There are three mainstream recognised tests for identifying Candida overgrowth, none of which is 100% conclusive. One of the problems lies in the name of the condition – Candida overgrowth. Candida species are present in almost everyone, and only become a problem when the natural balance of gut flora is disturbed – a state known as dysbiosis. Candida overgrowth is also sometimes known as a fungal dysbiosis, to differentiate from an imbalance in gut bacteria caused by pathogenic bacteria, known as a bacterial dysbiosis.
The three tests are a Stool Test; a Saliva Antibody test; and a Blood Antibody test.
Stool Test for Mycology:
You can send a stool sample to a Laboratory to look for the presence of fungal organisms. If fungal organisms are detected, then the species should be identified, and a susceptibility profile run. This means that the species is tested for what will kill it, and recommendations made to you for pharmaceutical or natural products on that basis. It may sound obvious, but the Lab will only diagnose Candida overgrowth if they find it. If they happen to miss it even if it is present, and it does happen, then their diagnosis will be faulty.
Saliva Antibody and Blood Antibody test:
These tests will attempt to isolate antibody (immunoglobulin) reactions to Candida species. These reactions will occur if your immune system has attacked Candida species within the preceding six months. The antibodies that are tested for are IgG, IgM, IgA, Candida Antigen and immune complexes. If you have recently brought a Candida overgrowth under control, you may still test positive for Candida overgrowth, as the antibodies remain detectable in the immune system for up to six months.
There are two other non-laboratory tests doing the rounds at the moment. One is the Spit Test:
Fill a clear glass with water and place it by your bed at night. When you wake in the morning, work up a bit of saliva and spit into the glass of water. It is important that nothing enters your mouth or touches your lips before you do this. Do not drink any water, do not brush your teeth and do not kiss your partner. I’m sure they will understand just this one time!
Immediately make note of how the saliva looks. Check again 2 or 3 minutes later. Check the glass every 15 minutes until you leave for the day.
Healthy saliva will be clear, it will float on top and it will slowly dissolve into the water without any cloudiness and without sinking. There are normally some bubbles or foam present.
Candida saliva will have one or more characteristics that point to a Candida albicans overgrowth:
- Strings traveling down to the bottom of the glass
- Cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass
- Cloudy specks suspended in the water
The more strings and cloudiness there are, and the faster it develops, the greater the Candida albicans overgrowth.
This test is gaining in poularity, although it has no good basis in science.
The other test is a Symptoms Questionnaire which, if carried out correctly with a health history being taken, and cross referenced with a further Questionnaire – the FRDQ-7 (Fungus Related Disease Questionnaire – a bona fide medical questionnaire), gives a diagnostic accuracy of 95%.