The Surprising Sinus-Yeast Connection

October 10, 2013
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

sinus yeast connectionGet Rid of The Fungus Among Us.

Do you have a stuffy nose? Or a cough that’s worse at night? Suffer sore throat or ear pain? If so, you may have chronic sinusitis (inflammed sinuses).

32 million people have this kind of persistent sinus infection. Pain (in the forehead, upper jaw, or teeth, or around your cheeks, eyes, or nose), postnasal drip, bad breath, fatigue or irritability, dizziness, and even nausea can also signal chronic sinus inflammation.

Commonly prescribed for a sinus infection, antibiotics can turn temporary pain to a chronic problem. That’s because sinus inflammation often stems from biofilms (clumps of pathogens implicated in 80 percent of infections)—and oral antibiotics don’t work against them.

Producing a slimy coating that’s hard to penetrate, Candida albicans is a notorious—and difficult to eradicate—source of fungal biofilms in the body. Because antibiotic drugs kill off both good and bad bacteria, they create an internal environment where Candida yeast, which occurs naturally in the human body, quickly grows out of control.

Antibiotics can also disrupt the body’s natural pH balance. Without a healthy acid balance, immunity is compromised, allowing yeasts, molds, and harmful bacteria to multiply.

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

Candida yeast 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 had children, and/or consume a high-sugar diet.

First, Control the Yeast Infection

To kill off yeast that’s the underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, eat more protein (beans, chicken, fish, and lean meat), as well as essential fats and vegetables. Cut out sugar and high-glycemic carbs, especially grains that contain yeast or molds.

Fungi produce over 300 types of dangerous mycotoxins on foods. Grains pose the most frequent and serious risk for fungal contamination. So people with yeast infections need to limit their consumption of corn, wheat, and peanuts—all subject to fungal contamination.

New research in South Korea finds that pumpkin skins contain a potent antifungal protein that combats yeast infections, including candida. Known as Pr-2, this substance in pumpkin rinds also blocks fungi that attack plant crops.

Caprylic acid, found in coconut oil, is an effective antifungal in the digestive tract. It works as well in tamping down yeast overgrowth as the drug nystatin, which may damage the liver. I also like olive leaf extract, a potent antimicrobial, to fight fungi and yeasts—along with bacteria and viruses.

Most important in crowding out systemic yeasts and other pathogens, take Flora-Key, which contains both probiotics—each teaspoon has 6.5 million good bacteria including acidophilus and bifidus—and prebiotics to feed these beneficial bacteria.

Then, Clear Out Your Sinuses

More effective than antibiotics, salt can prevent sinus problems in the first place. Combine ½ 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 will help keep your sinuses clear.


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. Cindy

    My five year old has had sinus problems and I’ve been using the Flora Key. It seems to help but doesn’t make the sinus problems go away. I will try the salt drops in the nose next. I also wonder if food allergies play a role?

    • Sierra

      You’re likely on the right track there- try eliminating gluten and dairy one at a time for two week intervals and see if there is an improvement 🙂

  2. Susie

    I rinse my sinses with warm/hot water containing both salt and a drop of tea tree oil mouth wash (which contains a diluted amount of tea tree oil) – it is marvellous. What is the baking soda for in the mixture you mention??

  3. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Hi Cindy: Food allergies can indeed play a role, primarily grains and dairy product. Try an elimination diet and see if any foods from these two groups are dietary culprits.

    Susie: The baking soda is the Arm and Hammer variety sold in supermarkets. It is very alkalinizing and acts as a germicide.

  4. Dorothy

    Great article and have to say this information makes total sense. I’m sure my husband has candida, and he has dealt with sinus issues and used the saline solution for years. It definitely helps but he has just recently found that doing the nasal irrigation along with applying RC™ (Respiratory Congestion)essential oil blend by Young Living is INCREDIBLY more effective and usually gets relief within minutes. There are other oils that one can use but this has worked so well for him that we haven’t had to try anything else. I’d like him to be a little more “proactive” and add either melaleuca alternifolia or rosemary to his saline solution rinse instead of trying to deal with the infection after the fact. Here’s hoping…

  5. Diane

    I have read that sesame oil is good for sinus conditions…do you have any information or opinions about that?

    • Sierra

      I’ve heard the same. I think that coconut oil warmed into liquid state would really be preferential, but sesame oil is liquid at room temperature and that is likely why it has been used in place of coconut oil.

  6. Chris

    Can’t steroids cause candida? Can I take a probiotic with it and still keep the steroid beneficial?

    • Sierra

      Steroids can suppress your innate immune response, making it easier for yeast, fungus, and Candida to take hold. Taking a probiotic would be very appropriate and have no detrimental effect on the steroid.

  7. jackie

    The yeast problem contributes to parasites growing in your sinuses-yes, worms, flukes, and all kinds of animal life promoted by antibiotic use and eating all kinds of sugars, white flour and too many grains in general. The salt attacts the parasites, but curcumin does it better. Just swallow beginning at 500mg, then go up from there. If you get the runs that means its working-not only on your sinuses, but your entire digestive system as well. Everything here is connected so parasites in your sinuses means parasites everywhere else as well. When the runs dry up -up it another 500 mg, continue until you never get the runs with augmenting the dose. This will help your parasite problem enormously and cure all kinds of sinus and digestive ills. Augmenting with an over the counter dog or cat worm killer now and then through several cycles of treatment will speed up the process. Calculate the dose for your own body weight. Get something that kills all kinds of worms, including tape worms which are harder to kill and can live in your sinuses as well as elsewhere. Good luck, patience is the key.

    • Ellen

      What is curcumin and where do you get it? Thanks.

      • Sierra

        Curcumin is in turmeric.

  8. Candis Francis

    Dear Ann,
    In response to Jackie’s comment, is it generally observed that where there is yeast overgrowth there will be parasites as well?

    Would the first line of attack be a colon cleanse and a parasite panel of the colon to identify this condition more accurately?

    • Sierra

      One begets the other- yeast will often weaken the immune system so that it is more susceptible to parasitic infection. Parasitic infection weakens the immune response and thus makes yeast/fungus overgrowth easier, and parasites themselves tend to create yeast through their biological processes inside the human body.
      Ideally, a full GI panel would be done to identify the problem. Depending on the results of that test, Ann Louise would decide whether it is more appropriate to treat the yeast or the parasites first.

      • asdfasdf

        parasites cannot create yeasts. They may attract them but not create.

  9. Jamie Harris

    great article – so many suffer as a result of sinus pain!

  10. Gigi

    How do you test for what is exactly going on with your sinuses…how do you test for yeast? I’ve been off grains and sugar and all the bad stuff for many years. And I got the sinus symptoms you’re describing 8 months ago. Nothing seems to help.

  11. Rhonda

    I have suffer with yeast for many years from taking antibioties I’m now dealing with bad breath after eating certain kinds of foods anything with sugar in it also after a glass of wine I feel I’m so limited on what I can eat because of candida not to mention how people avoid being around you because of bad breath… Any suggestion

  12. Team ALG

    Rhonda, please start taking Y-C Cleanse and Flora-Key. These two products will make a huge difference and help you get the yeast under control. You may need a couple of 24 day cycles. The foods to eat and avoid are included with the Y-C Cleanse. Diet is a very key factor.

    • jackie

      I have suffered yrs. of yeast infections. stopped taking antibiotics 7 yrs. ago. alittle better..I follow a strict yeast free diet but still take Diflucan every 6 weeks it seems.I’m currently sick with a sinus infection..I’m.Taking antibiotics which hate to do but getting relief. I drink Kefir and take 50 billion probiotic strains daily with supplements..Want to stop the cycle with antibiotics before this horrible pattern starts over and my health deteriorates again from years ago….Help!

  13. Diane

    Hi, I’ve also suffered for years, but went to see an Iridologist some while ago. He immediately put me on a yeast, sugar, gluten, natural sugar as in fruit, wheat, dairy and soya free diet. I had to detox with lemons for days and it worked. Sinus problems start in the stomach. The food cooks as if in an oven. Take for example fruit. Fruit in the stomach heats up and creates sugar, therefore yeast. Up it goes back into your digestive tract and causes mayhem. There are many books about Candida. The only thing I would say is that it is hard going sticking to the diet. No frozen foods or foods left over from the day before. You have to be constantly aware of contamination. No tomatoes or anything acidic. Avoid vinegars and no pork. Other meats are fine except processed meats of course. Sinus and Candida problems are only symptoms of a greater issue, that being a low or weak immune system. Good luck.

  14. Pat

    So, I m reading all comments, great stuff! I suffer with sinus and itchy crusty eyes. I bought a microscope, it is not candida!! I is alive. I killed it once, did colon cleanses, did dog and cat parasite stuff. But now I feel it again. Help!! I use neti pot, and salt b soda and d.e. it is microscopic, but not going away. They were large, like a pin worm but they are not that species, looks like tape worms. I can’t stand it. My husband doesn’t believe me.
    What to do?
    Thanks fellow sufferes. Cfs, cfids sick age 16. Now 50+.

    • Liz

      So sorry to hear about your situation. I would suggest doing the parasite cleansing products. Parasites can be anywhere in your body.Go to and get My Colon Cleansing Kit. The tincture form of the herbs goes throughout the body to kill the parasites.

  15. Kathleen E.

    Wow! I did not know about the sugar in the gut and sinus connection, though I suspected there was one as I have had these hideous symptoms on and off for about a month now. I also eat a ridiculous amount of sugary foods and juices. Time to clean up my diet! Sigh. It will be hard but I am so sick of the sinus issues and the inflammation in my intestines. I know that I should be doing this as part of my treatment from being exposed to toxic mold in a water damaged house anyway, but I had been feeling really great until about a month ago when, surprise! I spent time in a water damaged/moldy environment. This is serious stuff and if you have any suspisions of mold exposure, ask for a mycotoxin (urine) test.

  16. Sally Green

    How much coconut oil do you take in place of the nystatin and also of the olive leaf extract if it is a liquid?

    • Team ALG

      Coconut oil has anti fungal properties but it is the caprylic acid in the coconut oil that really addresses the yeast. Just take the amount suggested on the bottle of caprylic acid and of the olive leaf extract. You can adjust it upward if you need more.

  17. Nancy

    Had sinus surgery in 2003. Deviated septum. Sinus infections. Felt great for 5 years. Then slowly developed post nasal drip. ENT said no sinus infection. Went to an allergist. He put me on Singulair, Aerius, salt and Pulmucort rinse and Nasonex – supposedly to break cycle of rhinitis and constant throat clearing. After 9 months symptoms persist. Could this be fungal – candida? Losing my mind. What can I do?

  18. Shirley

    I have little white patches that burn inside one of my nostrils. Also have constant reflux.GI doc is no help, has given me antacids, surgery(fundoplication). Reflux is thick, white. Doc checked, says reflux is “neutral”. Losing weight, diarrhea, can tolerate only certain foods, but I look & feel malnourished. Recommendation?

    • Team ALG

      You may have parasites. My Colon Cleansing Kit can help you with that.

  19. Mike M

    But doctor, won’t baking soda and salt damage good bacteria too? I thought of that right after I snorted baking soda and before I read your article. (I’m probably not infected, just a worrywort)

    • Mike M

      … Baking soda dissolved in water, that is. By the way, cutting out fruit and amaranth and stuff would probably atom bomb my brain chemistry, so it’s out of the question for me. I’m hoping an alkaline diet and anti-pathogenic supplements will keep me out of trouble and eventually get me out of trouble if I do get into any trouble.

  20. matching clothing

    I got what you mean,saved to bookmarks, very decent website.

  21. Jeanette

    Read the Yeast Connection and Women’s Health by Dr. William Crook. Excellent book, easy read, tells you all about yeast and how it destroys our bodies.. and what diet to follow to get rid of it. Also when rinsing your sinuses you should be using distilled water, NOT tap water.

  22. Alicia Bullock

    Will drinking Kombucha with active probiotics but made with a yeast scoby exacerbate the fu gal problem?!

  23. Dr B

    Great discussion. Lots of helpful advice.
    Yes kombucha with/from scoby would be an issue with antagonistic roles in your body.

  24. Kathy Hatfield

    I have been dealing with ear aches pressure. Stuffy nose. Was treated for chronic sinusitis with deviated septum. Have me nose spray with steroids I’m it on antibiotics. Then ent gave me mupirocin to put in my nose. Now I have thrush in nose along with continued sinus symptoms. Help now they have given me clotrimazole lozenge. I’m afraid to use it. What do u recommend. How do I use the coconut oil in my mouth. Thanks I’m advamce.

  25. Team ALG

    Kathy, Y-C Cleanse will treat this in our experience.It is a homeopathic that uses your body’s immune system to kill the yeast. To use the coconut oil,you can swish 2 tsp of organic coconut oil around in your mouth for up to 20 min. to kill bacteria. Then spit it out. Here’s the link for Y-C Cleanse

    • Kathy Hatfield

      Thanks so much. I’ve been reading Dr Gittleman’s books for years. Please keep them in hard copy. My daughter Christmas 2 years ago down loaded your book for me on tablet. It’s not the same. Thsnks

  26. Margarita Sotoyo

    Since , They Did The Balloon surgery.. I Experiencing uoerrespiratories infectious.. And bronquitis.. . I Being like That for Almosts A 1 Year and 1/2.. What To Do.. I Do no trust no more The Doctor

    • Team ALG

      Margarita, eliminate sugar and dairy from your diet and take the Flora-Key. You could also take Y-C Cleanse to kill yeast.

  27. Eilene

    Yes have constant sinus infections and bronchitis. Also constant nasal drip. Had balloon dialation surgery didn’t work. Have another sinus infection on steroids plus levaquin still coughing and have pain in my sinuses can there be a candida connection my diet is not the best sugar carbs etc

  28. Team ALG

    Yes you can have candida in your sinus area. Cutting out the sugar (including fruit) is important. Also Y-C Cleanse will get rid of the yeast, it’s available at UNI KEY

  29. Debbie

    Hi Eilene , i had stumbled across this blog looking for help Seeing that this was 2 1/2 years ago How have you broken this cycle ? I too have chronic sinus and lung infections and have not found a Dr that knows what to do with me ! I am worn out ! Constantly on bactrim and prednisone Debbie



  1. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection | Healthy World 365 - […] […]
  2. If You Get Sinus Headaches Or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection | HEALTH BUZZ - […] […]
  3. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection – Hippity Buzz - […] […]
  4. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection | - […] […]
  5. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection - […] […]
  6. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection - TMJ Aid - […] […]
  7. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection – BABYBUZZ - […] […]
  8. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection | Viral on Social Media – Don't Be Late! - […] […]
  9. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection - […] […]
  10. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection – Free Healthy Food - […] […]
  11. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection - Healthy Moment - […] […]
  12. If You Get Sinus Headaches or Constant Congestion You Need To Check For This Hidden Connection - Shovel Stream - […] […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This