WHAT IS CANDIDA:
Candida is a micro-organism in the category of yeast, fungi or mold, normally found on the skin, in the mouth, gut and other mucous membranes that cause infection when our natural resistance to it’s overgrowth is reduced. Candida has the chameleon-like ability to change from a yeast to the mycelial fungal form – it is a dimorphic organism. The yeast-like form is a non-invasive, sugar-fermenting organism. The fungal form produces rhizoids, (long root-like structures which are invasive and can penetrate the intestinal mucosa causing "leaky gut" syndrome), releasing metabolic toxins, and incompletely digested proteins into the blood stream. This initiates a series of adverse reactions that may cause tissue damage, and a wide range of problems, including food sensitivities and allergies.
Candida will steal your breath, your energy, your life. There are minute quantities along with millions of beneficial B vitamin producing bacteria (Lactobacilli) in a healthy body, but under adverse conditions these can invade deeper into the tissues and organs – such as the liver and kidneys or brain, and become abundant and systemic. It is estimated that 70% of people have Candida overgrowth in their intestines, mouths or on their skin.
CAUSES OF CANDIDA ALBICANS:
Candida overgrowth and invasion occurs when the immune system is suppressed and neutrophils are not as active or abundant in the body. Antibiotics appear to be the main cause of Candida as they kill off the beneficial bacteria which normally suppress it. Mutant or wild type bacteria are created which are highly resistant to antibiotics.
The following can increase the overgrowth of CANDIDA:
1. Meat and animal products: grown commercially – antibiotic residues in meats
2. Refined foods and foods high in sugars
4. Pregnancy: Spermicide kills healthy bacteria in the female reproductive system.
5. Diabetes mellitus:
7. Mercury: from dental (amalgam) fillings increases toxic load and acidity
8. Chlorine: from both drinking or pool water
9. Poor diet, poor digestion and mal-absorption
10. Recreational Drugs: Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, etc. stress the liver, adrenals, and immune system.
11. Contraceptive Pill: Hormones in birth control pills encourage yeast growth.
12. Medical Drugs: Cortisone, Prednisone, etc. encourage yeast growth.
13. Operations, Catheterization:
14. Chemotherapy, Radiation, Anti-Cancer Drugs:
15. Anti-fungal Pharmaceuticals, (Oral and Topical Cortizone) produce new resistant strains of Candida, have very long lists of side effects and contraindications, BUT are seldom effective for long.
16. Reduced oxygen supplies: Oxygen will help kill germs, bacteria, virus and fungus; adequate oxygen stores reduce bio-chemical stresses and maximizes bodily function in the presence of parasites such as candida.
WHO GETS CANDIDA?
Anyone and everyone – including babies who have it passed on to them from their mothers during birth or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are more susceptible due to hormonal changes, stress and higher nutrient needs which are often not met. Yeast needs food, water, warmth and darkness, and typically starts growing in the intestinal tract and spills over into the reproductive area – making women more susceptible for vaginal “thrush”.
Candida overgrowth begins in the body due to exposure to any of the above – or anything else that kills off normal bacterial flora, suppresses immunity or feeds the body too much fungal nourishment! Candida will then often first spread within the Gl tract. Many symptoms can develop, such as gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, constipation and/or diarrhea, and major cravings for sugar, starches and alcohol, which are the foods the Candida increasingly demands. The more “candida foods” are consumed, the worse one feels as Candida proliferates, releasing toxins and interfering with digestion. Eventually, the yeast can enter the blood stream and spreads throughout the body – first into the liver – which receives a large blood supply directly from the intestines (where the Candida starts). Once the liver is affected – the food cravings start and changes can be seen in appetites – eating foods that the Candida craves! At this point, the immune system begins to be overwhelmed and to falter. As the Candida spreads, symptoms grow more diffuse and convoluted: Depression, lethargy, mental confusion/fog, mood swings, PMS, confused thyroid function, susceptibility to infections (sinus, respiratory, bladder, gums, etc.), sensitivity to pollutants, fumes (which can become full-blown "environmental illness"), achy muscles and/or joints, skin fungus…
Symptoms vary depending on the area of the body which is infected – but in general the digestive system is always affected first.
Mental, emotional, nervous system:
- Headaches and migraines
- Depression and moodswings
- Sleep problems — difficulty falling asleep, or waking up in the middle of the night with a mind that won’t calm down (typically between 1 and 3 am)
- Irritability and confusion
- Poor memory
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Heart beating too fast or irregularly
- Sexual problems — impotence or lack of desire, or excessive sexuality
- Attention deficit, hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD)
- Dizziness and numbness
- Feeling of floating or not quite being in your body
- Indecisiveness, difficulty organizing and cleaning messy areas
- Cravings for sugar, chocolate, milk, cheese, vinegar, pickles, alcohol, bread, nuts or fruit
- “Metabolic syndrome” which includes the following: truncal obesity (“beer belly”), adult-onset diabetes, high cholesterol or triglycerides, high blood pressure
- Acid reflux/GERD (heartburn)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Bloating, flatulence or abdominal pain
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and leaky gut
- Bad breath
- White spots on tongue and in mouth or white coated tongue
- Excessively thin or anorexic/bulimic
Skin, eyes, hair:
- Skin and nail fungal infections (current or past), including: athlete’s foot, vaginal infections, fungal toenails, ringworm, jock itch, itchy eyelids
- Skin problems like eczema, rashes, psoriasis and acne
- Prematurely graying hair
- Pupils always dilated
- Unusually green eyes, or eye color has turned greenish
Immune disorders / Respiratory:
- Asthma, allergies and food intolerances
- Recurring infections — colds, ears, bladder, sinus
- Rhinitis, sneezing or wheezing
- Canker sores, sore throat, congestion, nagging cough, clogged sinuses
- Autoimmune disease (lupus, hypothyroidism, arthritis, others)
- Sensitivity to perfume and chemicals
- Penicillin allergy
- Fatigue – extreme
- Muscle or joint pain, fibromyalgia
- Cold feet, cold hands, sometimes cold nose
- Sweating, especially at night
- Uncomfortable at any temperature
- Adrenal problems
Women’s health issues:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and irregular menstuation
- Endometriosis (chronic pelvic pain)
- Infertility (female), some miscarriages, toxemia of pregnancy (pre-eclampsia)
- Rectal itching
- Kidney and bladder infections
- Urinary frequency and urgency
Symptoms seen particularly in children up to about 8 years old:
- Early allergy to foods like milk
- Frequent infections as a baby. Child has or had frequent ear infections, tonsillitis, strep throat or bladder infections, especially if these infections were treated with antibiotics
- Cravings for milk, cheese, yogurt, macaroni and cheese, or peanut butter
- “Drama king” or “drama queen” — complains quite vocally and often
- Poor sleep patterns: difficulty going to sleep, sleeps too lightly, frequent nightmares, wakes up too early or too late)
- Too thin or overweight
- Pale complexion, dark circles under the eyes
- Attention deficit with or without hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD)
- Aggressive, poor social interactions, can’t stop moving, frequent fights or arguments, frequent crying Autism
WHAT IS RECOMMENDED?
Many therapists recommend the well-known (and feared) CANDIDA DIET! I personally am against this – as all it appears to do is starve the Candida into dormancy! Once off the diet, it seems to thrive at the same pace as before. Candida micro-organisms have been found in mummies exhumed from tombs that are thousands of years old – and survived!
The main areas of focus should be:
- PHYO DERIVED ANTI FUNGAL SUPPLEMENTS / REMEDIES: (MAXIMISED CURCUMINOIDS) First, the candida and fungal population of the body must be gradually, yet significantly reduced. There are many remedies, and I have tried them all – but have only found the Maximized Curcuminoids to be effective on a permanent basis.
- STRENGTHEN and SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: (IMMUNE DEFENSE) The immune system must be strengthened, and activated to further deplete candida or fungal overgrowth.
- REBUILD THE HEALTH and BALANCE THE GI TRACT WITH HIGH DOSES OF PROBIOTICS IN AS MANY STRAINS AS POSSIBLE: (GREEN VIBRANCE) Pro-biotics help the body restore bacterial dominance in the intestines and other tissues – vital to prevent the yeast from taking over again. Re-seeding the colon with friendly flora, will not only increase the absorption of micronutrients, but will also help normalize the pH of the gastrointestinal tract.
- NUTRITIONAL SUPERFOOD and VITAMIN SUPPORT: (GREEN VIBRANCE, RAINBOW VIBRANCE, SUPER NATURAL C) boost the daily intake of multi superfoods, green foods, Vit C and Omega 3’s.
- INCREASE FIBER INTAKE: (GREEN VIBRANCE and FIELD OF GREENS) fiber speeds up transit time in the gut – reduces putrefication and bacterial breeding grounds, as well as reabsorption of toxins. It also prevents constipation and reduces intestinal sludge – which decreases nutrient absorption.
- DIGESTIVE ENZYMES: (GREEN VIBRANCE) will help breakdown food entering the digestive system more effectively, increase absorption and leave less “food” available to feed the “yeast cells”. Protein enzymes also help by digesting numerous toxins released by “die-off” of Candida cells, and assist the immune system by cleansing the blood.
- EATING PLAN: eliminate sugars, juices, too much fruit, starches, refined foods and alcohol as much as possible.
- TOXIC EXPOSURE: Avoid exposure to toxins, sprays, solvents, and chemicalised foods.
- EXERCISE: The lymph only pumps when you move your legs, arms and your chest expands and contracts.
- KEEP DRY: Remember food, darkness, warmth, moisture? Many synthetics fibres in clothing (underwear) trap moisture on the skin. Use natural fibers, cotton and silk are best.
- WATER. Hydrate cells and flush waste. Drink a minimum of 2 – 3 L of fresh purified water per day. Only water counts as water; not juice, coffee, tea etc.
- BREATHE DEEPLY: Oxygen helps destroy Candida and the way we breathe dictates oxygen quantity and nervous system balance as well as maintaining proper pH balance.
- RELAXATION, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT and MEDITATION / ANTI-STRESS: Candida “die-off” causes huge emotional disturbances (not dissimilar to Candida symptoms) such as depression, panic attacks, irritability, aggression etc. and you need to support your mind and your body. Stress is one of the greatest challenges to our immune systems – and puts pressure on every cell and organ in the body.
WHAT IS “DIE-OFF” or THE HERXHEIMER REACTION?
As the plant based anti-fungal kills off and neutralizes the Candida, be prepared and prepare your friends and family that you may be more lethargic and grumpy than usual. You may experience flu-like symptoms, headaches, and diarrhea. Cravings for sugar, starches and/or alcohol may suddenly increase, but it usually doesn’t last long. “Die-off” can begin in the first day or two or after about a week and usually only lasts about 5 – 6 days at most. Lemon water helps alkalinize the system through the “die-off”.
If following the Maximized Curcuminoids anti Candida plan – this must be followed strictly and for the allotted time of 6 months – although the dosage usually comes down dramatically after the first 2 weeks. Candida organisms are tough to destroy – as they have an inherent genetic variability and can transform themselves through genetically rearranging themselves when faced with an attack (they can simply disappear or morph into something else).
Depending on how long the Candida has been out of hand, how run down the immune system, adrenals, digestion, etc. are, it can take up to 18 months to completely repair the damage done by Candida and restore good health maybe for the first time in one’s life!
WHAT TO AVOID!
This is purely a guideline and seems to vary from person to person, but in general – these foods are to be avoided as much as possible – without being totally Nazi-like!
SUGAR: white, brown or raw, sweets (all kinds), maple syrup, rice syrup, sweeteners, honey, malt, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, corn syrup, miso, Nutrasweet, Aspartame, Saccharine.
FUNGAL or YEAST FOODS: Mushrooms, asparagus, peanuts, beer, cheese, Bovril, marmite, wine, vinegar, peanut butter, Soy Sauce,
DAIRY PRODUCTS: Milk, Cheese.
ALCOHOL, COFFEE and TEA: Tea (except Rooibos, Chamomile, Spearmint and Pau D’Arco),
FRUIT and JUICES: Fruit juices (any kind), canned fruit, oranges, bananas, grapes and dried fruit (raisins, dates, figs, etc.),
STARCHES: grains in general, (except quinoa, millet and rice), potato chips and French fries. Left over food in general, lard, margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils.
WHAT FOODS TO FOCUS ON:
Vegetable juices: Fresh carrot, celery and/or parsley juice.
Freshly squeezed Lemon water drunken throughout the day and ½ hour before meals.
Water: preferably spring or filtered 8 to 10 glasses a day, 1/2 hour before meals, or I hour after Pau D ‘Arco or another of the teas to enjoy – such as spearmint tea. Emphasis on foods known to have anti-fungal properties such as garlic, onions, broccoli, cabbage, kale, collards, brussel sprouts, olive and flax oils, cinnamon and cloves.