Candida Overgrowth

What is Candida Overgrowth?1,2

            Candidiasis or also known as Candida Albicans is the overgrowth of a yeast fungus in the gut. The balance of good and bad bacteria in the “gut flora” (complex community of microorganism species that live in the digestive tract) is a vital part of your immune system and digestive health. When this balance is lost (will explain further on how balance can be lost), the colonies of Candida Albicans are able to grow rapidly until they are in control of a large portion of your gut. Once this fungus is well established in the gut, it burrows into the gut lining and makes its way into the bloodstream; this affects the function of many other organs.

Candida Albicans is not a pathogen you want taking over in your gut because it releases 79 different byproducts, two of which are uric acid and acetaldehyde (powerful neurotoxin). Uric acid can cause joint pain and lead to gout if an excess builds up and acetaldehyde causes chronic headaches and brain fog to name just a couple. This change in balance in your gut flora also causes digestive problems, food intolerances, yeast infections and oral thrush.

What causes Candida Overgrowth?1,2

Candida is a microorganism present naturally in all of our guts. It is part of our balanced system that functions to digest food and stay well. The issue is only when Candida is in excess and out of its natural balance. Some ways in which the imbalance occurs are:

  • Diet: Since Candida is a yeast it needs sugar to survive and multiply. This not only includes sugar itself but also anything that converts to sugar such as refined carbohydrates (flours, fruit juices, honey, table sugar, agave syrup, oats, potato starch, etc.), and alcohol. A healthy immune system should be able to control Candida Overgrowth, but a diet high in sugar depresses your immune system, making your immune system vulnerable and allowing yeast to proliferate. Mouldy and yeast containing foods must also be avoided (See food list below for what to eat and avoid).
  • Prolonged or recurring antibiotic use: This is the most common culprit for Candida Overgrowth. Antibiotics destroy friendly bacteria and allow the Candida Albicans fungus to multiply unthreatened.  It is also wise to eat meat that is organic, antibiotic-free and hormone free. If there is a real need to use antibiotics make sure to use a probiotic before and after antibiotic use.
  • Birth Control Pill (BCP): The hormone balance of the body can be thrown off by using the BCP. The precise mixture of microorganisms and yeasts that help process and digest food in the stomach can then be altered since they depend on the right balance of hormones. By disturbing this balance, the BCP creates an environment where Candida can outgrow its competitors in the gut. Estrogen, which is the main component in the BCP, is also known to promote the growth of yeast.
  • Long periods of stress: The bodies first reaction to stress is to release cortisol, a hormone that depresses your immune system and raises your blood sugar.  This is for a fight or flight response. The candida feeds off the sugar that is released and your weakened immune system is defenseless to stop it. The balanced mixture of microorganisms in your small intestine is then overpowered by the Candida. Prolonged stress can also weaken your adrenal glands (the glands sitting on top of your kidneys), which are an important part of your immune system. These small glands release hormones that regulate many different systems within your body. They are also responsible for the production of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone adrenaline. If your adrenals become drained you will feel constantly tired, and probably find yourself seeking stimulants such as coffee, energy drinks and sugary treats. Your immune system becomes similarly drained and unable to respond adequately to pathogens such as the Candida yeast.
  • Open Ileocecal Valve: The Ileocecal valve is found between the small and large intestine. When your ileocecal valve is compromised, the billions of normally “good” bacteria that live in the large intestine can now go through the ileocecal valve, and into your small intestine. These “good” bacteria are not supposed to be in the small intestine. Here they can become “Bad Guys” by stealing the important nutrients such as, vitamin B12 and tryptophan before you have the chance to absorb them. They can also dump dangerous toxins into your liver. Once your “good” bacteria become bad, yeast join the mix shortly after. The alkaline pH of the small intestine allows the yeast to multiply vigorously.4
  • Low HCL (stomach acid): Not only does the stomach acid start the digestive process, but also aids in sterilizing the ingested food. If any bacteria and yeast are ingested they cannot survive strong stomach acid. If stomach acid is low, bacteria and yeast can then find their way to the intestines, where they remain, multiply, and cause problems.3

Foods to Eat

Foods to Avoid

Non- starchy vegetables (artichoke, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, kale onions, zucchini)

Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas, parsnips)

Wild fish (anchovies, herring, sardines, salmon)

Alcohol (wine, beer, spirits, liquors, cider)

Non-glutinous grains (buckwheat, millet, oat bran, quinoa)

Grains and glutinous foods (wheat, rye, oats, white bread, rye bread, pasta, spelt products, corn and corn byproducts, rice)

Herbs and spices (basil, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, dill, garlic, ginger, oregano, paprika)

Additives and preservatives (citric acid anything, or anything you don’t know or can’t pronounce)

Sweeteners (xylitol, stevia)

Sugars (sugar, honey, syrup, chocolate, molasses, rice syrup, artificial sweeteners)

Fresh and organic meat (beef, chicken, lamb, turkey) and eggs

Meats (all pork products, cured meats, processed meats, smoked or vacuum-packed meats)

Live yogurt cultures (probiotic yogurt, kefir)

Dairy products (cheese, milk, cream, whey products)

Low glycemic index fruit (berries, apples)

Fruit (fresh fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit, fruit juice)

Beverages (Chicory root coffee, cinnamon tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, licorice tea)

Beverages (coffee, black & green tea, diet & regular soda, energy drinks, fruit juices)

Non-moldy nuts and seeds (almonds, coconut meat, flaxseed, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts)

Nuts (cashews, peanuts, pistachios)

Filtered water!

Beans and other legumes (chickpeas, tofu, soy cheese, soy milk, all soy products)

Garlic (strong anti-fungal)

Mushrooms/molds (mushrooms, truffles)

Seasonings (black pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, coconut amino, apple cider vinegar (organic, raw, unfiltered))

Condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, regular mustard, relish, horseradish, soy sauce)

Lemon and Lime Juice

Vinegar (all vinegar except for apple cider vinegar)

Oils (Virgin coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, flax oil)

Fats and Oils (peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, soy oil)

Symptoms/Effects of Candida Overgrowth1,2

  • Symptoms of allergies
  • Cravings for sugar, bread or alcohol
  • Indigestion/discomfort after eating fruits or sweets
  • Severe reactions to perfume, tobacco, and chemicals
  • Intolerance to alcohol
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rectal itching or bladder infections
  • Coated or sore tongued
  • Chronic sore or scratchy throat, oral thrush
  • Feel bad all over, without apparent cause
  • Feeling of being in a mental fog, “spaciness”
  • Hives, psoriasis or skin rash
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Headaches
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Bad breath
  • Frequent cold and flu
  • Tiredness, feelings of being “drained”
  • Athletes foot, toenail or fingernail fungus
  • Allergy or sensitivity to airborne moulds, mouldy or fermented foods
  • FEMALE: premenstrual tension, menstrual cramps, vaginal discharge, burning, itching, endometriosis, uterine fibroids
  • MALE: prostate problems, impotence, itching of penis or groin

How to get rid of Candida Naturally

            It is very important to first see a naturopath and make sure that your liver and adrenal glands are functioning properly. The proper functioning of the liver and adrenals are crucial for the body’s ability to handle a candida cleanse. A Naturopath can then set you up with either a protocol to strengthen liver and/or adrenals or with a candida cleanse. There would be a mixture of combining the Candida diet and proper supplementation. The plan usually includes but is not limited to supplements for:

  • Anti-fungal (to kill the overgrowth of yeast)
  • Liver support (to help with the detoxification process)
  • Probiotic (repopulate good bacteria, and crowd out bad)

Depending on what your individual situation is, there could be more or less supplementation. At Aumakua we are well versed in cleansing for Candida and would be happy to get you started, clear your head and recover your energy.

References:

1.     “The Candida Diet.” The Candida Diet. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2015. <http://www.thecandidadiet.com/>.

2.     Hinton, Lynne, and Tracy McBurney. Nutritional Symptomatology. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

3.     “Dr.D Naturopath.” Low Stomach Acid Can Cause Candida. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.drdnaturopath.com/index.php/low-stomach-acid-can-cause-candida/>.

4.     “Candida, Calcium and Your Ileocecal Valve.” Hella Delicious RSS. N.p., 31 May 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.helladelicious.com/our-food/2012/05/candida-calcium-and-your-ileocecal-valve/>.

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