When Good Bacteria Turns Bad – How Candida Can Explain Your Mysterious Symptoms

 

Human tongue covered in Candida

We know that our bodies carry all kinds of good bacteria.  One of these is the usually benign yeast Candida Albicans. Candida is a fungus that aids with nutrient absorption and digestion, when in proper levels in the body.  Due to a variety of factors, Candida can grow rapidly and overwhelm the lining of the intestinal tract and, at this point, Candida has become VERY unfriendly.  The toxic and acidic by-products and waste can then enter the bloodstream to be deposited in tissues throughout the body.  This compromises our immunity and even our appearance.

Warning Signs

Candida is nearly an epidemic in our society and is responsible for many of the chronic illness categories we see so frequently. Candida symptoms are vast and all encompassing and can even incapacitate the individual.

Most people are unaware that it even exists, because most mainstream doctors are uneducated about its impact on our health. People suffering from this condition often go from doctor to doctor for years and are usually told they are a hypochondriac or that it is stress or a psychiatric problem, before ever discovering the real culprit.

Normally Candida lives in harmony with a variety of other microorganisms and actually performs a important functions.  The problem occurs when something upsets the balance of bacteria in the body and this allows the yeast organism to proliferate and take over all the healthy microorganisms.

Candida normally resides in the intestinal tract, mouth, throat and genitals, however it can burrow holes in the intestinal tract, enter the blood stream and then make its way into any organ of the body. To make matters worse it emits over 70 different toxins into the body. Some people may even become allergic to the yeast itself.

Once this hardy organism proliferates in the body, it wrecks havoc in many ways and is the initiator of many common maladies, conditions, syndromes and illnesses.

Candida Overgrowth

Common Symptoms of Candida

  • Allergies, sensitivities and intolerances that worsen in damp, muggy or moldy places or weather that is damp, muggy, humid or rainy
  • Hay fever and asthma
  • Intolerance or allergies to perfumes, odors, fumes, fabric shop odors, grass, pets or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and a wide range of airborne substances
  • Athletes’ foot
  • Babies struggle with colic, diaper rash, thrush (coated white tongue), and cradle cap
  • Easy bruising
  • Tenderness and pain in the cheekbone or forehead
  • Cold hands and feet, low body temperature
  • Symptoms that indicate cold – mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs
  • Cravings for sugar, bread, pasta, pastry and high carb foods; alcohol
  • Abnormal formation of cysts in different body parts; these commonly appear around the neck, throat, and ovaries, in the bladder or scrotum
  • Problems with the digestive system– diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from bacteria, including salmonella, Escherichia coli, Helicobacter pylori, and others
  • -Ears –tinnitus (ringing in the ears), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear aches, discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, excessive wax buildups
  • Eyes – erratic vision, eye floaters (spots in front of the eyes) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing or inability to tear, and others
  • Fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome or Epstein Barr, loss of energy, lethargy, drowsiness
  • Symptoms that indicate flu
  • Swollen glands, decreases secretion of saliva (dryness in the mouth), improper function of the salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes
  • Hair loss, scum, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness
  • Irregular heart beat and heart palpitations
  • Headache, migraine, brain fog, dizziness
  • Hemorrhoids, rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level); diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, improper thyroid function
  • Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and panic attack
  • Skin lesions, and lessions inside the body, i.e. brain lessions
  • Male problems – jock itch, decreased libido, impotence, prostitis, penis infections, problems when urinating, frequent urination, painful intercourse, swollen scrotum
  • Female problems – infertility, vaginitis, unpleasant odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, irregular menstrual cycle, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharges, painful intercourse, decreased libido, redness or swelling in the area around the vulva, itching or thrush in the vagina, burning sensation or redness, persistent infections
  • Fungal infections that affect the skin or nails, including ringworm, saborrheic dermatitis, dark and light patches on the skin (tinea versicolor)
  • Joint pain, stiffness or swollen joints (arthritis)
  • Kidney and bladder – infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation and infection), frequent urination, low urine output, unpleasant smell of urine, difficulty urinating, burning sensation when urinating
  • Appetite loss
  • Mind and Mood – anxiety attacks, crying, memory loss, feeling of being spaced out, depression(including suicidal thoughts), manic feelings, concentrate problems, mood swings, irritability
  • Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath, white layer on the tongue (thrush) and improper function of the salivary glands
  • Muscle pain, numbness, burning or tingling, loss of strength and coordination
  • Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness
  • Unpleasant odor of feet, hair or body; it does not relieve even by washing
  • Respiratory problems – cough, bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma
  • Feeling sick
  • Sinusitis, swelling and infections in the sinuses
  • Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea
  • Stomach problems – Helicobacter pylori bacteria (ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, stab-like pain, feeling a lump after consuming certain foods
  • Sleep – insomnia, frequent waking up, nightmares, improper sleep
  • Sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickling in throat, laryngitis (loss of voice)

Candida Overgrowth in the Gut

One of the most well known forms of yeast is the vaginal yeast infection.  However, it may play a role in just about any mental health condition or chronic illness you can think of.

Yeast overgrowth is considered to be a leading contributor in alcoholism, anxiety disorders, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, Addison’s Disease, MCS – multiple chemical sensitivities, Crohns, autism, CFS – chronic fatigue syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, PMS, Endometriosis,  FMS- fibromyalgia syndrome, Prostatitis, Attention Deficit Disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, Asthma, food allergies, muscle and joint pain, clinical depression, repeated urinary tract infections, hormonal imbalances, migraines, digestive disturbances, difficult menopause psoriasis, lupus, chronic pain, Tourette’s, vulvodynia, rheumatoid arthritis and many more.

The brain is the organ that is most frequently affected by Candida Symptoms, but it also has profound negative effects on these systems:

  • digestive
  • nervous
  • cardiovascular
  • respiratory
  • reproductive
  • urinary
  • endocrine
  • lymphatic
  • musculoskeletal

Candida symptoms can vary from one person to another and often move back and forth between systems within the same individual. One day you may experience symptoms in the musculoskeletal system and the next day it could be the digestive system ,etc.

Testing for Candida at Home

Holistic practitioners or doctors will offer conclusive means of Candida testing, but you can make a simple home test for that purpose. In the morning, right after you wake up, and eat or drink anything, take a glass of water with filtered room temperature water.

Spit into the glass. Do not worry if you there is not much saliva. Check the water in 15 minutes for up to an hour.

Strings, or fibers, that go down from the saliva on the surface of the water, any cloudy specks, or even cloudy saliva that falls to the bottom indicate that you are dealing with increased level of Candida.

Causes of Candida
Diet
Poor food choices Is one of the main causes of Candida overgrowth (CO) and intestinal dysbiosis. Candida and the other critters causing dysbiosis all feed on sugar. Your first and most obvious sign of trouble is when you begin craving sugars (fructose or fruit, honey, juice, soda, maple syrup, ice cream, especially any type of candy or chocolate, basically anything sweet, or refined carbs like any white flour pasta, cookies, cakes, etc). There is nothing wrong with a little sugar now and then. But when it is a daily craving it falls into an “extreme diet” category.


Extreme Diet is a classic question of “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Does extreme diet cause CO or does having CO cause the extreme diet? Whichever is the case, we know dysbiosis is involved.

Sugar-riddled processed foods

RX Drugs
All drugs, and especially antibiotics, can cause an upset in the inner bowel ecology and immune system which adversely affects the body simply because they are artificial, unnatural and man-made. They are foreign invaders to the natural human body. We are not against modern medicine. That would be foolish. RX drugs can save lives in an emergency. But they are not designed to cure, heal or be used for years at a time. They are made for the temporary relief of symptoms. Unfortunately some people stay on them for years, never bothering to find out how to heal their own body. Then they are surprised when “suddenly” the accumulated negative side-effects of the drugs simply overwhelms them with serious or life threatening disease.

Antibiotics and Birth Control

The drugs which most directly upset the bowel ecology and contribute to CO dysbiosis are Antibiotics, Birth Control Pills, Hormones, Steroids, Anti-inflammatory drugs and Antacids.  However, you don’t need to go see a doctor to get antibiotics. They can enter the body through common dairy and meat products. Dairy products, especially milk, are so laden with toxic bacteria that the FDA allows dozens of antibiotics to be used directly in milk.

How antibiotics from animals enter humans



Alcohol
Alcohol use in excess kills off friendly bacteria, increases toxic overload of the liver, and allow Candida overgrowth dysbiosis. Add to this dilemma the fact that alcohol is actually a yeast by-product and you can see the potential problems. People with extreme CO can have high blood alcohol levels and literally be drunk, just from eating sugar. This moderate “high” is one explanation for intense sugar cravings. There is another interesting aspect to alcohol and yeast.

Every living thing that eats must create waste on the other end. Usually that waste is toxic (poisonous) to the organism. Not so with yeast. The alcoholic by–products it creates can actually serve as a fertilizer to help it grow further. This explains why various researchers have indicated that everyone who drinks alcohol regularly (daily or a few times weekly) is likely harboring Candida Overgrowth.

Alcohol is absolutely a problem for gut health

The conditions above are most likely to cause Candida Albicans yeast infection and dysbiosis. The conditions below also contribute but usually must be extreme. That is, done more frequently, sustained over time, or magnified by each other.

Hormone imbalances
That show up as obvious symptoms (PMS, etc.) can upset the balance of friendly flora in the gut. This explains why women are more prone to yeast problems giving their monthly cycle, pregnancies, menopause, birth control pills, etc. however, with proper bowel balance and a strengthened immune system, these variations should not cause problems.

Tap Water
Water containing chlorine kills both bad and good bacteria in the gut. It is better to drink filtered or spring water. Better to drink distilled water with something else mixed with it rather than plain. Better to have room temperature water rather than cold (cold and ice puts out the “gastric fire” which is necessary for proper digestion).


Bowel Problems
Digestive troubles like constipation, diarrhea, parasites, worms, IBS, leaky gut, heartburn, gas, bloating – all signs of dysbiosis – are not only the signs and symptoms or yeast infection, but can be originating causes as well. The “chicken or the egg” story once again. Either way, where there is smoke, there is fire. (4)

Excessive stress
Stress can most certainly affect the immune system and bowel causing CO. The link between mind-body is well established. Emotional nervousness or mental stress can cause chronic fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, high blood pressure, ulcers and numerous related health problems. That is why our treatment program uses a ‘Healthy Trinity’ which addresses mind-body issues to reduce stress.

Environmental Molds or Chemicals
Chemicals and mold can deplete the immune system and liver reserves, causing bowel dysbiosis. This is a problem for people who work around chemicals frequently, for example, hair stylists, dry cleaners, lawn maintenance, house painters, fuel or chemical industry, etc. Basically, if you can smell anything, it means that your liver and immune system has to work to get rid of it. The stronger and longer the exposure, the more likely a yeast infection or dysbiosis problem.

Toxic Metals and Food Chemicals
Toxic metals have the same explanation as the above category except they are even more severe. Mercury (as found in dental amalgams, some fish), other metals and food chemicals, such as aspartame, MSG and other can kill friendly intestinal flora, alter immune response, and allow yeast to proliferate. Mercury and metals can be a paradox. There is no question that they are toxic. However, clinical experience clearly shows that, like any of these possible causes of CO, toxic metals will affect people differently. For some people a much more dental work don’t have any problem at all. I have seen people who were convinced their problems were dental related, spend thousands of dollars to get them removed, only to find the same problems or worse. The best way to determine if this is a problem for you is why we Test instead of Guess.

Know where your food comes from and cut back on restaurants

Immune deficiency
From conditions that weaken the immune system such as AIDS, cancer, herpes, hepatitis, et. It is a little-known fact that almost everyone with serious illness is suffering from Candida albicans or yeast infection.

How to Cure Candida with Diet

There are a lot of Candida diets available on the web. I like the below as promoted by Dr. Axe.

The good news is that there are many Candida natural treatments . The main natural treatment is a change in your diet to discourage the overgrowth of yeast. Before embarking on your new diet, though, it’s a good idea to start with a Candida cleanse to help rid the body of excess Candida through the flushing of the digestive tract.

You have two options for a cleanse: a liquids-only cleanse or a more gentle cleanse with food. You can also start with the step one cleanse and then move to the step two cleanse.

Cleansing Step 1: Liquids-Only Candida Cleanse (Duration 1–2 Days)

Start by making a vegetable broth from organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, sea salt and pure water. Let simmer and strain. Discard the vegetables and refrigerate the broth.

Throughout the day, sip on warm broth. It’s imperative that you drink lots of water to help your body expel all the toxins in your system. While this is not a long-term cleanse, it can be repeated as needed every few weeks. It can also be used as a jump-start to the food cleanse below.

Cleansing Step 2: Steamed Vegetables (Duration 3–5 Days)

By eliminating grains, sugars, fruits, starches and alcohol from your diet for three to five days, you can make great headway in your fight against Candida overgrowth.

You should mostly eat fresh, organic vegetables that have been steamed. For this cleanse stage, keep away from any starchy vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets, sweet potatoes and white potatoes, which may contribute to sugar levels and feed the Candida. Continue to drink plenty of pure water, a minimum of 72 ounces per day, to help flush the Candida and byproducts from your system.

During this time, no more than once a day, you can eat salads made from leafy greens (like romaine) or bitter greens (like chard) and topped with just a bit of coconut oil and apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice).

Once you’re done with the cleansing stage, you can then move on to an antifungal diet that doesn’t just discourage Candida — it helps your body get rid of Candida for good! Here are the dietary steps I recommend to have you on the path to being Candida-free.

Diet Step 1: Remove the Problem Foods

First and foremost, you need to continue to remove the foods from your diet that literally feed the Candida and encourage it to flourish in your body. The top offenders include sugar, white flour, yeast and alcohol. These items are believed to promote Candida overgrowth. If you avoid eating sugar and white flour, then you will easily cut out most processed foods, which tend to be higher in calories and unhealthy ingredients and low in nutrition.

Avoiding sugar in all of its various forms is key to fighting Candida. The Candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls, expand their colonies and switch into their more virulent, fungal form. This is why a low-sugar diet is such a necessary part of your Candida treatment. Going forward, you want your diet to be centered on vegetables, high-quality protein foods, and gluten-free grains like brown rice and millet. Avoiding fruit at this time is also commonly recommended because even though fruit is very healthy, it does get turned into sugar in the body.

In terms of vegetables, you also want to avoid these somewhat sweet, starchy varieties: potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas and parsnips. These vegetables are banned from a strict anti-Candida diet because of their high carbohydrate content, but they’re certainly nutrient-dense and can be reintroduced later on in your treatment.

Diet Step 2: Up the Intake of Candida Killers & Boost Your Immune System

You want to make sure you include the items from my top 10 list below on a daily basis, including apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, green veggies and green drinks, coconut oil, Manuka honey, garlic, ground chia and flaxseeds, unsweetened cranberry juice, cultured dairy, as well as spices like turmeric and cinnamon.

How long do I need to eat like this? 

In order to have success with the Candida diet, it will take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. It really depends on the individual and a few key variables:

  • how strictly you follow this diet
  • the intake and effectiveness of probiotics (I recommend Dr. Ohhira!) and antifungals
  • the severity of your Candida

Diet Step 3: Reintroducing Off-Limit Foods

Once you’re free of your Candida symptoms and the Candida itself, then what? As I’m sure you guessed, going back to your old habits and ways of eating will likely just bring the Candida back all over again. However, you can gradually reintroduce certain foods into your new Candida diet.

Low-sugar fruits like green apples are a great example of a smart choice. If the reintroduced foods don’t cause flare-ups of Candida symptoms, you can move on to reintroducing more foods that you have been avoiding. I recommend doing this reintroduction slowly and one item at a time.

Top Candida Diet Foods

Here are some of the foods you should eat on the Candida diet.

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The acid and enzymes in apple cider vinegar help to kill and get rid of excess yeast in the body.

  1. Sauerkraut & Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi contain microflora that help protect the intestines. Regular consumption can help improve the immune system, making the body less hospitable for Candida.

  1. Green Veggies & Green Drinks

Leafy green vegetables help alkalize the body, which fights against the acidic nature of yeast overgrowth. Greens contain no sugars but high amounts of magnesium that naturally detox the body, vitamin C to build the immune system, chlorophyll to cleanse the body, B vitamins to energize the body and iron to give the body full support.

  1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and the combination of lauric acid and caprylic acid found in coconut oil kills off harmful Candida through ingestion and topical application. Get the unrefined version.

  1. Stevia

We know that sugar feeds Candida. That’s why it’s important to use different sweeteners, and stevia (I like NuNaturals Nustevia Alcohol Free Stevia Liquid as the taste is easier) is the perfect choice for those on a Candida diet. Not only is stevia an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic agent, but also helps balance the pancreas, which is often compromised when someone has Candida.

  1. Garlic

Garlic contains a large number of sulphur-containing compounds that have extremely potent, broad-spectrum antifungal properties. Raw garlic benefits the fight against Candida specifically.

  1. Ground Flaxseeds & Chia Seeds

Polyphenols found in flaxseeds and chia seeds support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and Candida in the body.

The key takeaways here are:

  • Reduce/eradicate sugars, grains, alcohol, processed foods, toxic animal products and any pharmaceuticals from your life
  • Clean your body using the above methods
  • Stick to a vegetable-biased and home cooking diet!

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