Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Stop Candida with Curcumin

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overgrowth of a species of Candida – a fungus – accounts for the second most common type of vaginal infection in America. Like anything that gets out of balance, Candida albicans (one of the most prevalent in situations of yeast overgrowth) can cause minor conditions to life-threatening diseases. In the case of vaginal infections, Candida is frustratingly difficult to control.

Research in China has found that curcumin, one of the major curative compounds from turmeric, may help provide an answer. In laboratory study, scientists found that curcumin inhibited the growth of different strains of C. albicans – in one case, by 90 percent.

This work points to ways in which curcumin, already known for its pain-relieving and potentially cancer-stopping effects, may prove to be a helpful natural medicine for women who suffer from yeast infections. Additionally, since Candida overgrowth can cause multiple diseases, this research underscores the importance of curcumin in natural medicine.


Ma J, Shi H, Sun H, Li J, Bai Y. Antifungal Effect of Photodynamic Therapy Mediated by Curcumin on Candida albicans Biofilms in Vitro. Photodiagnosis Photodyn Ther. 2019 Jun 21. pii: S1572-1000(19)30198-X.

BACKGROUND: Canida albicans can cause opportunistic infections ranging from superficial mucous membrane lesions to life-threatening diseases. The aim of this study is to investigate the antifungal effect of photodynamic therapy (PDT) mediated by curcumin (CUR) on C. albicans biofilms in vitro.

METHODS: One standard strain ATCC 90028 and two clinical isolates from HIV (CCA1) and oral lichen planus (CCA2) patients' oral cavities were used in this study. Biofilms were photosensitized with 60 μM CUR and irradiated by light emitting diode (LED) under the wavelength of 455 nm and energy densities of 2.64, 5.28, 7.92, 10.56, 13.2 J/cm2. Then the antifungal effects of CUR-PDT were evaluated by XTT reduction assay and confocal light scanning microscopy (CLSM) observations. The effects of CUR-PDT on the expression levels of hypha-specific and biofilm-related genes including EFG1, UME6, HGC1 and ECE1 were assessed by quantitative Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) method.

RESULTS: The inhibition rates after CUR-PDT in three biofilms (ATCC 90028, CCA1, CCA2) were 90.87%, 66.44% and 86.74% respectively (p < 0.05). Relative gene expression levels of EFG1, UME6, HGC1 and ECE1 were all downregulated after CUR-PDT, with fold-decrease of 6.865, 3.382, 2.167 and 6.887 in ATCC 90028, 2.466, 2.146, 1.627 and 3.102 in CCA1, and 5.406, 2.347, 2.073and 3.711 in CCA2 (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Curcumin-mediated PDT could effectively inactivate Candida albicans biofilms in vitro. Expression of genes involved in biofilms formation were downregulated after CUR-PDT.

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