An overgrowth of detrimental bacteria/ yeasts is called Candida albicans. It is a serious health condition as Candida can proliferate throughout your digestive system weakening your immunity, digestion, liver and bowel function and can lead to skin rashes. Candida (intestinal dysbiosis) is caused by an opportunistic microflora which over proliferates in the body when the conditions are right, such as an acidic, damp and sugary environment. There are approximately 150 species of yeast in and on the human body. The most prevalent type is Candida albicans. This usually innocuous single-cell fungus is an inhabitant of the mouth, intestines and vagina.
This organism is usually kept under control by good bacteria that also make their home in the intestines, bowel and vagina. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidus are the predominant friendly flora that inhabit our bodies. Similar to the bacteria in yoghurt these bugs make acetic acid, lactic acid and bacteriocins to help regulate the intestinal pH, enhance immune system controls and help maintain gastrointestinal health. They are also known to inhibit overgrowth of Candida, help reduce food intolerance, provide important nutrients such as vitamins and lower cholesterol by preventing its absorption.
A blood test for candida antibodies and immune complexes is available. This test measures the level of antibodies your immune system cells have made to fight candida.
Over time a persistent intestinal overgrowth can result in Candida invading the mucous membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in the lower intestines and colon. This process severely interferes with normal mucosal health and produces microscopic holes in the membranes allowing yeast, bacteria, undigested food particles, pollen, environmental pollutants and other material to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as leaky gut syndrome.
To address Candida successfully, you need to adhere to a number of steps simultaneously in order to make sure the candida has no way of surviving.
1. Weed – Starving it: Avoid sugar, yeast, mushrooms, alcohol, vinegar, wheat, white flour products. Sugar is the fuel source of the yeast, namely foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates including concentrated sugars, soft drinks, cordials, alcohol, sweets, most fruits (except pawpaw, pears and apples), dried fruits, white flour products and yeast-containing products. These burden the immune system which is overburdened and struggling to overcome the yeast infection, they also feed the bacteria. Replace these with whole foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and micronutrients including vegetables, well cooked legumes, whole nuts and seeds and protein such as deep-sea fish and antibiotic-free meats. Sweet feeds yeast and bitter is best are two catch phrases to remember when considering what to eat.
2. Seed – Killing it: Using anti-microbial herbs and foods such as garlic, onions, thyme, golden seal, wormwood, dandelion, andrographis, rhubarb and pau d’arco either in the diet or as a supplement. Most of these herbs are anti-parasitic, anti-infective and protect the liver.
3. Feed: Reintroducing beneficial gut flora such as taking an Acidophilius supplement such as the Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus. Improve the immune system by eating large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, bitter foods, lemon juice, vegetable juices: supplements such as echinacea, olive Leaf, Vitamin C, garlic. Restore or Reinoculate normal bacterial flora by taking Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidus (usually taken twice daily with meals). Restore or Repair normal gastrointestinal membrane integrity and heal leaky gut syndrome with glutamine rich foods such as pawpaw, celery, spinach, dandelion greens, lettuce, parsley, Brussels sprouts and carrots.