Nobody like toenail fungus – it is gross and can also mean that you are infected with the candida virus. If we are going to be honest though, nobody likes any kind of fungal infection on their body. The very idea would make any sane person gag and any afflicted person seek treatment ASAP.
Unfortunately, fungal infections of the toenail are quite common – with as much as 12% of the US population suffering from this affliction in one way or another. Thankfully, these afflictions rarely require medical intervention and usually can be treated at home with simple remedies such as changing your diet and taking certain supplements. We are going to explore that and more in this article.
But first, let’s identify what exactly we are dealing with. The scientific name for toenail fungus is “Onychomycosis”. I’m sure you would be a bit concerned if your doctor diagnosed you with it if you had no idea what it was. This affliction is brought about from the development of nasty fungi that cause infections on your toenails. In a handful of onychomycosis cases, the fungi present on the toenail are non-dermatophytic yeasts and molds.
In this article, we are going to identify the symptoms of toenail fungus and what changes you can make to your lifestyle to treat it and prevent getting it again (or prevent getting it in the first place if you don’t have it now). And these aren’t just crackpot theories used to peddle products – many suffers of this affliction have followed our treatment and witnessed their toenail fungus go away.
One of those sufferers was my father, who developed the affliction after undergoing radiation therapy for his prostate cancer. The radiation caused yeast to develop and he ended up getting a nasty fungal infection on his toenails. After following the procedure that we’re about to go into detail about, his toenail fungus was gone. Let’s start off with the symptoms of toenail fungus.
How Do I know If I Have Onychomycosis?
There are a few telltale signs that you have a fungal infection on your toenails.
- Your toenail starts changing to a hideous yellow or brown color – usually on your big toe. This is the toe that most commonly gets infected.
- You start feeling pain on and near your toenails.
- Your toenails start becoming hard but are very frail and break easily.
- You start seeing white spots which can vary in size on the surface of your toenail.
- Your toenail(s) become disconnected from your skin.
While these symptoms do make it seem easy to detect if you have a fungal infection, be aware that these symptoms can creep up on you slowly and take a lot of time to fully develop into onychomycosis. Also be aware that the following treatments are not instant fixes – it will take some time before your affliction fully fades away. Patience is virtue. Time to look at what brings about these nasty infections in the first place.
How/why did I get Onychomycosis?
Let’s start at the source – your gut microbiota. If you are not aware, there are a lot of different bacteria species that live in your gut. Some of them are good and help the body with digestion and other regulatory processes, and some of them are bad. The key is to have a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Too much bad bacteria can lead to health problems like onychomycosis, although toenail fungus is one of the least severe problems caused by gut bacteria imbalance. Anyways, this imbalance leads to an overflow of bad bacteria like fungus and yeast which end up developing nasty infections on your skin.
Having too much bad bacteria in your gut isn’t the only catalyst of onychomycosis, however. Here are some other things that increase your risk of developing toenail fungus.
- Your chances of developing toenail fungus are heightened if you are currently afflicted with athlete’s foot. The fungus already present can end up growing and developing on your toenails.
- If your shoes are too small, or if they are kept in bad shape and not cleaned, you are creating the perfect breeding ground for toenail fungus.
- If you have pre-existing skin problems, like psoriasis, your chances of developing onychomycosis increase.
- If you have blood circulation issues, such as diabetes, this can lead to you developing toenail fungus.
- If a disease like cancer has weakened your immune system, you are more susceptible to toenail fungus (and a host of other more severe afflictions).
- If your foot is somehow exposed to fungi growing outside (such as taking a dip in a filthy swimming pool), you can develop toenail fungus from this. Other places that fungi may be growing are nail salons, saunas, and fitness centers.
- Some of you may just be more genetically susceptible to developing toenail fungus than others.
The Treatments For Onychomycosis
First off, don’t go to your doctor or go to the pharmacy and pick up some anti-fungal pills or ointments. Your doctor will end up prescribing you pills or ointments that won’t get the job done. The substances in the ointments your doctor prescribes (and the ones you can buy over the counter) contain substances that won’t make the problem go away permanently. You will be instructed to apply these ointments to the infected area for a period of 3 to 6 months and many people have found that their toenail fungus ends up returning afterwards.
If you are prescribed or buy pills to treat the infection, you may see better results, but at a cost. For one, you may not see any results whatsoever. Secondly, it may take a long time for your infection to go away. And thirdly, you may end up developing some nasty side effects. Mostly everyone knows that all pills have some kind of side effect that some of us experience and some of us don’t.
Not to mention that these treatments won’t stop the problem at its source. If the issue is bacteria imbalance, taking the anti-fungal pills or applying the anti-fungal cream won’t change that and odds are, the infection will return in one way or another. Our treatments will get rid of the infection and cut the head off of the snake, so to speak. Let’s get to it.
The Treatment – Part #1: Dietary Changes
Did you know that what you eat actually plays a heavy role in the development (or lack of) fungal infections on your body? That’s right, many foods that we eat commonly end up sustaining the nasty bacteria in the body and lead to the infections. For this treatment, we have to get rid of anything we eat that does that. On top of cutting the bad food out, we have to substitute it with good food that feeds the good bacteria in the body and gets rid of the gut bacteria imbalance.
What type of diet fosters the growth of bad bacteria?
The typical American diet. Lots of sugars and grains and not a lot of fermented foods. The bad bacteria grow and develop in your digestive system if you consume a bunch of sugar and grain.
These things provide sustenance to the nasty fungi, which leads to gut bacteria imbalance and fungal infections on the skin. You need to basically cut most or all sugars and grains from your diet if you want to balance out your gut microbiota and make your infection go away. It will be hard, as most dietary changes are, but you need to be determined and take it seriously.
Now that you have cut a bunch of sugary and grainy foods from your diet, what do you replace them with? Start eating foods like sauerkraut – fermented foods are a fantastic way to balance out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. Along with sauerkraut, start eating a bunch of fermented yogurt.
Yogurt is high in probiotics – which are the good bacteria. And yogurt is delicious and even the fermented kind should be able to satisfy your sweet tooth. Yogurt can also give a boost to your immune system – giving it the strength to join the fight against your fungal infection. Check out the diet supplement market as well and find a probiotic supplement from a reputable company with proven results.
Next up, you should convert your formerly high sugar high grain diet to a high fiber one. Fiber provides a truckload of benefits to your digestive system, as it is unable to be absorbed into the body.
Why is that good?
Because it travels unmolested through your digestive tract and takes nasty things like toxins and fat with it – straight out of your body. Instead of these nasty things building up in your gut and leading to gut bacteria imbalance, fiber helps eradicate them thus creating an environment where good bacteria can flourish.
Something else you should add to your diet in conjunction with fiber is protein. You’re leaving a huge gap in your diet when you get rid of sugar and gain so you need to fill it with something fulling like protein-rich foods. Some of these foods include wild-caught fish, unpasteurized milk products, organic eggs and chicken, and grass-fed beef and pork. These foods will give you plenty of protein while keeping out harmful toxins that can lead to a build-up of bad bacteria.
In addition to fiber and protein, you will need to eat foods that contain healthy fats, most importantly coconut oil. Coconut oil is made up of components that kill bacteria and microbes such as the ones responsible for your toenail fungus. A very good thing to have in your gut.
Some specific things you should avoid are alcohol and fruit juices. Alcohol is bad for your gut because it creates more yeast in your body. This leads to a higher concentration of bad bacteria and heightens the risk of gut bacteria imbalance and fungal infection development. Fruit juices, while they do contain fruit which is good, are also really sugary which feed the bad bacteria.
There is also no fiber in fruit juices which can lead to a multitude of problems including energy loss, sugar cravings, and a weakened immune system. You should also be aware of what foods you are allergic to and obviously stay far away from them.
This diet change does not necessarily need to be a permanent one. Once your infection goes away completely, you can slowly bring back certain foods from your old diet. You can start eating some sugary foods and grains again, but not too many. And don’t phase out your new diet either or else your problem may come back in the future.
For those who have been suffering from their fungal infection for many years, you may need to adhere to this new diet for a longer time than those who recently developed the infection to fully erase it. Once again, patience is virtue.
The Treatment – Part #2: Supplementing Your New Diet
Remember when I briefly mentioned taking probiotic supplements? I hope you didn’t shrug that off. It’s a relatively important part of the process that can expedite the treatment of your infection and help stave off any future infections. The supplements are like a fungi removal squad. They will eradicate the fungus causing your infection.
Something else you could take to supplement your new diet is olive leaf extract. This stuff is excellent because it is a microbe killing powerhouse that will greatly assist your body in removing yeast. Olive leaf extract isn’t the only supplement that can do this though, there are others out there that have helpful components like cellulose and hemicellulose. These enzymes eradicate fungus in your body and help kill the infection.
You may also want to look into essential oils like oregano and tea tree oil. Both are incredible antifungal agents that live up to the name “essential”, as they are essential in the fight against your fungal infection. Good luck!