Are you listening to your gut?
I’m not referring to your intuition. I’m talking about taking a real note of gut discomfort that many people are forced to contend with on a regular basis.
Candida overgrowth manifests in ways that leave many people attaching the problem to other causes or leaving it completely untreated.
Many seemingly innocuous symptoms may actually be a result of a disruption in the delicate balance of the good and bad bacteria in your gut. This overgrowth produces many toxins that can affect every organ in the body and should not be left un-diagnosed. People suffering from Candida overgrowth will experience some of the following symptoms:
- Digestive problems: Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Mood problems: “Foggy brain” (where concentrating on tasks and thinking clearly is a challenge), anxiety, irritability, mood swings
- Skin problems: Eczema and rashes, acne, hives, itching skin
- Immunity problems: Persistent cough, post-nasal drip, an increase in congestion, seasonal allergies, and general flu-like symptoms
- General: Frequent yeast infections, weight gain, fatigue, inflammation, low libido, and lack of appetite
What is Candida?
Candida is actually fungus. Believe it or not, it is a crucial and natural part of our microbiome, the community of organisms that assists the body with a variety of essential functions.
The most common form is Candida albicans. It’s a form of yeast that lives in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina and even on the skin in very small amounts. Its purpose is to assist with digestion and nutrient absorption as well as to help the immune system by recognising and destroying harmful bacteria.
If the amounts remain small, it will live in the gastrointestinal tract and other areas of the body without causing harm.
The problem occurs when there is an overgrowth in the gut. Candida then breaks down the walls of the digestive tract and penetrates the bloodstream where it releases toxins into the body. These toxic byproducts cause leaky gut and can also lead to many different health problems ranging across the spectrum from digestive issues to depression.
How do you get it?
There are unfortunately a multitude of ways that leads to optimal conditions for Candida overgrowth. It can commonly be blamed on poor lifestyle choices and pharmaceutical drugs, but not always.
Sugar is what feeds Candida. Most alcohol is fermented and contains sugars that will also feed the yeast, allowing it to continue to grow in your system. Antibiotics kill good bacteria along with harmful bacteria which sets the stage for Candida to take over. Oral birth control can also disrupt the bacterial balance in the microbiome, thereby exacerbating the effects of Candida overgrowth.
Some ways people can be susceptible to poor gut health stems from long before they were ever in control of their diet. These include if their mother had a healthy gut balance while she was pregnant with them, if they were delivered via C-section and not vaginally, if they were breastfed for less than 6 months or if they have a generally weakened immune system.
How do you get rid of it?
The right diet is crucial to re-balancing Candida levels because we can control its growth through our food. The ideal Candida diet is balanced, avoiding all sugars and yeast based products as well as starchy vegetables and carbohydrate-rich foods. The key is to start with changing what these microbes are being exposed to – and that is our food. Like many humans, Candida enjoys a diet rich in sugar. Simple as well as complex carbohydrates will feed the yeast.
The gut and particularly the microbiome need a diverse range of different microbes. I recommend an elimination diet to my clients and then appropriately prescribed antimicrobials to reduce the ‘more stubborn’ Candida that can attach to the bowel wall.
Following this protocol, I have found that there is a huge reduction in Candida levels just over 1-2 weeks than from just diet alone. However, treatment can take approximately 4-12 weeks depending on the Candida load. The elimination diet means cutting out sugar, alcohol and processed foods, eating organic foods, drinking plenty of filtered water and following an 80% vegetable, 20% protein meal balance. In turn, this approach helps to heal the gut, boosts digestion and replaces good bacteria.
The relationship between Candida overgrowth, inflammation, and gut health is extremely complex. At Nurture your Life, I like to help my clients adopt a holistic approach instead of treating each symptom individually. I believe this will give them the best chance of achieving optimal health. I also understand that every client is different and that everyone may experience different symptoms based on their lifestyle, genetics, diet and other factors.
We are all a work in progress. Creating optimal gut and hormone health for clients is my purpose and passion.
If you think you may be suffering from Candida overgrowth or other gut or hormone related issues, why not set up a FREE 20-minute discovery call with me and let’s discuss how I can help you.