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All You Need to Know About Candida

Updated: Jan 2

What is Candida overgrowth?

Our body is made up of many different organisms such as bacteria and fungi that normally live with us in harmony and peace. Most of these micro-organisms are located in our digestive system, including Candida. Candida is a type of yeast that feeds on various organic substances, and like any other living organism, it excretes waste after eating. Candida's favorite foods are sugars, simple carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cakes, and alcohol.

When Candida levels are balanced and it does not overgrow, it actually contributes to the regulation of the immune system, the nervous system and helps balance the hormonal system. Also, when Candida is in balance within our body it plays an important role in the microbiome community, and in the detoxification processes! The main triggers that cause Candida to become harmful if overconsumption of antibiotics and eating foods that cause it to prosper too much like sugars, simple carbohydrates, alcohol and processed foods.

Candida’s accelerated growth occurs as a result of its transformation from yeast to fungus, which roots and spreads rapidly and produces toxins that can interfere with the normal functioning of our body's systems. Candida's rooting in the intestine causes damage to the intestine barrier and allows the passage of undigested food, chemicals, and various toxins into our bloodstream. This condition is called a "leaky gut" and it can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms that can be manifested in other systems such as the reproductive organs, the urinary system, the immune system, and the nervous system.

As long as the location of the candida remains in the intestines, it cannot cause systemic infection, but when it spreads to external areas, it could cause a severe infection. This can happen in severe cases of immunodeficiency, then the Candida fungus can penetrate through the walls of the intestine into the lymphatic system, migrate through the body and settle in various organs. This condition is called systemic Candidiasis. Candida is one of those opportunistic microorganisms that can affect the entire body.

Candida secretes close to 100 types of toxins and this is the reason for its numerous symptoms and the involvement of several organs and body systems.

One of the prominent signs that can indicate an overgrowth of Candida in the body is a white, thick and "creamy" coating on the tongue (not every white coating on the tongue is an unequivocal diagnosis of Candida overgrowth, therefore, it is important to make a differential diagnosis).


The main reasons for Candida

1. Extensive use of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics.

2. High blood sugar levels.

3. Poor nutrition which consists of industrialized and processed food, chemicals, preservatives, and sugars.

4. Stress and anxiety.

5. Dysfunction of the liver.

6. Lack of digestive enzymes or poor secretion of bile and stomach acid.

7. Prolonged stay in a moldy environment.

8. Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as smoke, chemicals, pesticides, and different toxins.

9. Weakening of the immune system as a result of prolonged stress or chronic disease.

10. Alcohol.

The effect of alcohol on Candida overgrowth

An important thing that you need to know about candida is that one of of the main factors that can cause it outbreak is excessive drinking of alcohol. Alcohol, even in small amounts, works like a neurotoxin (nerve toxin), which affects the gut-brain axis It disrupts the gut bacteria population by feeding harmful fungi and bacteria. It is even worse when alcohol is consumed during a state of stress, which on its own has a negative effect on our digestive system. Some of you may not be happy to hear this, but avoiding alcohol is a top priority if you want to treat bacterial or fungal imbalances in the gut, and prevent an overgrowth of candida or Sibo (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth).

In addition, alcohol burdens the liver and does not allow it to clean the body effectively from toxins. Alcohol also damages the intestinal lining and causes permeability, which impairs the intestine's ability to absorb nutrients and prevent toxins from entering the body.


Symptoms of active Candida

Symptoms of active Candida include:

- Mental symptoms: fatigue, irritability, nervousness, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, lack of concentration, depression, brain fog, and tendency to cry.

- Digestive symptoms: gas, abdominal pain, craving for sugar, bloating, diarrhea, white coating on the tongue, tongue fungus, bad breath, gum problems, itchy anus, difficulty in digesting proteins, food allergies, mucus in the stool.

- Hormonal system: irregular cycle, premenstrual syndrome, impotence, decreased sperm quality, fertility problems, loss of libido.

- Symptoms in the urinary system: increased vaginal secretions, vaginal fungus or thrush, recurrent urinary tract infections, and prostatitis.

- Skin symptoms: skin fungi, skin allergies, dandruff, body itching, nail fungus.

- Symptoms in the joints and muscles: pain, swelling, muscle weakness, difficulty in starting physical activity, fibromyalgia.

- ENT symptoms: Sinusitis, phlegm, chronic runny nose, recurrent infections of the nose and eyes, itchy eyes and ears.

Research

A study found that there is a 100% match between the outbreak of Candida fungus in the digestive system and vaginal candida infection. During pregnancy, for example, candida infections are common due to high blood sugar levels and low stomach acidity.


Candida diagnose It is important to note that candida is a phenomenon that is often not diagnosed or is diagnosed too late after a long time of suffering and uncertainty. The good news is, that even if you have not received a referral for a specific test for candida (feces, throat, or vaginal swab), it can be diagnosed through a thorough and detailed naturopathic questioning.

The Naturopathic treatment for candida is a comprehensive, holistic treatment that addresses all the related body systems and organs that are affected by Candida.

Many recent clinical trials have shown the importance of nutrition and nutritional supplements as part of Candida treatment. The goal of a healthy and balanced diet is to encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut, while "starving" the Candida fungus.

Adhering to a diet that starves the fungus will help the body get rid of Candida and its toxins, restore the digestive system (and other body systems), and encourage the growth and activity of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle also plays a big role in preventing the recurrence of Candida.

As part of the natural treatment for Candida, food supplements and medicinal herbs are often applied. Their aim is to eliminate the fungus, strengthen the population of good intestinal bacteria, improve digestive processes and liver function and strengthen the immune and nervous systems.

The supplements usually consist of antifungal and anti-microbial agents as well as digestive supporters and immune boosters which are designed to reduce the fungal population and alleviate the symptoms associated with it.



Candida
Candida

References:

1. Lin XL, Li Z, Zuo XL. [Study on the relationship between vaginal and intestinal candida in patients with vulvovaginal candidiasis]. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 2011 Jul;46(7):496-500. Chinese.

2. Reed BD, Slattery ML, French TK. The association between dietary intake and reported history of Candida vulvovaginitis. J Fam Pract. 1989 Nov;29(5):509-15.

3. Bhardwaj A, Gupta P, Kumar N, Mishra J, Kumar A, Rakhee R, Misra K. Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Agaricomycetes), Inhibits Candida Biofilms: A Metabolomic Approach. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2017;19(8):685-696.

4. Rodrigues ME, Silva S, Azeredo J, Henriques M. Novel strategies to fight Candida species infection. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2016 Aug;42(4):594-606. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2014.974500. Epub 2014 Nov 10

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