CANDIDIASIS or CANDIDA ALBICANS, a common yeast, is part of the regular flora (bacteria) in the digestive tract. In a healthy state, they live in a ratio of about one candida cell to one million other microorganisms. However, due to our modern lifestyles, women who take birth control pills and men or women who consume large amounts of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates (e.g. refined sugars and fruit juices), or have used antibiotics or corticosteroids might experience candida overgrowth. Women might also experience yeast overgrowth premenstrually or during pregnancy since progesterone levels seem to enhance yeast growth. Stress is also a cause of yeast overgrowth.
When this happens, yeast overgrowth-related disorders may then develop, such as yeast infections, rectal itch, constipation, bloating and weight gain, skin problems, brain "fog," and many other symptoms.
With long-term infestation, candida shifts into a fungal form that develops roots called rhizoids. These can grow right into the intestinal wall and cause the intestine to become porous, allowing toxins and undigested proteins and carbohydrates to flow through the bowel wall, to be absorbed into the body and the blood stream. This condition is called Leaky Gut syndrome. So many seemingly untreatable health problems start with candida overgrowth, which can evolve in to Leaky Gut syndrome.
The next step in this vicious cycle is that the immune system of the individual makes antibodies (proteins) that attempt to neutralize the candida overgrowth. These antibodies can cause the body to become hypersensitive to certain foods and molds, and can create a wide variety of food allergies. They can also interfere with hormonal activity and cause nutritional deficiencies.
The yeast syndrome is characterized by patients saying they "feel sick all over." Major symptoms include fatigue or lethargy; feeling "drained"; poor memory; feeling "spacey" or "unreal"; depression; numbness; pain and bloating; constipation and/or diarrhea; persistent vaginal itch or burning; endometriosis; cramps and other menstrual irregularities including premenstrual tension; erratic vision including spots in front of eyes; allergies; immune system malfunction; chemical sensitivities; and digestive disturbances.
The best method of diagnosing chronic candidiasis is clinical evaluation by a physician knowledgeable about yeast-related illness. The manner in which the doctor will diagnose the yeast syndrome will probably be based on clinical judgment from a detailed medical history and patient questionnaire. The doctor may also employ laboratory techniques, such as stool cultures for candida, and measurement of antibody levels to candida or candida antigens in the blood.
Once diagnosed, most physicians prescribe drugs such as nystatin, ketoconazol and diflucan as well as various natural anticandida agents, but these rarely produce significant long-term results because they fail to address the underlying factors that promote candida overgrowth.
Therefore, a holistic and integrative approach, involving diet, lifestyle and whole food nutritional supplements with natural candida remedies is essential for long-term improvement and prevention.
Additional Natural Remedies for Candida
For people who have or may have imbalanced intestinal flora, avoiding contact with chlorinated water is of the utmost importance. That includes bathing water and drinking water. Chlorine kills bacteria, friendly and unfriendly, in the intestines. It can be absorbed through the skin. Install a shower filter to remove chlorine and avoid swimming in chlorinated water, as well.
In treating chronic candidiasis, a comprehensive approach is more effective than simply trying to kill the candida with a drug or natural anticandida agent. For example, most physicians fail to recognize that a number of dietary factors appear to promote the overgrowth of candida. It is also important to increase digestive secretions; enhance immunity; promote detoxification and elimination; and use a comprehensive nutritional supplement program, including the use of the natural anti-yeast herbal extracts contained in Fungal Defense.
Limit Sugar. Sugar is the chief nutrient for Candida albicans. Restriction of sugar intake is an absolute necessity in the treatment of chronic candidiasis. Most people do well by simply avoiding grains, flours, pasta, refined sugar and large amounts of honey, maple syrup and fruit juice and limiting overall consumption of carbohydrates to less than 100 grams per day.
Limit milk and dairy products. There are several reasons to restrict or eliminate the intake of milk in chronic candidiasis. Milk's high lactose content promotes the overgrowth of candida. Milk is also one of the most common food allergens and may even contain trace levels of antibiotics, which can further disrupt the gastrointestinal bacterial flora and promote candida overgrowth. The consumption of a 30-hour cultured goat's milk yogurt is very beneficial to those suffering from candidiasis.
Avoid mold- and yeast-containing foods. It is generally recommended by many experts that individuals with chronic candidiasis avoid foods with a high content of yeast or mold, including alcoholic beverages, grains, cheeses, dried fruits, and peanuts.
Increase digestive secretions. In many cases, an important step in treating chronic candidiasis is improving digestive secretions. Gastric hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile all inhibit the overgrowth of candida and prevent its penetration into the absorptive surfaces of the small intestine. Decreased production of any of these important digestive components can lead to an overgrowth of Candida albicans in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, restoration of normal digestive secretions through the use of supplemental digestive enzymes (e.g. Omega-Zyme or Digestzymes w/HcL) is critical in the treatment of chronic candidiasis.
Restoring immune function. Restoring proper immune function is one of the key goals in the treatment of chronic candidiasis. Consuming immune enhancing products such as Primal Defense and RM-10 can greatly aid in the body's fight against candida overgrowth.
Promoting detoxification. Candida sufferers usually exhibit multiple chemical sensitivities and allergies, an indication that detoxification reactions are stressed. Therefore, the liver function of the candida patient needs to be supported. In fact, improving the health of the liver and promoting detoxification may be one of the most critical factors in the successful treatment of candidiasis.
Damage to the liver. If even slightly damaged by a toxic chemical, immune function is severely compromised. Liver injury is also linked to candida overgrowth, as evident in studies of mice demonstrating that when the liver is even slightly damaged, candida runs rampant through the body. Consuming a high quality green food supplement such as Perfect Food can greatly enhance the liver's ability to properly detoxify the body.
Promoting elimination. In addition to directly supporting liver function, proper detoxification involves proper elimination. A diet that focuses on high-fiber plant foods should be sufficient to promote proper elimination by supplying an ample amount of dietary fiber. If additional support is needed, fiber formulas can be taken. These formulas are composed of natural plant fibers derived from seeds, vegetables and grains. Super Seed fiber formula is an ideal fiber supplement for those suffering from yeast overgrowth.
Natural antiyeast compounds. There are a number of natural Candida remedies with proven activity against Candida albicans. Among natural agents recommended to treat Candida albicans are garlic, olive leaf extract and wild oregano, both contained in Fungal Defense.