Let’s talk Candida. There’s a good chance you’ve got it.
You may be familiar with the term candida albicans but a lot of people don’t know much about it. Over 70% of Americans have some sort of candida overgrowth and yet they don’t even know it! It’s because doctors don’t recognize candida overgrowth as a true health condition, so they don’t test for it, they just treat the symptoms. It’s often misdiagnosed for other health conditions because the symptoms vary so much from each individual and range from head to toe. Many people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may vary well have candida overgrowth as the ROOT of their health conditions. Let’s discuss this sugar craving monster a little more in depth since it’s far too common these days. Candida Albincans is a fungal yeast that we all have in our bodies. It resides in the mucous membranes of your mouth, intestines and genitals. It’s actually beneficial in moderate amounts as it aids with digestion and nutrient absorption and lives harmoniously with other microorganisms in a healthy, balanced body. It’s not until it grows out of control that it becomes a real troublemaker. And I mean real troublemaker.
Candida overgrowth causes you to crave sugar and carbohydrates, makes you tired all the time and takes over your brain power inducing major brain fog. Candida can multiply rapidly, poke it’s way through the mucosal barrier of the gut and make it’s way into other areas of the body causing all types of unpleasant symptoms. Here are some of the unpleasant candida symptoms:
- feeling lethargic and tired all the time
- poor memory
- difficulty concentrating
- brain fog
- headaches or migraines
- strong sugar cravings
- digestive problems
- skin and nail infections
- acne, psoriasis, hives and rashes
- severe allergies
- sinus infections
- itchy ears
- vaginal itching and yeast infections
- anxiety or depression
- Before you go to bed, set a glass of clean, purified water next to your nightstand so it is available in the morning.
- First thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything or brush your teeth, work up some saliva in your mouth and spit it into the glass of water. Try to spit right in the middle so none gets on the sides of the glass.
- Check the water every 15 minutes or so for an hour to see if it floats, grows legs or sinks to the bottom.
- FYI- you cannot eat dairy during this time and you must be hydrated for it to be accurate.
Healthy saliva floats on the top, while stringy, suspended or saliva that sinks to the bottom indicates candida overgrowth. Some are skeptical of this spit test so if you really want to know for sure, I can test for it. In Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, we use conclusive functional lab tests and assessments to see if you have candida or other parasites that are keeping you in a chronic state of infection. Candida feeds off the excrement of bacteria and parasites, so if you’ve got candida, you may vary well have a nasty parasite too! Check out my article on parasites here.
Candida is an opportunistic organism, meaning that it will only thrive in an environment that allows it to, like a compromised immune system. An unbalanced gut flora will definitely provide an environment for candida to flourish. There are many lifestyle and environmental conditions that may upset the balance of the gut flora:
- antibiotics (prescription and those in found in our food supply)
- heavy metals
- environmental toxins
- highly stressful lifestyles
- adrenal fatigue
- poor sleep habits
- anti-inflammatory drugs
- diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates
So how do you get rid of candida overgrowth?
Recognize that candida is not the root problem. Investigate why it has grown out of control. Dysbiosis in the gut? Heavy metal toxicity? Too much stress and adrenal fatigue? Get to the bottom of it and work on fixing the MAIN cause. Treat the candida with the following protocol and simultaneously work on the underlying causes of dis-ease. Starve it with the Diet This is strict but gets results! 6-10 weeks of no gluten, grains, sugar, most fruits (except berries and green apples) or dairy. You can have meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, healthy fats, berries, green apples, nuts and seeds. No fermented foods or drinks like kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, soy sauce or kefir. You must starve the candida of sugars in order to kill it. Grains are broken down into sugar. (Moving forward after this protocol, you must always soak your grains first to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors. This makes them more easily digestible and allows for proper nutrient absorption.) Strong Anti-Fungal Rotation 3-4 rounds of 16 day rotations of the following herbs:
- 4 days Pau de Arco tea (3-4 teabags a day, hot or cold)
- 4 days Oregano Oil caps (2 caps twice a day)
- 4 days Grapefruit Seed Extract (2 caps twice a day)
- 4 days Olive Leaf Extract (2 caps three times a day)
Other Crucial Supplements
- HCL or Digestive Enzymes to properly break down your food so there’s no fermentation in the gut to feed candida.
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to kill candida.
- Bentonite Clay to pull it through and out of your body.
- Fiber to sweep through the gut.
- Sacchromyces Boulllardi at night to repopulate the beneficial bacteria and kill candida.
- Fish Oil to heal leaky gut and reduce inflammation in the gut.
Boost the Detoxification Process (for over-achievers)
- Coffee Enemas weekly. Coffee enemas are the single best way to detox. You can stimulate the liver to hiccup when the caffeine hits it, and it releases a ton of bile to flush out toxins. It also helps produce glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant.
- Oil Pulling daily. Do this to assist the body in pulling toxins out of the tissues in the mouth. Swish 1 Tbsp. coconut oil or sesame oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Do not swallow.
- Infrared Sauna Therapy 2-3 times a week. Different from regular saunas in that it heats you from the inside-out, versus from the outside-in.
- Investigate heavy metal toxicity. The body will protect you from mercury or copper toxicity with candida overgrowth.
- Look into adrenal and thyroid health.
- Heal the gut.
- Practice stress reducing activities like yoga, deep breathing and meditation.
Sources: Christa Orrechio at http://www.digestionsessions.com