Dr. Bruce Semon, M.D., Ph.D.


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Candida albicans (yeast), Headaches and Migraines

by Bruce Semon, M.D., Ph.D.


This page is based on Dr. Bruce Semon’s clinical experience and research. Dr. Semon is a Board Certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

This page discusses how yeast can affect your health. For detailed explanations, including an more case studies, and how you can prevent migraines and headaches by changing what you eat–we recommend that you read An Extraordinary Power to Heal.

Dr. Semon is available to see patients and for consultation. For more information about his medical practice, call 1-877-332-7899, or click here.


Headaches and migraines are poorly understood by the academic medical community. Doctors prescribe many pain relievers , but can’t really tell you why you suffer from headaches.

We know that the blood vessels are affected in some way.

In migraine for example, the vessels swell up, leading to pain, and to the of compounds which constrict the vessels.

You can prevent these headaches by treating for yeast inside your body, both by taking an anti-yeast medication called nystatin and changing your diet.

How can this be?

The yeast Candida Albicans is a normal resident inside of the intestinal tract. This yeast can also be found at times in the mouth. Sometimes this yeast overgrows and the doctor recognizes this overgrowth of yeast as a yeast infection as thrush.

The yeast Candida albicans makes many chemicals which are toxic to the brain. These chemicals include toxic alcohols, aldehydes as well as the powerful brain poison hydrogen sulfide. Yeast and fungus are also present in the food. For example vinegar is literally spoiled wine. Wine is made by yeast and many yeast chemicals are present in vinegar. Malt is made by sprouting barley and then heating it. The resulting malt is sold as a sugar substitute and is baked into many products. Malt also contains many chemicals which affect the brain.

The chemicals in malt and which are made by yeast all slow the brain down. Thus the body tries to prevent these chemicals from ever getting to the brain.

Fungi also make chemicals which are toxic to the brain. I have found from clinical experience that foods contaminated by yeast or fungus, for example, peanuts, or foods in which yeast has been present, such as vinegar, are all headache causers.

Why might these chemicals cause headaches?

Most of these chemicals should be cleared by the liver but not all are. No one knows exactly what these chemicals do when they get to the blood vessels of the brain.

These chemicals are very irritating and may irritate the blood vessels in the head, leading to pain

I propose a second explanation. This explanation is not mutually exclusive with the fact that such chemicals are irritating.

One way to prevent such chemicals from passing through the cells of the blood vessels is for these blood vessels to swell up in an inflammatory response. Then perhaps the chemicals will stay in the cells lining the blood vessels rather than getting into the brain. The result will be pain but the brain will be protected.

I have treated many people for headaches and migraines. I have found that the best solution is to avoid foods containing chemicals made by yeast and fungus which are toxic to the brain.

The first foods to eliminate are vinegar, malt, chocolate, pickled foods alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beer, peanuts, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, and cottonseed oil.

There are many more foods, and treatment with the anti-yeast medication nystatin also helps. Nystatin is not absorbed and has no significant side effects.

The following is a case of a woman whose headaches improved from this treatment

Norma’s Case

Norma, 37, told me she felt emotional and cried easily, worse before her menstrual period. These symptoms began prior to her marriage 16 years earlier when she started the oral contraceptive pill, which she took for nine months. She then had two children. She had headaches every day, but a tooth retainer had reduced the headaches to 1 to 2 per week. She had regular menstrual cycles with heavy bleeding. She had received numerous antibiotics in the past, more frequently since being on the pill. After seeing me, she started the 4 Stages diet and began taking one half teaspoon of nystatin four times per day. She came back three weeks later and said that her headaches were gone. Her last period was better. She could deal with work better. She came back after seven weeks of treatment. Norma reported that everything was fine, but she said that if she missed a few nystatin doses she started to feel bad.


The diet for Candida problems consists of removing fermented foods from the diet. The worst offenders are alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beer, vinegar, barley malt, chocolate, pickles, and aged cheese.

For more help in implementing yeast free diets, please see our books. An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003) gives you detailed instructions, day by day and week by week, about how to eliminate toxic foods from your diets. We give you the recipes and menus to do this in Extraordinary Foods for the Everyday Kitchen (2003) and Feast Without Yeast(1999).

In addition, homeopathy can be very helpful in treating the symptoms of migraine headaches. For example, for many people, using the homeopathic remedy Bryonia as soon as visual symptoms occur can eliminate or decrease the severity of the headache that follows. Bryonia can be repeated every 15 minutes until you have relief. For more information on homeopathy, please click here.