Sunday, June 29, 2014

Let's Talk About ... Candida

If you Google Candida, you will be bombarded with images of yeasty overgrowth in the girly or manly parts.  I want to stress that, although it can certainly manifest this way, this is NOT what I'm writing about today.
"What, on earth, is Candida?"

Candida, or Candidiasis, is a fungus.  It is a form of yeast and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines.  Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption.  When we die, it helps the body with decomposition.  However, when overproduced, Candida produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls leaving microscopic holes which allows toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream.  This condition is known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome” which can cause food allergies and many health problems.  These root-like structures also cause considerable damage to the walls of the intestines resulting in malabsorption of nutrients.

"Yuck, that sounds terrible!  What are the symptoms??"

The top 10 most common symptoms are:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections. 
  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Autoimmune disease 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 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 seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

"ACK!  I have many of these symptoms.  How does this happen??"

The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keeps your Candida levels in check.  However, several factors can cause the Candida population to run amok: 

  • Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast)
  • Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles
  • Drinking alcohol 
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Living a high-stress lifestyle
  • Taking antibiotics that kill too many of those friendly bacteria

"How can I test for it to see if I have it?"

Your doctor can order a blood test, stool test or a Urine Organix Dysbiosis test (a fancy name for checking for candida waste product).  You could also drink a glass of red wine at night just before you go to bed. The next morning, when you wake up, go look at your tongue in the mirror. If your tongue is white then there is a very high chance that you have Candida.

OR you can do the Spit Test.
The Spit Test:
Put a clear glass of water by your bed the night you want to do the test.
When you wake up in the morning, before doing ANYTHING else, collect some saliva in your mouth and spit into the glass of water.  Make certain to spit out saliva only, not mucus.  Watch the water for a a few minutes and see if the following starts to occur.

 Look for:
  1. Strings or legs hanging down from the saliva.
  2. Heavy looking saliva at the bottom of the glass.
  3. Gloomy specks suspended in the water.
If, within 3 minutes after spitting into the water, you see “strings” hanging down sorta looking like an octopus with its tentacles or “particles” sinking to the bottom, you most likely have an overgrowth

"HELP!  I have it!!  What do I do?"

You can adapt your diet. This involves changing to a low carbohydrate diet and eliminating as much sugar as possible. Sugar is Crack to Candida. It seriously goes into withdrawals when it doesn't get it. You will start to have severe cravings for refined carbohydrates like candy, desserts, alcohol and breads. Other names for sugar are:
Aspartame, carob powder, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanat, xylitol.  
Candida doesn't care.  It sees them all as FOOD.    

Using diet alone could take three to six months before the candida is back under control. Taking a probiotic will help speed this along.  

"Great!  I want to start right away!!!"

A note of caution:
While Candida is dying off, you may experience "die-off" symptoms.  Die-off symptoms are caused by high numbers of yeast being killed off, which releases a high number toxins into the system.  This is also know as the Herxheimer’s reaction, or yeast die-off phenomenon.  Die-off symptoms resemble the flu and can be very uncomfortable.  If the symptoms become too much to bear, it can be temporarily alleviated by taking an Epsom salts bath.  Epsom salts draws toxins out through the skin and helps minimized die-off symptom.
(add two cups, or 500 grams, of Epsom salts to warm bath water)

There are many sites on the Internet to help you with your lifestyle change.  My favorites are:

For more information on Candida, watch:

Articles sources:

Patra Philips,
Live Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy!
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