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Athletes Foot

To keep fungal infections such as athlete’s foot at bay, it is recommended to boost your immune system. There are various natural remedies to treat the active infection, and help prevent recurrence

What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot generally presents as itchiness, skin flaking and redness on the skin of the feet, although it can also affect the toenails in some instances. Dermatophytes cause athlete’s foot. The infection is caused by a fungus called tinea [i].

What are the possible causes of athlete's foot?

Research shows that men are more likely than women to develop athlete’s foot on one or both feet. Other risk factors include being barefoot in public showers[ii]. The infection can more easily enter the skin through tiny openings or cracks, therefore cuts, grazes or conditions such as dermatitis and eczema can create a greater risk of developing athlete's foot [iii]. Other factors include having a weakened immune system. Poor circulation or related conditions like diabetes may allow for more fungal growth to occur.

There are also connections between skin microflora and the gut. There may even be genetic factors at play, affecting the production of keratin within the skin. Conventional treatments commonly involve over-the-counter anti-fungal treatments[iv].

Athlete's foot and the importance of the immune system

To keep fungal infections such as athlete’s foot at bay, it is recommended to boost your immune system to more easily fight off all types of microbes. It is also suggested you maintain good hygiene such as thoroughly washing your feet after working out or sharing public bathrooms and showers. It may also be a good idea to wear flip-flops in the showers at the gym or public swimming pool.

Other holistic health factors to consider for athlete's foot

Gut health: problems resulting from poor gut health and poor nutrition will commonly present as diseases of the skin. Consuming inflammatory substances such as processed fats (fried foods and vegetable oils), caffeine or alcohol can disrupt the health of microflora, bacteria which live in our gut[v].

Stress: Long term psychological stress can play a critical role in weakening your immune system. Blood sugar levels can be escalated due to hormonal fluctuation[vi] [vii]. When this happens, sometimes fungal strains in the gut, which feed off sugar can grow beyond a healthy amount. A common symptom of fungal overgrowth can be fungal infections of the skin, such as athlete’s foot. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time out of your day to focus on yourself.

Good nutrition: Try to include more anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – one way you can do this is by incorporating more onions, garlic and ginger into your meals[viii].

Supplement suggestions for athlete's foot

A good balance of beneficial microflora can prevent fungal strains from overgrowing. Prebiotics and probiotics create a stable environment for beneficial bacteria to grow in the gut. Try: Synerbio Daily High Strength Probiotic and Your Flora - Sensitive (60 Caps). Also, Saccharomyces Boulardii can inhibit the growth of fungal strains in the gut, try: Synerbio Saccharomyces Boulardii (30 caps).

Support immunity: Good overall immunity will support balance and prevent fungal overgrowths from occurring. Support immune health with nutrient-dense food types such as citrus fruits, red bell peppers, broccoli, turmeric, green tea, papaya, kiwi, poultry and shellfish. These foods contain high amounts of vitamins such as vitamin C and zinc to support a healthy immune system. Some of our favourite immune supporting supplement blends include: Immune Complex (30 caps), Immune Support Tincture 50ml. Read more about immune health here.

There are various natural remedies such as essential oils including oregano oil, which has a very potent antifungal effect, certain supplements contain oregano oil you can take orally, but always check the advice on the packaging first. Other methods of using oregano oil include diluting it with a carrier oil and applying directly to the toes and affected areas. Please always use a carrier oil as pure essential oils may burn the skin when applied directly[ix][x]. Try Coconut Oil - Raw & Organic (500g), Clove and Oregano Complex and Oil of Oregano (30ml). Mix a carrier oil of warm coconut oil with oregano oil for a concentration of 25 to 50 percent tea tree oil. Apply it to the affected area two times a day.

More top picks for athletes foot:

To fight the infection and support immunity:

Olive Leaf Extract

Grapefruit Seed Extract 400mg

Caprylic Acid Plus (60 Caps)

Goldenseal Extract (30ml)

To apply directly to the affected area:

Alliderm Gel (30ml)

Moa Green Balm (50ml)

Other practical tips for athlete's foot:

Try a warm foot bath with apple cider vinegar.

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Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.