Are you suffering from Candida Overgrowth
Are you listening to your gut? I’m not referring to your intuition. I’m talking about taking a real note of gut discomfort that many people are forced to contend with regularly.
People suffering from Candida overgrowth will experience some of the following symptoms:
Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
“Foggy brain” (where concentrating on tasks and thinking clearly is a challenge), anxiety, irritability, mood swings
Eczema and rashes, acne, hives, itching skin
Persistent cough, post-nasal drip, an increase in congestion, seasonal allergies, and general flu-like symptoms
Frequent yeast infections, weight gain, fatigue, inflammation, low libido, and lack of appetite
If you are feeling fatigued, are suffering from recurring urinary tract or genital infections, skin or nail fungal infections or digestive issues like constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, gas, cramps and bloating, you could be experiencing the effects of Candida overgrowth in your gut. Candida overgrowth manifests in ways that leave many people attaching the problem to other causes or leaving it completely untreated. Many seemingly innocuous symptoms may be a result of a disruption in the delicate balance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut. This overgrowth produces many toxins that can affect every organ in the body and should not be left undiagnosed.
What is Candida?
Candida is actually fungus. Believe it or not, it is a crucial and natural part of our microbiome, the community of organisms that assists the body with a variety of essential functions.
The most common form is Candida albicans. It’s a form of yeast that lives in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina and even on the skin in minimal amounts. Its purpose is to assist with digestion and nutrient absorption as well as to help the immune system by recognising and destroying harmful bacteria. If the amounts remain small, it will live in the gastrointestinal tract and other areas of the body without causing harm.
The problem occurs when there is an overgrowth in the gut. Candida then breaks down the walls of the digestive tract and penetrates the bloodstream where it releases toxins into the body. These toxic by-products cause leaky gut and can also lead to many different health problems ranging across the spectrum from digestive issues to depression.
How do you get it?
There are, unfortunately, a multitude of ways that leads to optimal conditions for Candida overgrowth. It can commonly be blamed on poor lifestyle choices and pharmaceutical drugs, but not always.
Sugar is what feeds Candida. Most alcohol is fermented and contains sugars that will also feed the yeast, allowing it to continue to grow in your system. Antibiotics kill good bacteria along with harmful bacteria which sets the stage for Candida to take over. Oral birth control can also disrupt the bacterial balance in the microbiome, thereby exacerbating the effects of Candida overgrowth.
Some ways people can be susceptible to poor gut health stems from long before they were ever in control of their diet. These include if their mother had a healthy gut balance while she was pregnant with them, if they were delivered via C-section and not vaginally, if they were breastfed for less than six months or if they have a generally weakened immune system.
How do you get rid of it?
The right diet is crucial to rebalancing Candida levels because we can control its growth through our food. The ideal Candida diet is balanced, avoiding all sugars and yeast-based products as well as starchy vegetables and carbohydrate-rich foods. The key is to start with changing what these microbes are being exposed to – and that is our food. Like many humans, Candida enjoys a diet rich in sugar. Simple as well as complex carbohydrates will feed the yeast.
The gut and particularly the microbiome need a diverse range of different microbes. An elimination diet is recommended and then appropriately prescribed antimicrobials to reduce the ‘more stubborn’ Candida that can attach to the bowel wall. Following this protocol, I have found that there is a huge reduction in Candida levels just over 1-2 weeks than from just diet alone. However, treatment can take approximately 4-12 weeks, depending on the Candida load. The elimination diet means cutting out sugar, alcohol and processed foods, eating organic foods, drinking plenty of filtered water, and following an 80% vegetable, 20% protein meal balance. In turn, this approach helps to heal the gut, boosts digestion and replaces good bacteria.
The relationship between Candida overgrowth, inflammation, and gut health is extremely complex. Every client is different and may experience different symptoms based on their lifestyle, genetics, diet and other factors, which is why seeing a functional medicine practitioner is imperative in getting one’s Candida overgrowth treated.
Helen Revans is a certified Health Coach and the Founder of ‘Nurture Your Life’. Helen has 30 years of experience as a Food Preparation and Nutrition educator. She is currently studying for her certification in functional medicine for coaching with the School of Applied Functional Medicine. Helen is passionate about getting to the root cause of the disease in the body with her clients, and she specialises in gut and hormone health.
Find Helen at www.nurtureyourlife.com
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