Is the Candida Spit Test Accurate? : Exclusive Interview with Dr. Jeffrey McCombs

Thursday Jun 30 | BY |
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Ever wonder if the myths you hear about candida are really true?

In Part 2 of my interview with Dr. Jeffrey McCombs, we address some of the common myths around candida and determine what is true and what is not based on his clinical experience.

During the call, we talk about the “spit test” and it’s effectiveness, whether or not a white coating on the tongue is candida or not, as well as other aspects like should you eat sugar or not and if probiotics and fermented foods are always good for those with candida.

I think you’ll really enjoy this second half of the interview… I know I did!

Listen to Part 2 here:


Click the play button to start the call:


Here are my notes on Part 2 of the interview with Dr. Jeffrey McCombs…

1. A diversion from the accepted candida norm…

This was a great interview for me, since in the past I have suffered from a candida infection caused by antibiotics and an experiment with a high fruit diet.

Some of the information that Dr. Jeffrey McCombs talks about I’ve very familiar with… other bits are a little divergent from common candida knowledge.

I’m actually not sure who’s right or wrong (in fact all views are in some way correct), but what I do know is that Dr. McCombs has some serious candida chops and has worked with patients in a clinic for many years.

This clinical experience – and proof of results – seems to trump any theory in my book, so I made sure I listened to all of his points before drawing any conclusions.

The two that were most awkward for me to hear were these…

(1) You can eat fruit on his plan.
(2) He’s not a huge supporter of fermented foods during a candida protocol.

I’m going to address the fruit here and then the fermented foods / probiotics a little further down in these notes.

As for the fruit…

Dr. McCombs, in his clinical experience, has not seen that eating fruit while on an anti-candida diet stymies results. This may be shocking to you, but there’s some logic to it.

Dr. McCombs is recommending a full approach that is the sum of its pieces. So for instance, if you were to just eat fruit and not do the other things, I would wonder how effective the treatment is. I’m sure Dr. McCombs would say, “not so effective.”

So when dealing with candida and all the rules that come with it, we have to keep in mind there are different shades of effective treatment that depend on what therapies are being used.

Just like you wouldn’t make an oil and vinegar dressing without vinegar, you wouldn’t carelessly eat fruit without the antifungal supplements he mentions in his entire protocol.

Just something to think about.

2. The connection between mucus and candida.

Dr. McCombs spends plenty of time in this second portion talking about the link between candida and mucus.

Simply, what he says is that if you’re eating foods that are causing mucus, or have inflammation in the gut that causes mucus to form, your chances of getting rid of candida are decreased.


Because the mucus covers the lining of the intestines (and the candida that is growing there) and makes it harder for your body to naturally regulate the infection or for any other therapy you’re taking – such as herbal medicines and foods – to be effective.

3. Caprylic acid not as effective as undecylenic acid.

According to Dr. McCombs, undecylenic acid is a more effective natural antifungal than the popularly prescribed caprylic acid. Undecylenic acid is derived from castor oil which is just as natural as caprylic acid which is derived from coconut (in most cases.)

He’s used this effectively in the clinic so there’s no reason to doubt his results.

My advice, if you have candida, is to get serious about a treatment and give it your best shot. If the treatment requires a certain supplement that you think may or may not work, suspend your judgement and let the treatment do the talking.

4. A die off reaction can cause inflammation and mucus.

A die off reaction from candida means the immune system is working hard to eliminate the infection.

Some people have said this may be a good sign and that healing is just around the corner.

Dr. McCombs says that this isn’t exactly true.

A die off reaction, while it may be a sign that something is working, can also cause inflammation which in turn creates mucus that can hinder the healing process.

Ultimately, what he feels is most important for eliminating candida is to control the amount of mucus forming foods you’re eating, take appropriate supplements, sweat, drink plenty of water and be patient.

His results seem to prove that this is at least pretty effective.

5. Probiotics increase inflammation which can stimulate an immune response.

This is an interesting concept that may explain something that Donna Gates said to me once.

She said some people with candida can’t start on probiotics or fermented foods – they just seem to react poorly.

What Dr. McCombs mentions in this interview about probiotics being a little pro-inflammatory in the gut – on first introduction – could completely explain why some people can’t use them when they’re trying to get rid of their candida at first.

Dr. McCombs doesn’t completely write off probiotics though, a patient using his therapy can take them later on in the process – they also can eat fermented foods then as well.

5. Spit the “spit test” in the garbage.

There’s a popular home test that is talked about frequently when the topic of candida comes up.

On the street it’s called the “spit test,” and it goes like this…

In the morning, you wake up and spit into a cup of water. You wait about 30-60 minutes and take a look at what you have in your cup.

If the spit has “legs,” then supposedly you have have candida.

The only problem with this test, is that it’s not accurate at all.

Not even close.

The legs can be saliva, mucus or even other bacteria.

Not the best (or reliable) way to determine if you have a potentially harmful fungal infection.

You can pretty much spit this test in the garbage and use the testing protocol that Dr. McCombs talks about in Part 1 – at least if you’re serious about addressing your health challenges in the most effective way.

6. The truth about the tongue.

I’m glad I could finally get some more support on my theory that the coating on your tongue in the morning is not, in fact, candida, but just what naturally occurs on your tongue in the morning. It’s likely a mixture of bacteria and mucus that have accumulated overnight (it could in fact be some yeast as well, but not any indication of a real candida infection.)

There’s a natural health rumor that goes around on the Web that says if you wake up in the morning with a coating on your tongue, it’s a sure sign you have candida.

It’s not exactly false, but it’s pretty close to it.

You can get white on your tongue and it can be candida, but…

The real white “coating” on the tongue, that implies you have a vicious candida infection, is called thrush… and it doesn’t look like a grayish-white coating. It looks like real fungus growing on your tongue.

I’ll save you the images (or you can search yourself.)

So if you’re looking at your tongue in the morning and think that since a friend told you that it looked a little white that you may have candida, I’m going to let you down lightly… chances are your tongue isn’t going to be a good indicator.

You may have candida, but your tongue won’t be the best sign.

On the other hand, if you have fungus on your tongue – real, white spots or patches – then, yes, you have it bad.

I want to know your thoughts: Have you done the spit test before?

To read more about Dr. Jeffrey McCombs and his work, please visit

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Kevin:

    Listening to this interview was quite a coincidence for me as I have also been listening to Donna Gates’ Detoxification Training CDs over the last few days. As a nutritionist I have been investigating this same question, as you have, for a number of years. 15 years ago, we did not have access to the vast number of probiotic supplements that we have today. Candida diets were pretty severe and fruit was not the only thing you could not eat on the diet! Ideas of treating Candida overgrowth have certainly changed. Over the last 15 years of working with various different probiotic supplement products, many of my colleagues have found that they work really well, but only as long as you are taking them. So the question becomes, how well, if at all, do the strains implant into the intestinal wall? Many now feel that they do their job, but only as they pass on through. With probiotics you have a product that some particular microbiologist has formulated based on which strains he or she feels will be the most effective. There is a stool test out there (Metametrix Lab) which uses DNA probes to determine what bacteria / yeast / parasites you have in your stool and because of its design, the lab is actually finding species they have never seen before. So you get back a test result and it says “parasite present, species unknown”. A little creepy, but the point is that biologists have only identified a small percentage of the flora that we have in our gut and they are discovering new species all the time. Apparently we all have our own unique microflora and this is different from the next person’s. (Might explain why some people love and feel great on kombucha and others feel horrible and hate it). But I love what Donna Gates says and she seems to me to be an amazing authority now on the make up of the gut flora. She doesn’t necessarily advocate fermented foods or probiotics at first, but I think this has more to do with the fact that at first with a lot of people, you are dealing with a severely ravaged gut, and she wants to see some healing done there before becoming more therapeutic in her approach. She also talks a lot about lifeforce or energy, and says that you can’t really have an effective and safe toxin elimination push unless you build up a little energy first. (She also talks about opening up the channels of elimination before you really get into booting out the bad guys with fermented foods or probiotics). Regarding whether fermentation is safe or not: I think it depends on how you are doing it. Many people are just using the vegetables and salt (or they might add in some whey). This then relys on a kind of wild fermentation, and relys on the kind of bacteria that is in your environment. I think that could either be a good thing or perhaps not so good depending on where you are. For example, I would imagine that making fermented foods this way, in New Orleans, right after hurricane Katrina would not have been a great idea as there was so much back toxic mold around. But Donna stacks the deck in favor of having a safe and healthy ferment in providing her vegetable culture starter. (A probiotic). In this product, she has enhanced the specific strain of bacteria you find on healthy vegetables but she includes more of it to make certain you do have enough of this strain to boot out the bad guys. I am not knocking wild ferments, I just think you need to be aware of the environment you are fermenting your veggies in. The culture starter stacks the deck in your favor. If the cultured veggies are good, then I feel these have the potential to be better than probiotics because they are going to be introduced to your own good bacteria in such a way that everyone will play nice in the sandbox. Plus, the good bacteria will have also broken down and pre-digested the vegetables for you so you can better absorb their nutrition. I will say this though: when I travel to a foreign country like Peru or Ecuador, and am going into the jungle, I take along some really heavy hitting probiotics and I feel they are really good used as a kind of first aid therapy for the gut in this way…. I hope I have not written too much here!

  2. Melissa says:

    Sarah, your post wasn’t too long – it is very interesting to me as I feel like I have a candida issue and have been on Donna Gate’s diet and seen great results. I agree that using her culture starters work really well. I’ve been making them for months now.
    Yes, I have done the “spit test” and it is always stringy. Not too encouraging! But now I know that it doesn’t really matter what my saliva looks like in a glass of water1

  3. mk says:

    Not sure if i feel comfortable with his words of wisdom from someone who is selling a whole lot of supplements to heal this and seems to be making a whole lot of money… also seems more food based treatments raw garlic might be more helpful to some people …..alos dont get his nuts on the bad list…very different from what i have heard from most raw foodie healers……..

  4. Anne says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks Sarah for your post. It was interesting to read as I have been reading and following the Body Ecology Diet for a while now (not to long maybe a few months). I’ve been fermenting my veggies in jars but NOT using the culture starter but rather I add 1/2 to 1 full potent capsule of probiotic (at the moment Renew Life Super Critical) in the mix. I’ve never had a batch turn out bad and find they taste great. It may not be as great as using a culture starter but I always have probiotics and at least I know there are some in there.

    Overall many of my symptoms are better (bloating, gas) and overall feeling but I find that I don’t recover well from Exercise. As you can imagine what I have after training is usually a protein drink (with rice protein/hemp/pumpkin seed protein, mixed with a few other things but no fruit (sugar). So my performance and overall energy is not up there.

    I also think my adrenals are pretty weak and recently my thyroid was playing up after being perfect in Feb. Being a practitioner had me on lugols iodine (orally) I decided to use only one drop and on my skin instead in case this iodine is affecting me negatively. All in all perhaps it takes time to get more energy. I was just intrigued by this talk from Dr Mc Comb when he was allowing fruit. And also hope that the strategy to starve the candida fungus which I’m on is working because if another way is more appropriate I’d explore it.

    Love Donna Gates though.
    Thanks Kevin

  5. joanne says:

    hi all

    kevin you seem to have gotten rid of your candida infection, are you not going to write an article and let us know what you did?

  6. Lorien says:

    I did this cleanse four or five years ago. I was a 280lb vegan when I started. I switched my diet to the recomended one with no issues but I spent the $ on organic grass fed meat. The cleanse itself is expensive but it was some of the best $ I’ve ever spent.

    I got pregnant with my first child when I was 21. I think I was 50 when I did this cleanse. From the time I was a few months along until I did this cleanse I could not even drink water without having extreme heartburn. My heartburn stopped. I lost 100 lbs. I’ve always been healthy, never get sick but the heartburn was a major factor in my life & I was always fat, even on a whole food vegan diet. I’ve always had very physical jobs & I walk every day as well. Not sure I had candida, but I had a number of the things on the “could be” list active in my life. I had a very strong impression that this cleanse would help me even though it meant eating meat which I hadn’t done in years. The heartburn alone made it well worth every dime. I really never cared about being fat, It never impared my life in any way. But it is nice to be able to buy clothes that actually fit. I gained back some of it a year later but have lost even more after making some other changes. I went raw for awhile & dropped about 80lbs. I’m sitting at 148 now which is less then I weighed at 20. I must say that being thinner has made no difference in how I feel, which always suprises folks.

    So if your thinking about this cleanse and wondering if it’s worth the $ YES IT IS. It may correct things you’re not expecting along the way & is well worth any change in diet you have to make for a few months. Oh & the baths are wonderful. To this day I still take a hot soak of at least 1/2 an hour every day….

  7. Elisheva says:

    Working in a holistic health clinic & seeing lots of people with candida, I have to say that there are always a few people who have a very slow recovery – even keeping to the body ecology diet! Celene Bernstein also writes one can have fruit, except for oranges, tangerines & grapes. Very helpful to hear about the castorbean oil, can’t wait to try it on my difficult cases! Even though the saliva test isn’t absolutely accurate, I find it helpful- when people improve, less saliva usually sinks & there are no strings!Thank you for a great interview!

  8. Thomas says:

    I tried the spit test. I thought it was bogus too. I noticed it looked positive when my sinuses were active from tree pollen in the air, but negative when I had no sinus problem. I also noticed you could get legs to form and hang down in the water if you moved the glass . . . gravity would take over.
    I wrote it off as bs for hypochondriacs. 🙂

    If you have a physical problem, get some tests done (blood and stool). It’s just like with your vehicle when it’s not running smoothly, you get it tested before you jump to conclusions. The problem might just be with the fuel you’ve been burning recently. 🙂

  9. QC says:

    Sorry, I wasn’t following Kevin when he got his candida. I would love to know how he got it and how he got rid of it too! Is there any old post that you can repost the link?

  10. beefwalker says:

    Nice interview.
    You lost me at ‘dairy=mucus’ though. 🙁
    Who doesn’t know by now that dairy doesn’t and can’t ’cause’ mucus?
    I mean, this is even up on the wall of my local GP!
    It’s been debunked to hell and back. What we think is the mucus forming from dairy is the dairy itself.

    good science is current science!

    BW x

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