Signs and Symptoms of Candida Albicans
Intestinal Yeast Overgrowth
~ by Jo Jordan
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel really good...to be happy, energized, and enthusiastic about the day ahead?
You may even remember a time when you felt this way. If you're reading this, however, you're likely suffering from a few of the following symptoms:
- A bloated abdomen and/or abdominal pain
- A slow and foggy mind
- A white coating on your tongue or inside your mouth
- Anal itching
- Chronic sinus problems
- Constant fatigue
- Feeling old and worn out
- Food cravings (especially for sugar) and food sensitivities
- Hair loss
- Heartburn, indigestion, and/or gas
- Intimate yeast infections and/or itchy skin rashes
- Mood swings, memory or concentration difficulties
- Premenstrual symptoms
- Red, itching eyes
- Sensitivity to molds, dampness, environmental pollution, cigarettes, and certain smells
- Skin fungus infections – recurrent ringworm, athlete's foot, tinea cruris (jock itch), or nail problems
- Sore muscles and joints
- Urinary tract infections
- Waking up tired
- Weight loss or gain
- Worried and depressed about always feeling lousy
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you could be struggling with Chronic Yeast Syndrome, also known as Hypersensitivity Syndrome, Candida-Related Complex, Polysystemic Candidiasis, chronic Candida, candidiasis, or candidosis.
Perhaps you've even sought help only to be told by your doctor that there isn't a thing wrong with you, when so clearly there is! You are certainly not alone.
More than fifty percent of healthy women and men host colonies of Candida albicans. And sixty percent of those who suffer from yeast overgrowth are women, twenty percent are men, and twenty percent are boys and girls.1
How Do We Get Candida?
Candida vs. Healthy Bacteria – The Ongoing Battle
Everyone has a great deal of yeast. When we are healthy, Candida lives in our small intestine where it competes with bacteria for room. Normally, the stomach and small intestine are hostile to yeast.
However, when the helpful bacteria that normally feed on Candida albicans have been killed off, an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal tract can develop rapidly because conditions have suddenly become favorable to their growth.
Why does this happen? Because many of the things we ingest, coupled with health-related conditions, can create an environment in which healthy bacteria cannot survive.
- Antibiotic drug use - they destroy bacteria that would normally have a protective, antifungal effect, and the imbalance enables yeast to thrive.
- Diet – especially those high in fermentable carbon sources such as mono- or dimeric sugars (sucrose, glucose, and lactose) – plays a key role in encouraging yeast overgrowth.
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Hormonal changes (puberty, sexual maturity, pregnancy, sterilization, menopause including peri- and post-menopause)
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Low blood sugar
- Prescription drugs such as birth control pills, corticosteroids, and hormone replacement therapy
- Vitamin, mineral, and enzyme deficiencies
Many factors associated with Candida overgrowth are disruptive to the body's endocrine system, causing hormonal abnormalities that, in turn, can be aggravated by antibiotics, and even by Candida albicans itself. Read about chronic yeast infection and The Endocrine Factor.
Illnesses Linked to Candida Overgrowth
Candida decomposes cell membranes, so its presence in large numbers is a sign that your immune system is fighting a losing battle to keep yeast under control. A weakened immune system will wreak havoc on your overall health.
During a long-term infestation, yeast can change into its fungal form, developing roots that implant themselves in the intestinal wall or other mucosal linings.
These roots enable the toxic by-products of fermentation and other harmful material generated by the fungus to be absorbed, which can result in an immunological reaction.2 This, in turn, can develop into a yeast syndrome affecting all of the body's systems.
A host of health problems are linked to candida overgrowth:3
- Acne or psoriasis
- Digestive disorders including weight gain, gas, bloating, colitis
- Ear infections
- Emotional upsets and depression
- Energy imbalances or insomnia
- Hormonal problems
- Hyperactivity/Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Lung problems
- Pollen allergies
- Reproductive organ disorders
- Sensitivities to foods, chemicals, and/or molds
- Susceptibility to viruses, bacterial, and other infections
Some practitioners believe that Candida overgrowth can lead to the onset of chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue symptom (CFS), fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, arthritis, cancer,4 and autism.5
Getting Rid of Candida
The 4-Step Approach to Yeast Relief
Purging this harmful and destructive yeast from your body requires patience, perseverance, and a multi-pronged approach.
Step 1: Reduce Overgrowth
Step 2: Feed Yourself Well: Starve Unwanted Yeast
Step 3: Cleanse Your Colon – Restore Healthy Intestinal Flora
Step 4: Other Support: Advanced Supplementation and Digestive Enzymes
The following steps will set you on the road to freedom from yeast overgrowth, and may dramatically change your life...forever.
Step 1: Reduce Overgrowth
The first step is to decrease the amount of yeast currently in your system. There are various ways to reduce yeast overgrowth.
Diet and healthier lifestyle choices are sometimes enough to resolve mild cases of Candida. However, a product with antifungal activity is usually required in moderate to severe yeast infestations. Most require a course of three months or more.6
Natural Antifungal Products:
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Saturated fatty acids
Berberine a natural antibiotic, is an alkaloid found in the herb barberry* as well as in Chinese goldthread, goldenseal**, and oregon grape root.
Possessing significantly powerful antifungal action, berberine is believed to prevent Candida from producing the enzyme lipase, which yeast uses to colonize.7
* Barberry is one of the ingredients in Puristat's Restore, a component of the Colon Cleanse. **Goldenseal is one of the ingredients in Puristat's digestive support multi-vitamin Advanced Supplementation, Colon Cleanse, and Liver Cleanse.
Cellulase is a promising new treatment for intestinal yeast infections.* The cell walls of intestinal yeast are comprised mainly of cellulose. Since cellulase is the enzyme that breaks down cellulose, when significant concentrations come into contact with yeast cells, the cell walls are irreparably damaged and the organisms die.8
* Cellulase is one of the ingredients in Puristat's Digest-Stat (digestive enzymes) and digestive support multi-vitamin Advanced Supplementation.
Colloidal silver is a well-known antimicrobial effective in killing bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and worms. It works by supplying, and altering, yeast with oxygen.
Garlic (Allium sativum)* has been used for thousands of years for its many potent antifungal properties, and is available in odorless capsules, liquid extract, and tablets. However, research suggests that fresh garlic is significantly more effective against yeast overgrowth.
* Garlic is one of the ingredients in Puristat's Liver Cleanse.
Nutrient oils, essential fatty acids – such as those contained in the oils of fish,* evening primrose, and vitamin E* – are an effective yeast treatment.9
* Natural triglyceride marine lipids, fish oil (2000mg) and vitamin E (200 IU) are ingredients in Puristat's digestive support multi-vitamin Advanced Supplementation.
Origanum vulgare is believed to be more effective at inhibiting Candida than caprylic acid. The culinary herb oregano - a sub species is also effective against bacteria.
Pau d'Arco is derived from the inner bark of the Tabebuia impetiginosa tree. Findings support Pau d'Arco's ability to destroy yeast, fungi, and bacteria by interfering with their growth. Pau d'Arco's yeast-inhibiting antifungal compounds help to loosen the bowels, exposing Candida and encouraging the flushing out of old fecal matter.
Teabags are available, as are capsules and oral spray. Other names for this herb include taheebo, pink lapacho, Tabebuia alba, Tabebuia avellanedae, Tabebuia palmeri, Tecoma avellanedae, Tecoma ipe, and Handroanthus avellanedae.
Plant tannins* are found in a number of plants (black walnut, for example) as well as in certain fungus-resistant tree barks (such as the redwood). Tannins have demonstrated a powerful antifungal action in numerous studies, and are available in various forms for treatment of intestinal yeast overgrowth.
* Tannins – in the form of raspberry leaf and rhubarb root – are ingredients in Puristat's Cleanse, a component of the Colon Cleanse.
Saturated fatty acids are found naturally in the human body. Caprylic acid and undecylenic acid are fatty acids illustrated to be as effective as various antifungal drugs in treating Candida overgrowth. Palm and coconut oils are sources of caprylic acid, while undecylenic acid is extracted from castor bean oil.
Other Products and Treatment Suggestions:
Other natural yeast treatments include increasing vitamin C and other antioxidant intake; Epsom salts baths to assist in detoxification; lots of pure water to help flush out toxins; activated charcoal to help absorb toxins; extra fiber; colon cleansing to expedite the removal of toxic waste from the body (see Step 4, below); and plenty of rest.
Step 2: Feed Yourself Well: Starve Unwanted Yeast
While there is no universal antifungal diet that will work for everyone, certain foods are best avoided by those prone to yeast infections.
In general, all sugars, baked goods, breads, refined flour, alcohol, vinegars, pickled vegetables, dried fruits, cheeses, and mushrooms ought to be avoided...at least until you and your health care provider have determined the source of your yeast overgrowth problem.
Foods to Avoid to Reduce Candida
Sugars and Sugar-containing Foods
All yeasts feed on and derive their energy from sugar, fermenting it to produce ethanol (alcohol) as well as a more serious toxic chemical, acetaldehyde – made during the digestion process.
By reducing the amount of sugar in your diet as well as starches, carbohydrates, and alcohol – which all break down into sugar in the body – you'll be limiting the amount of sugar available to intestinal yeast.
Check food labels for fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, mannitol, sorbitol, and sucrose. Also avoid honey, maple syrup, and molasses.
Most processed and packaged foods (bottled, boxed, canned, pre-packaged, and/or processed foods) contain sugar and ought to be eliminated from your diet.
Moldy Foods / Yeast Products10
Intestinal yeast overgrowth can result in the development of immune reactions to mold and yeast products, so the elimination of these products is advised:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Cheeses, buttermilk, sour cream, and sour milk products
- Condiments – vinegar and vinegar-containing foods such as mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, relishes, and soy sauce
- Dried fruits – apricots, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, etc.
- Edible fungi – all types of mushrooms and truffles
- Malt products – candy, cereals, and malted milk drinks
- Packaged fruit juices (may contain mold)
Foods to Eat in Moderation to Avoid / Reduce Candida
- Fresh fruit juices (in moderation due to sugar content)
- Grains – corn, barley, millet, oats, rice, wheat
- High carbohydrate vegetables – beans, parsnips, peas, potatoes, squashes, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, and turnips
Food Suggestions – What Else Can I Eat?
For a few weeks, focus your eating habits on vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, eggs, yogurt (one with a high lactobacillus acidophilus content), meats, poultry, fish, cold-pressed oils (flaxseed, olive, sesame, and sunflower), butter, lemon, and two servings of fresh fruit per day.
While you may enjoy the effects of limiting certain foods forever, the hope is that by eliminating yeast's favorite products from your diet for three or four weeks, your symptoms will decrease, you may shed a few pounds, and might have narrowed down the underlying causes your Candida overgrowth.
Step 3: Cleanse Your Colon – Restore Healthy Intestinal Flora
A colon cleanse will help expedite the removal of toxic waste from your body. This is especially important while treating a yeast overgrowth, as cell die-off can contribute additional waste for your system to cope with.
The Herxheimer Reaction: Cell Die-off
Some Candida sufferers experience a die-off or Herxheimer reaction as a result of antifungal treatment, resulting in symptoms that can include headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and/or worsening of the symptoms already being experienced.
This die-off reaction may be caused by the rapid destruction of yeast, which can overwhelm the body with Candida cells and their toxins.
If waste is not eliminated rapidly during your yeast overgrowth detoxification regimen, your colon will simply re-absorb all the toxins accumulating from dead or dying yeast cells.
By cleansing your colon, fewer toxins will get re-absorbed into your bloodstream from the colon, easing the workload for your other major cleansing organs during this time of added bodily stress.
The opposite of the term antibiotics, probiotics, are antagonistic to Candida and other yeasts. Yeasts in the colon deplete nutrients, and ferment foods, which often leads to gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and flatulence.
Though there are numerous types of friendly bacteria strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus is the probiotic primarily recommended to restore the balance of flora to the gut. By re-populating the colon with healthy bacteria, you will help to minimize many of the intestinal and digestive symptoms of yeast overgrowth.
Lactobacillus acidophilus* helps to prevent yeast in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and mouth. It can also help prevent and treat food allergies by decreasing the production of the antibodies, which are produced by the body as protection against foods it believes are allergens.
Since food sensitivities are often experienced by people struggling with chronic Candida, part of any treatment regimen ought to include probiotics. Additionally, whenever antibiotic medication is necessary, it makes sense to use a probiotic at the same time.
* Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the ingredients in Puristat's Restore, a component of the Colon Cleanse program.
Step 4: Other Support - Multi-Vitamins and Digestive Enzymes
Multi-vitamins and Nutritional Supplements
Because yeast overgrowth depletes the nutrients in your body, it is necessary to incorporate a strong digestive support multi-vitamin into your yeast overgrowth regimen.
In addition to a high quality grade multi-vitamin that includes vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, other specific nutritional support is recommended:11
- Antioxidants – to help the body deal with toxic by-products; improves immune functioning
- Organic germanium – to aid in immune support and improve gut mucosa
- Magnesium – some research links yeast overgrowth with magnesium deficiency
- Vitamin B, including biotin – to assist in replacing diminished colon bacteria
- Coenzyme Q10 – is believed to be effective in treating yeast overgrowth
- Echinacea – to enhance immune system activity; provides antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties
- Flaxseed oil - the best source of essential fatty acids are flaxseed oil and fish oil; effective as a fungicide, fatty acids dislodge and kill deep-rooted Candida albicans
Without complete digestion, we cannot benefit from the healing properties of the food we eat. Unfortunately, the natural secretions of hydrochloric acid in our stomachs – necessary for breaking down food so it can be easily absorbed by the small intestine – tend to decrease as we age.
Hydrochloric acid is a powerful defense against bacteria and parasites as it activates pepsin, and works to kill the harmful fungi and bacteria found in food. Low hydrochloric acid or low stomach acid as it is often called, can lead to malabsorption, intestinal distress, and allergic reactions to various foods, all of which severely weaken the immune system.
Supplemental hydrochloric tablets13 with meals can help our bodies to more effectively break down food, fostering better use of the proteins, vitamins, and minerals in our food.
The tough outer cell walls of Candida are comprised of protein and cellulose, which can present a difficult barrier for antifungals to penetrate. By using both an antifungal and a digestive enzyme containing cellulose – which is known to break down yeast cells' walls – Candida albican's cell walls are destroyed, enabling the antifungal to act more quickly to destroy the organism.
Yeast overgrowth is a complex and far reaching health problem, one with no easy answers or snap solutions. To resolve your specific struggle with Candida will require a commitment of both time and patience on the part of you and your health care provider. It is necessary, therefore, to work with someone you trust and with whom you feel comfortable.
It is important to do everything you can, while not being too hard on yourself, or expecting miracles overnight. Eventually your body will respond, and let you know that your treatment regimen is working. And though for some it can take years before a serious reduction in symptoms occurs, most people report significant improvement after several months of treating the fungus, in addition to making various other changes.
The best part of the yeast overgrowth treatment process is that when symptoms do finally diminish, many people report – in addition to the disappearance of their symptoms – that their overall health has improved dramatically, beyond what they ever imagined to be possible.
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1. National Candida Society, "Is Candida an Endocrine Disorder?" Appeared in Candida Digest, July 2000, http://www.candida-society.org.uk/ (accessed September 18, 2007).
2. Elson M. Haas, MD, "Nutritional Program For Yeast Syndrome," Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition, http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=1263&xcntr=1 (accessed September 18, 2007).
3. Applied Health Journal, "Chronic Candida Syndrome (CCS), Part 2," Volume 3, Issue 11, November 2000, http://www.appliedhealth.com/ahs_digest/digest110100.html (accessed October 1, 2007).
5. Stephen M. Edelson, PhD, Center for the Study of Autism, "The Candida Yeast-Autism Connection," http://www.autism.org/candida.html (accessed October 1, 2007).
6. The Environmental Illness Resource Center, "The Anti-Fungal Diet," http://www.ei-resource.org/anti-fungal.aspx (accessed August 30, 2007).
9. Life Research Universal, "Candidiasis: antibiotic poisoning page 3," http://www.liferesearchuniversal.com/candidiasis3.html (accessed September 18, 2007).
10. The Environmental Illness Resource Center, "The Anti-Fungal Diet," http://www.ei-resource.org/anti-fungal.aspx (accessed August 30, 2007).
11. Elson M. Haas, MD, "Nutritional Program For Yeast Syndrome," Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition, http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=1263&xcntr=6 (accessed September 18, 2007).
12. Elson M. Haas, MD, "Nutritional Program For Yeast Syndrome," Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition, http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=1263&xcntr=5 (accessed September 18, 2007).
13. Elson M. Haas, MD, "Nutritional Program For Yeast Syndrome," Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition,http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.aspx?Id=1263&xcntr=6 (accessed September 18, 2007).