I was at a function and I got into conversation with a girlfriend who was complaining that she couldn’t drink alcohol because she was on a prescribed drug. Curious, I asked her what was happening? Whilst pouring herself a lemonade, and enjoying a cupcake, she explained that her doctor told her she couldn’t drink alcohol for at least seven days while she went on an anti-candida drug. Clearly, I looked confused because she then asked me, “What’s wrong?” I asked her had her doctor said anything about cutting out sugar during the next seven days or better yet, as a way forward for dealing with Candida? She now looked confused and disillusioned by the cupcake in hand and placed it down on the table beside her. She leaned in towards me and replied, “No – should I?”
Two things surprise me here.
- That some practitioners still offer drug management as a cure all and provide no lifestyle advice.
- That so many of us still want the quick road to symptom relief rather, happy to pop a pill or potion rather than sitting back and asking:
“Why do I have these symptoms?” “What possibly could my body be trying to me about my lifestyle?”
So Let’s Explore What Candida Is and What We Can Do About It?
What is Candida?
Candida, a yeast-like fungus (bacteria) is normally present in the body. However, if healthy bacteria levels are disrupted or the immune system is compromised, Candida can begin to overproduce. When we have too much of this bacterium in our gut, it creates an imbalance, and leads to a yeast infection.
What are the possible signs and symptoms if I, or my family members have Candida?
- Chronic tiredness and fatigue
- Poor concentration and mental confusion
- Bloating, flatulence, intestinal cramps, constipation, diarrhoea
- Vaginal, anal, and rectal itching
- Recurring urinary tract infections
- Cravings for simple carbohydrates (white foods–pasta, bread, rice, and all sugars) and yeast
- Chemical and food sensitivity
- Digestive issues
- Psoriasis, fungal infections
- Recurring sinus infections
- Joint pain
- Oral thrush, white tongue (more common in infants)
- Nappy rash into the skin folds
What factors that can lead to Candida overgrowth?
- Taking antibiotics
- Eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbs
- High alcohol intake
- A weakened immune system
- Oral Contraceptives
- Hi stress levels
- Gut imbalances
Who Gets Candida Overgrowths?
Some people believe that candida overgrowths are simply thrush and so a woman’s business. Many people however irrespective of sex or age unknowingly suffer with a candida overgrowth. Many children are also affected. Here’s what you need to know:
- Candida often proliferates in people who suffer digestive and other metabolic imbalances. Studies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is associated with several diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Candida is common for people who have used wide spectrum antibiotics. It is often seen in children who have had numerous prescriptions for antibiotics for repeated ear and throat infections etc. Antibiotics for mother or baby during pregnancy and birth are the most common sources of microbial imbalance leading to candida in children.
- Exposure to mercury through (silver) amalgam fillings and vaccinations, and your mother’s mercury toxin exposures are other variables leading to candida overgrowth.
- Candida can be common amongst pregnant women, particularly in the form of vaginal thrush. This may be due to hormonal changes that influence its growth.
- Babies can develop oral thrush passed on by the mother, which is not serious but is uncomfortable and ideally should be treated quickly.
- Candida is commonly seen in children with autism, ADD and ADHD.
- Candida is not normally sexually transmitted however it may cross-infect, so if your partner suffers with an itchy groin area, peeling feet or suffers from excess gas and bloating then they should also follow the dietary protocol for tackling Candida.
- Women who take oral contraceptives are more likely to develop candida, due to the artificial stimulation of the hormonal system and the taxing effect on the liver and pancreas which support a healthy digestive tract.
- Diabetics are prone to candida.
- Candida is very common amongst those who are immune compromised or those with weak immune systems.
- According to Chinese medicine, individuals prone to anxiety and worry are likely to develop damp excesses and yeast overgrowths.
- Candida is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6, essential fatty acids and magnesium.
- Although short-term sinus infections are mostly caused by bacteria, many longer-term, chronic sinus infections are believed to be fungal. If you have sinus infections that last longer than one month, Candida may be to blame.
How Can Untreated Candida Affect My Health?
- Candida affects proper assimilation of food in the bowel, including essential amino acids and other nutrients. This in turn, weakens the immune system.
- With yeast overgrowths, the candida can penetrate through the intestinal wall into the circulating blood, moving it into other areas of the body. When this infection spreads throughout the body it is known as systemic candidiasis and can be life-threatening if untreated.
- The toxic by-products of systemic candida stimulate the production of antibodies, seriously taxing the body until it is unable to respond to other invading viruses. The resulting symptoms can be varied and present as an array of health challenges.
- For some people this may result in allergic reactions to minor environmental or dietary toxins, whereby they suffer a variety of food, chemical and environmental allergies. These incompletely digested food substances travel through the body and across the blood-brain barrier, which scientists are now correlating with patterned behavioural habits of children with autism and ADD/ADHD.
- Alternatively with time, the immune system may become so depleted that it allows for autoimmune diseases to develop such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and cancer.
For guidelines for rebalancing gut flora please see the Tackling Candida blog post.
Want to learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle? For more health-related information, please see Well Adjusted Babies 2nd Edition.
Pitchford P. Healing with Whole Foods. Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. California: North Atlantic Books;2002.
Salmon J. Pearce L. Autism & Attention Deficit Disorders. Bangor; Persimmon Press: 2006.
Sullivan K. Natural Healthcare for Children. London; Judy Piatkus: 2000.
Lipski E PhD. Digestive Wellness For Children. Laguna Beach; Basic Health Publications: 2006.
Mercola J Dr. Pearsall K Dr. Take Control of Your Health.Schaumburg; Mercola.com: 2007 Mercola. Holistic Treatment For Candida Infection. Online: Available. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/06/10/holistic-treatment-for-candida-infection.aspx
Mercola. How Yeast Can Create Havoc in Your Life and How to Address it. Online: Available. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/12/02/how-yeast-can-create-havoc-in-your-life-and-how-to-address-it.aspx https://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/what-candida
Updated: March 30, 2021