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Candida – causes and answers

Article courtesy of Deborah Freudenmann, BHSc(Nat)

Candida Albicans is one of the common fungal yeasts occurring naturally in the body. It lives in harmony with a large variety of microorganisms and performs some critical functions.

However, patients may develop symptoms when some lifestyle-linked environmental conditions disrupt the balance of the microbiota of the body.

The overgrowth of Candida in the gut can lead to serious consequences as these fungi have the ability to burrow holes in the walls of the intestine and enter the bloodstream causing widespread damage. This can allow the yeast to grow, proliferate, and dominate some parts of the body.

Thus, appropriate lifestyle measures must be adopted to heal Candida infection and restore balance in the body’s internal ecosystem.

Here is a brief discussion about the complications linked to candida and the most effective lifestyle interventions to avoid them.

What are the common symptoms of Candida?

  • Itching in the skin and ears
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Low energy, malaise, and fatigue
  • Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis
  • Skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Fungal infections of the skin and nails
  • Frequent vaginal and urinary infections
  • Mood swings, depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • Rectal and vaginal itching
  • Brain fog, reduced concentration, and poor memory

What are the causes of Candida overgrowth?

Candida overgrowth occurs when environmental conditions are favourable allowing them to overpopulate the body’s microbiome.

The healthy bacteria in the gut can typically keep the candida growth in check. However, some factors may trigger a faster and uncontrolled candida growth.

Some of these factors include:

  • Eating a diet rich in refined sugars or carbohydrates that feed the yeast
  • Drinking tap water having chlorine or any disinfectant by-products
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Inadvertent use of antibiotics
  • Use of oral contraceptives
  • Mental stress
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of antacids for treating heartburn
  • Sexual intercourse with a person with a penal or vaginal yeast overgrowth
  • Mercury toxicity in the blood and tissues due to the seepage of mercury from dental amalgams, and vaccines, or inherited from the mother

The toxic metabolites released by candida

Once candida enters the bloodstream from the gut, it can reach any organ or system of the body. It can release more than 70 different toxins into the bloodstream. The body, in turn, creates an immune response to the yeast as well as the toxins released by it.

This can lead to the secretion of a higher amount of pro-inflammatory compounds that can cause serious damage to healthy tissues.

The liver plays a key role in detoxifying the toxic elements the body is exposed to. When Candida is present in the body in high amounts for a prolonged period, it can overwhelm the liver causing immune dysregulation and whole-body toxicity.

This may lead to an inflammatory overload and trigger an autoimmune response and cancer development.

How are candida toxins linked to liver dysfunctions?

There are nearly 70 toxins released in the body by live Candida. The number of toxins increases further when massive colonies of these organisms are destroyed.

Here are the 2 most harmful toxins released by candida:

1. Acetaldehyde

Acetaldehyde is a metabolic by-product that is similar to carbon dioxide that we exhale during breathing. The high level of acetaldehyde released by candida could lead to inflammation and oxidative stress. It can cause damage to the DNA and increase the risk of cancer development. 

The increased release of acetaldehyde in the body can create an effect equivalent to alcohol poisoning. Acetaldehyde toxicity is also associated with a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Gliotoxin

This is another major toxin released by candida. It has the ability to suppress the immune system and destroy vital immune cells.

Gliotoxin can also destroy healthy hepatic cells, and impair the ability of the liver to deactivate toxins. The impairment of liver functions reduces the efficiency of the immune system further and promotes a higher degree of autoimmunity. 

The release of gliotoxin can also increase the risk of autoimmune diseases affecting the nervous system and brain like multiple sclerosis.

Effective strategies to prevent candida overgrowth

Avoid foods that support yeast overgrowth

Yeast organisms like candida need fuel in the form of carbohydrates to survive, grow, and proliferate. Starving them of this source of fuel sources can slow down their growth.

Hence, it is advisable to avoid the following foods to prevent candida overgrowth:

  • Sweeteners and processed foods including sugars, syrups, fruit juices, and honey
  • Fermented foods like yeasts, yogurt, and kombucha
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter
  • Grains like rice and corn
  • Vegetables with a high glycemic index like potatoes
  • Pulpy fruits like mangoes 

Know the foods to eat

While avoiding the high-carb foods to prevent candida overgrowth, it is also important to ensure your body receives a good supply of nutrients and a healthy source of energy.

Some of the best foods you can include in your diet are:

  • Safe sweeteners such as monk fruit
  • 6 to 8 servings of organic vegetables, every day
  • Collagen or bone broth (home-made is best)
  • Proteins from healthy sources like organic free-range eggs, red meat, poultry and wild-caught (not farmed) fish.
  • Spirulina for energy
  • 8 to 10 cups of purified water every day

Reintroducing foods

After about a month of eliminating foods that can cause yeast overgrowth, you may reintroduce some of them back into your diet.

You can start with the low glycemic fruits like green apples, grapefruit, or kiwi. Starchy vegetables like corn, potatoes, butternut squash, and yams can be introduced gradually. Next, you can add gluten-free grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and millet.

If your body is able to tolerate these newly added foods, you may continue to consume them.

Natural Remedies

  • Supporting healthy liver function and detoxification
  • Repairing and maintaining  balanced gut health
  • Adopting healthy lifestyle and dietary choices
  • Frequency therapies

Candida resides in the mucous membrane of the mouth, intestinal tract, throat, and genitals. Appropriate lifestyle strategies and adopting a nutritious diet can heal Candida infections and restore balance in your body’s internal ecosystem.