How Candida Spit Test Is Like A Broken Bathroom Scale

How Candida Spit Test Is Like A Broken Bathroom Scale

Many Candida proponents say you can diagnose Candida with what’s known as the ‘spit test’. Basically first thing in the morning you spit in a glass of water and wait for 10 to 20 minutes. If you see ‘strings’ or ‘legs’ hanging down from saliva, or cloudy saliva, or cloudy specks suspended in the water, then this test claims you have Candida overgrowth. On the other hand if the water remains clear for at least 1 hour then you have Candida under control.

If what you just read caused the classical face-palm reaction, welcome to the club. I swear I’m not making this up.

Just how absurd the spit test is

Let’s see why the candida spit test is such a spectacular FAIL. For any test to be meaningful it needs to fulfill at least these two criteria:


What would you think of your bathroom scale if the readings varied widely from measurement to measurement? Say first the scale shows 138lbs and 5 minutes later you get a reading of 175lbs. You probably wouldn’t take it very seriously.

Scientists know that measurements always have errors, and that’s why they do repeated measurements before drawing any conclusions. This is of course not possible if your test produces widely different readings between measurements.

And how does the spit test fare in this? It fails as a ballerina would in a heavy weight boxing match. There is no consistency from one reading to the next. It’s possible to get diagnosed with Candida today and get the all-clear test tomorrow – even though it’s supposed to take months to beat Candida.

At this point you would already junk your bathroom scale, but Candida proponents are not so easily deterred.


Let’s go and get the trusty old bathroom scale from the bin because we need it to talk about specificity. So when you step on that bathroom scale what do you expect it to do? You expect it to measure your weight, and you expect it to do so every single time. This is specificity, the ability of your test to measure what you need it to measure – and nothing else.

The scale wouldn’t be very useful if it would measure your weight now, your dog’s weight the next time and yet another reading would produce your neighbor’s weight. OK, it’s an absurd example, but the Candida spit-test is almost as ridiculous.

The proponents claim that your morning saliva contains clues of Candida. That may be true, but it also contains clues about a heck of a lot of things. There are bacteria in your mouth. The mucous membranes in your mouth produce mucus. There may be food stuck between your teeth. And countless other things.

The point is that there’s a lot going on in your mouth. And these things happen regardless of whether you have Candida or not. And these things vary from day to day. Your body produces more mucus if you come down with flu or if you eat dairy or other mucus-promoting foods. How hydrated you are affects your saliva, as does exposure to allergens.

The spit test is a crude measurement of how thick your saliva is. And the thickness is in no way specific to Candida.  None of these things are controlled for or taken account in the spit test. And yet the proponents claim this simple test can somehow differentiate between the cloudy stuff produces by Candida and the cloudy stuff produced by all these other things.

Color me unconvinced.

There are also other requirements for scientific tests, but if a test fails repeatability or specificity it’s not worth talking any further.

Spit test diagnoses systemic Candida infections

But wait, it gets even more ridiculous. If the proponents said that the spit test diagnoses oral Candida infections, there would at least be a modicum of plausibility there. It would be a stretch, like stretching a rubber band to span a mile stretch, but I could at least imagine the possibility.

But alas, they are not satisfied with merely diagnosing oral Candida. No. They claim this spit test can also diagnose systemic Candida infections (where Candida has entered bloodstream and spread all over the body). A condition which, by the way, has 50%+ mortality rate and only occurs in patients with severely compromised immune systems (like HIV patients or people undergoing chemotherapy). I talked about this in detail in the can Candida cause acne page.

How does this test diagnose systemic Candida infections is never explained. There are no published medical papers testing the validity of the spit test. Somebody just claimed that this test is good and people happily repeat the fallacy. What was that saying if you repeat a lie often enough…

Origins of Candida spit test

Then there’s also the question of origins of Candida spit test. As you can imagine it wasn’t invented by scientists or doctors to study Candida. It was devised by a company called ThreeLac as a way to sell their probiotic supplements.

But before we get there, let me just say that there’s nothing wrong with using a valid test to sell supplements. If a test produces scientifically valid results then it doesn’t really matter how shady its origins are. But if the test is bunk and it has shady origins, well… let’s just say it doesn’t look very good.

Vaughter Wellness website has a good article on the origins of the Candida spit test. The website is run by natural health proponents, and I don’t agree with their views on systemic Candida infections. That said, it’s in their financial interest to promote the test (it helps them to sell more anti-Candida supplements), but they have chosen to speak against it. I applaud their integrity.

According to Vaughter Wellness website ThreeLac invented this test because people almost always fail it. It’s a very convincing way to demonstrate the problem, and then sell the solution to it. The test was taken up by ThreeLac affiliates who are more than happy to say anything that increases their sales.

With countless repetition the test became a part of ‘timeless natural health wisdom’. And now that you Google it, you’ll find hundreds and hundreds of websites talking about it. Since everybody is talking about it, it must be true.  And the ‘evidence’ just keeps on piling with every new website that uncritically Xeroxes the claims.

Such is the sad state of affairs today.


So far we demonstrated just how absurd the Candida spit test is. It fails the basic requirements of any meaningful test. From one measurement to another the results it produces are inconsistent. You can have Candida today and get all clear tomorrow.

To add to absurdity the test isn’t even remotely specific to Candida. The spit test is a crude measure of the thickness of saliva, which is in no way specific to Candida. Saliva thickness depends on your hydration status, what you ate the previous day, exposure to allergens and countless other things. Instead of controlling for these confounding variables the spit test chooses to ignore them. The test meets all the hallmarks of pseudoscientific quack-test with no real scientific value.

If your bathroom scale would be this bad, you wouldn’t trust it even with measuring your weight. And yet people happily trust the spit test to the tune of spending hundreds of dollars on supplements and enduring months and months of strict and highly unpractical diets – often with the spit test as the only evidence and no results to show for it.

In the end all I can say is that Candida spit test is stupid burning thermonuclear hot.

It’s not that the people who believe into or promote the test are stupid or out to scam others. I’m sure they are well-meaning and sincere people. They just haven’t taken any time to critically evaluate this.

About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstein(a.k.a. Seppo Puusa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoy digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.


17 thoughts on “How Candida Spit Test Is Like A Broken Bathroom Scale”

  1. Your biased ass dose not know what your talking about it is more accurate then a urine test and it does say whether you have Candida. Western medicine is not all that.You people are just angry that we do not have to go to the Doctor and spend hundreds.You should get rid of this stupid website.Your an IDIOT.

    • Ahhh.. another rational and evidence-based alt-med argument. How I love thee.

      Interesting that you argue that this thing saves people from spending hundreds at doctors and drugs. Hmmmm… what about the several hundreds most people end up spending on consulting dubious Candida experts and on unproven supplements? I guess that’s just fine since you aren’t getting ripped off by The Man… or something.

    • Wow ur stupid. Ive been dealing with candida problems fir a while but thanks to dr whitings oxy flush program I have got it under.controll and now better understand how to avoid it. Its all about detox.and avoiding processed bs.

  2. Hey Seppo,
    Thanks for researching this and putting it out there..!:)
    Im doing this cleanse with Tracy..
    Im on day 4 and i totally feel horrible! I have a cold, sinus drip, congestion and etc! Inm not sure if i am detoxing or if this is just due to so many extreme changes in my diet?!
    Ive been gluten and grain free since dec18, and have noticed my skin improved a lot since doing that!
    Im just wondering if the cleanse is really worth it, because i do miss my fruit smoothies and chocolate!
    I did the spit test and saw strings, but not sure if thats really accurate, because my sister who eats sweets and has not a great diet..also did the test.. Hers was complety clear!!!??
    I would love to your opinion on all these things!! Thanka

    • Hi Kim, nice to hear from you again. As you probably know I’m not a big fan of various Candida programs and treatments. Mainly because they start with a predefined conclusion and torture all evidence to fit that conclusion.

      There’s actually some data that shows people skin conditions have higher rates of Candida in the gut than people with clear skin, see these for example:

      And there’s some evidence that refined carbohydrate intake does contribute to Candida infections, especially if the gut flora is comprimised wiht antibiotics. See this study:

      Even that study showed a weak link between Candida and refined carbohydrates, animal studies have shown stronger links.

      But from this it DOES NOT follow that going on extreme diets and taking a lot of supplement is of any use. I couldn’t find any studies looking at the effect of carbohydrate restriction on Candida infections. It would be interesting to compare a more moderate carbohydrate restriction to extreme diets, but I don’t think we’ll get such study anytime soon.

      As to your symptoms, my guess is that what you are experiencing now is symptom of carbohydrate restriction. Your body adapts to burning fat and ketones for energy. In low carb circles what you are going through is described as low carb flu, or keto flu.

      I can’t claim that I know what’s going no in your body now, but to me ketosis is a far more plausible explanation than any detox or die-off reactions. I mean, to my knowledge people who take antifungal drugs don’t get such symptoms. If what you experience would be a result of ‘die off’ then why don’t those people experience the symptoms?

      If I were you (or anyone suspecting Candida plays a role in their acne), I would go to doctor. Candida is simple to diagnose. And it’s simple to treat. And treatment is far more reliable than such detox diets. Nystatin for example causes very few side-effects, to my knowledge doesn’t affect the probiotic bacteria, and doesn’t pass through the gut wall.

      I do admit that a temporary ‘sugar detox’ can be a good way to kick off sugar from your diet, but I’m not sure I would use it as a way to cure anything. Follow it up with limited carbohydrate intake, eating plenty of fermented foods and otherwise gut-friendly diet and you shouldn’t have any trouble with Candida anymore. For example animal studies have shown that even high sugar intake doesn’t lead to Candida infection in the gut if the intestinal flora is healthy. Unfortunately there’s no human data available.

      As to the spit test, I’m hard-pressed to think of bigger quackery. As I mentioned, it’s a crude measure of the thickness of your saliva, but that may or may not have anything to do with Candida. And your saliva is also affected by many other things, such as what you’ve been eating, bacteria in the mouth, hydration status, etc. And how it could diagnose Candida in the gut or systemic Candida eludes me and is never mentioned.

      I hope this helps! Do let me know if you have other questions and I’ll go my best to answer them.

    • Kim go to pheonix nutritionals and get the liquidaily aloe oxy drink. It elimenates candida. Diets make the symptoms not as bad but wont completely fix the problem. Trust me this miracle drink has been a blessing to me

  3. Hi! Thanks for the website. I am hesitant to go to a Western Medical Doctor and ask them to test me for Candida. I have acne, only started a year and a half ago and I am 23 years old. I have a lot of bloating to and a couple of skin rashes (very tiny on my belly and leg). I have also had a white tongue before. I used to eat ALOT of sugar. I want to take a test but how do I approach this with a Dr that might be sceptical? I really think antifungals might be the solution for me. I have been eating healthy – greens, no sugars, fruits, and whole carbs and still have acne (it has diminished a bit). What kind of tests for Candida do these Western doctors do and will hey laugh at me for believing my acne is the result of Candida 🙁

    thanks so much 🙂

    • Maria, purely based on your comment and not knowing you at all, it seems to me that you’ve already decdied that you have Candida and are looking for someone to confirm your suspicisions. If there’s any truth to that, I can say that you are on the path to frustration and wasted time and money.

      I would suggest being open to the possibility that you don’t have Candida infections, that your symptoms are caused by something else. It’s clear that you suffer from something, but I think it’s too early to decide it’s Candida.

      I don’t think Western doctors, or just doctors (cos the alt-med practitioners aren’t anything like real doctors), are skeptical of Candida infections. They are routinely diagnosed in the gut, skin, feet and other places. People who approach things scientifically are skeptical of the ‘undiagnosed systemic Candida epidemic’ claims that many alt-med proponents make. For 2 reasons, 1) systemic Candida infections are diagnosed, but they are only seen in people with severely compromised immune systems, so it’s not like doctors can’t or don’t know how to diagnose them, and 2) there’s no evidence that such an epidemic exists, a few studies have looked into the possibility and they’ve all come back negative.

      You can ask your doctor to test you for Candida in the gut. I wouldn’t say anything about Candida causing acne, just mention that you feel bloated and have other gut problems and suspect it might be because of Candida.

      I’m not sure how the test is done, I suspect they have to collect a feces sample and examine it.

      If you haven’t already, I would also read the gut-acne section on this website.

  4. Great info. I think there may be some viability in the spit test as I have been diagnosed by a women’s health specialist gp with systemic Candida following a week of spitting samples every 3 hrs (had to set alarm and do it during the night as well) and sending them off for testing. 5 mls of spit isn’t easy to produce when you aren’t free to drink water for 1/2 an hr beforehand. (when you have at least 1 of 5 kids either copying you in a cup or asking “what are you doing mummy?”). I am dubious about watching the results of your morning sputum for threads though.

    Thanks for your time, zzzzz. Fiona

  5. Have you ever checked if Vaugther’s website and adress are true and really exists? I was looking into the google map and i couldnt find this adress that they put there as ” Zurich Street” 161 Zip code 8010- Zurich, Switzerland.

    I ordered an order and the tracking number its from CHINA!!!!
    Zürcherstrasse 161

    • Nope, CH is the country code for Switzerland.

      Perhaps Google Maps doesn’t recognize the English spelling of ‘Zurich Street’. Having been to Switzerland a few times ‘Zürcherstrasse’ sounds like a legit address.

      • Yeah you are right, Züchers means Zurich, and Strasse means Street tho! And i talked to Martina, a coordinator from Vaughter’s site, and she told me that the tracking number that they provided me was from Czech Republic and not from China as i thought it was, i was really scared when i thought that my lufenurol was coming from China! By the way, do you know how mane dosages of Lufenurol do we take?

        Thanks for your attention in advance!

        • Sorry, I missed this one. With Lufenuron, are you referring to the veterinary drug and pesticide? That some people are self-medicating with (in an attempt to control Candida)? If so, I’d say it’s probably a very bad idea. And that this is a question you have to put to your doctor.

  6. Interesting.. I came across this because I myself am a huge fan of integrative medicine (I choose not to call it alternative because I believe this term can easily been seen as negative – as if it was a “last resort” type of medicine) and I wanted to find out if the spit test was a reliable method or not. I have been tested for candida but through a blood test. BUT, I also go with my symptoms, and I know after having eating certain foods that have been shown to be harmful for candida overgrowth, I begin to get all the same symptoms I had before I had balanced the gut bacteria. I find it really interesting that you say:

    “But alas, they are not satisfied with merely diagnosing oral Candida. No. They claim this spit test can also diagnose systemic Candida infections (where Candida has entered bloodstream and spread all over the body). A condition which, by the way, has 50%+ mortality rate and only occurs in patients with severely compromised immune systems (like HIV patients or people undergoing chemotherapy). I talked about this in detail in the can Candida cause acne page.”

    I assume by THEY, you mean any non-Western medicine practitioner who is looking to diagnose Candida through a spit test. I personally have been seeing an integrative medicine practitioner for over 2 years, and she has never ONCE suggested doing a spit test, OR ever suggested that the candida is in my bloodstream. It has always remained in the gut, just as an overgrowth that has outweighed the natural balance of yeast that is necessary and beneficial, and decreased the ratio of other good beneficial bacteria. Of course, if you have intestinal permeability, it is not completely illogical to think that this yeast could get into the immune system, but she has never once suggested that. I understand that when certain companies come out with tests specifically designed to support their own theories and sell their own products at the expense of people’s health or ignoring other issues that may be present, it can be quite irritating, but I don’t think it’s fair to present it as a flaw in the integrative medicine community, which is what I took this article to be presented as.

    Anyway, just thought I’d mention it in case people were suddenly deterred from even stepping foot in an integrative medicine office because of this. I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind, find a RELIABLE source and someone you trust to treat you as a patient, and find what works for you by listening to your body, above all.

    Thanks! Have a great day 🙂

    • Hi Kim,

      If the Candida proponents would only talk about Candida in the gut I probably would have never written any of these posts. But they, Candida proponents who are not necessarily integrative medicine practitioners, often talk about systemic Candida infections. You’ll see this on blogs, books and forums where Candida is discussed.

      I personally have no problems with integrative medicine. God knows that ‘normal’ doctors are time-starved and don’t have enough time to spend with their patients. Many are also too eager to dismiss dietary ways to treat problems.

      My problem with many integrative practitioners is that it tends to be a hodge-podge combination of various pseudoscientific ideas with some real science sprinkled in when it fits into the prevailing ideology. That the entire thing is more ideologically driven than science-based worries me the most.

      I understand that it’s a new field and what I described might be growing pains. Perhaps in time they develop proper regulation and standards of care. But until that happens visiting integrative and alternative practitioners is very much of a hit and miss affair. You might end up with a good practitioners or you may end up wasting a lot of time and money with useless ‘food sensitivity tests’ or other nonsensical diagnosis.

  7. Thanks for the info. I have been starving yeast to help control my toenail fungus. And it seems to be working. Except I have recently tried spit test and boy did the saliva fall rapidly. I just can’t believe that my yeast is out of control.

    I have lost 40 lbs since August and no longer eat sugar or beer. I do eat fruit of all kinds and feel great. Energetic, however this stupid spit test has me wondering.
    Thanks for easing my mind.

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