What is Candida?
Candida is the term given for an overgrowth of yeast in the body known as Candida albicans. When we are healthy this organism naturally inhabits our digestive system but certain factors create an environment that allow for the organism to multiply and overgrow resulting in an imbalance between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ flora in the system.
An overgrowth of candida can have a huge impact on one’s wellbeing and vitality as it decomposes cell membranes and drains the body’s immune system.
If Candida is present long term or in someone whose immune system is compromised, it develops rhizoids, or roots, that can be implanted in the intestinal wall or other mucosal linings. This allows absorption into the body of by-products (toxins) of fermentation and other antigenic material generated by the yeast/fungus. The semi-permeable state of the bowel wall leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome. The body will then make antibodies to the Candida albicans organisms. This can lead to an immunological or hypersensitivity reaction that is manifested as the polysystemic disease for which this syndrome is now known.
Candida can become systemic; into the bloodstream and cause numerous problems throughout the body. When it’s in the blood stream it can infect anywhere. This includes;
- Joint pain (which is often confused with candida)
- Affecting the liver to cause rashes
- Poor kidney function with severe back pain
- Cystitis or prostatitis
- Recurrent herpes infections
This yeast syndrome is much more common in women than in men and seems to affect the hormonal balance, initially causing mild premenstrual symptoms of irritability, depression, fatigue, and swelling, and leading to actually abnormal and/or painful menstrual periods. A significant number of women with PMS have a problem with Candida albicans, and probably more than half the women with candidiasis have some uncomfortable premenstrual symptoms.
Studies have found that Candida also stimulates histamine production, another trigger in the classic allergic reaction. An estimated 80 percent of people with multiple allergies have Candida overgrowth.
The symptoms of candidiasis mimic those of food reactions: fatigue, headaches, bloating, nasal congestion, heartburn and moodiness, among others. The relationship between candidiasis and food sensitivities is even strong by consumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates. The foods you are most likely to crave as a result of food allergies are the ones most enjoyed by the Candida cells – those sweets; chips and pasta help create an environment that encourages yeast growth. This is compounded if you often consume food with a high yeast or mould content, such as dried fruit, bread and beer.
Depression & “Brain Fog”
Candida can also produce up to 79 toxins/waste products known as mycotoxins into the system. One of these is acetaldehyde, a substance that is poison to the body and is converted to ethanol and then to alcohol by the liver. As this alcohol builds up in the body symptoms like “brain fog” can develop. It also reacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine and may cause mental and emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety, spaced out feelings and lack of concentration. Candida also secretes acid byproducts that can alter pH (acid and alkaline balance).
Prevent Weight Loss
Candida may also prevent weight loss due to several reasons. It may contribute to excess fluid in the body. It also produces hormone like substances that interfere with hormone production. For a female, it may stimulate increased oestrogen production thus making you oestrogen dominant and resulting in extra fat deposits in the body. It also contributes towards cravings for sugary carbohydrate rich foods.
Long term result if not treated
Finally, candida overgrowth can be dangerous if not controlled. The persistent, constant challenge to the immune system by an ever increasing, long-term overgrowth of candida can eventually serve to wear down the immune system and cause a seriously weakened capacity for resistance to disease
- Bloating/flatulence/itchy anus
- Food allergies
- Depression and lack of concentration
- Thrush oral or vaginal
- Fungal infections – ‘Jock itch’, ‘athlete’s foot’, tinea
- PMS/menstrual irregularities
- Weight gain/weight loss
- Joint pain
- Recurrent infections
- Chronic fatigue, lethargy, drowsiness, feeling unwell
- Eczema, acne, alopecia, rashes
- Excess sugar or refined carbohydrate
- Hormonal medication
- Low stomach acid
- Frequent of long-term antibiotic or corticosteroid use
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal changes
- Dental mercury amalgam poisoning
- Chemical exposure/drugs
- Immune deficiency
1. Starve Candida of its food sources by following anti-candida diet
2. Purge the bowel to help liquefy, cleanse and eliminate the Candida breeding ground.
3. Kill Candida using anti-fungal supplements / herbs
4. Repopulate the bowel with beneficial bacteria
5. Repair and heal damage to the bowel wall.
And at all times work towards strengthening the immune system as much as possible i.e. reduce stress, drink 2-3 litres of pure water a day, get plenty of sleep, exercise, do not eat processed foods or anything with sugar, don’t smoke, drink alcohol or caffeine, but do eat plenty of raw foods.
The below listed foods should be avoided for a minimum of 6-8 weeks.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to Increase
|Sugar – all forms||Garlic|
|Dairy products – cheese, cows milk, ice-cream etc||Fish – freshwater is best|
|Coffee and tea (including decaf)||Capsicum|
|Fruit (lemon, lime & grapefruit are ok)||Coconut|
|Dried fruits||Nuts and seeds especially almonds|
|Starchy carbohydrates||Raw, sautéed or steamed veggies|
|Most Grains except for Buckwheat & Quinoa||Asparagus|
|Potato, pumpkin, corn, sweet potato||Cabbage|
|Tomatoes (small amount of raw okay)||Green beans|
|Pork, ham and bacon||Shallots|
|Fermented foods including soy sauce, Miso etc||Brussels sprouts|
|Antibiotics||Water – filtered or spring if possible|
|Onion- no outer layers. Peel away outer layers and only consume inner most part of the onion.|