Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not alone?
You should. You are never really alone when you consider the vast populations of bacteria and yeast living inside of you. Your skin, mouth and digestive tract are teeming with little friends. And friends they are, most of the time. Those organisms that make up the microbiome are an essential component of good health until certain environmental factors cause them to become a component of poor health.
When certain “good” microbe populations are damaged by antibiotics, nutrient deficiencies, stress and/or processed foods, the “bad” microbes are presented with an opportunity to grow out of control. When they are comfortably fed with refined sugars, they have the fuel needed to take over.
One yeast that takes particular advantage of these common conditions is Candida albicans.
Candida normally colonizes as a yeast in the digestive tract, among other body areas, and lives a harmless life among the beneficial gut bacteria. When the opportunity arises through the reduction of competitive bacterial colonies, the round yeasts are able to grow into their fungal form, which includes the growth of root-like hyphae. These “roots” can dig into tissue, causing yeast infections across the body. These can occur in the digestive tract, the tongue (thrush), the skin (jock itch and athlete’s foot), and the nails.
Candida overgrowth has more consequences than just annoying red, patchy rashes. The organisms secrete a variety of by-products, many of which are toxic. Additionally, the hyphae can burrow in between the cells lining the small intestine, effectively tearing holes in them and creating the condition known as leaky gut. The combination of these two conditions – toxins introduced directly to the bloodstream via holes in the gut lining – sets up individuals for a smorgasbord of pesky symptoms and signs of poor health.
Could you have a case of Candida overgrowth? Here are some signs to look for:
- Brain fog, fatigue, and headaches – the most common symptoms.
- Alternating constipation with diarrhea – a sign of irritable bowel syndrome caused by Candida.
- Feeling spacey or unreal – toxins released by Candida can circulate in the bloodstream and reach the brain, causing feelings of strange states.
- Feel worse in musty or moldy places – additional toxic burden can cause clear reactions.
- Have taken antibiotics – any antibiotic use will shift the microbe communities of the gut. The longer the course of antibiotics, the more drastic the shift.
- Fungus or yeast infections, such as ringworm, jock itch, athlete’s foot, nail fungus – clear signs of Candida overgrowth.
If you suspect you may have a case of Candida overgrowth, you can talk to your doctor about tests that can be done. Possible tests include an antibody test, a blood test, a stool test or a urine test, each for different signs of Candida overgrowth.
Fortunately, many of the steps you might take to eliminate your Candida overgrowth and regain balance among your gut microbiome fall into the category of “general good advice.” Since Candida feeds on refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and alcohol, all of these need to be removed from the diet until the condition is resolved.
Specific recommendations include eliminating all forms of natural sugars, including most fruits. Apples, berries, melons, pineapples, pomegranates, lemons and limes are still fine to consume. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and plantains are out, as are many nuts that can contain molds. Safe nuts include almonds and hazelnuts. Most cheeses should be avoided since they are often cured with bacteria and yeast and can promote additional dysbiosis. Similarly, vinegar, yeast, and pickled and fermented foods need to wait to be eaten until the Candida is under control.
To encourage the regrowth of the good bacteria, eat as many raw, crunchy, green vegetables as possible. Leafy greens, cooked greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, garlic, and onion are all great choices. One good way is through large, colorful chopped salads. The fiber content of these meals serves as food for the preferred microbes. The raw vegetables also aid in digestion.
Healing the gut that has been damaged by the Candida is another essential step to regaining health.
Licorice root, slippery elm, and marshmallow root teas are soothing to the gut lining. Bone broths contain gelatin which is another gut soother. Other helpful steps for healing the gut include slowing down when you eat. Chew thoroughly and intentionally, and avoid eating while distracted.
A few changes in diet and lifestyle can bring an exponential return on investment when it comes to your health and beating Candida.
This is for informational purposes only and should be interpreted as medical advice.
Richards, L. The Ultimate Candida Diet Program: How to Beat Your Candida and Restore Your Health. Ebook: Perfect Health Ltd.
Weatherby, D. (2004.) Signs and Symptoms Analysis from a Function Perspective. Bear Mountain Publishing: Jacksonville.
Sara Kennedy is a certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant. She lives fitness, nutrition and wellness – and wants to help save lives and change the world’s view on health and nutrition. Learn more about Sara and her plans at thriveak.com To reach her, email firstname.lastname@example.org