Our gut health is essential to optimal health in many areas, such as the brain, mood, rest and relaxation, digestion, energy levels and so much more. The fact that one of the first ingredients in majority of foods now a days is corn syrup (commonly called sucrose now), how much stress is increasing in our society, it’s no wonder how candida runs rampid.
Symptoms of candida overgrowth:
Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus.
Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or chronic inflammation.
Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, or Multiple sclerosis
Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog.
Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression.
Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching.
Severe allergies, chronic sinus infections or itchy ears.
Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
What causes a candida overgrowth and how to combat it:
1) Antibiotics. Often it isn’t mentioned to take probiotics as you take antibiotics. Even though the antibiotics are necessary, there is good bacteria that is killed off in the process, and it is common to develop Candida Overgrowth. Some may experience yeast infections or digestive upsets afterwards. To ensure a healthy gut after a round of antibiotics, ensure you are getting probiotics during and after to help maintain gut health and balance.
2) Diet. High sugar diets can increase the amount of fungus in our bodies. This isn’t just white refined sugar, a big portion of foods in the store start with corn syrup as a main ingredient. It also goes by glucose, fructose or glucose-fructose. Keep an eye out. In moderation, of course and being aware by the amounts daily consumed can help keep this in check. Refined carbohydrates and even large consumption of fruits can also add to this. Candida needs things like glucose, fructose and sucrose. Their cell walls are 80% carbohydrates. Over consumption of sugar depletes your immune system. Reducing sugar and increasing water/veggies can help as well. Fermented foods can also feed this so reduce sauerkraut and kombucha as well as any beers fermented foods until cleared up, then have in moderation.
3) Chronic stress: Stress is the number one issue that we deal with in this day and age. Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, metabolic issues, fatigue and inflammation. When you consider that being in survival mode releases cortisol and adrenaline, long term production has negative health effects. Too much cortisol can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and sugar, decrease libido, produce acne, & contribute to obesity. Excessive adrenaline, although rare, can cause drastic weight gain/loss, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, anxiety, excessive sweating and palpitations. All of these affect the bodys immune system and ability to deal with Candida when it begins to overgrow. The body will not be in rest and repair mode either, so they can go left unchecked. Stress also affects the balance of our microbiome. Reducing stress daily is a mindful activity that can help your immune system, metabolism, energy levels as well as keep Candida growth in check. One of my favorite stress reducers is listening to the Solfeggio frequencies on YouTube, especially 528. Deep abdominal breathing and being mindful of breathing throughout the day. If you would like a copy (free of course) of a breathing exercise I use, comment below.
4) Birth control pills. When you take any hormonal contraceptives your equilibrium can be thrown off by a hormonal imbalance as your body is readjusting that can be caused by birth control pills. Even though it should only take a couple of buns to readjust to the differences in hormones, some never fully adjust. With a continued hormonal imbalance it takes away the right environment to support your microbiome. Estrogen in the body promotes growth of yeast. There have been many studies on yeast infections while taking birth control. Candida also produces a waste that mimics estrogen in the body which will further upset the hormonal balance. High amounts of estrogen has also been linked to cellular changes in the body.
Also a copper IUD can help contribute to candida as well because copper can increase yeast growth similarly to estrogen. Speaking with your doctor and choosing the right contraceptive for you can help with this. There are tons of non-hormonal options to choose from and with the help of your family physician you can make the right choice for you.
5) craving sugar and carbs. If you are eating the right amount of sugar and carbs per day yet you crave more, usually intense cravings because this is the food it needs to grow. It is more than an “addiction ” to sugar. It also causes overeating. Yeast processes large amounts of sugar, which lowers your blood sugar levels, triggering your brain to send signals to eat more. Hypoglycemia can be a sideaffect of candida.
There are other causes such as long exposure to chemicals, diabetes, and others that disrupt your gut balance and hormonal balance.
Candida can affect weight loss because it leads to excessive fat deposits. If the liver becomes overwhelmed it will store toxins from the Candida in the fat cells to be processed later, usually around the abdomen and thighs. No amount of eating right and exercising will help unless you focus on eating for getting rid of candida.
If deciding to do a cleanse, do so with the supervision of a doctor who knows about natural remedies (not all do) or pharmacist because they know the interactions it can have with other supplements and medications.
How to test for Candida overgrowth:
A white coating on the tongue can be an indication as well.
Visit your doctor. A stool and urine test along with blood work can determine the levels of candida in the body.
Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it. If your immune system is repressed, you may get a false negative so the other tests are also important.
Candida die off: if you do a cleanse, make sure you work with your doctor, naturopath, or a medical professional. So what is a Candida die off? As you begin eliminating Candida in the body, if lots are dying off, they give off over 50 different toxins, one being acetaldehyde. It is a neurotoxin, which impairs brain function. Your endocrine, immune and respiratory systems can all be affected, and it also damages the membranes of your red blood cells, reducing their ability to carry oxygen round the body. You can see how excess acetaldehyde can quickly contribute to non-specific symptoms like brain fog and fatigue. These by-products also cause allergic reactions and inflammation.
Depending on the severity of infestation, these symptoms vary. If you experience die off symptoms, speak with your doctor. I was advised to stop with the antifungals once I began experiencing the symptoms I will list below, because it means the Candida are expelling too many toxins and my liver is now overloaded. The liver will store the toxins for later, but this can be very dangerous to the body. I was told when the symptoms subside, to begin the protocol again but do only half the dose and increase water intake.
Nausea, headache, fatigue, dizziness, swollen glands
Bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, increased joint or muscle pain
Elevated heart rate, chills, cold feeling in your extremities
Body itchiness, hives or rashes, Sweating, fever, skin breakouts, Recurring vaginal, prostate and sinus infections.
Many believe this is a good sign that you are dealing with it effectively but that isn’t always the case. Taking treatment slower is much better than rushing through it. The stress that die-off causes to your internal organs and immune system can slow down your Candida treatment as well. That stress is usually too much for a healthy and successful recovery. Avoiding the die off will be more beneficial, less stress for your organs, as well as a healthier approach.
Dieclaimer: for educational purposes only, not a substitute for medical advice.