Paleo and athletes foot

by (4888) Updated November 12, 2013 at 7:24 PM Created June 05, 2010 at 8:57 AM

Sitting musing in the bath this morning - coconut oil in hot water - I suddenly realised that I haven't had athletes foot for ages. It was a regular problem and thinking about it, since I started the paleo / primal eating regimen, I don't think it has occurred!

Will this be lack of grains, or coconut oil in the bath water, or eating coconut oil or what?

Of course, I realise that mentioning this is tempting fate and I'll probably be cursing in a day or twos time....

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14 Replies

2143 · June 05, 2010 at 3:54 PM

I have had toenail fungus since I was a teenager, but rarely had athlete's foot, though I'm sure I picked up this loathsome infection from the school gym. For years it was just in one middle toe but eventually it had spread to all of them except the two big/great toes. I underwent two rounds of treatments with the generic equivalent of Lamisil and now it's gone except in the middle toe where it all started. However since going paeleo in January it looks a little better. I used to get so-called jock itch all the time but not any more. I'm hoping the toenail thing will eventually clear but they grow so slowly that it may take a year to notice much change. A few of the cured toenails are permanently distorted. Oh well.

A few people criticized me for taking such a potentially-toxic medication for something they thought was largely cosmetic, but having it it more than a few toes is painful, smelly, and cutting the infected nail often caused the whole thing to shatter and bleed, so it wasn't mere vanity though that certainly was a factor. I don't think going paleo alone would knock out such a chronic infection esp. given that the little bastards feed on keratin and aren't dependent on carb intake, unlike Candida, but who knows, maybe over a few years the change in body chemistry might have an effect; as I mentioned I no longer get jock itch, and the fungi responsible for that and toenail infection, ringworm, etc are all closely related so it's not unfeasible for a paleo diet to help clear them out.

I guess I need to EAT. MOAR. COCONUTZ.

22684 · June 05, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Lauric acid in coconut is a known anti-fungal

I don't use it externally, but use it daily internally and have seen same results. Previous small case cleared up when I went paleo, haven't seen even a hint since

290 · June 05, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Excessive soap usage changes the natural (neutral) acidity of the skin. This creates an oppurtunity for fungi.

Not using soap restores the natural acidity and protection of the skin.

15831 · June 05, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Also i would say that, depending on your personal particular intake of carbohydrates, fungal things like athlete's foot are less common with us groks. Heavy carbohydrate intake (especially the starch in the SAD) is, I believe, a major cause of candida overgrowth, manifesting in things like athlete's foot. When eating mostly fats and proteins, with supplemental carbs (and those usually in veg form, rather than starch) you are literally starving any candida yeasts that are in your system. They need food and that food is carbohydrate. Starve it and it dies. Also, like everyone else said, it seems that coconut oil has "anti-fungal properties." Though to be completely honest, although ive read that many many times, i have never come across the more in-depth, detailed explanation of those properties. I believe it, i just dont have the science or explanation for it. -ben

250 · June 06, 2010 at 10:53 PM

I can't speak to the whys and wherefores, but after going low-carb for 6 months or so, my seemingly permanently itchy little toes quit itching. I was still deodorant-soaping everything in my daily shower, at that point the only change was my diet.

273 · November 12, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Tea Tree oil and Oil of Oregano also have antimicrobial properties.

I have a couple natural skin care products made with mainly Tea Tree oil and coconut oil, and I wash my feet with that every night in the shower. I don't have athletes foot or a bacterial infection, but it has helped a great deal with Vibram Five Finger stink :-)

You could likely do the same with oil of oregano, but not sure what you would mix it in. I am sure you could make your own cream with that and coconut oil, but I am not an expert in mixing products myself, so I would suggest doing some of your own research on that.


0 · November 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Since going gluten free I got rid of the itch and open wounds in between toes.

However I got some blisters... or it are more a kind of acne at the bottom and side of my foot.

Anyone any idea what it is and how to get rid of it?

0 · November 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Since going gluten free I got rid of the itch and open wounds in between toes.

However I got some blisters... or it are more a kind of acne at the bottom and side of my foot.

Anyone any idea what it is and how to get rid of it?

166 · June 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Indeed, mine is gone too, in only five days of paleo. I quit using soap for the feet 3 months ago, but that didn't really help a lot. Two or three weeks ago it was - for me - a heavy infection.

I've also some minor skin issues on the hands, and they tend to dissapear aswel. But I am not sure that is the result of paleo.

40 · May 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Just realized mine's gone too. sweet.

3277 · May 19, 2012 at 3:47 PM

If you were eating a high carb / high sugar diet before, and not now, that's my bet.


644 · May 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Something else you can do for unwashable shoes is to put them in the freezer over night.

11648 · April 14, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Some other external treatments to consider, if diet alone doesn't change the pH of the skin enough to get rid most of the fungus:

  • Castor oil

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Virgin unrefined coconut oil

  • Raw & unfiltered honey

  • Oregano oil

Some combination of them might work too, if you feel like making a lotion out of these items. If it starts working, bleach your bath, and put your washable shoes in a washing machine too before using them again. Make sure the rest of your sheets/shoes/socks are also clean, or you'll get fungus again eventually. Fungus can live a few years without food to eat in these items, so there's always a danger you will get it back.

376 · February 27, 2011 at 9:54 PM

I've just moved to a no-soap regime and, based on the advice in this thread, intend to eat more coconut. Hopefully these in tandem will finally get rid of this painful irritation.

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