, please contact Origins Healthcare at (281) 240-2229.

  17. Dr. Osborne, I have had toe nail infection for years and unsuccessfully treated with various topicals, along with sinusitis. I experience itching in the ears, nose, back and rectum, have dark circles under eyes. Never in my life of 60 years, ever had ear infections, but a few years ago had terrible infection in both ears and no cold to associate it with, Could that be from yeast overgrowth in the sinuses or in the ears? You mentioned biofilm that this yeast is protected by, how do you get rid of the biofilm? I also have CD and IBS and tried leaky gut protocol with no success…have been ill from day one. Too many amalgams, antibiotics, birth control, drugs, overly stressed. Have food and histamine intolerances. Had tons of various tests over the years, but were all negative, and usually suggested drugs and even antidepressants. I am happy to have found your group here.

    1. Do a parasite cleanse. Use mimosa pudica seeds. It will remove biofilm too which hides parasites and other co-infections. Go to microformulas website. Their products work!

  18. Where can you get testing for yeast culture and sensitivity, is this what the test is called, I would like to test before taking any supplements to cure something I do not have.

  19. Thank you so much for all the information! Your book has been so much help! And really appreciate all the additional j fo you keep giving us

  20. I have a friend, 21 yr old female who is having anaphylactic reactions to what would appear to be mold, including mold grown processed items. Vinegar, citric acid, pennecillin, mold found in her newly purchased house, etc. while pregnant in 3rd trimester and after delivery. Many many epi pen administrations. She had anaphylactic reactions with-in 1 minute of mold skin prick test, clinical dose of epi given. So, results are inconclusive, allergist said could have been any one of the other items pricked as well. IgE blood tests were negative to mold. Found High allergen to dust…Reactions start within 1-2 minute of the item touching her lips, skin or breathing in mold. She has been ambulances many many times to the hospital, family has to administer multiple doses of epi before intercepting the ambulance. She is on anxiety/depressing medications and is having night terrors due to her fear of reaction at any moment. Antibiotic used for mastitis. Currently taking various prescribed anti histamines. Currently living with very supportive family due to her houses mold problem, and need to be monitored 100% of the time. Allergy specialist is currently waiting results on 9 vials of blood and 29 different tests! I suspect possible chronic Candida/yeast overgrown, possible in her skin and many other organ, histamine overload, over vigilant immune system, possible parasites, amino acid deficiency, wheat/grain and dairy reactions?! This poor girl needs help! She lives is WY, holistic and functional healthcare is sadly not available in her area, and due to the emergencies resulting in all of this, has very limited financial means. I am reaching out for her and would highly appreciate any thoughts on her situation! I consider any thoughts on this very valuable! Thank you In advance!

  21. I am already a vegetarian, and just recently found out I am allergic to milk, dairy, eggs, potatoes, and I am gluten intolerant. I am limited to what to eat. My body also does not digest proteins or fats. Any recommendations on foods to eat, and what to do about the digestion issue?

  22. I have poor health and a heart condition. I came down with a serious infection in 2018 it’s never been treated properly because no one believes me. I need your help. I have been searching for someone who knows what I’m taking about please I need your help. I would like you to call me please 951-848-1551

  23. Dr. Osborne, I am new to the community. I have not seen any posts on Helicobacter pylori that can wreak havoc on gut and body. I would suggest everyone get a fecal or blood test. Healed.

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