Candida is one of those topics that can be elusive when it comes to getting an official medical diagnosis and yet you’re likely to have caught the word floating around over and over again in your health-minded chats like a regular and perhaps cryptic refrain to explain away all sorts of vague inexplicable symptoms. Is candida real and what does it do?
Candida is a fungus that grows naturally in our gut so nothing to worry about there, our gut ecology is after all, a melting pot of microbial critters. But if it gets out of control, it can invade your gut and cause damage that affects your nutrient absorption and cause leaky gut too, which means that toxins from your gut can get through to your bloodstream, bypassing your body’s usual mechanisms. This can make you feel less than wonderful.
An overgrowth of Candida can lead to so many symptoms that it’s hard to pinpoint what’s what – headaches, foggy brain, body aches, sore joints, depression, chills, gassiness, feeling hung over, low libido, weight gain, weight loss, food intolerances, bloating, joint pain, diarrhea, yeasts infections in women, skin issues such as acne and itchiness, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and food cravings.
What causes it?
• Overuse of antibiotics are often the culprit – they kill off good bacteria in the gut and disrupt the delicate balance that your body naturally creates
• A diet high in refined carbs and sugars – candida loves these
• Too much alcohol
• Oral contraceptives
• Digestive problems such as gas, bloating or diarrhea
• Brain fog – difficulty focusing and poor memory
• Skin rashes – hives, eczema and itching
• Feeling very irritable or depressed
• Food sensitivities and allergies
• Autoimmune illnesses
• You crave carbs and sugars
Getting rid of excessive candida is something you will need to commit to for at least a few weeks to a few months. Using conventional medicines can lead to side effects and more imbalance, so here are some natural solutions that work with your body’s own balance. Taking a multi-pronged approach with candida is the best solution, from starving it, to knocking it off with anti-fungals.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure you don’t feed candida the food it craves, which can be hard as it makes you crave those foods too. So prepare yourself mentally to be aware that when you cut these foods out, it is the candida with the cravings, not you.
• Refined carbs and sugars should be struck off your list completely and replaced with wholegrain choices.
• Keep fruit to about 5% of your daily intake. Stick to tart low glycemic fruits like berries and pineapples.
• Alcohol also feeds candida so you’ll have to moderate your indulgence while you are on a candida elimination diet.
• Think protein and high fiber foods like veggies and salads, with a moderate amount of complex alkaline carbs thrown in, like millet or quinoa.
If you think you have a really heavy candida load it may be a good idea to start the diet and some detox support at least a week or two before you start antifungals as when the Candida starts to die off it will release toxins that can make you feel pretty off. Getting your liver and digestion into better shape first will help your body cope with the die-off.
As the Candida starts to starve, and die off, it will be sure to create some unpleasant detox symptoms but they are well worth it. You can minimise this by providing your liver with some support and your body with some super nutrients so it can rebuild and heal effectively.
• Milk thistle and liver support complexes will help your liver deal with the extra load
• Glutamine will help your gut lining repair
•Antioxidants such as Vitamin C to support your immunity and detox
• Probiotics are a very important aspect of dealing with Candida as they’ll help the good flora in your tummy get the upper hand as they rebalance your gut ecology
• Physillium husk can sooth your gut lining and help you digestive tract move things along as it clears away the die-off
• Digestive aids can also help your tummy process the extra work
Candida can be pretty resistant to conventional antibiotics, here are some natural remedies that pack a potent punch in the natural antifungal department:
• Olive Leaf Extract is a pretty impressive antibiotic overall that is an effective antifungal that kills Candida with a phenolic compound called oleuropein.
• Propolis contains pinocembrin and acacetin, two flavonoids that are potently antibacterial and antifungal. It’s also soothing and antinflammatory – it’s what the bees use as their own healing disinfectant after all.
• Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is a strong antifungal containing caprylic acid that kills off yeast overgrowth, while improving your nutrient absorption and providing a readily useable form of energy for your liver that your body can use straight away. This way it can help you with cravings you may experience when you are doing your cleanse as well as support your liver as you detox, which it definitely will be needing. You can simply take a yummy tablespoon or two with your meals.
• Turmeric: research has confirmed that turmeric is a fantastic fungicide as it completely inhibits the growth of candida and is actually more potent than the commercially used fungicide that is usually prescribed. A quirk they found was that it was more effective when used with vitamin C.
• Cinnamon has been tested against Candida and come out tops. Research studies have shown that cinnamon has powerful antifungal properties. And it’s so tasty it’s easy to add to your meals and drinks.
• Grapefruit seed extract is a strong antifungal that leaves the good flora in your stomach alone and works extremely well for targeting Candida.
• Colloidal silver is a powerful natural antibiotic that is antifungal.
• Zeolite and Benonite Clay: Bentonite clay absorbs toxins, heavy metals, bacteria, virus and fungi and passes them out through your stool. It selectively absorbs toxins as toxins are positively charged and Bentonite has a negative charge. Zeolite has similar healing properties.