Candida Yeast Overgrowth
Everyone has candida – candida albicans is naturally-occurring yeast that is present in everyone. But Candidiasis, or Candida, refers to an unhealthy overgrowth of the yeast, candida albicans, within the body. For the purpose of simplicity, only the term Candida is going to be used throughout this document. In healthy people, however, it is kept under control by the immune system and confined only to the lower intestine and the skin and, in women, the vagina. To a large degree, this confinement process is due to healthy and essential bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, such as acidophilus and bifidobacteria. When the population of healthy bacteria is disrupted, for instance when one takes antibiotics, candida albicans starts to spread into other areas of the body once it is allowed to pass unchecked through the intestinal walls to the bloodstream. When this happens, Candida albicans begins to mutate into an unhealthy fungus that can infect a body’s tissues and organs. The spread of candida albicans into areas of the body where it does not belong is termed candidiasis, or candida.
An estimated 33 per cent of all Americans are affected by candida and the numbers are growing; nonetheless, the disease remains overlooked by most conventional physicians. To make matters worse, its various symptoms can easily be mistaken for other disease conditions. By contrast, practitioners of natural cures and alternative medicine place great emphasis in helping their patients prevent and recover from candida. Natural cures for candida are generally far more effective and longer lasting than the antibiotic treatments typically offered by conventional medicine.
It has long been established that Candida albicans, as well as other strains of Candida, are able to spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract to the bloodstream, and also urine. This was vividly proven in 1969 when researchers had a test subject ingest Candida albicans. Previously, the subject had not been knowingly exposed to Candida albicans, nor did he have any detectable illness at the time of exposure. Within hours after he had orally consumed the dose of Candida albicans, the test subject came down with a wide range of disease symptoms, including fever and headache. In addition, the scientists who tested him found that colonies of Candida albicans had already spread to his blood and urine, proving that Candida albicans can indeed pass from the gastrointestinal tract to negatively affect other areas of the body. The scientists who conducted this test also warned that the use of antibiotics increased the permeability of the gastrointestinal tract, making it easier to trigger an outbreak of candida in people who use such drugs. Despite their conclusive findings, most conventional physicians disregard the potential severity of candida, and also dismiss claims that antibiotics can be a factor in its development.
As Candida albicans spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract and colonizes in other areas of the body, it produces various toxins. These toxins can impair health by reducing the body’s supply of white blood cells, which are needed by the immune system to properly fend off infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens. Candida albicans toxins also inhibit the body’s ability to manufacture antioxidants, including glutathione, an enzyme that is important for liver detoxification and cellular respiration. As a result of these negative effects caused by the unchecked spread of Candida albicans, symptoms of candida can manifest in many different ways, mimicking other disease conditions and negatively impacting many areas of your body.
There are natural cures for Candidiasis: Candida Yeast Overgrowth that do not involve the use of pharmaceutical drugs. They involve restoring the biochemical balance of the body, and making dietary and lifestyle changes designed to improve one’s general health.
Candida can cause a whole array of symptoms including the following:
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain
- Depression, anxiety and irritability
- Hyperactivity, confusion and loss of memory
- Gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas, cramps, chronic diarrhea, constipation, heart burn
- Allergies (to both food and airborne allergens)
- Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Sexual dysfunction and loss of sexual interest
- Severe mood swings and feeling mentally “disturbed”
- Recurrent fungal infections such as “jock itch”, athlete’s foot, ringworm or vaginal/urinary infections
- A feeling of being light-headed or drunk after minimal alcohol or certain foods
- Rashes, hives, acne and scaly skin
- Sinus pressure, hay fever-like attacks and coughing
- Eye or ear irritation
- Migraines and headaches
- Sleep disturbances
- Heart palpitations
Testing for Candida: Conventional physicians typically screen for candida using traditional laboratory tests such as blood tests, which look for antibodies to Candida albicans. While such tests can sometimes be helpful, they can also give false positive readings, since everyone has some degree of Candida albicans in their bodies, and therefore also have antibodies for it. If a large amount of antibodies are found to be present in the blood, however, that is a strong indication that candida is present.
Although holistic practitioners may employ traditional lab tests, they do not rely on them exclusively. In addition to taking a patient’s complete medical history and asking them questions such as the ones above, other tests used by alternative physicians include:
Darkfield Microscopy: Darkfield microscopy, our favorite option for finding out if you have Candida, involves the use of a darkfield microscrope. Unlike traditional microscopes, a darkfield microscope is specially adapted to be able to examine live blood cells that are then magnified onto a video screen. This allows physicians trained in this diagnostic technique to detect evidence of illness via distortions in the walls of the blood cells, and to spot harmful microorganisms, including Candida albicans, parasites, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, and other types of bacteria and fungi in the bloodstream. Also called Live Blood Cell Analysis, it is an excellent view into one’s internal terrain. Darkfield, along with Electrodermal screening, is the quickest, clearest, easiest method with which to determine if you have Candida overgrowth.
Electrodermal Screening: Electrodermal screening (EDS) is a non-invasive diagnostic technique that measures the electrical output of specific points on the hands, face, or feet, that correlate to acupuncture meridian points at the beginning or end of energy meridians. The electrical signals given off at these points provide information about the health status of the body’s organs and organ systems, and can also be used to detect the presence of toxins, energy and hormonal imbalances, and harmful microorganisms such as Candida albicans. In the hands of a highly skilled EDS practitioner, EDS can often detect candida as well as many other health conditions, even when other sophisticated testing methods fail to do so, because of the fact that both health and disease are first and foremost the results of balanced or imbalanced energy.
Stool Analysis: A stool analysis can be helpful in detecting candida, and can also help to evaluate the health of the person’s digestive system. Stool analysis can help determine the levels of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as other digestive markers that can be indicative of candida.
Natural Cures: The conventional medical treatment of candida is limited to anti-fungal medications, such as Nystatin, Ketoconazol, and Diflucan. Although these drugs can be useful in severe cases of candida that resist other forms of treatment, natural health practitioners warn against using them as a first choice because of the dangerous side effects they can cause, including suppressed immune function. In addition, the cost of the drugs can be very expensive. Moreover, Nystatin, one of the most popular drugs for treating candida, can actually cause Candida albicans to mutate into other species of yeast that are resistant to Nystatin treatment. Also, Nystatin has been shown to remain in the intestines after it has been used, continuing to destroy healthy bacteria, which is one of the causes of candida in the first place. Because of these and other shortfalls of conventional drug treatment, natural health practitioners prefer to use a comprehensive treatment approach that addresses all possible causes of candida while simultaneously strengthening overall immune function. The primary therapies that make up such an approach follow below:
Note: Although self-care can be useful for less severe cases of candida, it is recommended that you work with a natural health care practitioner who is experienced in treating the disease. Complete recovery from candida usually requires at least three months of treatment, and can often take six or more months before final results are achieved. This lengthy recovery is due to the systemic nature of the disease, which requires time to be fully addressed.
In women, yeast infections are the second most common reason for vaginal burning, itching, and discharge. Yeasts are found in the vagina of most women and can overgrow if the environment in the vagina changes. Antibiotic and steroid use is the most common reason for yeast overgrowth. But pregnancy, menstruation, sperm, diabetes, and birth control pills also can contribute to getting a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.
- In people who have a weakened immune system because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, candidal infections can occur throughout the entire body and can be life-threatening. The blood, brain, eye, kidney, and heart are most frequently affected, but the candidal fungus also can grow in the lungs, liver, and spleen. Candida is the leading cause of esophagitis (inflammation in the throat) in people with AIDS.
- Almost 15% of people with weakened immune systems develop a systemic illness caused by Candida. These infections enter into the bloodstream through breakdowns or cuts in the skin or mucous membranes. Candidal organisms may build up in an area because of frequent use of strong antibiotics, which kill the bacteria that normally keep it under control.
- Use of devices implanted in the skin such as urinary catheters and IV ports also provide access for the yeast to enter the body. IV drug addicts using dirty needles may inject the yeast directly into their bloodstream or deep tissues.
- Antibiotics – these kill the “good” intestinal bacteria as well as the bad. They can cause the altered, imbalanced environment that Candida reuires to change into its aggressive form. Antibiotics alter the balance of intestinal flora and suppress the immune system.
- Dietary factors – Milk should be avoided because it contains lactose, a type of sugar that promotes Candida growth. Other foods that promote candida are those that contain mould or yeasts such as bred and pastries, cheeses, dried fruits and peanuts. White flour and sugar can also be responsible for Candida overgrowth.
- Alcohol – Alcohol is composed of fermented and refined sugars. It is also more toxic than sugar and feeds yeast.
- Environmental factors – Damp environments like musty or mouldy basements may encourage yeast growth. Exposure to environmental pollutants such as pesticide residues, car exhaust, industrial chemicals and heavy metals (particularly from mercury amalgam fillings) may also foster the growth of Candida.
A healthy diet is one of the most important steps for successfully treating candida. The goal of your diet should be to reduce or eliminate the foods that Candida albicans and other yeasts thrive upon, and to create a slightly alkaline internal environment that is rich in oxygen, making it extremely difficult for unhealthy yeast and other pathogens to survive.
To eliminate foods that support yeast overgrowth, avoid all sources of sugar, including all sugar products such as sucanat, honey, molasses, maple, agave, brown rice, and all of the refined syrups such as corn syrup. Read food labels, carefully avoiding foods that contain sweeteners of any kind, including those listed above, along with dextrose, fructose, fruit juices, or concentrated fruit juice sweeteners, lactose, and sucrose. Eliminate all forms of alcohol, and simple or refined carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, baked goods, and all foods made from white or refined flour. Abstain from most fruits with the exception of berries, grapefruit and green apples. Refrain from eating potatoes including yams and sweet potatoes, and other sweet or starchy vegetables such as parsnips, beets, peas and corn. More diet details can be found in the Candida Cleanse.
Most people with candida also suffer from food allergies. Therefore, it is important to be tested for food allergies and sensitivities, and to avoid allergic foods for a minimum of three months, so that your body has the opportunity to recover from the burden of eating them. If the foods to which you are allergic or sensitive are healthy foods, you can reintroduce them into your diet one at a time after your health has improved, and then eat them no more frequently than once every four to seven days. If they still provoke an allergic reaction, however, you should eliminate them from your diet.
Mould-containing foods should be avoided such as cheese, grapes, mushrooms, and all pasteurized fermented foods. Raw cultured vegetables that have not been heat pasteurized such as sauerkraut, Kim chi, and other raw cultured vegetables, are an excellent choice. Read more about the benefits of cultured and fermented foods in the Candida Diet section of the Candida Cleanse. Every effort should be made to eliminate pasteurized milk and dairy products, including yogurt, due to the lactose sugar. Small quantities of raw yogurt or kefir are acceptable, and especially good if made from raw goat, rather than cow’s milk. Minimize your intake of commercially harvested meats and poultry because of the antibiotics, hormones, and steroids they contain. Whenever possible, choose organic, free-range meats and poultry instead.
The following dietary guidelines should be followed for 4-6 weeks as you begin your overall candida treatment:
Eliminate: All foods that contain yeast, including bread, biscuits, and cakes; all pasteurized heat treated fermented foods, including vinegar, soy sauce, and pickled foods; all forms of sugar and foods that contain sugar, including sweets and chocolates, honey, maple syrup, soda, sweetened drinks, and sweetened foods; all pasteurized milk and dairy products, including yogurt; all foods that contain artificial sweeteners, colorings, preservatives, and other additives, as well as trans-fatty acids and partially hydrogenated oils; all refined white flour products; all fruits except grapefruit, berries and green apples; all alcohol products; all black teas, and coffee.
Eat frequently: Choose from a wide range of fresh vegetables and salads, emphasizing organic, leafy-green vegetables; complex whole grains, especially quinoa, buckwheat and millet; garlic; and cold-pressed raw coconut and extra virgin olive oil.
Also include, but less frequently: Lean, organic meats and poultry; wild caught fish; eggs; almonds; seeds, and complex grains and legumes.
Eating in this way will not only help your body’s recovery from candida, it will also help shift it into a slightly alkaline, oxygen-enriched state that will make it impossible for Candida albicans to thrive.
For more in-depth food and supplement guidelines, see the Candida Cleanse, please.
Nutritional supplements can play a very important role in your recovery from candida, because of their ability to improve immune function while also improving digestion and aiding in your body’s detoxification process. They are especially valuable for people who are severely rundown due to suffering from candida for months or years.
Recommended nutritional supplements for candida include:
- Vitamin A
- Beta carotene
- All B-complex vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- A good probiotic formula containing acidophilus and bifidobacteria is important, as is fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a healthy sugar that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.
- Essential fatty acids, especially those rich in omega-3 oils, and adrenal extract are also advised.
- The amino acid taurine can help, as can supplementing with hydrochloric acid (HCl), which can significantly improve digestion and therefore the assimilation of other nutrients.
- Colloidal silver can help, as well.
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D has been shown to be beneficial. Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of 4 weeks at a time.
To further aid digestion and improve immune function, you should also supplement with digestive enzymes. Especially useful in this regard are the enzymes amylase and cellulose, both of which can also help to digest and eliminate unhealthy yeasts, including Candida albicans.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis – click here.
– Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): www.rogercallahan.com
- Reiki –- find a local reiki practitioner here.
The healing properties of clove oil: www.naturalnews.com/033579_clove_oil_healing.html
Turmeric treats candida: www.naturalnews.com/028043_turmeric_candida.html
Treating candida naturally: wholeintentions.com/2011/10/treating-candida-naturally
Cure candida naturally: www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V6FN5NF8-k
How to cure candida quickly and naturally: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkEzoNl7CoA
Ayurveda and candida: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWpmcB2v5jM
Colloidal silver benefits for candida: www.naturalnews.com/034904_colloidal_silver_MRSA_candida.html
Candida triggers ear infections in children: www.naturalnews.com/036539_candida_ear_infections_overgrowth.html
Candida found on retainers: www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/219276.php
Studying the progression of candida albicans from benign to life-threatening: www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/84701.php
Further Information (links and books)
Candida Albicans: Could Yeast be Your Problem? Leon Chaitow; Chronic Candidiasis: The Yeast Syndrome, Michael T Murray; Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook: Everything You Need to Know About Prevention, Treatment and Diet, Jeanne Marie Martin; Solving The Puzzle of Chronic fatigue Syndrome, Michael Rosenbaum.
www.ejuva.com (866) 463-5882
www.renewlife.com (800) 830-1800
Pure Body Institute
www.pbiv.com (800) 952-7873
www.lifeforce.net (800) 531-4877
Body Ecology Diet
www.bodyecology.com (800) 511-2660
www.newlifevitamins.com (888) 777-0468
www.naturessecret.com (800) 297-3273
Andrea Butje | Aromahead [email protected] – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt [email protected] – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA [email protected] – meditation, stress
judith hoad [email protected] – herbalist.
Kath May [email protected] – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges [email protected] – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika [email protected] – aromatherapy.
Rakesh [email protected] – Ayurvedic Practitioner.