naturopathy for candida
What is Candida?
Candida is a family of yeast-like fungi which lives in the mucus lining of our gut. It also thrives in warm, moist parts of our body such as our vagina, armpits and groin. We all have Candida in our body. Candida only becomes problematic when we have an overgrowth. If untreated Candida overgrowth eventually compromises our overall health.
Candida, Fungus or yeast infection is increasingly common today. Regrettably it is not recognised by many practitioners and is frequently misdiagnosed as IBS, eczema, psoriasis, emotional and psychological problems, compulsive eating, depression, cystic fibrosis, ME and more.
Alternatively, many people assume they have Candida just because they have a white tongue and several Candida symptoms, when in fact the symptoms are shared by several other health issues such as parasites, Lyme disease, gut dysbiosis or SIBO. So it’s important to get yourself tested so you know exactly what you need to target.
The most common causes of Candida are amalgam or mercury fillings, repeated antibiotics, steroids, the Oral Contraception Pill, stress and the wrong foods.
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What causes an overgrowth of Candida?
The most common causes of Candida are amalgam or mercury fillings, repeated antibiotics at any time in your life, steroids, the Oral Contraception Pill, prolonged stress, sudden shock or trauma together with a diet high in refined carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol, sugar and yeast.
All of the above wipe out our “friendly” microbiome which keep Candida in check. Candida then changes from a beneficial yeast into a harmful fungus. In its fungal form it develops long root-like structures that penetrate your gut walls. This leads to leaky gut syndrome allowing partially digested proteins to travel into your bloodstream where they act as toxins causing diverse health problems. Toxins from yeast or Candida overgrowth overload your liver and kidneys. The result is increasing intolerances to foods. Your body tries to expel excess toxins through the skin, provoking rashes, itching and acne. Thrush is a symptom of systemic Candidiasis. Some, but not all, women with systemic Candidiasis suffer from Thrush. Mothers can pass Candida to their children through breast-feeding, or the birth canal, and genital thrush can be transmitted through intimate contact. Fungal nails and athlete’s foot are signs of systemic Candida.
How do you recognise Candida?
The first Candida infections are usually mild in nature and brief. They can clear up unaided when your immune system is able to cope, and if a healthy life balance returns. Otherwise, the infections tend to return with increasing frequency, eventually becoming chronic.
Common symptoms are tiredness or exhaustion, gastric discomfort such as wind, bloating, digestive problems, IBS (constipation and/or diarrhoea alternating), and food cravings. Consuming high sugar foods or alcohol may lead to a crash in energy and depression. You lose all self-control and over-consume. You may gain weight, just a few pounds or several stones, and you may be unable to lose this despite counting calories and exercising regularly.
Do I have Candida?
Candida is called the Grand Deceiver because each person presents his or her own unique collection of Candida symptoms. A common misconception is that people with Candida must also have genital Candida (vaginal thrush or eruptions on the penis and in the groin) and skin eruptions. Some people do, but most don’t.
If you have had repeated antibiotics, you almost certainly have Candida. Other symptoms are craving sweet foods, carbs or alcohol. You might have intermittent skin rashes (with Candida they come in every shape and form). Your energy will crash after eating foods that feed Candida and you may have severe mood swings (for which your GP might want to prescribe anti-depressants). I used to get horribly depressed after consuming wheat and sugar (ice-cream, biscuits etc.) and my energy would fall through the floor.
How do I treat Candida overgrowth?
- Eliminate foods that feed Candida. Yeasts thrive on a high-sugar diet
- Alkalise yourself with natural products such as organic cider vinegar (one tablespoon in a glass of water daily). Candida can’t thrive in an alkaline environment
- Take anti-fungal treatment and alternate every six weeks or so since Candida becomes immune to treatment after about six weeks
- Remove other pathological bacteria and/or parasites
- Repair any leaky gut
- Restore your beneficial microbiome, the good bacteria that keep Candida and pathological bacteria under control
- The Genova GI Effects lab test will show if you are lacking in lactobacillus, bifidobacterium or both and what toxins are present (parasites, pathological bacteria…)
Look out for more advice in future blogs….
Check out the candida questionnaire…
Dr William Crooke compiled a Candida Questionnaire which is a good indicator of Candidiasis. The higher the score the greater the likelihood of your having Candida overgrowth.
How could functional medicine help you?
Get in touch to set up a time to discuss your situation on Skype. I offer a free 20 minute chat so you can find out more about naturopathy and whether it might be the right approach for you.
© TARA ALEX ZENKER • CREATED BY KERI WILLIAMS
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