Candida, a type of yeast, is a normal inhabitant of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When the GI tract’s health is compromised, Candida overgrowth can cause unwelcome symptoms. The most common causes of Candida overgrowth are stress, sugar consumption and antibiotic treatment. Proper treatment includes dietary changes, probiotics and antifungal remedies.
What is Candida?
Candida Albicans is a type of yeast present in the human GI tract. Beneficial bacteria in the GI tract outnumber the number of cells in our bodies by about 10 times. When the balance of beneficial bacterial and opportunistic organisms is compromised, organisms like Candida have the opportunity to grow to excess. This overgrowth syndrome, commonly referred to as a Candida “infection,”can occur anywhere. In the mouth or throat it is called “thrush.” In the vagina it is called a “yeast infection.” Such an infection, or overgrowth, causes undesirable symptoms and can lead to more severe disorders.
What causes Candida and what are the symptoms?
The most common causes of Candida overgrowth syndrome are:
1. Prolonged severe stress
2. A diet with high sugar content
3. Antibiotic treatment not followed by probiotics
4. Amalgam fillings in the mouth
Prolonged severe stress can weaken the immune system and prevent beneficial bacteria from controlling the Candida level in the GI tract. High blood sugar levels nourish the growth of Candida and similar organisms. Antibiotics kill beneficial bacterial and unbeneficiary bacteria allowing Candida to grow unchecked. Amalgam fillings contain mercury, and mercury vapor is released while chewing on these filings. Mercury is a natural antibiotic killing beneficiary bacteria.
Common symptoms of Candida include athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch and eczema. Frequently people with significant Candida overgrowth are sensitive to the smell of common chemicals like cleaning agents and car exhaust. Candida can intensify anxiety, depression, fatigue, headache, digestive complaints, urinary tract infections, muscle pains, joint aches, palpitations, weakness, low thyroid, nasal congestion and hypoglycemia.
Treatment of Candida
Treatment of Candida focuses on creating a healthy balance in the GI tract and includes:
1. Proper diet
The proper diet to prevent Candida overgrowth consists of two main principles. First, exclude sugary foods, such as sweets, sodas and chocolate, and foods that disagree with the individual. Many people must eliminate fruit and starchy vegetables. Some people must also eliminate gluten grains for full recovery. The basic diet should consist of protein, as in lean pasture-raised meats, wild-caught fish, vegetables and small quantities of grains. Second, avoid yeast-containing foods, such as breads, crackers and alcoholic beverages, which feed the fungus.
2. Probiotics Probiotics are the beneficial bacterial that keep Candida under control and are essential for the GI tract’s healthy immune system. Probiotics are available in liquid and capsule form. Additionally, they can be obtained through eating fermented foods, especially fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi. Unflavored and unsweetened yogurt is a mild source of probiotic bacteria.
Antifungal preparations are often necessary to reduce the load of Candida so that the body’s immune system can finally prevent overgrowth. Common natural forms include oil of oregano, garlic, caprylic acid and monolaurin.