Candida Albicans is yeast, a single-cell living organism that is neither animal nor vegetable but lives on the surface of all living things. Yeast are part of the microflora (tiny plants) that contribute to the health of their host. Mildew, mold, mushrooms, Candia and Monilla are names that describe different types of yeast.
Candida albican normally lives on the crevices and inner warm creases of the vagina and digestive tract and when the immune system is strong it poses no health issues. However, poor diet, the use of medications, alcohol, stress and antibiotics can all kill our healthy bacteria. Candida is not affected by antibiotics so they multiply rapidly when the healthy bacteria is reduced by antibiotic treatment.
Candida releases toxins that weaken the immune system, causing reoccurring infections that often leads to more antibiotics, causing a vicious cycle of Candida overgrowth. The immune system is intimately related to the brain and endocrine systems which is why the symptoms of Candida are so widespread.
Candida is an opportunistic flora that generally takes over our colon and gut area when eating a conventional high sugar, white food diet. Along with the Candida other fungi, harmful bacteria, and parasites can invade. An infected intestinal system cannot process and assimilate many of the vitamins we need from foods, such as B vitamins that are imperative for brain function and found to be low (especially B6) in virtually anyone experiencing depression. Candida also breaks down the intestinal wall (leaky gut) leeching toxic byproducts from the colon to the bloodstream.
Many of the body's hormone production occurs in the intestinal tract and 90 to 95% of our serotonin, the key neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, is produced inside our intestines. 70% of our immune cells line the gut walls. When the candida population increases, it suppresses the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
Acetaldehyde, a byproduct of yeast (candida), also reacts with the dopamine neurotransmitter, causing mental symptoms such as anxiety, depression, poor concentration, and poor cognitive function, including feeling spaced-out.
Candida impairs the liver's ability to store vitamin B12, often leading to anemia. Depression and other more serious mental issues can develop quickly.
The byproducts of candida's metabolism are toxic and as Candida travels the bloodstream it finds other areas of the body to deposit, invading systems, making detoxifying the blood every difficult. As the blood becomes sluggish its ability to regenerate diminishes, and the body begins to age, ache, develop allergies and at times can lead to autoimmune issues.
Candida secretes over 79 different toxins that can adversely affect the central nervous system, cognitive and neurological function, sleep cycles, causing liver and gallbladder dysfunction, gut permeability (leaky gut syndrome), heavy metal toxicity, hydrochloric acid deficiency which in turn increases gut symptoms, sinus infections, mouth, ear and reoccurring urinary tract infections, to name a few.
Some Causes Candida:
- A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Oral Contraceptives
- Eating a diet high in fermented foods (Kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, etc)
- High stress lifestyle
- Weakened Immune System
Symptoms related to Candida include:
- Chronic Inflammation
- Digestive problems
- Weight loss resistance
- Hormonal imbalances
- Psoriasis, eczema or chronic skin rashes
- Intense cravings for carbs or sugar
- Gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation.
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Coliits, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or MS.
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives and rashes
- Increased PMS symptoms, endometriosis, bladder or kidney infections
- Autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s, MS, Lupus Rheumatoid Arthritis
If left untreated Candida increases inflammation causing devastating systemic problems that affect internal organs including:
- Sinuses and/or mouth
- Bladder and/or kidneys
- Stomach, gut or intestines
- Nervous system
Testing for Candida
- Blood Test – checks the levels for Candida antibodies called IgG, IgA and IgM. High levels indicate an overgrowth of Candida.
- Stool Testing – This is the most accurate test and can determine whether Candida is in your colon or lower intestines, determine the species of yeast and identify the most effective treatment.
Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test – This test looks for a waste product of Candida yeast overgrowth that’s called D-arabinitol. Elevated levels indicate an overgrowth of Candida and whether the yeast is in your upper gut or small intestines.
Water Glass test is the least accurate but may identify whether Candida is in the saliva. This is an at-home test and instructions can easily be found online.
Effectively Treating Candida Involves
- Stopping the yeast overgrowth
- Killing the existing yeast
- Healing the gut
- Restoring the healthy bacteria that normally keeps Candida in check.
Eliminating all sugar including candy, alcohol, white flour, desserts, processed foods, etc. is essential because Candida uses these simple sugars as food. Reduce to 1-2 cups a day of complex carbohydrates such as beans, grains and potatoes. Eliminate all fermented foods. Add probiotics.
Include in your diet non-starchy vegetables, healthy proteins, herbs, spices, healthy fats and oil, and low sugar fruits. Many Candida diet meal plans and options can be found online.
Probiotics and enzymes can also assist in the die-off of Candida.
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