Spring Clean Your Sinuses

May 15, 2015
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Three Keys to Breathing Easy

Are you always clearing your throat due to a post nasal drip? Is your cough worse at night?  Do you suffer from a persistent sore throat or ear pain and a lingering low grade fever?

If so, join the crowd.  You may have chronic sinusitis (inflamed sinuses) which is becoming an all-too common culprit behind many untraceable and annoying conditions.

Over 32 million Americans experience chronic sinus inflammation from a persistent sinus infection, and according to the Mayo Clinic, fungi is most often to blame.

Additional noteworthy hallmarks of this condition include pain in the forehead, upper jaw, or teeth, or around your cheeks, eyes, or nose; bad breath, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, and even nausea that can come and go. 

In our increasingly high-pollen, high-pollutant world, Seasonal allergies makes sinusitis much worse.

While antibiotics are commonly prescribed for sinus infections, they can turn temporary pain into a chronic problem. That’s because 80% of sinus infections stem from self-protective biofilms—slimy clumps of bacteria or fungi that are antibiotic resistant and quite challenging to eradicate. Antibiotics notoriously deplete your microbiome, which would normally protect against these types of pathogens, and allows the biofilm to grow unchallenged.

Candida—The Culprit

Because commonly prescribed antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria, they create an internal environment where Candida albicans, which is naturally present in the human body, quickly grows out of control.  Candida albicans then morphs into a hard to eradicate fungal growth that I blame for 9 out of 10 cases of sinusitis among my clients.

One in three American women has symptoms of candidiasis, a chronic yeast infection. Besides vaginal problems, yeast infections can cause fatigue, indigestion, acne and skin rashes, sore or bleeding gums, thrush (white patches in the mouth or throat), and most sneaky—nasal congestion and sinus pain.

Candida overgrowth is prevalent in women who use antibiotics—whether to treat a sinus infection or acne—or who have been on estrogen (including birth control pills), have a high stress level, have had children, or consume a high-sugar diet.  If your stools are “shiny” or “filmy,” chances are you need a candida cure!!

Beating the Fungal Growth

To eliminate the underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, we first need to weaken the fungal growth and begin killing off Candida. Enzymes can be powerful tools to do just that.  I like Candex (found in most health food stores) for this purpose.

Diet also comes into play, which means at least two weeks of avoiding sugar in all forms—processed foods and beverages, alcohol, vinegar (except raw apple cider vinegar), starchy vegetables, all fruits, cheese, and especially high-glycemic carbs like wheat, corn, and peanuts that frequently contain mycotoxins from yeast and mold.

You must include more grass-fed and free range animal protein and omega-3 eggs.  Pump up your consumption of vegetables, and increase your intake of essential and healthy fats from flaxseed oil, fish oil, olive oil, oil of oregano, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, grass-fed butter, macadamia nuts, almonds, and pumpkin, flax, chia, and hemp seeds.

Y-C Cleanse is my #1 solution when it comes to Candida. As a clinically proven homeopathic, very finely diluted potencies of Candida and its byproducts stimulate your body’s own immune response to kick yeast and fungus to the curb.

This formula will not wreak havoc on your liver as many prescription anti-fungals do. It can be used daily for three months or more, and once or twice weekly for maintenance thereafter.   It can even be applied to the wrists and absorbed transdermally for children and sensitive individuals.

Having a strong and diverse microbiome is crucial to supporting sinus health.  Good bacteria crowds out pathogenic bacteria and keeps systemic yeasts in check.   To supply a daily dose of immune-supporting probiotics, I take Flora-Key, which provides 10 billion CFU per teaspoon.  Although the CFUs may appear to be lower than some other high-powered probiotics on the market, many individuals experience an autoimmune response when taking large amounts of probiotics, so I like to go “low and slow”.

I typically recommend several teaspoons throughout the day to keep the friendly flora well populated. Flora Key also does triple duty as not only a probiotic, but also a sweetener and pre-biotic, with the most potent strains of beneficial bacteria for vaginal and gut health. Although resistant starch has become a buzz word for pre-biotics these days, I rely on just one teaspoon of Flora Key to feed and sustain the microbiome.

Caprylic acid, found in coconut oil, is my next favorite antifungal. This natural solution is as effective against yeast overgrowth as the drug nystatin, which may damage the liver. I also recommend olive leaf extract, a potent antimicrobial, to fight sinus inflaming fungi and yeasts as well as bacteria and viruses.

I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that there is  a great deal of buzz lately regarding Fiji red mangrove bark extract, which is said to naturally enhance immune and respiratory health.  It has been found in both clinical and anecdotal reports to work 48 hour wonders with chronic sinusitis.

Nourish Your Nose

More effective than antibiotics, salt may very well prevent sinus problems in the first place. Combine 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (or ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon baking soda) in a cup of lukewarm water and use this mixture in a sterile eyedropper or neti pot.

Rinse your nasal passages twice a day until the infection clears—or whenever you feel sinus pain starting up again. If your throat is sore too, gargle with warm salt water.

Many aromatherapy oils—eucalyptus, oregano, tea tree, and thyme—are antifungal. Use one of these healing essential oils in a room diffuser or add a few drops to your bath water—the steam may just help keep your sinuses clear!

Do you struggle with Candida that affects your sinuses?  Please comment below to share your experience!

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. lisa

    can this product be used if one has a compromised immune system and auto immune diseas?

    • Team ALG

      Yes, you can do Y-C Cleanse when you have a compromised immune system.

  2. Ione Norling

    Excellent info. Love the coconut oil suggestion !

    • Nina Knowles

      How much orally?

      • Team ALG

        Are you referring to coconut oil? A couple of tablespoons per day are very helpful.

  3. Mel G

    Dairy intolerance also causes sinus problems for many people.

  4. Mary E.

    I do take Flora-Key every day to keep my yeast in check, but when I really have a sinus flare up (usually from drinking wine or eating chocolate) the Y-C Cleanse comes to my rescue immediately and clears them up.

  5. Katie W.

    Great info, thank you! I was wondering if this anti-fungal regime would also work to eradicate tinea versicolor since it’s a yeast that lives on the skin?

    • Team ALG

      As the outside of body is a reflection of the inside, this protocol would most certainly help!

  6. Lauren

    Thanks for sharing the remedy to rinse your nose out to give relief to your sinuses!

  7. Dana Turner

    I’ve had chronic fungal sinusitis for 8 years. It has lately been making me physically ill and bringing very strange brain symptoms. Can’t explain except I can tell it’s effecting my brain. Plus pain pressure tingling itching mostly in sinus and head muscles but often top of skull. Western med docs won’t listen. I believe it’s turning into fungal meningitis. At times wake with extremely sore neck and back of skull. Naturopath has me on talc and sugar free nystatin. Pharmacy broad spectrum. Colloidal silver. And ozone ear insufflation. The problem…..I get sick a lot and can’t work co distantly since its been worse. Can’t afford her treatments. I’m stuck. It was better on her treatments. Ran out of money and outs worse. Have tried everything a bit including lufenuron which worked wonders the first time and then diminished next two times. i sit here holding flax oil in my mouth as I hold many concoctions in my mouth to try and knock it back. Have had many courses of antibiotics from western med diva when I thought it was bacterial. I do raw milk kefir I make at home when I can afford it. And on and on and on. Just want it to be over. Have tried candizyme and serrapeptase when I could afford it. Many things. Many this have had a good effect. Just can’t seem to keep in money enough to mount a good enough effort. No one cares about broke people. Too bad for you the world says. I’ll pop some more raw garlic and hope something somehow changes. As it is now I barely scrape by with bills. Trying to get well is a luxury.

    • Ann

      I had a bad sinus infection a few years ago. Turned out it was an infected root canal.
      I had the root canal tooth pulled and it was dead/black inside. After the tooth was pulled, my sinus cleared up.

    • Lynn

      Hi Dana, Try black walnut/wormwood tincture and AHCC from Vitamin World.
      I had an infection for 11 years and it’s stopping it in its tracks.
      God bless.

  8. Amy

    Hi –

    Where does one purchase Fiji red mangrove bark extract? I can’t find it with an internet search.

    Thanks for your tireless work for women, Ann Louise.


  9. Amy

    Ann Louise and team — Thank you for the product link. You are the best!! Amy



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