Candida is usually kept in control by beneficial intestinal bacteria. Problems can occur if these beneficial bacteria are destroyed, most commonly by antibiotic treatment, but other pharmaceutical drugs such as chemotherapy, steroids and the oral contraceptive pill or HRT can also impact the balance of bacteria allowing Candida to proliferate.
In its normal state Candida is a non-invasive, sugar fermenting organism. When it becomes invasive candidiasis it can produce rhizoids, long root like structures. Rhizoids can penetrate the intestinal wall causing microscopic holes. This can allow toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This is known as leaky gut syndrome.
Symptoms associated with Candida can be varied from person to person, but may include:
- Food allergies
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Gastro intestinal problems such as; bloating, flatulence, intestinal cramps diarrhea, constipation
- Chronic fatigue
- Joint pains
- Severe pre-menstrual syndromes
- Rectal itching
- Skin problems
- Sensitivity to perfume, tobacco smoke and other odors
- Muscle aches
Whilst Candida and its effects remain quite controversial in the medical world, as Nutritional therapists we see the effects of it on a regular basis.
The simplest way to ascertain a Candida infection within the gut is to undertake a comprehensive stool analysis, which can identify levels of fungal infection as well as highlighting levels of both good and bad bacteria.
There is no one Candida diet fits all approach. Candida feeds off sugar, so refined sugars should be eliminated and even fruit sugars should be limited. Foods containing yeast should be avoided. These include fermented foods such as bread made with yeast, cheese, mushrooms and beer. Dairy products contain lactose, which promotes yeast overgrowth, so therefore a dairy elimination may be required.
The ability to absorb nutrients is commonly compromised by Candida, leading to nutrient deficiencies. These also need to be addressed through a nutrient dense diet.
Garlic has long been noted for its anti fungal properties and can play a role in Candida elimination. Other foods containing organo-sulfur compound are excellent Candida fighters, these include: leeks and onions.
Let us make a difference to what for so many is a persistent, debilitating, life affecting condition.