Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea that Candida can cause such havoc to our bodies. The range of symptoms is extensive. Its overgrowth is easily triggered. Its cure, thankfully, is relatively simple.

After attending a presentation recently at the doTERRA Convention in the USA on Candida by Laura Jacobs, I was shocked at how candida can affect our bodies if allowed to spread. Laura Jacobs is a Holistic Healing Coach based in Utah who specialises in Iridology, Kinesiology, Nutrition and Life Coaching, Herbology and Aromatherapy. Her talk was an eye-opener and incredibly inspiring.

So, what is Candida?

Candida is a benign sugar fermenting yeast that is normally harmless as a single-celled fungus. It largely resides in the gut and is a vital part of intestinal ecology in small amounts. If the fungi overgrow then they can become parasitic, exit the gut, and cause chronic inflammation throughout the body.

There are many different species of candida. The most common type, Candida Albicans, lives in all the body’s mucus membranes including our intestines.

Everyone has candida within them: we are born with it. Candida usually lives harmoniously with our other intestinal fauna such as acidophilus, and it is these bacterial residents that keep candida under control, preventing a “population burst.” Candida’s function in the body is mainly to remove putrefied food matter in our digestive system (mostly caused by improper digestion due to low stomach acid) before any potentially harmful bacteria multiply and become threatening to our health.  This picture shows candida penetrating living tissue.

After we die, candida acts to decompose the body. It is usually kept under control by the gastrointestinal “good” bacteria and the immune system, but trouble can arise when certain conditions are present. If your candida levels become too high it can cause an infection, known as candidiasis, which can lead to health problems throughout the body.

Systemic candidiasis is a relatively modern disease and was not recognized or defined until the 1980’s. This is because its symptoms are so varied and often duplicate those of other illnesses. Unfortunately, diagnoses of candidiasis is typically limited to visible manifestations, e.g. a vaginal or oral yeast infection. Often the recommended treatment is with antibiotics, which kill the intestinal good bacteria that control candida. Treatment has typically been directed towards eradicating these visible conditions alone without addressing the more serious, hidden, infection.

What causes Candida overgrowth?

Under certain conditions, candida can begin growing out of control in the intestines, branching out and colonizing the gut. In this process, candida can eat away at the intestinal walls, spread into the bloodstream, and infiltrate other tissues. The normally benign yeast can literally transformed itself into an aggressive, destructive, fungal pathogen that can cause a variety of seemingly unrelated health problems. This condition can be serious for two main reasons:

  1. It often goes undiagnosed, allowing the yeast to spread uncontrolably, and
  2. the numerous symptoms it produces severely tax the immune system, forcing it to deal with, not only the yeast infection, but the other conditions the yeast causes.

A truly vicious cycle can ensue: a person is weakened by a candida caused problem, say cystitis, and goes to a doctor who might then prescribes antibiotics. The drugs kill off more of the intestinal bacteria which control candida, making the candida overgrowth worse, leading to more infections and more antibiotics, etc. At its most destructive, candida can exhaust the adrenal glands, leading to Addison’s disease, can interfere with digestion so much that very few nutrients are absorbed from food, and can cause life threatening infestations of the vital organs and the brain.

There are a number of reasons that can cause an imbalance of Candida including:

  • Intestinal pH imbalance, e.g. from acidic drinks, sugar etc.
  • Reduction of good bacteria in gut, e.g. from antibiotics
  • Stress and adrenal fatigue
  • Suppressed immune system from toxic metals including mercury fillings
  • Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cancer

What are the Symptoms of a Candida infection?

You don’t have to have the symptoms of thrush to be suffering from a candida infection. Symptoms are widespread and can include:

  • brain fog & poor memory
  • hyperactivity
  • depression & anxiety
  • ear infections
  • eczema & psoriasis
  • asthma
  • chronic fatigue
  • allergies
  • food cravings
  • hypoglycemia
  • headaches
  • muscle weakness
  • sinusitis
  • thrush
  • athletes foot
  • diarrhoea
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive disorders such as bloating and flatulence.
  • joint pain
  • night sweats
  • insomnia
  • intermittent vertigo
  • kidney infections
  • sensitivity to certain smells and fragrances
  • impotency and infertility

While these symptoms can indicate other illnesses, if certain factors are present in one’s personal history the symptoms are likely to indicate candida overgrowth. These factors include:

  1. Prolonged, or repeated, use of antibiotics, corticosteroid drugs, and/or birth control pills, at any time in the past,
  2. a diet high in processed sugars which encourages candida growth, and
  3. preexisting immunosuppression caused by drug or alcohol abuse, multiple blood transfusions, debilitating illness, organ transplants, or chemotherapy.

All three are NOT required to bring on a case of candidiasis: excessive “sugar binging” can cause it just as surely as antibiotics can.

How to Test for Candida?

There are a number of tests that can be used to check for Candida, including a simple ‘spit test’ that you can try at home. For more information, you can visit: http://www.thecandidadiet.com/testingforcandida.htm

What is the Treatment for Candida?

Natural therapies are the most potent and effective weapons against this disease and recovery time can take a long time (up to 12 months or longer depending on the length of time one has had the condition and the severity of symptoms). This might seem long, but once candida has colonized the body, it takes quite an effort to drive it out. Recommended natural treatments include:

  • Good nutrition including a healthy diet to starve the yeast
  • Avoid processed foods, sugar, carbohydrates, grains, potatoes, rice, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid Genetically Modified (GMO) Foods
  • Try to include: organic meat & eggs, good fats (olive oil, coconut milk, nuts, seeds), dark green leafy vegetables, non starchy veg, low sugar fruits (berries, lemons, limes, grapefruit), beans, winter squashes, quinoa, good low glycemic sweeteners, (e.g. xylitol, stevia, agave)
  • Balance PH by avoiding acidic foods and reducing stress
  • Drink plenty of water (add lemon to help re-alkalise body)
  • Rest and good quality sleep
  • Reduce heavy metal toxicity e.g. using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oil s such as cilantro
  • Kill the yeast overgrowth using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) melaleuca and oregano essential oils or use a detox supplement such as GX Assist.
  • Reduce the risk of ‘die-off’ by using a supplement that can assist with detox via kidneys and liver (and not through your skin), such as Terrazyme or Zendocrine.
  • Support immune system, eg using CPTG essential oil blend On Guard (avoid antibacterial soap as they kill both the good and bad bacteria)
  • Use a good probiotic such as PB Assist and fermented or cultured foods eg kefir
  • Use a good supplementation, such as LifeLongVitality
  • Repair gut using CPTG essential oils such as Myrrh, Frankincense, Digestzen  and DDR Prime.

What is Die Off

  • When you take away candida’s food, sugar, and attack the yeast with herbs and supplements, it will die, causing a condition known as die off. Die off will last from a few days to a few weeks and the severity of symptoms will vary from person to person. Usually present are nausea, headaches, gas, irritability, diarrhea, severe energy loss, sugar cravings, and blurred vision.
  • Exercise and water will reduce your symptoms by flushing the dead yeast cells more quickly from your system. Taking supplements such as Terrazyme and Zendocrine can also assist with the elimination process.

 

If you have had experience with candida and its treatment then we would love to hear from you.

If you have any questions about any of the above, then please contact us on info@greenlifeorganics.com.au for further information or visit www.mydoterra.com/tanyamaidment.

 

REFERENCES

RECOMMENDED READING & VIDEOS

  • Understanding Candida and Natural Approaches Webinar – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS0pTGDq460&feature=plcp
  • Conquering Candidiasis Naturally     by Stephen C. Byrnes, N.D., R.N.C.P.

  • The Candida Directory and Cookbook by Helen Gustafson and Helen O’Shea. 1992; Celestial Arts Publishing.
  • The Yeast Connection by William Crook, M.D.. 1986; Vintage Books.
  • Candida Albicans: Could Yeast Be Your Problem? by Leon Chaitow, N.D. 1985; Thorsons, U.K.