By Karen Foster
Imbalanced gut flora creates perfect conditions for specific bacteria and fungi. Candida Albicans is a fungus, a kind of a yeast, and small amounts of it thrive in the oral cavity and the intestines.
Increased level of candida, or candida outgrowth, enables the yeast to break down the intestinal walls and enter the bloodstream. In this way the yeast releases toxic by-products into the body. Eventually, this leads to different health problems, ranging from digestion problems to depression, and in some cases even cancer.
What triggers the candida overgrowth?
The good bacteria in the intestines typically maintain normal candida levels. However, there are many factors that contribute to the candida overgrowth:
- Eating foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar (these feed the yeast)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Oral contraceptives
- Stressful lifestyle
- Regular or increased consumption of antibiotics that kill beneficial bacteria
Symptoms Caused by Candida Overgrowth
Normal levels of Candida Albicans do not pose any problem, but when its level increases, the yeast starts overgrowing, and thus caus many symptoms and health problems, and affects the whole body – from the head to the toes, ranging from migraines to nail fungi.
The symptoms may appear inside the body, often manifested through pain and improper function of organs, and sometimes even brain lesions. Eczema and hives are typical symptoms that can be easily visible. Candida overgrowth affects both mind and emotions. are many of the symptoms caused by an overproduction of candida.
- Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances that worsen in damp, muggy or moldy places or weather that is damp, muggy, humid or rainy
- Hay fever and asthma
- Intolerance or allergies to perfumes, odors, fumes, fabric shop odors, grass, pets or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and a wide range of airborne substances
- Athletes’ foot
- Babies struggle with colic, diaper rash, thrush (coated white tongue), and cradle cap
- Easy bruising
- Tenderness and pain in the cheekbone or forehead
- Cold hands and feet, low body temperature
- Symptoms that indicate cold – mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs
- Cravings for sugar, bread, pasta, pastry and high carb foods; alcohol
- Abnormal formation of cysts in different body parts; these commonly appear around the neck, throat, and ovaries, in the bladder
- Problems with the digestive system– diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from bacteria, including salmonella, Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, and others
- -Ears –tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear aches, discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, excessive wax buildups
- Eyes – erratic vision, eye floaters (spots in front of the eyes) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing or inability to tear, and others
- Fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome or Epstein Barr, loss of energy, lethargy, drowsiness
- Symptoms that indicate flu
- Swollen glands, decreases secretion of saliva (dryness in the mouth), improper function of the salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes
- Hair loss, scum, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness
- Irregular heart beat and heart palpitations
- Headache, migraine, brain fog, dizziness
- Hemorrhoids, rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level); diabetes
- Hypothyroidism, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, improper thyroid function
- Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and panic attack
- Skin lesions, and lessions inside the body, i.e. brain lessions
- Male problems – jock itch, decreased libido, impotence, prostitis, problems when urinating, frequent urination, painful intercourse
- Female problems – infertility, vaginitis, unpleasant odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, irregular menstrual cycle, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharges, painful intercourse, decreased libido, itching or thrush in the vagi*a, burning sensation or redness, persistent infections
- Fungal infections that affect the skin or nails, including ringworm, saborrheic dermatitis, dark and light patches on the skin (tinea versicolor)
- -Joint pain, stiffness or swollen joints (arthritis)
- Kidney and bladder – infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation and infection), frequent urination, low urine output, unpleasant smell of urine, difficulty urinating, burning sensation when urinating
- Appetite loss
- Mind and Mood – anxiety attacks, crying, memory loss, feeling of being spaced out, depression(including suicidal thoughts), manic feelings, concentrate problems, mood swings, irritability
- Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath, white layer on the tongue (thrush) and improper function of the salivary glands
- Muscle pain, numbness, burning or tingling, loss of strength and coordination
- Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness
- Unpleasant odor of feet, hair or body; it does not relieve even by washing
- Respiratory problems – cough, bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma
- Feeling sick
- Sinusitis, swelling and infections in the sinuses
- Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea
- Stomach problems – Helicobacter pylori bacteria (ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, stab-like pain, feeling a lump after consuming certain foods
- Sleep – insomnia, frequent waking up, nightmares, improper sleep
- Sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickling in throat, laryngitis (loss of voice)
What makes Candida get out of control?
Improper function of the immune system is caused by a wide range of factors, but antibiotics are the main culprits, because they destroy beneficial micro-organisms in the digestive system. Candida is resistant to antibiotics, and the occurring imbalance of micro-organisms contributes to its overgrowth.
The yeast changes the shape and overgrows, creating large families referred as colonies. In addition to malabsorption, the deficiency of important nutrients also affects the immune system. Modern diet lacks essential nutrients, and it is packed with refined sugar, carbohydrates, hydrogenated oil and fat, or trans-fat, white flour products, processed food, additives, preservatives, pesticides, and heavy toxic metals.
The nutrients are further depleted due to food irradiation, or exposing food to high level of radiation in order to provide a longer shelf life, growing food in nutrient depleted soils, long storing time, long transportation time, improper handling, unhealthy cooking methods, and microwaving foods. These factors largely affect the immune system and its function.
Testing for Candida at Home
Holistic practitioners will sure offer conclusive means of candida testing, but you can make a simpe home test for that purpose. In the morning, right after you wake up, and eat or drink anything, take a glass of water with filtered room temperature water.
Spit into the glass. Do not worry if you there is not much saliva. Check the water in 15 minutes for up to an hour.
Strings, or fibers, that go down from the saliva on the surface of the water, any cloudy specks, or even cloudy saliva that falls to the bottom indicate that you are dealing with increased level of candida.
The Candida Control Program
You need to take care of the following five aspects simultaneously in order to control the Candida overgrowth:
1. Eliminate foods that feed Candida
Sugar, refined carbohydrates and gluten feed Candida. Let’s discuss each of these separately so you can easily distinguish what to avoid.
The main fuel of Candida is sugar and its forms, including lactose found in dairy products, honey, glucose, fructose, and all kinds of sugar substitutes, like Nutrasweet, aspartame, saccharin.
Cutting off sugar is the first and most essential part of the Candida Program. All fruits, except for lemons, are packed with large amounts of sugar and you should limit the consumption of fruits in the initial stages of the program, along with vegetables that are packed with sugar, like sweet potatoes, parsnips and beets.
Large amounts of sugar are found in most processed foods like smoked meat, ketchup, cereal, and yoghurt, meaning you should pay more attention to the labels and read them carefully.
People who struggle with Candida are gluten intolerant. Gluten is actually an elastic, gluey protein contained in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, triticale and it is also hidden in great number of processed foods.
Triticale is a modern hybrid grain – it has the properties of wheat and rye. Spelt and kamut are wheat variants high in gluten and they can cause the same problems as other wheat varieties do. Today, gluten-packed grains are used extensively in the production of bread and other baked goods, thanks to their “glutinous” consistency that sticks everything together.
Gluten- containing grains feed Candida because of their high glycemic index, just like sugar. these grains develop insulin resistance in the cells which later leads to hypoglycemia or diabetes.
The cells become insulin-resistant in their effort to protect themselves from the toxic effect of large amounts of insulin which occur as a result of the excessive consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates.
Once the cells become insulin-resistant, the pancreas secretes more insulin, and this creates a never-ending cycle. Eventually, the whole process exhausts the pancreas, and leads to its breakdown, which results in diabetes.
Grains packed with gluten contain a protein that is difficult to process. This affects the mineral absorption and leads to intestinal damage. The intestines cannot absorb nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes even water.
The grains we eat also contain mycotoxins (a toxin created by fungi), and it is especially found in corn and wheat. Mycotoxins suppress the immune system. Check the the section on Yeast, Mold and Fungus for further information.
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