The Infamous Fungus
• Do You Have Persistent Athlete’s Foot Or Vaginitis?
• Are You Hypersensitive To Chemical Odors?
• Have You Taken Antibiotics Frequently?
• Do You Crave Sugar? Bread? Alcohol?
• Do You Just Not Feel Good?
Sick And Tired Of Feeling Sick-And-Tired? Look Inside….
My candida problems weren’t like other women’s. What I mean by that is that I didn’t suffer with a vaginal yeast infection. Instead, I dealt with almost constant gas and bloating, combined with alternating constipation and diarrhea. [Men may have this problem too. Ed.]
It took me quite a while before I figured out the cause of my problems and started with a probiotic product. No more gas and bloating problems, plus my bathroom habits have normalized. —Anonymous
Did you answer “Yes” to any of the questions on the cover?
If so, you are a likely candidate for candida overgrowth. Candida albicans (can’-di-duh al’bi-cuns; C. albicans) is an opportunistic yeast/fungus. Virtually everybody has this yeast among their intestinal flora.
Under some conditions, C. albicans can outnumber the other microorganisms, causing an imbalance and resulting in a number of seemingly unrelated symptoms.
One typical symptom – for both women and men – is having a swollen stomach after eating certain foods or just chronically looking somewhat pregnant.
Together, these symptoms, once called candidiasis, are now referred to as “candida related complex” (CRC).
You can regain your health. The solution is simple, but it ain’t easy. In fact, healing totally depends on your commitment to wellness.
Candida Overgrowth: The Back Story
The first reference to a yeast-related illness was presented at a medical conference in 1978 by C. Orian Truss, MD.
Truss became interested in the health implications of candida overgrowth after a woman he had treated successfully for vaginal yeast reported that her migraine headaches and depression had also disappeared.
William G. Crook, MD, brought Dr. Truss’s work to the public in 1983 with the publication of The Yeast Connection.
Now, well-known integrative physician and naturopath, Carolyn Dean, has collaborated with Elizabeth B. Crook to develop The Yeast Connection Series. Search “yeast infection” at your favorite book seller and a plethora of books on the topic appear.1
Many innovative healthcare practitioners who treat for CRC report improvements in patient quality of life (Alan Gaby, MD).2
In spite of the impeccable credentials and vast patient experiences of Truss, Crook, and Gaby, the existence of CRC has remained controversial among conventional physicians.
This is particularly interesting in the face of the tremendous increase in Candida-related infections in industrial countries.3
Candida Overgrowth: The Back Story – Footnotes
1 Most o the information in this issue is based on the work of Crook, MD, Elson Haas, MD, Michael T. Murray, ND, and my own experience lecturing and counseling dozens of women.
2 Along with Michael T. Murray, ND, and Jonathan V. Wright, MD, Alan Gaby, MD, is one of the best known integrative medicine practitioners in the US. He is the author/editor of the recent text book on nutrition, Nutritional Medicine, released by Fritz Perlberg Publishing in 2011, a 30 year project.
3 Candida albicans is the most common fungal microorganism in healthy individuals, as well as the most common fungal pathogen causing lethal infections. In 2009, the Society for General Microbiology reported that, although less well-known, C. albicans infections were leading to higher death rates than MRSA and E. coli.
Candida Related Complex
Reading this section, you will understand why Candida overgrowth is called Candida Related Complex. CRC progresses in a particular pattern, which advances in four stages.
1. Problems originate in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts.
The best known of these is vaginal yeast infection (yeast vaginitis).
Complaints also include bowel problems (including irritable bowel), indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux, flatulence, bloating, cystitis, and anal itching.
Possible symptoms at this stage also include sinusitis, athlete’s foot, jock itch, thrush, and fungal infections of the skin and nails.
2. The intestinal walls are perforated; allergic reactions appear.
Often referred to as “leaky gut”, these symptoms include the classic allergen-immune reactions: asthma, hives, acne, eczema, psoriasis, hay fever, bronchitis, and earaches.
This is where ADHD, autism, and even MS can develop.
There are also a myriad of possible reactions that accompany chemical and food sensitivity.
These include—but are not limited to—headache, joint ache and muscle ache as well as sensitivity to fumes from perfume, cigarette smoke, household cleansers, and other chemicals (e.g., cleaning fluid and car exhaust), as well as to mold and mildew.
3. Mental-emotional symptoms occur.
Dr. Crook identified these as the major symptoms. They include headache, extreme irritability, confusion, depression, anxiety, memory lapses, lethargy, and an inability to concentrate (often described as feeling “spaced out”).
Joseph Mercola, MD, explains that these symptoms are generated by the 79 different toxins released by the metabolism and die-off of Candida.
Specifically, he writes, “…alcohol and acetaldehyde (a product of alcohol breakdown that causes hangovers) are in such high amounts…that you may actually end up feeling ‘drunk’.”
In addition, acetaldehyde reacts with dopamine (a neurotransmitter related to our brain’s reward and pleasure centers), explaining the mood altering effects of CRC, including the spaced out feeling.
4. Symptoms related to glandular and organ dysfunction appear.
Reports document underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) as the most common endocrine defect — followed by adrenal failure.
Other associations include chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, hypoglycemia, diabetes mellitus, and ovarian failure. This translates into chronic lack of energy or chronic fatigue.
FYI: In fact, several authors expressed the opinion that cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may have their roots in candida involvement, and, if so, candida treatment should be used.
For women, candida can also mean problems with the menstrual cycle, infertility, and even suppression of breast development.
For men, jock itch and athlete’s foot are presenting clues. In addition, prostatitis and impotence can have candidiasis at their core.
In children, irritability, hyperactivity, recurrent upper respiratory infections, diarrhea, asthma, sinusitis, sugar cravings, impaired learning ability, and even autism have been associated with yeast overgrowth.
The most common symptoms are recurring ear infections and colic.
Unfortunately, treating ear, nose, and throat infections with antibiotics can set the stage for candida proliferation. As with adults, this opens the way for multiple food and chemical sensitivities.
Least tolerated foods are wheat, milk, and yeasts.
Causes of Candida Overgrowth
Why Candida? Why Me?
C. albicans is a naturally occurring yeast which lives in the gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts as well as on the skin.
Candida is not inherently detrimental to health. By six months of age, as many as 95 percent of us are already have intestinal candida. In fact, within our intestines, each of us supports a 3-4 pound colony of microorganisms — the gut microbiome.
These microorganisms function together as a kind of organ, helping with digestion and immunity as well as producing vitamin K and some of the B vitamins.
In a healthy person, candida is just an ordinary member of this colony. An overgrowth occurs when conditions cause an imbalance among the various flora.
Antibiotics, cortisone-like drugs (including steroids), weakened immune system, and diabetes, plus birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, pregnancy all encourage yeast growth.
Also to blame are diets high in sugar and low in fiber. (Life Extension Foundation’s protocols)
A course of antibiotics is often named as the worst instigator of candidiasis. This is because antibiotics are nonselective killers of “biotics”, wiping out beneficial microorganisms as well as pathogens.
Also, take into consideration that half of all the antibiotics produced in the US are fed to commercial livestock, adding to our antibiotic load.
Candida albicans are resistant to antibiotics; thus, when beneficial bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics, there is no competition for food. Candida is able to multiply rampantly in the intestines, creating an imbalance of intestinal flora and the commensurate candida overgrowth.
Although not ordinarily specified as contributing to Candida overgrowth, eating non-organic meats and poultry, plus eating genetically-modified foods (GMOs) are both highly suspect.4
In addition, livestock are fed hormones, identified as a contributing factor. Non-organic meats are from livestock given genetically modified seed; thus, flesh foods and GMO foods are degraded in their health and nutrition aspects. (One wonders if Mon$anto, et al, have invested in any probiotics companies.)
Causes Of Candida Overgrowth Footnote
4 The huge increase in digestive and intestinal problems among Americans is correlated almost 100% with the introduction of GMO foods in the US in 1996. Intestinal health relates directly to immune system strength.
In June 2013, a first-of-its-kind scientific study on the comparative effects of feeding non-GMO and GMO grains to hogs for their lifetime as meat animals was published in the Journal of Organic Systems.
Howard Vliegar, a third generation farmer, co-authored a study with Judy Carman. The stomachs of pigs given GMO feed were riddled with ulcers.
You don’t want to be feeding yourself the same way.
Both diet and supplements make up the Candida Cleanse. We begin with diet, using the 3-faceted approach to treating candida overgrowth recommended by Elson Haas, MD, in his classic Staying Healthy With Nutrition (2006).
This approach is practical and easy as A-B-C.
Step A. Stop feeding the yeast the food it needs.
Step B. Reduce yeast growth using natural agents.5
Step C. Establish healthy intestinal ecology.
Actually, A+B=C. Check the sidebar for the specifics of Step A.
Stop eating all forms of sugar, all forms of alcohol, foods containing yeast, and all flour and other processed starches. These are the foods that feed the yeast. You want to starve them out.
If the symptoms herein resonate with you, give the diet a 7-10 day trial. Take the strict road so that you can learn something.
During this trial, stay away from fruit and dairy foods (fresh cheeses, milk, 1/2&1/2, even yogurt) until you notice an improvement in how you feel. Then test these foods one at a time (one each day) and watch your reaction.
The time it will take for your body to heal depends on the inroad the yeast has made on your health.
Given this caveat, improvement in symptoms is generally experienced in 2-4 weeks. However, it takes 6 months to a year to heal the affected tissues, return candida to non-toxic levels, and rebuild the immune system.
Crook recorded cases that took 3 years to heal.
Referring to the Diet Plan below, the only dairy included is butter and cream.
Some practitioners believe that the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy is counterindicated. However, some people do fine with dairy, especially plain yogurt.
Also, Haas stipulates whole grains; I have modified that because so many people are gluten sensitive. Better to stay away from gluten grains while cleansing. Fresh fruits are limited to two pieces per day.
Again, I recommend that you stay away from all fruit for 10 days to 2 weeks. (This regimen resembles the Atkins Induction Diet.)
It is very important to include fiber rich foods in your diet. Best known for helping to control blood sugar levels, fiber also encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The Institute of Medicine currently recommends that women eat 25 grams of fiber daily, and men, 38.
Whole foods do the trick: 1C cooked oatmeal, 4 grams; 1/2C cooked black beans, 7.5: whole pear, 8. Be sure to drink lots of water.
Candida Cleanse Footnote
5 Some physicians, including Haas, prescribe antifungals, such as Nystatin. The side effects are dangerous; I think you are better off without them.
Candida Return To Health Diet Plan
Nuts and Seeds
Gluten-free whole grains*
All forms of sugar
Baked goods, including breads
Artificial sweeteners, except stevia
3 Tips About The Candida Return To Health Diet Plan
1) Many people have sugar cravings during this time. These can be blunted with the amino acid L-glutamine.
When you are craving sweets, take 500 mg 3-4 times per day. Within 10 minutes of dosing, the cravings disappear. If they don’t, take another dose. (Won’t harm you.)
According to nutritionist Julia Ross, the body will have been weaned off sugar within a month. There won’t be further need for glutamine supplementation.
This supplement is inexpensive, and glutamine powder is even less (1/4 tsp powder = 1 gram). Protein snacks are also useful. Raw nuts, small can of tuna, or baked tofu help.
2) You may feel worse before you feel better, especially if you are on an oral prescription antifungal.
This is because of yeast die-off; sometimes referred to as the Herxheimer effect. The yeast die quickly with an Rx, giving off toxins, and poisoning your system.
Support your liver and feel better. DMG, TMG, and SAMe (choose one) all have a decongestant effect on the liver. Plus, they encourage neurotransmitter production, raising your spirits as they clear your liver. (Follow package instructions.)
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), sometimes referred to as silymarin (the active compounds) prevents damage to the liver by acting as a potent antioxidant. Take 70-210 mg 3/d.
3) Exercise. Very important, exercise energizes you and calms your emotions.
Be sure you are getting all the basics: multivi-min formula, especially important for B-complex; reinforce with chromium, 200 mcg; vitamin E, 400 IU; vitamin C, up to 3000 mg; vitamin D, 1000-2000 IU; magnesium, 500 mg; vitamin A, 5000 IU (use fish liver oil; supports against infections).
In a recent email, my friend and colleague Ann Louise Gittleman (of Fat Flush fame) wrote, “Molybdenum is a terrific anti-candida supplement. It helps the body get rid of yeast byproducts like aldehydes which can create brain fog and a pseudo alcoholic state. A dosage of 200-500 mcg is very helpful.”
Add to that omega-3 fish oils containing a total of 1000-2000 EPA/DHA; an adaptogen, such as ginseng, to help you with stress; and a digestive supplement.
The latter is imperative. Candida overgrowth interferes with the proper absorption of nutrients. Michael T. Murray recommends an old school digestant, a formula containing HCl, bile, and pancreatic enzymes. Break it up and take the pieces as you eat.
Target Candida Overgrowth
A probiotic formula is Key to ending candida overgrowth. Necessary to reestablish a healthy bacterial milieu in the intestines, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum are especially important to human health.
Acidophilus is thought to control candida by making the intestinal tract more acidic, discouraging the growth of candida.
Plain yogurt won’t do the job because L. bulgaricus doesn’t colonize. (However, yogurt douches and implants remain effective against vaginal yeast infections.)
Take the probiotic between meals on an empty stomach, and then take it with meals several months after the candida is cleared.
Ask at the natural products store for a recommendation of live cultures. Some brands of probiotics offer a money back guarantee.
Garlic (Allium sativum) has antifungal properties, and works directly against the replication of candida.
Garlic is one of the few non-patentable substances that has been the subject of intense scientific research. Fresh or in odorless capsules, because it is natural, essentially non-toxic, and has antifungal and immune enhancing properties, garlic is a highly desirable food to get well and stay well.
Take the equivalent of one clove per day (or one tablet that equals 400 – 500 mg of allicin). A synergistic effect results from combining enteric coated garlic with enteric coated essential oregano oil.
Essential oils are volatile compounds from aromatic plants (e.g., oregano, peppermint, rosemary, clove, geranium….). Many of these possess anti-candida properties.
Oregano oil has been shown to be over 100 times more effective against candida than caprylic acid (a classic supplement recommendation for ending candida overgrowth).
Oregano oil is widely available in natural product stores. A standard dosage is two enteric coated capsules two times a day with water, in between meals.
To get the synergistic effect mentioned above, take one enteric coated garlic cap each time you take the 2 cap dose of oregano.
Pure volatile oils are always ingested in an enteric coated capsule. This way they don’t act until they reach the intestines. Never break open the capsules before ingesting. The loose oil is potent and causes uncomfortable side effects.
Control The Return of Candida Overgrowth With Probiotics
Once you have returned to health, continue to take probiotics for several months.
Always take probiotics along with any antibiotics. This is a good way to prevent a return of the Infamous Fungus.
To maximize the beneficial effect of the probiotics, take them at least 2 hours apart from your dosage of antibiotics. This way as few as possible of the ‘good bacteria’ will get killed by the antibiotics in your gut.
Because you have symptoms of CRC does not mean you have it. Test with the 7-10 day diet and probiotics.
Symptoms of cytomegalovirus and toxic overload as well as parasitic and salmonella infestations closely mimic those of candida.
Low thyroid output and/or the hormone imbalance of perimenopause can be culprits. The treatments are very different.
See a health practitioner with a holistic outlook.
There are three recommended topics of Nutrition News that support the Candida albicans issue. These are Adaptogens, Eating With Enzymes, and GMOs.