Is yeast overgrowth contributing to a more important underlying illness? Candida, a normal part of your natural microflora, is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide1. Although it may be a contributing factor in some illnesses, it may be the cause of others. However, it almost always accompanies intestinal, immune, degenerative, or toxicity related illnesses. Recovery from Candida overgrowth requires a whole lifestyle healing approach and once it is diagnosed, the very first step is to detect the underlying cause. So the first question is, how is yeast overgrowth diagnosed?
The truth is, everybody has Candida in their bodies and it lives in your mucous membranes. Yeast overgrowth is something of a controversial illness, and many medical professionals have not yet recognized it. There are a few tests that are recognized to determine the levels of possible Candida overgrowth. The culture test is for skin and genital yeast infections where a small skin sample is cultured to determine the presence of yeast, which can be seen under a microscope. In the blood, antibodies can be checked for the likelihood of candida overgrowth. These antibodies are IgG, IgA, and IgM. There are also stool and urine tests that can be performed. If any of these tests are positive for or show a possibility of candida overgrowth, it is important to determine the actual cause. Irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease have all been found to have a significant connection to yeast overgrowth.
Even if you were to perform these tests, the specific treatment will differ per individual. There are underlying causes that must be determined as to WHY there is yeast overgrowth.
Symptoms you may be experiencing:
- White coat on tongue
- Brain fog
- Hormone imbalance
- Joint pain
- Loss of sex drive
- Chronic sinus and allergy issues
- Digestive problems (gas and bloating)
- Weak immune system
We would argue that Candida within itself isn’t the cause of the health problems. It is simply an opportunistic organism that thrives in an unhealthy host. Life factors of today’s modern society can significantly create an environment for Candida overgrowth. These factors such as antibiotic use, hormone replacement therapy, high sugar and carbohydrate diets, nutrient/mineral deficiencies, toxic elements, stress levels, and birth control use coincide with the symptoms of Candida overgrowth that many people experience.
Antibiotic use kills off not only the bad bacteria, but also the good bacteria that are beneficial for our health. In fact, our gut is the first line of defense for our immune system. As intestinal bacteria die, yeast will thrive and grow into large colonies and take over which can cause this contribution towards yeast overgrowth. While antibiotics are often prescribed to treat bacterial infections, they are not effective against viral infections. Viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics include: Colds, Flu, Most coughs and bronchitis, and sore throat (except Strep throat). It’s not just humans that over consume antibiotics. Animals which provide us food (like cattle and pork) are treated with them as well. Today 80% of the antibiotics used in the United States are fed to livestock!2 Always take a probiotic when you are on an antibiotic and even after the round of antibiotic is finished. Other nutrients to consider that boost the body’s immune system are Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Oregano Oil, Zinc, and Lauricidin.
Hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills are widely used today for many different reasons. Low energy, sleep disturbances, mood swings, contraceptives, and weight gain, are just a few examples of why individuals will jump to the conclusion that they have a hormone imbalance. However, any increased use of the hormones estrogen or progesterone can upset the body’s natural balance. But did you know that Candida also produces a waste product that mimics estrogen in the body?3 It’s a vicious cycle if you are trying to treat symptoms with hormones and then, in turn, cause the body to send out messages telling your body that you are producing more estrogen than it really is! Estrogen dominance is a whole other topic, but we are all familiar with illnesses that are caused by this hormone such as infertility, irregular bleeding during mensus, migraines, fibrocystic breasts, and even some breast cancers.
The Gut – Brain Connection
The gastrointestinal tract is one of the few places that neurotransmitters are made. Neurotransmitters communicate information from our brain to our bodies like telling a muscle to contract or an endocrine gland to secrete hormones. There are many things that effect our body’s ability to produce neurotransmitters and it’s estimated that up to 86% of Americans have suboptimal neurotransmitter levels.4 Stress, poor diet, drugs, and caffeine are just a few of the lifestyle factors that can affect our production. This is important, because if you have inflammation of the gut, or an imbalance of gut flora, other areas of the body will be affected and your list of symptoms expands. Did you know that 80%-95% of the body’s total serotonin is produced and found in the gut?5 Scientists are currently paying more attention to the link that the gut and the brain have and how it affects systemic inflammation. Pro-inflammatory substances from the gut can actually cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate certain enzymes, which can lead to a depletion of tryptophan.6 Tryptophan is an amino acid precursor to serotonin. Therefore, when treating depression it is important to understand the link between your mental and digestive health.
Are You One Big Sugar Pill?
Candida cell walls consist of 80% carbohydrates. This means, that in order for the fungus to thrive, it relies on sugars which is what carbohydrates are made of. Carbohydrates are found in all of our fruits, vegetables, and grains. Americans are eating more sugar every day and this sugar is what feeds Candida. As stated in an article published in the Diabetes Journal, Candida becomes more infective in a high glucose environment by producing some protein molecules which bind to our immune cells and do not allow them to be active against Candida.7 With a suppressed immune system a person is more vulnerable to infection and inflammation. Candida doesn’t just thrive off of glucose, it has the ability to utilize many sugars and this ability also allows it to grow in different environments in our body.
Lifestyle Changes to Consider
- A diet lower in sugar and higher in proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables is optimal. Proteins include eggs, chicken, fish, beans, and even steak (if your Iron levels allow). Healthy fats to consume are avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and coconut oil. Limit your fruits to no more than two fruits per day and eliminate fruit juice. Eliminate alcohol, soda, and sport drinks as well. Exclude dairy from the diet the best you can as well. Be sure you read ingredient labels for high fructose corn syrup found in a lot of condiments and pre-packages foods.
- Supplement your diet in areas that need work. You will need to get proper testing done in order to know exactly what you need. Proper testing includes a comprehensive blood analysis to determine where your deficiencies and toxicities lie. Supplements one would most likely consider are: digestive enzyme; Probiotics; Vitamin C; Vitamin D; Lauricidin; Oregano Oil; Chlorella
- Limit your exposure to toxic elements. See our Detox newsletters part 1 and part 2 at on our website
If you are already facing Candidiasis, we strongly recommend working with a health care practitioner who understands the concept of finding the cause of your health problem and not one that will give you medications or even supplements based upon symptoms. Prevention of illness and optimizing health is key. Comprehensive testing will find weaknesses, deficiencies and even diseases long before you have symptoms.
- Manolakaki, D.; Velmahos, G.; Kourkoumpetis, T.; Chang, Y.; Alam, H. B.; De Moya, M. M.; Mylonakis, E. (2010). “Candida infection and colonization among trauma patients”. Virulence 1 (5): 367–375. doi:10.4161/viru.1.5.12796
- Estabrook, Barry. Antibiotics in Your Food: What’s Causing the Rise in Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Our Food Supply and Why You Should Buy Antibiotic-Free Food. May 1, 2013 http://thefern.org/2013/05/whats-causing-the-rise-in-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria/. Accessed on July 29, 2013
- MI Brusca, et al. The impact of oral contraceptives on women’s periodontal health and the subgingival occurrence of aggressive periodontopathogens and Candida species. J Periodontol. 2010 Jul; 81 (7): 1010 – 1018.
- https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp. Accessed on 7/25/16.
- THE SECRET SIDE EFFECT OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT: A MUST READ! WWW.BODYECOLOGY.COM. 2016.
- Wichers, Marieke and Michael Maes. “The Psychoneuroimmuno-Pathophysiology of Cytokine-Induced Depression in Humans.” The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. (2002) 5: 4: 375- 388.
- Hostetter MK, Handicaps to host defense. Effects of hyperglycemia on C3 and Candida albicans. Diabetes. 1990 Mar;39(3):271-5.
Research conducted by Tracey Merkle, MS, CCN
Our natural health solutions are based on scientific and objective testing including blood, urine and hair. The Electronic Vitality Report provides individual, drug-free recommendations to promote optimum health based on imbalances and dysfunction identified from the test results. Make an appointment and receive your Comprehensive Analysis Report. (View Sample Report here.)