Candida also know as Candidiasis, is a fungal infection that is estimated to affect 33% of people in the Western world and is caused by any of the species of Candida, but in particular Candida albicans.
What is Candida?
Candida is a yeast like fungi that can inhabit the digestive tract. It is believed that a small amount of Candida makes up part of the beneficial gut organisms or microbiome. The amount of Candida in the digestive tract is regulated by the gut based immune system and the microbiome. However, like all opportunistic organisms, if conditions are favorable, Candida will proliferate. As Candida multiplies it produces rhizoids (hook shaped roots) that pierce the intestinal wall, breaking down the protective barriers between the intestines and blood. This can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome, which enables antigens (foreign particles) toxins and poisons to enter the bloodstream.
A major side effect of Candida proliferation is the release of toxins, in particular acetaldehyde and gliotoxin. Acetaldehyde is a potent free radical substance that can cause cellular damage, impedes liver detoxification, compromises immune function and depletes vitamin C and B group vitamins. Interestingly acetaldehyde is also the by-product of alcohol metabolism and is believed to be a major cause of hangovers. The other major toxin produced by Candida; Gliotoxin possesses immunosuppressive properties and may destroy a variety of important immune cells including neutrophils, eosinophils and macrophages.
What causes Candida?
The immune system is the first line of defence against environmental forces that try to invade, destroy or gain control over any part of the body. Some examples include; infections, allergies, inflammation and cancer. As Candida is an opportunistic organism, when the immune system is compromised, Candida proliferates and spreads throughout the digestive tract.
The microbiome has an affinity with a healthy immune system, so when the microbiome is strong, the immune system is more robust. Unfortunately substances such as antibiotics, the oral contraceptive pill, stress, alcohol, cortisone medications and a high sugar diet deplete the vigor, strength and numbers of the microbiome, resulting in the increased spread of Candida.
Below are some of the more common causes of Candida;
|Artificial Sweeteners||Birth control pill||Chlorinated drinking water|
|Environmental toxins||Fluoridated water||Food Additives|
| Food preservatives
||Heavy metal exposure||High sugar diet|
|Hormonal imbalances||Hormone and antibiotic fed meat||Insomnia|
|Intestinal parasites||Lack of rest||Lack of sunlight|
|Low fibre diet||Low stomach acid level||Mercury filling leakage|
|Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs||Nutrient dead foods||Pesticides and herbicides|
|Poor diet||Poor pancreatic function||Processed meats|
| Protein pump inhibitors
||Recreational drugs||Skipping meals|
|Steroids||Stress||Under active thyroid|
|White flour products|
Symptoms of Candida
Candida affects every person differently and has the potential to create over 100 unfavorable symptoms! This makes it extremely frustrating for anybody suffering from Candida to work out what is actually wrong with them. Some of the more common signs that indicate an overgrowth of Candida are cravings for sugar, sweets, breads, pasta or alcohol and generally the sufferer is unable to go more than a few days without eating these foods.
Below is a list (not an exhaustive one) of the more common symptoms associated with Candida;
|Abdominal bloating or pain||Acne||Anxiety|
|Asthmatic symptoms||Athletes foot or jock itch||Bad breath|
|Belching or burping||Bladder infections||Blisters in the mouth|
|Brain fog||Burning or itching of the eyes||Chronic cough|
|Colic||Constipation||Crave sugar, bread, sweets, alcohol|
|Cystitis or urinary tract infections||Dark bags under eyes||Depression|
|Diarrhea||Drowsiness||Ear pain, aches or discharge|
|Erratic vision||Fatigue||Feeling drained|
|Feeling of swelling or tingling in the head||Feeling spaced out||Flu like symptoms|
|Fluid retention||Food allergies or sensitivities||Fungal infections of the skin or nails|
|Gas or flatulence||General allergies||Gingivitis and periodontal disease|
|Hemorrhoids||Hair loss||Hangover like feeling|
|Hay fever||Headaches||Heartburn or indigestion|
|Hives, rashes or itchy skin||Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)||Impotence|
|Inflammation of the prostate or testicles||Inflammation of the vagina or ovaries||Intolerance of various smells|
|Irritability or jitteriness||Joint pain or swelling||Kidney infections|
|Low sex drive||Memory loss||Meningitis|
|Menstrual cramps or irregularities||Mood swings||Mucus in the stools|
|Muscle aches and pains||Nasal congestion, discharge or discharge||Numbness burning or tingling|
|Pain or tightness in the chest||Painful intercourse||PMS|
|Psoriasis||Rectal itching or rash||Ringworm|
|Rosacea||Sinus infections||Sore dry mouth|
|Sore or dry throat||Spots in front of the eyes||Suicidal thoughts|
|Sweet tooth||Thick white coat on tongue||Thrush|
|Thyroid problems||Unable to loose weight||Vaginal itching, burning or infections|
|Wheezing or shortness of breath|
What worsens Candida?
Many people find their Candida symptoms worsen in hot, humid, damp and / or muggy type weather.
The types of Candida symptoms and their intensity also vary according to a persons diet. Sugar, alcohol, carbohydrate rich foods, starches and white flour products are the types of substances that Candida feeds on. As the Candida gorges itself on these foods, their numbers increase which results in increased toxic exposure for the sufferer and a worsening in the severity of their symptoms.
Stress also plays a major role by down-regulating the immune defence system thereby decreasing our control and allowing for greater proliferation of Candida.
Our environment plays a role in how the body reacts to Candida and how we handle Candida symptoms as well. For example heavy metal exposure, pollution, cigarette smoke and chemical toxicity all increase the body's stress response and compromises immune function. This again provides the opportunity for Candida to multiply and spread.
How to diagnose Candida?
1. Get Diagnosed
To accurately treat Candida a test needs to be performed to identify if Candida is the root cause of your symptoms. We offer the easy to do at home 'Candida Saliva Test', which indicates the levels of the Candida antibodies, IgA and IgG. This test requires supplying 5ml of saliva in a tube and sending it off to our laboratory for testing.
Please note this Candida saliva test is not the spit into a glass of water test, which unfortunately is highly inaccurate and produces many false positives and negatives.
Our Candida Saliva Test is available with a comprehensive report and treatment plan or as a stand alone results only test.
2. Candida Treatment
When treating Candida, it is best to take a two-pronged approach. Firstly, weaken Candida by eliminating the foods that Candida feeds on while at the same time supplementing with a variety of anti-fungal herbs and probiotics. Implementing this two pronged treatment strategy dramatically reduces the time needed to obtain relief from the symptoms of Candida. The majority of people who combine diet and nutritional supplements generally have their Candida issues under control within 6 to 8 weeks.
If you have already been diagnosed with Candida and are unsure how to go about treating yourself, we have a comprehensive downloadable Candida Treatment Plan, developed by Dr. Greg Newson .
The Comprehensive Candida Treatment Guide contains;
- Eating Right For Candida Recipe Booklet - with over 80 delicious, simple and everyday recipes
- List of Candida friendly foods
- List of Candida foods to avoid
- An audio podcast by Greg explaining Candida and the Candida Treatment Plan
- Lifestyle advice to help you control Candida and reduce factors that weaken immune function
- A list of recommended nutritional supplements and their dosages to rid the body of Candida. Please note these supplements are available for purchase from our online store.
More Information on Candida
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This article was updated on 27/03/2017 by Greg Newson ND