Candida overgrowth is an often misdiagnosed health concern. It’s something that most doctors either don’t look for or don’t believe it can be the actual cause of many diseases. Normally Candida is completely harmless; however, it becomes a real health concern when we do something that changes the delicate balance between the good micro-organisms and the yeast colonies that live in the gut. When this balance is lost or disturbed, the Candida colonies are able to rapidly expand.
Candida Overgrowth: What is it and why do I need to be concerned?
These are both important questions, that I am frequently asked, that have huge implications for our health. In short, candida albicans is a very opportunistic yeast that, when out of control, can spread quickly throughout the body, release numerous toxins, and wreak havoc with literally every organ and system of the body. The typical American diet which is full of sugar and lifestyle encourages the growth of Candida, and unfortunately most mainstream doctors are ignorant as to Candida, its widespread effects, and how to treat it.
Candida occurs naturally in the body, and when it is kept at proper levels, it serves a very useful purpose. It is estimated that each of us has about a pound of bacteria living in our bodies, and most of these species are very beneficial and necessary. Many bodily functions, such as proper digestion of our food, cannot occur without helpful bacteria being present. The concern is that when the bacterial balance is out of whack in the body, “good bacteria” tend to get overrun by opportunistic species, and candida albicans is one of the worst offenders. Once Candida takes hold, it will also begin building a protective biofilm over the top of itself within the first 24 hours. The cell wall of Candida is made up of fibrin and the plant fiber chitin or cellulose, mannoprotein-1, glucan and mannoprotein-2, which are plant polysaccharrides. There is also a plasma membrane and a protein nucleus. Basically these are the components that Candida uses to build the biofilm. Candida eating enzymes (see recommendations below) and coconut oil can work very well for getting through this biofilm. It is important to note that if the biofilm is not addressed, most likely diet and supplements will not do an effective job.
Why is Candida Overgrowth at Epidemic Levels?
There are three main reasons why candida overgrowth is at epidemic levels today. The first is that most people dine on a diet that is high in sugar and refined, processed foods. Candida thrives on sugar and foods such as simple carbohydrates, and unfortunately these are staples in the Standard American Diet (SAD). When candida gets a steady supply of such “fuel,” it grows and multiplies rapidly.
Secondly, the overuse of antibiotics is also a huge factor in candida overgrowth. These types of drugs show no discrepancy when it comes to the kinds of bacteria they attack. So, they often kill off helpful bacteria, allowing harmful species such as candida to proliferate.
Thirdly, preexisting immuno-suppression caused by drug or alcohol abuse, multiple blood transfusions, debilitating illness, organ transplants, or chemotherapy.
Contributing factors that are of major concern and promote yeast overgrowth are:
- Low stomach acidity leading to poorly digested food.
- Improper bowel movements leading to prolonged retention (constipation) of fecal matter in the colon.
- Prolonged stress which often weakens the immune system.
- Mercury toxicity (amalgam fillings, high mercury containing seafood, etc.) which can cause suppression of the immune system. This makes it easier for the yeast to proliferate in the human body. Especially true in the gastrointestinal tract and in the vaginas of particularly sensitive women.
What Are the Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth?
One of the things that makes candida a complex health issue is that symptoms often vary greatly from person to person and as candida migrates throughout the body, it shows itself in different ways. Therefore, it is very challenging to diagnose and treat.
Some of its favorite places to attack are the intestinal tract, genitals, and oral cavity. However, it can be quickly dispersed throughout the body and lead to widespread systemic infections.
Some of the most common candida overgrowth symptoms include:
- Skin rashes (eczema, acne)
- Excessive mucous of the throat, nose and lungs
- Genital infections (vaginitis, jock itch)
- Athlete’s foot
- Acid reflux
- Sore throat
- Sinus infections
- Chronic Fatigue
- Muscle weakness
When candida attacks the brain and nervous system, many cognitive symptoms can occur such as:
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Feelings of rage
Candida overgrowth/yeast infections tend to be very hard on the immune system, 80% of which is found in the intestinal tract. Therefore, the health of the entire body suffers.
What are Natural Recommendations for Candida Overgrowth?
The most powerful way to fight Candida Overgrowth is by taking good care of your intestinal tract. This area is typically the “headquarters” of most candida invasions; thus, eliminating excess Candida from the gut is essential. Recommendation include:
- Diet: This is foundational to any effective Candida Cleanse. A grain-free and sugar-free diet is necessary. Eat raw, whole foods that are organic, gmo-free and free of toxins. Organic fruits (a few times each week: green apples, lemons, limes, grapefruit, cranberry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and pomegranate. Also a peach, nectarine and a plum every once-in-a-while) and vegetables have a high oxygen content which can help with Candida overgrowth. Eliminate junky high-sugar and prepared foods and the SAD (Standard American Diet), in general. Add lots of garlic, onions, cinnamon, extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil and peppermint to your diet.The following foods are encouraged (use organic, free-range, grass-fed and non-gmo foods): cold water fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, healthy fats, brown rice, eggs, seeds, all nuts except cashews and peanuts, herbal teas and goat milk. Avoid quinoa and oats for the first 15-30 days. To ease digestion, all nuts and seeds should be soaked in purified water for at least seven hours before eating. Soaking initiates the sprouting process and breaks up the enzyme inhibitors and phytates found in these foods. Contrary to popular belief, even some foods containing yeast may be eaten as long as there are no allergic reactions. For example Brewer’s yeast is a very nutritious and immune enhancing food and can be consumed for nutritional support while performing a Candida Cleanse.
- Water: Drink plenty of pure, filtered water — this will strengthen your intestinal tract and help to flush out toxins and waste. You may also add 3 tablespoons of organic, raw apple cider vinegar to one gallon of purified water and then drink throughout the day. Raw apple cider vinegar is great at killing Candida. While it is true that fermented products like beer and wine will actually feed yeast, raw apple cider vinegar goes through a much different fermentation process thus producing a completely different reaction in the body. I highly recommend Braggs Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Coconut Oil – Unrefined coconut oil should be used at 1-3 tablespoons daily. Coconut oil can be used in smoothies, hot herbal teas or for oil-pulling.
- Garlic: Try to eat 1-2 cloves of garlic every day. They can be consumed raw in a fresh vegetable juice or roasted with some coconut oil.
- Probiotics: The use of a quality probiotic/prebiotic is critical. It will help to restore bacterial balance in the gut, thus giving Candida less opportunity to multiply and take over.
- Enzymes: A properly designed enzyme for candida yeast will eat the materials in which the biofilm is made. Candida yeast has no resistance to these enzymes just like they have no resistance to bacteria. They also cannot build a resistance to them like they can do with herbs and prescription medications. They have no risk to your health and do not cause the candida to mutate, which medicines have been proven to do. Diflucan for instance can cause candida albicans to shape, shift and turn into candida glabrata, a highly resistant strain that is very hard to get rid of. Look for an enzyme formula that contains the enzymes cellulase and hemicelluse (eats the chitin/cellulose layer of the cell wall and biofilm). Glucoamylase, amylase, and invertase (eats the plant polysaccharide layers), protease (eats the nucleus) and serrapeptase (eats the fibrin). I suggest Veganzyme which is a digestive and systemic enzyme formula.
- Digestive Tract Flushing: A thorough flushing of the digestive tract will also help greatly. Researchers have found that candida releases about 70 different toxins into the body, usually starting in the digestive tract. The digestive tract must be flushed out so that it can begin to operate efficiently. This will combat candida and allow digestion to improve, restoring nutrients that candida has highjacked. It will also help ease the possibility of experiencing a Herxheimer’s Reaction caused by yeast die-off.
- Harmful Organism Cleanse: Candida and parasites usually go together. They have a symbiotic relationship, feeding off each other and being very destructive to the body. The use of a quality harmful organism cleanse supplement will weaken Candida and improve overall health.
- Wild Mediterranean Organic Oregano Oil: This acts as a potent anti-bacterial that will attack candida and help to cleanse and purify your body, while it also boosts your immune system, which will ultimately counteract Candida Overgrowth. Make sure the oil you use contains at least 80% Carvacrol. Wild Mediterranean Oregano oil is said to be 100 times more powerful than caprylic acid.
- Colloidal silver: Using an effective colloidal silver is imperative. Many forms of bacteria, virus and fungus utilize a specific enzyme for their metabolism. ACS 200 Advanced Cellular Silver effectively disables the enzyme that is necessary for these organisms to stay alive. ACS 200 is lethal to all species tested of fungi, bacteria, protozoa and virus. In addition, colloidal silver has the ability to distinguish between aerobic (“good”) bacteria and anaerobic (“bad”) bacteria such as candida, and will not harm the good bowel flora. Because of the indirect way it works (on enzymes needed by bacteria), Candida also cannot develop a resistance against ACS 200 Advanced Cellular Silver.
- l-Glutamine: Another highly recommended nutrient is the free-form amino acid l-glutamine. l-Glutamine helps maintain proper muscle mass, brain function, intestinal integrity as well as stable blood sugar levels (helps with cravings). 1-3 grams 30 minutes before each meal is suggested. l-Glutamine is also excellent for helping to heal leaky gut syndrome, a very common symptom of intestinal candidiasis. l-Glutamine also helps to stimulate the immune system.
- Pau D’Arco Tea: Contains antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Pau D’Arco strengthens the immune system and is effective for killing off yeast. While there are numerous varieties of Lapacho trees in South America, only the inner lining of the tree has has known medical value. It is this inner lining (or phloem) which carries nutrients made by the leaves to other parts of the tree and is, with the cambium layer (where all the new cells are produced) the “life” of the tree. Make sure that the Pau D’Arco that you purchase is 100% from the inner lining of the Red or Purple Lapacho Tree.
- Jatoba Bark: Effective for many fungal and yeast concerns such as candida overgrowth, athlete’s foot, yeast infections and stubborn nail fungus.