Conquer Candida Naturally:
Candida Albicans is a fungal yeast that occurs naturally in the human body. It naturally lives in harmony with a variety of other microorganisms and actually performs some important functions. The problem occurs when certain lifestyle based environmental conditions upset the balance of microflora in the body. This allows the yeast to proliferate and dominate certain regions of the body. Certain lifestyle measures must be taken to conquer Candida and regain balance and health to the internal ecosystem
Candida normally resides in the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract, mouth, throat and genitals. When overgrowth occurs, Candida has the ability to burrow holes in the intestinal tract and enter the blood stream (1, 2).
Candida and Toxic Metabolites:
Once it gets into the blood stream it is able to make its way into any organ or region of the body. The worst part is that it emits over 70 different toxins into the blood stream and body (3). The body will often create an immune response to Candida and its various toxins. This causes higher inflammatory levels during periods of overgrowth.
The liver has to detoxify the various toxic elements. When Candida is present in high amounts for a long period of time it overwhelms the liver which causes increased whole body toxicity and immune dysregulation which leads to higher inflammatory loads and possible auto-immunity or cancer development.
Candida Toxins and Liver Dysfunction:
There are 70 different toxins released by Candida when it is alive and often even more are released as massive colonies are dying off. This is why we may have a whole host of symptoms while the Candida is alive and propagating and sometimes even worse symptoms as it dies off.
1. Acetaldehyde: In Candida, acetaldehyde is a metabolic byproduct—similar to the carbon dioxide that you exhale after inhaling oxygen (4, 5, 6). High levels of acetaldehyde lead to oxidative stress and inflammation. This damages the DNA and increases the risk of cancer development (7, 8, 9).
Too much acetaldehyde is the equivalent of alcohol poisoning—an accumulation of acetaldehyde is associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (10). There is also evidence that the toxin acetaldehyde is associated with Alzheimer’s disease (11).
2. Gliotoxin: Another major toxin created by yeast is gliotoxin (12). This suppresses the immune system and kills key immune cells (13). It also destroys liver cells, which impairs the livers ability to deactivate toxins (13, 14). A weak liver further reduces immune activity and promotes a greater degree of auto-immunity.
Several studies have found that gliotoxin is high in patients with MS (multiple sclerosis), an autoimmune disease that effects the nervous system and brain (15, 16, 17). These are just 2 of 70 highly toxic metabolites.
These toxins help Candida protect itself against the host immune system which allows it to thrive. Studies have found that once a yeast forms biofilm—or a protective matrix around itself—the biofilm increases the production of acetaldehyde and gliotoxin (18).
10 Common Candida Symptoms
- Seasonal Allergies or itchy ears and skin
- Low Energy, Fatigue & Malaise
- Digestive Problems such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Auto-Immune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or Sleroderma
- Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
- Skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, hives and/or rashes
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression and irritability
- Vaginal infections, UTI’s, rectal or vaginal itching
- Brain fog, ADHD, concentration problems or poor memory
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Developing a Candida Overgrowth:
Everyone has Candida as they are a normal part of our microbial environment. However, when environmental conditions favor their growth they can overpopulate the microbiome and cause the problems listed above (19).
The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keep your candida levels in check. However, several factors can cause the candida population to get out of hand:
- Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast)
- Consuming a lot of alcohol
- Drinking tap water with chlorine and disinfectant byproducts
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Living a high-stress lifestyle
- Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria
- Using antacids for heartburn
- High mercury in blood and tissue from dental amalgams and/or vaccines and/or inherited from mom
- Sexual intercourse with someone with a vaginal or penal yeast overgrowth
Diagnosing Candida Overgrowth:
Your holistic practitioner will have conclusive means of testing for candida, and I personally use a comprehensive stool analysis here as it is the most accurate way to diagnose for Candida overgrowth.
If you want a quick, cheap test on your own, I would begin by doing a simple home spit test as follows.
1. Glass of Water: Drink a glass of water in the morning when you wake-up. After drinking some water, fill a clear glass with room temperature bottled water.
2. Have a Good Spit: Work up a bit of saliva, and spit it into the glass of water. Check the water every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour.
3. Observe the Movement of the Strings: Your saliva should stay at the top in a cohesive blob. If you see strings (fibers) traveling down into the water from the saliva floating on the top, cloudy specks (particles suspended in the water) or cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass you have a candida problem.
If you have allergies or have recently eaten some dairy products, you will likely test ‘positive’ on the spittle test. Dehydration can also lead to a positive reading, which means that you are far more likely to test positive after you wake in the morning.
5 Steps to Beating Candida:
There is no way to reduce your Candida load long-term without successfully accomplishing these steps
1. Nutrition that Starves Candida: Yeast organisms need fuel to grow and proliferate. Starve them of their fuel sources and it slows their growth.
2. Anti-Microbial Support: Nature provides herbs that naturally kill off Candida and bad bacteria. These are key tools to reducing your yeast load.
3. Improve Liver Function: The liver is damaged in Candida and needs support. A poor functioning liver leads to chronic inflammation and immune suppression.
4. Strengthen the Immune System: The immune system must be supported in order to fend off high levels of yeast and prevent it from returning.
5. Restoring the Gut Lining: Repairing the gut lining with key nutrients and replenishing the gut with healthy microbes is essential for long-term health.
Anti-Candida Nutrition Plan:
The first step in overcoming Candida is to starve it to death. This is done by eliminating all sugars and anything that turns into sugars. Candida loves sugar and anything that turns into sugar so a lower carbohydrate diet is critical to getting well (20).
Most individuals with Candida have serious gluten sensitivities. It is very important to eliminate all gluten containing grains and most grains all together other than small amounts of quinoa or small amounts of root vegetables such as beets, sweet potatoes and squash from time to time.
The anti-Candida diet consists mainly of phytonutrient rich vegetables, healthy fats, and clean proteins. This is the same nutrition plan that I recommend for my leaky gut patients that suffer with issues like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive complaints. My experience is that individuals with Candida often have several other issues such as SIBO.
Key Components to Anti-Candida Nutrition
Non-starchy vegetables and anti-oxidant rich herbs are the best sources for critical immune-boosting phytonutrients. Healthy fat sources include coconut products, avocados, olive oil, nuts, & seeds. Healthy protein includes wild-caught fish, grass-fed red meat and free range chicken, turkey and eggs.
I also recommend lots of coconut oil and grass-fed ghee (clarified butter). These contain small and medium chain fats that are anti-fungal and provide a great energy source for the body. I have my Candida patients add 4-6 full tablespoons of coconut oil each day to their diet.
They can do this by putting 2 tbsps in a protein shake, adding a tbsp to organic coffee or tea, cooking meat and vegetables with 2 tbsps of coconut oil and adding melting extra coconut oil over finished steamed or sauteed vegetables.
Fermented Foods and Candida:
Progenic (life supporting) bacteria compete with Candida for attachment sites and nutrition. Additionally, these good bacteria release anti-fungal compounds that keep Candida from overgrowing. Adding mega-doses of good bacteria into the body is a critical step to conquering Candida.
I have found that many individuals with a Candida overgrowth are unable to tolerate fermented foods right away. This is because most fermented foods contain wild types of Candida. These wild types are typically good for most people but individuals with Candida overgrowth often have a heightened IgG inflammatory response to any yeast forms.
Consuming fermented foods can cause more inflammation and further Candida progression for many individuals struggling with Candida. I recommend a 30 day period with less fermented foods (perhaps some unflavored coconut yogurt is fine) while we work on killing off the bad microbes.
After the initial period, adding in organic forms of sauerkraut, kimchii, coconut kefir and fermented grass-fed dairy can be great. Begin with small amounts (1-2 tbsps daily) and gradually add in more over time. Observe for any recurrence of symptoms and modify as needed.
Soil Based Probiotics and Candida:
I only recommend a soil-based probiotic as lactobacillus strains are often not well tolerated by individuals with Candiasis. The Prescript Assist probiotics contain a proprietary formula of humic and fulvic acids that help support the growth and development of the good microbes within the intestinal tract.
Both humic and fulvic acids are major organic constituents of soil, coal, streams, lakes and ocean water. They help to bind and eliminate yeast organisms while the spore forming microbes compete with the attachment sites in the gut and help to kick out the yeast and bad bacteria (21).
Certain foods have very powerful anti-fungal properties. Coconut oil is extremely rich in lauric acid, which is one of the best natural anti-fungals (22). Anti-Candida protocols should consist of 4-6+ tablespoons of coconut oil daily. This includes coconut oil added to our skin and coconut oil added to foods and used for cooking.
Candida infections drain the body of trace minerals, alkaline salts, & anti-oxidant reserves. To beat Candida, one needs to consume substantial amounts of powerful anti-oxidant rich, anti-inflammatory herbs such as cinnamon, turmeric, green tea, & ginger. Here is a list of anti-microbial plants, seeds and herbs to use daily.
Improve Liver Function:
We use the phrase, “Bitter is good for the liver,” to help us remember that bitter herbs are especially good for the liver and the bodies detoxification process.
Using detoxification techniques such as Epsom salt baths, coffee enemas, oil pulling, dry brushing, intermittent fasting, water flushing & infrared sauna are especially helpful for strengthening the liver. These should be done whenever possible along with consuming liver healthy foods. Read more about supporting the liver here
Candida overgrowth wears down the immune system. Strengthening the immune system is super critical to recovery. This begins with supporting the gut immune response in secretory IgA.
Secretory IgA is the secreted form of an antibody in the blood called IgA. IgA is produced in the blood, taken into the gut, secreted across the mucosal lining into that mucous layer that is the surface lining of our digestive tract. It is the mucosal immune barrier or first line immune defense (23).
Everything we have already discussed helps provide an environment for healthy sIgA levels. I have my clients further support IgA production with high quality colostrum (Gut Defense), beta glucan and L-glutamine supplementation.
Restoring the Gut Lining:
Candida destroys the gut lining leading to leaky gut and multiple food sensitivities. Once we get the Candida population under control we need to do everything possible to restore the integrity of the gut lining.
The nutrition plan starts the process but adding in extra bone broth, aloe vera, slippery elm tea and L-glutamine are all vital strategies to rebuilding the gut lining. I recommend my clients drink 24-32 oz of bone broth daily and add in 20-30 grams (if tolerable) of L-glutamine daily to strengthen the gut lining.
Supplements to Overcome Candida:
This is an advanced supplement protocol to help someone break through and kick out the Candida. This goes along with a nutrient dense, leaky gut nutrition plan and healthy lifestyle habits.
We need to utilize clinically proven anti-microbials to reduce the yeast load while we support the liver and microbiome so we can effectively eliminate the toxic debris that will be released. Additionally, we have to support the weakened digestive and immune systems in order to prevent the Candida from reinfecting the system and growing back stronger than ever.
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