lemon, rotten, fruit-2146956.jpg

Candida Overgrowth

Candida Overgrowth:
What you need to Know

What is Candida?

Candida is a type of yeast that typically lives in the gut in small amounts. It is a natural part of the human gut microbiome – a complex and diverse community of cells, bacteria, and other microorganisms. Under normal circumstances, the immune system keeps Candida in check. However, if the gut microbiome is disrupted, Candida can overgrow and travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body. This can lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms. In some cases, Candida overgrowth can manifest as “oral thrush”- a thick, white coating inside the throat or mouth.

Symptoms of Overgrowth

  • Fatigue
  • Recurrent Urinary Tract infections
  • Bloating, Constipation, or Diarrhea
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin and Nail issues
  • Joint pain
  • Irritability, Anxiety, or Depression

Why Does it Overgrow?

  • Immunosuppressive medication, such as corticosteroids (ex. Prednisone), decreases the immune system response.
  • Antibiotics indiscriminately kill the good and bad bacteria in the gut. When the microbiome is out of balance, candida has the opportunity to reach large numbers without competition for food.
  • Stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine are released when stress is present. These hormones prepare the body to fight or flee a threatening situation. They do so by prioritizing essential bodily functions and suppressing less critical processes, such as the immune response. When consistently present, the immune response no longer functions at an optimal level, allowing harmful gut bacteria like Candida to overgrow.
Poor Diet
  • Just like any living organism, Candida needs fuel to survive. When carbohydrates are broken down into glucose during digestion, they give Candida everything it needs to grow. Alcohol also feeds Candida. Not only does it provide sugar, it also suppresses the immune system. This is why a diet high in carbohydrates and processed sugars should be avoided if overgrowth is suspected.

Addressing Overgrowth

Avoid foods that feed Candida such as processed foods, carbohydrates, alcohol, and sugar. Manage stress levels with meditation, therapy, or low intensity exercise such as yoga.

Anti-fungal Herbs- Oregano, cinnamon and golden seal are great anti-fungal herbs. They can inhibit its ability to grow and even help destroy it. Anti-fungal herbs should be used carefully though. When too much is used, it can result in extremely unpleasant “die off” symptoms. Make sure your body can handle the detoxification process before powerful herbs are implemented.

PRO-biotics- Probiotics help supply the gut with good bacteria. This could be used if a recent round of antibiotics has been taken. Use with caution though as most people have an issue with too much bacteria overall. Adding more, even the good kind, can still cause imbalances. PRE-biotics indiscriminately provide both good and bad bacteria with food. If there is already an overgrowth, it is a good practice to avoid prebiotics.