Thursday, January 15, 2015

Candida, What it is and What to do About it

Candida is a family of yeasts and is the most common cause of fungal infections. Many species are harmless and can live in the body, specifically the gut, without a problem. However, when mucosal barriers are disrupted or the immune system is compromised they can invade and cause disease. Candida albicans is the most commonly isolated species. Most common ways to develop an overgrowth of Candida are

-Antibiotic use
-Chlorine from swimming pools
-Alcohol, especially beer, red wine, vodka
-Mother always ill
-Use of cortisone or prednisone
-Regular eating of Candida-promoting foods, such as bread, chocolate, alcohol, sugar, vinegar, cheese, milk, nuts, coffee, apples, grapes and bananas
-Alcoholism in either parent
-Hormonal birth control
-Direct pesticide exposure
-Having lived or worked in a moldy building
-Excessive milk intake

Symptoms include

-Cravings for sugar, bread, milk, cheese, vinegar, chocolate or alcohol
-Sleep problems
-Acid reflux, heartburn
-Muscle or joint pain
-Bloating or abdominal pain
-Excessive weight gain
-Lack of sex drive
-Constipation or diarrhea
-Skin problems - rashes, eczema, psoriasis
-Recurring infections - ears, bladder, sinus, vagina
-Cold feet, hands, nose
-Poor memory
-Heart palpitations
-Large abdomen ('beer belly')
-High cholesterol

A person suffering from Candida usually can distinctly identify with at least 3 or more of these symptoms.

There is a full Candida cleanse with a special diet that cuts a lot of foods out. It is easiest for my patients who get muscle tested to see exactly what needs to be cut out for their particular case. It is easiest for me to list here what is permissible while doing a Candida cleanse.

Vegetables - all kinds including potatoes and sweet potatoes. No corn (I think of it as a grain, anyways).

Starches - beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, spelt, millet (bread of these grains, if no added malt or yeast).

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs - choose organic when available. Veal and lamb are the safest meats if you don't have organic meat available. Avoid tuna.

Dairy - organic butter. Substitute coconut milk or rice milk for cow's milk.

Fruit - fresh lemon and coconut

Spices - green herbs which come from dried leaves, such as basil and oregano

Oils - coconut, olive, safflower and sunflower.

Sweeteners - stevia, agave, real maple syrup, raw organic honey is okay for some