Another little bump in my path to healing. I always suspected Candida and have mentioned it to Dr’s in the past, but they seemed to brushed it off. I was tested for it by my new Osteopath because she believed I had it just from my clinical symptoms. After a positive blood test and a little research I was shocked to see just how many symptoms of mine coorelate with Candida. It is treatable but the treatment can be very long and very strict. I have a determined spirit to take on the challenge!
What is Candida?
It is a very common fungal infection of the parasitic yeast species. Candida is present in everyone to some degree. It is naturally occurring yeast that exists within the human digestive system, mucous membranes, and skin. The question is do you eat a diet that feeds it and allows it to become a pathogen? If you feed it too much of what it loves (sugar, carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils and fats (trans-fats), white flour products, processed foods, food additives, preservatives, antibiotics, prednisone, pesticides, and heavy metals.) it overgrows, causing very toxic effects on the body. If this is not addressed, it can become a severe systemic infection. Similar to Lyme disease, it can affect all parts of the body including joints, organs, the brain, and the nervous system. Rather than starting in the blood and hiding in the body like Lyme, it starts in the body and moves to the blood. When the Candida Albicans population starts getting out of control it weakens the intestinal wall, penetrating through into the bloodstream and releasing its toxic byproducts throughout the body. As they spread, these toxic byproducts cause damage to your body tissues and organs, wreaking havoc and weakening your immune system. The major waste product of yeast cell activity is Acetaldehyde, a poisonous toxin that promotes free radical activity in the body. Acetaldehyde is also converted by the liver into ethanol (drinking alcohol). Alcohol is very acidic and cancer/disease loves acidity.
How to get tested?
Unfortunately, many doctors don’t recognize the systemic problems that Candida causes because they can be so broad and vague. They only treat the single symptoms with stand alone prescriptions. Some healthcare professionals don’t even believe in Candida, so you need to find a doctor with an open mind, or see a naturopath, osteopath, homeopathic doctor or kinesiologist.
An Anti-Candida Antibodies, or Candida Immune Complexes test. There are 3 antibodies that should be tested to measure your immune system’s response to Candida – IgG, IgA, and IgM. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present. This is the most reliable test for Candidiasis that you can find.
Your stool is directly analyzed for levels of yeast, pathogenic bacteria and friendly bacteria. However Candida often does not show up in this test, so the blood test is more reliable.
As much as a lot of people on the internet claim that this is a reliable test, it is not. I don’t suggest it.
The majority of people who have Candida Albicans (Yeast) do not even realize they have it until they become seriously ill. It is estimated that over half of the worlds population has a moderate to serious Candida condition, due to the over use of antibiotics/corto-steroids, bad diet and other causes. The causes of immune system dysfunction are varied and complex, but antibiotics are the biggest culprits because they wipe out friendly micro-organisms, in the digestive system. The colonies of yeast, when overgrown, excrete toxins that circulate throughout the body further weakening the immune system and creating havoc throughout the body. The Candida produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls leaving microscopic holes which allows toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as the “Leaky Gut Syndrome”, which causes food allergies and many health problems. These root-like structures also causes considerable damage to the walls of the intestines resulting in malabsorption of nutrients. The other major cause is sugar consumption. The modern diet is like a feast for Candida. If you were to examine and note every single dose of sugar you consume daily, you would be shocked. Even me, who lives on a mostly plant based diet, realize now how much sugar I was consuming. Refined sugar or natural sugar, sugar is sugar is sugar to the Candida. Oh dear…All the honey, fruit, dates, and coconut water I was consuming. The kombucha, condiments and vinegar, the bread that I started to re-introduce into my diet. A healthy immune system should be able to keep Candida at bay. However, a diet rich in sugar actually depresses your immune system. With my already weak immune system, I am not surprised that it couldnt fight off the yeast overgrowth.
These are a few of the negative effects sugar has on health:
- Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection
- Sugar upsets mineral relationships in the body
- Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium
- Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
- Sugar can change the structure of protein
- Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention
- Sugar can cause hormonal imbalances
- Sugar is an addictive substance and can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol
- High carbohydrates
Birth control pills can cause Candida too. By disturbing hormonal balance, the Pill opens the door for Candida to outgrow its competitors in the gut. Estrogen, the major ingredient in the Pill, is known to promote the growth of yeast. Up until this year, I was on the pill for 15 years.
Another thing that can inhibit growth of Candida is Mercury fillings. I have a mouth full of them. Boy, I can’t wait to get them out! I can’t start until all my Lyme treatments are done and my immune system is well enough to undertake the pressure of toxic removal.
The Way You Feel
Inability to focus, Poor memory, Brain fog, Irritability, Anger, Dizziness, Depression, Crying spells, Panic attacks, Low libido, Persistent extreme fatigue, Hyperactivity, Cravings for sweets and alcohol, Insomnia, Poor coordination.
Your Digestive System
Acid reflux, Bloating, Flatulence, Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Stomach cramps, Indigestion, Burping after meals, Mucus in stool, Hemorrhoids, Itching anus.
Acne, Cysts, Hives, Night sweats, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Fungal infections of the nails & skin, Athlete’s foot, Body odor, itching.
Thrush (white coating on tongue), Swollen lower lip, Halitosis, Metallic taste in mouth, Bad breath, Canker sores, Bleeding gums, Cracked tongue.
Your Respiratory System
Persistent cough, Mucus in throat, Sore throat, Sinus congestion, Chronic post-nasal drip, Flu-like symptoms, Hay fever symptoms, Sinusitis, Asthma.
Your Ears And Eyes
Eye pain, Itchy eyes, Sensitivity to light, Blurred vision, Bags under eyes, Ringing in the ears, Ear infections.
Your Genito-Urinary System
Recurring yeast infections, Recurring UTI’s (urinary tract infections), Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), PMS & menstrual irregularities, Fungal rash.
Your Immune System
Frequent colds and flu, Allergies, Sensitivities to food, fragrances and chemicals.
Inability to lose weight, Water retention, Weight loss.
Headaches, Heart palpitations, Chronic body pain and/or joint pains, Muscle aches and stiffness.
Time for some extra self-love – My Treatment Plan:
As I try to starve and kill the Candida, I will be going through some die-off stages which can cause symptoms to get worse before they get better. (This is also true with Lyme) Die-off symptoms are caused by high numbers of yeast being killed off which releases 79 different toxic byproducts into the system. In medical terms this is called the Herxheimer’s reaction. Die-off symptoms resembles the flu and can be very uncomfortable. It can also heighten whatever negative symptoms you have been feeling from the Candida. I am already in this stage, and I can say it is NOT fun. I’m a tough cookie though (sugar free-cookie) and will get through it!
For the Candida, my Dr. prescribed me with an anti-fungal Nystatin. One can never rely on just a prescription because although it will erradicate the yeast in great numbers, it doesn’t stop it from coming back. It tends to come roaring back with more strength after stopping medication, especially when you continue with old eating habits. I believe a Candida diet along with an anti-fungal, a strong probiotic and yeast killing herbs can treat it much more successfully.
The other battle I will be fighting is Lyme. After much thought, I have decided to go the antibiotic route. I know it goes against my thinking regarding prescription drugs, but for a few reasons, its what I have decided. As I mentioned above, antibiotics feed the Candida so its going to be a battle of the bugs for awhile. I will be doing all that I can with a strict Candida diet, prescription anti-fungal, herbal anti-fungals such as olive leaf, oil of oregano and coconut oil and supporting the good bugs with lots of good probiotics, yogurt and kefir.
If you want to read about the exact protocol I am following for the Candida, please visit this site. I bought the Ebook which is fabulous and highly recommend. It covers everything. Another great reliable protocol is Body Ecology.
For more reading, here’s a great write up and also this http://www.spiritofhealthkc.com/portfolio/candida-program/
*Stay tuned for more posts on my treatment, foods, recipes and supplements!