Candida overgrowth effects millions of people and causes all sorts of health issues, some quite serious, and yet a lot of the population isn’t even aware it’s behind many of the problems they are having. I know it has certainly been an on-going issue for me and because candida/yeast overgrowth often goes hand in hand with other heath factors, such as heavy metals, parasites, and pH imbalance, it’s usually not an easy situation to treat….
An overly-acidic system, which is common among those on a typical American diet, creates conditions that are ideal for the proliferation of unfriendly organisms. Candida, a type of single-celled fungal yeast that normally is kept in check if the body’s pH is properly balanced, starts to grow out of control when you eat too many acid-forming foods like sugar, bread products, and most proteins. Using prescription antibiotics, birth control pills, cortisone, and other drugs can also contribute to its growth, as can stress, exposure to environmental molds and chemicals, and nutritional deficiencies. Candida, in turn, makes the body more susceptible to parasites, impaired immune function, and many other dis-eases. Yeast overgrowth is thought to affect over 40 million Americans, and is especially prevalent in hyperactive children and those with ADD and ADHD.
“Conventional medical experts say that from 30-70% of the present population have a benign colonization of this yeast. I would bet any well trained naturopath will tell you that more than 90% of the population hosts a Candida colonization and most of them are not benign, not in our modern, processed, easy-food society. In addition, I have never met anyone suffering from any illness, who is not dealing with an overabundance of Candida.
When Candida leads to disease, conventional medical belief states that the infection can be localized, invasive, or systemic. Alternative medical belief would argue that a local infection such as a skin infection, vaginitis, or thrush is an indication that the gut, and likely the whole rest of the body, is already overwhelmed. Lending credence to this belief is the fact that the fastest way to kill any type of Candida infection, and insure it does not come right back, revolves around balancing the gut microbes..” – Michael Edwards for Natural News
Some doctors even theorize that candida or other systemic yeast/fungal infections cause, or at the very least contribute to, the development of cancer. This makes sense. A body-wide candida infection plays havoc with the immune system, which becomes overwhelmed and worn out from fighting the infection, so your body is naturally more susceptible to any number of things. Plus, candida excretes toxins that further weaken and harm the body. The major waste product of the yeast is acetaldehyde, which produces ethanol—a substance that may be great in cars, but in your body it causes excessive fatigue, and reduces strength and stamina. In addition, it destroys enzymes needed for cell energy, and causes the release of free radicals that can damage DNA. It also inhibits the absorption of iron, and since iron is one of the most important oxygen supports in the blood, ethanol indirectly creates low oxygen levels. When your body can’t oxygenate well, all sorts of dis-eases and diseases arise.
Typical symptoms of candida albicans overgrowth are:
- feeling bad all over, yet the cause is unidentified
- craving sweets, breads, or alcoholic beverages
- sweets make your symptoms worse or give you a pick-me-up, followed by a let-down
- persistent digestive disturbances and/or bloating after eating bread or other products made with yeast
- persistent athlete’s foot, infection of the nails and skin, and/or “jock itch”
- feeling ill when exposed to moldy places, perfumes, tobacco smoke and other chemicals
- mood disorders
- chronic fatigue
- oral thrush
- sinus infections
- brain fog
- recurring vaginal and/or urinary tract infections
Making real inroads against candida can seem like a long process at times for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the yeast actually sends out tendrils that help anchor it to the intestinal walls. It also enjoys a symbiotic relationship with any parasites and heavy metals in your system, so it’s hard to rid your body of one condition until you’ve gotten rid of the others, and vice versa, so there’s a catch-22 factor at play. And since all of these antagonists work to weaken your digestion and immune response, the body often no longer has the energy level required to easily deal with the situation. It’s also hard to overcome candida because it usually requires giving up, at least temporarily, some of the foods most Americans are so fond of—such as sugar, breads, biscuits, and muffins, or anything made with yeast, glutinous grains, aged cheeses, processed meats, alcoholic beverages, mushrooms, melons, coffee, vinegar and vinegar-containing condiments (mustard, mayonnaise, most salad dressings, etc.). And, unfortunately, candida can actually intensify your cravings for these very foods, so that doesn’t help the situation any.
If you have been diagnosed with candida, or feel like it might be an issue for you, it’s best to avoid these foods as much as possible and concentrate on eating lots of vegetables (watch out for high carbohydrate ones like corn, peas, and potatoes though), soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds, eggs, and lean protein like turkey, chicken or fish. Drinking lemon water on a regular basis (use a straw to help protect your tooth enamel from the acid), monitoring your pH (see post on pH Factor) and doing some colon and parasite cleansing will also help rid your body of the overgrowth. Taking a probiotic (see post on this topic), such as Primal Defense™ from Garden of Life, can be helpful as well.
Garden of Life also makes a product called Fungal Defense™ that is specifically designed to treat yeast/fungus conditions. It contains two enzymes (protease and cellulose) capable of literally digesting candida cell walls. The formula also includes two of the most potent anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic substances found in nature—wild oregano and olive leaf extract (their fungicidal components work synergistically to help eliminate yeast and fungus on contact). It’s further enhanced with garlic extract, known as Russian penicillin and nature’s premier antibiotic—and it doesn’t destroy friendly bacteria along with the bad. Yucca juice, a potent blood purifier that produces surfactants which help break down the lipid envelope that coats fungi and yeasts, is also in the list of ingredients, so the formula is very comprehensive as far as candida is concerned. I’ve used it a number of times over the years myself. By the way, Primal Defense and Fungal Defense are available at great discount prices from iHerb.com (if you are a new customer, use code CJG192 and get $10 off and free shipping on orders of $40 or more, and an extra 5% off over $60).
For more information on candida, you can go to places such as www.thecandidayeastanswer.com (if you scroll down just over halfway on the page you’ll notice on the right where they offer a free download of a book on candida). Although, remember that when a site has products and services to sell, the information they offer is often biased toward what they carry.
NOTE: There is a simple test to help tell if you have candida overgrowth: First thing in the morning, before you put ANYTHING in your mouth, get a clear glass of water. Better still; leave the glass of water by your bed the night before so you’ll remember to do the test when you first wake up. Work up a bit of saliva, and then spit it into the water. Check the glass every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour. If you have a candida infection, strings (like “legs”—remember the tendrils mentioned earlier that candida sends out) will travel down into the water from the saliva floating on top, or “cloudy” saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass, or cloudy specks will seem to be suspended in the water. If nothing develops in 30 to 45 minutes, you are probably candida free.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on ways to treat and/or cleanse candida/yeast from the body.
Other resources on candida:
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Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.