Candida albicans is a naturally occurring yeast that lives within our intestines, normally causing no symptoms but serving no useful purpose either. However, if it is allowed to spread unchecked, the toxins released can cause fatigue and a range of other unwelcome symptoms.
When it does spread, it often converts into a fungus, producing roots which penetrate the lining of the digestive tract. This erosion of the protective enzyme and mucosal barrier allows foods to pass into the bloodstream before they have been fully digested, potentially invoking an allergic response from the immune system. This ‘leaky gut’ can also trigger a chronic inflammatory response which can account for some of the symptoms.
How does it spread?
Candida overgrowth can occur in many circumstances:
when the immune system is weakened, perhaps after periods of stress.
after exposure to steroid and hormone residues found in dairy and farmed meat.
after prolonged intake of anti-biotics or the pill, which damage the friendly bacteria that normally keep the fungus at bay.
when blood sugar levels are out of balance. A diet high in sugar encourages the build up of glycogen in the surface cells of the digestive tract. This leads to an increased number of receptor sites on the gut lining which act as a base to which the candida adheres. Oestrogen causes the same glycogen increase, so pregnancy and the menstrual cycle are high risk factors for candida.
when the digestive tract is exposed to mercury toxins from leaky amalgam fillings, or other heavy metals. These toxins suffocate the cells, so our bodies may use candida as an essential interim layer and may not let the candida go until the metals have been cleared. Heavy metals are also immune-suppressant so can weaken our natural response to the spread of yeast.
What are the symptoms?
A wide variety of symptoms could be connected, but these are the most common:
Can my doctor treat it?
Candida is not often recognised as a condition in itself as it is difficult for a conventional medical diagnosis to decide what level of fungus is normal and what level is excessive. It is also hard to prove scientifically that the range of symptoms attributed to candida are directly related to the fungus overgrowth. Doctors will occasionally prescribe anti-fungal medicines, such as Nystatin, but only in particularly severe cases.
In many cases, candida toxins interfere with the hormone receptor sites and low thyroid activity results. This may be sufficient to register on a blood test but quite often the results are borderline even though hormone levels are far from optimal.
How do I treat it naturally?
The initial goal is to rid the body of the candida toxins and boost energy levels. After a few weeks, it is normally appropriate to tackle the candida itself, although if there are accumulated mercury or heavy metal toxins these must normally be removed first. Your body may be using the candida as a protective shield against the more damaging metals and will hinder any attempt to remove the candida while they remain.
I may recommend specialist homeopathic remedies that are anti-fungal and also support your organs of drainage, such as your liver, bowels, and kidneys. I may also recommend probiotics to replace the healthy bacteria that have been destroyed.
In my experiences though, candida is at least partly the result of emotional and psychological stress and imbalance. Kinesiology techniques can boost your immune system and remove any emotional traumas that may be weakening your system at a physical level. This will give you the internal strength to attack the candida and bring it back under control – at the appropriate pace for you.
During this process, you should try to minimise exposure to moulds and damp in your house – open the windows as much as possible.
Is diet important to control candida?
Diet is an important factor ! There are two key rules, in order of priority :
Minimise sugar rich foods and simple carbohydrates. A high sugar or simple carbohydrate diet leads to variable blood sugar levels and encourages the attachment of candida to the gut lining. Fruit should also be restricted to 2-3 pieces per day.
Minimise intake of fermented foods and yeasts, These include beer, lager, breads, cakes, biscuits, mushrooms, soya sauce, stock cubes, cheeses and dried fruits. All alcohol should be avoided if possible, but wine or vodka and slim-line tonic is least damaging. If my testing shows you are particularly sensitive to yeasts, you should avoid these food groups completely.
Of course, anyone on an anti-candida diet must keep a balanced perspective. It is hard to stick to an eating regime if it is too restrictive, so it is often better to take a little longer to recover, but follow a nourishing and varied menu in the meantime.
How long does it take to recover?
Candida can be re-balanced in a month or so if all the conditions are right, but this re-balancing is normally part of a wider process that can take 4-5 months as the body needs to be strengthened in preparation for the detox and there may be other factors to consider. Emotional and psychological healing needs to take place alongside the physical support if there are to be lasting benefits.