Do you constantly crave sugar and carbohydrates? Are you tired all of the time? Struggle with skin break outs or rashes? Wondering why you have sinus congestion, bloating and/or brain fog every day?
It just might be a classic case of overgrown Candida.
Over 70% of all Americans are believed to have some stage of Candida overgrowth, yet most of them don’t even know it.
So if you are in a room with 10 people, statistically speaking, chances are, 7 of you have an overgrowth of candida.
Perhaps it is because most physicians don’t recognize Candida overgrowth as a true health condition, so they don’t test for it, and instead, they simply spot treat your symptoms. This in a sense gives the candida some sort of “biological squatters rights” inside of your body. In other words, making it very hard to evict.
To make matter worse (worse for you, better for your candida) our modern diet is based on the very foods that welcome and feed Candida. Allowing it to grow and thrive inside your body. Since symptoms can vary from individual, and show up literally anywhere from head to toe, candida overgrowth is a condition that is often is not diagnosed. Often times because the medications prescribed today are a HUGE cause for it. Have you ever been told:
ONE ROUND OF ANTIBIOTICS IS ENOUGH TO TRIGGER A CANDIDA OVERGROWTH…
69% of birth control pill users develop Candida!
If you're like most women, the answer is NEVER. And something that NO OB-GYN will ever tell you, is “You have Candida, oops it's probably because of that antibiotic pill I prescribed you…or wait, maybe it was the birth control pill, or possibly the anti-fungal that disrupted your flora causing a different kind of fungal overgrowth”…being that nearly every American is now on some kind of prescription drug, the odds that you have a fungal overgrowth are SKY HIGH. Yet, when is this being disclosed to us by doctors in our 7 minute appointment? Where on the label does it warn us of these odds?
However, Candida isn't bad per se, it's just bad when it grows disproportionately. Technically, we ALL HAVE candida. The good news is that Candida Albicans is actually a helpful fungal yeast that resides in the mucus membranes of your mouth, intestines, and genitals. Its job is to assist with digestion and nutrient absorption and it lives harmoniously with a variety of other microorganisms in a healthy balanced body.
However, if the opportunity arises, Candida can get big, gang up and can be a real troublemaker.
Just like teenage boys. One or two rowdy kids hanging out a bunch of their well-behaved peers usually isn’t a problem. However, if more rowdy boys show up, and most of the well-behaved kids leave, debauchery is likely to ensue. The same kind of thing is going on inside your body with Candida. An imbalance in your gut flora occurs (also known as dysbiosis) can trigger candida to get out of control. Candida can multiply, poke its way through the mucosal barrier of the gut, and make its way into other areas of your body, causing all types of unpleasant symptoms.
Typical symptoms of a candida overgrowth include:
- Feeling lethargic, worn out, or tired all the time (sometimes diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia)
- Poor memory, difficulty concentrating, poor ability to focus, and brain fog
- Headaches or migraines
- Strong or uncontrollable sugar and carbohydrate cravings
- Digestive problems and bloating
- Acne, psoriasis, hives and rashes
- Skin and nail fungal infections (athletes foot or nail fungus)
- Sinus infections, severe allergies, itchy ears
- Mood swings, anxiety or depression
- Vaginal yeast infections or itching
What causes this imbalance and over-growth of Candida?
As mentioned earlier, everyone has Candida in their system, however, since is an opportunistic organism, when the chips are down, or your immune system is compromised, an overgrowth can occur. There are many lifestyle-based environmental conditions involved in upsetting the balance of the micro flora in the body. Among the most popular are:
- Antibiotics – including ones we get from prescription meds and those found in our food supply
- Heavy Metals and environmental toxins
- A high stress lifestyle, adrenal fatigue, or poor sleep habits
- Cortisone and other anti-inflammatory drugs that compromise the intestinal flora.
- Birth control – 69% of birth control pill users develop Candida. SOURCE
- A diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
Candida in Infants and Children
When you are a baby inside the womb, you do not have much of a microbiome. A small amount of bacteria is believed to transferred in the amniotic fluid, but babies are essentially pure up until birth.
However, before you even see the light of day, as you pass through your mom’s vaginal canal you swallow fluids that contain the good bacteria, laying the foundation for your immune system and gut microbiome.
One of your first activities in life is to suckle at your mother’s breast. While this is a great bonding time for mother and baby, of equal importance is the immune boosting colostrum that is received by the baby during the first 24-48 hours of nursing. Colostrum, or “first milk”, is loaded full of antibodies and growth factors that rev up your immune system. It also coats the lining of your intestinal walls allowing the bacteria that you swallowed to set up camp and colonize. These bacterial colonies are your body’s built in defense against bad bacteria, viruses, microbes, and yeasts. The breast milk that follows will deliver antibodies from the mom’s immune system, along with good bacteria and fat – all of which help build your immune system and fend off illness including candida.
Even the vegetable fibers and complex carbohydrates found in your first foods helped to nurture your growing colonies of good bacteria, so that they can defend your young body against disease and pathogens – including candida.
The scenario described illustrates how, in a “perfect world”, natural mechanisms are in place to protect us from things like candida overgrowth.
But life is perfectly imperfect.
And in today’s society, there are many variables that can increase vulnerability and even foster the growth of bad bacteria, parasites, viruses and yeasts – such as candida.
Causes of Candida in Children
Some children enter the world and begin life a little different then the “ideal” scenario described above, causing them to miss out on some of the natural defense mechanisms that protect them from Candida overgrowth, these include:
- C-Section Births – whether medically necessary or elective, babies born via C-Section miss out on ingesting the crucial immune building bacterial in their mom’s vaginal tract.
- Formula fed babies are taking in yeast feeding sugars instead of immune boosting antibodies and growth factors found in breast milk.
- If first foods pharmacy online no prescription include cereals, grains or dairy (instead of organic fruits and veggies), then the already delicate immune system may be compromised rather than strengthened – creating an environment perfect for bad bacteria to thrive
- Trips to the pediatrician for common childhood ailments like colds, fever, or ear infections often result in a prescription for antibiotics. Well-meaning doctors are quick to hand out antibiotics because – THEY WORK. They kill bacteria, and clear infections.
Antibiotics are the main cause of candida in children.
Antibiotics kill good bacteria, knocking out 75% of your immune system, which allows yeast to over grow.
Candida In Children Symptoms
- always tired
- athletes foot
- frequent diaper rash
- colic lasting over 3 months
- digestive gas and bloating
- diarrhea and constipation
- chronic sinus and ear infections
- craving for sweets
- recurrent headaches
- a persistent cough
- unhappy or depressed
- learning problems
- short attention span
How to tell if you have a Candida Overgrowth
So you're aware, the extent to which you'll discover a Candida issue in the medical field might be a skin break out you had biopsied, or lab results after your annual pap, or worse (which I see most commonly) or WORSE, an emergency visit to your OB-GYN because you're suffering from symptoms related to your beautiful Goddess Garden, such as yeast infections, itching, burning or rashes. This is NOT good, since at this point the candida/fungus has grown so out of control that it's oozing out of your skin, affecting the appearance of your largest exorbitant organ.
Ideally we would like to PREVENT this by detecting candida well before these symptoms arise. And your FDN practitioner (me) will have conclusive means of testing for candida using functional lab tests and assessments, however, you can get a good idea with this simple at home “spit” test. For best results, repeat this test 5 days in a row.
NOTE: This is NOT intended to be a definitive measure of detection, merely a clue to potentially detect if further exploration and detoxification is warranted. Using this tool, combined with the list of symptoms above is a good start to determine your next steps and course of action.
Before you go to bed, set a clear glass filled with clean pure water on your nightstand.
First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, work up a bit of saliva in your mouth, and spit it into the glass of water. Try to spit in the middle and avoid getting your spit on the sides.
Check the water every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour. Refer to the diagram below to determine if Candida could be a problem.
Healthy saliva will simply float on top with no strings attached! If you see string traveling down into the water from the saliva floating on the top, cloudy specks (particles suspended in the water) or cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass, you likely have a candida problem and will want to contact a holistic doctor or FDN practitioner to help you get those nasty fungi under back in line.
The Functional Diagnostic Nutrition approach to addressing candida overgrowth
The secret to handling candida overgrowth is understanding that the candida is not the problem. The problem is a compromised immune system that creating the opportunity for candida to get out of control. Therefore, FDN’s focus their attention in three areas simultaneously
- The candida must be starved and killed off
- The gut must be healed and flora must be rebalanced
- Identify and eliminate the stressors which caused the gut become unbalanced in the first place
A quick search on the internet will pull up hundreds of books and website with diets and protocols to kill candida. Most of these programs are very good at step one, but ignore steps two and three. They limit their approach to trying to kill off the candida, but when the protocol is stopped, the candida overgrowth problem comes right back again. The only real, final solution is determine the root cause of the dysfunction and identify healing opportunities to restore function to the immune system and balance to the body.
The FDN holistic approach includes:
- An antifungal diet based on your metabolic type to support overall health while at the same time starving the Candida. Sugars and starches feed candida and must be limited and whole food sources of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and proteins are emphasized. Here's a non exhaustive list for a diet you may consider trying to rule out the potential of a Candida overgrowth!
- Adequate rest is always important and is essential for healing the gut and the adrenals.
- Daily exercise and deep breathing a great ways to help your body rid itself of toxins and candida,
- Supplementation with enzymes and antifungals to break down biofilm kill candida, and supportive supplements to help repair and restore the mucosal barrier, intestinal flora balance, and aid the body in healing itself.
So, as you can see conquering candida is more than simply getting rid of an infection, or treating a symptom, it involves a holistic approach to restoring balance and function to your entire body, the very principals that FDN is based on. One of the most INVALUABLE things I've learned through this training and clinical research is this:
Candida is a symptom of an underlying imbalance in the body that if unaddressed, Candida will grow back again, as a protective mechanism to protect the body from the more severe harm the deeper imbalance could cause.
Better said, Candida grows…because it CAN and MUST. As an example, I see HEAVY metals and excess estrogen backed up in the liver as the key drivers to Candida overgrowth. So if these are not addressed, Candida will come back again and again…and so too will the symptoms it brings with it. So if you want to get to the ROOT of Symptoms 1-10 listed at the beginning of this article, I HIGHLY recommend you consider either of the following:
- Schedule a FREE Consultation with Diane to discuss Candida, or any other symptoms, disease or health concerns you wish to repair and restore
- Check out the Warrior Cleanse, which gets you started on the path to detoxing your body from heavy metals as well as remodel the lifestyle that attracted them.
- If you'd like to try to go about it on your own, give the 30 day Candida Cleanse a shot, alongside the diet above. To purchase the one I recommend, CLICK HERE to access my online dispensary wellness shop. Once you establish an account, click on the CANDIDA CLEANSE Protocol. Note that I recommend BASELINE supplements such as Probiotics, Adrenal Support and Liver Love (PAL), as you'll see in the protocol.