What is Candida?

by Greg Newson

What is Candida?

Candida, also know as Candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by any of the species of Candida, but in particular Candida albicans. It is believed to affect 33% of people in the Western world.

The Candida species naturally occurs in small quantities within your digestive tract and its role is to help with the whole digestive process. The amount of Candida present in your intestinal tract is regulated and kept under control by your beneficial gut bacteria. Like all opportunistic organism, if the conditions are favorable they will proliferate and Candida is no different. An overgrowth of Candida can affect any part of your body causing a multitude of symptoms, illnesses and eventually disease.

As Candida grows within the intestinal tract it produces rhizoids, which are hook shaped roots that pierce into your intestinal wall and break down the protective barriers between the intestines and your blood. This leads to leaky gut syndrome and allows antigens (foreign particles) to enter into your bloodstream. It also allows the Candida to release chemicals and toxic by-products that can cause damage to your body, tissues and organs. One of the main toxins produced by the Candida organism is acetaldehyde, a potent free radical substance that destroys cells and compromises immune function. Acetaldehyde is also the by-product of alcohol metabolism, which is believed to be the major cause of hangovers.

What causes Candida?

Your immune system is your body’s defense mechanism that governs or regulates growth of any infection within your body whether that be fungal (candida), bacterial, parasitic or viral. A compromised immune system allows the opportunistic Candida organism to proliferate within any weakened or immune-compromised area of your body. Your beneficial gut bacteria, which make up a large portion of your intestinal immune system, are the main controller of the Candida within your gut. Unfortunately the health of your beneficial bacteria is weakened or destroyed by antibiotics, the pill, stress, alcohol, cortisone medication and a nutrient dead, high sugar diet.

There are many things, including the above-mentioned, that can weaken, damage, suppress and eventually compromise your body’s immune function that may lead to Candida such as:

Alcohol Low fiber diet
Antibiotics Low stomach acid levels
Antacids Mercury filling leakage
Birth control pill Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Chlorinated drinking water Nutrient dead foods
Constipation Overgrowth of intestinal bacteria, parasites & worms
Cortisone medication Pesticides and herbicides
Diarrhea Poor diet
Environmental toxins Poor digestive enzyme levels
Fluoridated water Processed meats
Food preservatives, additives, & artificial sweeteners Protein pump inhibitors for heartburn & reflux
Heavy metal exposure Recreational drugs
High sugar diet Skipping meals
Hormonal imbalances i.e. estrogen & progesterone Steroids
Hormone and antibiotic fed meat Stress
Insomnia Under active thyroid
Lack of rest White flour products
Lack of sunlight (vitamin D deficiency)

Symptoms of Candida

Candida is capable of producing over 100 symptoms! This makes it extremely frustrating for anybody suffering from Candida to be able to find out, or understand, what is exactly wrong with them. The symptoms of Candida can also vary from one person to another, making diagnosis from the symptoms more difficult.

Below are a list, but not an exhaustive one, of the main symptoms associated with Candida;

Acne Headaches
Abdominal distension bloating or pain Heartburn or indigestion
Anxiety Hives, rashes or itchy skin
Asthmatic symptoms Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
Athletes foot or jock itch Impotence
Bad breath Inflammation of the prostate or testicles
Belching or burping Inflammation of the vagina or ovaries
Bladder infections Intolerance of perfume, odors or tobacco smoke
Blisters in the mouth Irritability or jitteriness
Brain fog Joint pain or swelling
Burning or itching of the eyes Kidney infections
Colic Low sex drive
Constipation Memory loss
Cravings for sugar, bread, sweets or alcohol Meningitis
Chronic cough Menstrual cramps or irregularities
Cystitis or urinary tract infections Mood swings
Dark bags under eyes Mucus in the stools
Depression Muscle aches and pains
Diarrhea Nasal congestion, discharge or discharge
Drowsiness Numbness burning or tingling
Ear pain, aches or discharge Edema
Eczema Painful intercourse
Endometriosis Pain or tightness in the chest
Erratic vision PMS
Fatigue Psoriasis
Feeling drained Rectal itching or rash
Feeling of swelling or tingling in the head Rosacea
Feeling spaced out Sinus infections
Flu like symptoms Sore dry mouth
Food allergies or sensitivities Sore or dry throat
Fungal infections of the skin or nails Spots in front of the eyes
Gas or flatulence Suicidal thoughts
General allergies Thrush
Gingivitis and periodontal disease Thyroid problems
Hemorrhoids Vaginal itching, burning or persistent infections
Hair loss Wheezing or shortness of breath
Hay fever White coat on tongue

What worsens Candida?

Regardless of the Candida symptoms, they will generally worsen in hot, humid, damp and / or muggy weather.

The symptoms of Candida can also vary according to your diet. Sugar, alcohol, carbohydrate type foods, starches, fermented foods, sugar, foods containing sugar and white flour products will increase the symptoms as this feeds the Candida yeast organism. Feeding the Candida will cause them to grow and release more toxins, which produces more symptoms.

Stress in its many forms such as; not being able to cope, a large workload, financial problems, lack of downtime, too many things to do, lack of sleep and poor diet etc play a major role in down-regulating your body's immune defense system.

The environment in which we live in can also play a major role if you are exposed to toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Pollution, smoke, fumes, or contact with various chemicals can also compromise your immune function, once again allowing Candida to grow and thrive unchecked.

How to diagnose Candida?

The first thing you need to do is to determine whether you have Candida. This can be done through a variety of methods;

  • A Blood Test - which also indicates the presence of the Candida antibodies in the gastrointestinal tract as well as the bloodstream
  • A Stool Test - which indicates the presence of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract

We offer the Candida Blood Spot Test for ease-of-use, price, and a more accurate indication of whether you are suffering from Candida.

What's involved in treating Candida?

When treating and removing Candida, you need to take a two-pronged approach. Firstly you need to eliminate the foods that the Candida live on which are the sugar, alcohol, white flour, carbohydrate and fermented foods, while supplementing with anti-fungal herbs and probiotics. Some people may need additional liver support and digestive enzymes to help with dieback, which occurs when massive amounts of candida are destroyed. For some people in the short-term, dieback can exacerbate and worsen many of the symptoms of Candida, causing the sufferer to give up prematurely.

Trying to kill the Candida by diet alone can be a long and arduous task and for some people this approach may not work. The best approach that we have found is to firstly weaken the Candida with the proper diet and then to attack it with antimicrobial herbs and probiotics to dramatically reduce their numbers. Secondly we support your immune system to ultimately maintain a healthy balance.

If you have already been diagnosed with Candida but are unsure how to go about treating yourself, you may be interested in our downloadable Candida Treatment Plan. Please note this treatment plan is only suitable for persons over 15 years of age.

Our Candida Treatment Plan contains;

1. A Comprehensive Guide - developed by naturopath Greg Newson, that provides the nutritional, dietary and lifestyle advice that Greg recommends to patients everyday for the treatment of this condition.

This includes a list of the recommended supplements and dosages together with the foods and beverages that will help weaken the Candida and nourish your immune system. It also contains lifestyle advice to prevent the re-occurrence of Candida as well as looking at the damage Candida may have already caused and what can be done to repair it.

Please note any nutritional supplements Greg recommends in this treatment plan are available for purchase separately through this website.

2. Eating Right For Candida Recipe Booklet - with over 80 delicious, simple and everyday recipes specifically designed for the various stages of the Candida treatment program.

For More Information

Please visit our store to purchase a Candida Test

Please visit our store to purchase a Candida Treatment Plan (Downloadable PDF)
Please visit our store to purchase a Candida Support Supplement Pack




Greg Newson
Greg Newson

Author

Greg is a Naturopathic Doctor and Clinical Herbalist. He is passionate about educating people on all matters of health. Qualifications: B.Sc Health Science, Adv. Dip Naturopathy, Adv. Dip Herbal Medicine, Adv. Dip Nutrition, Dip Remedial Massage



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