Understanding Candida Yeast Overgrowth—Why the heck is gut health so important?
For starters, your gut—AKA intestinal tract and colon—is your body’s “second brain” and it actually does a whole lot more than you probably think. 95% of your serotonin (mood enhancing hormone naturally produced by your body) is produced in your intestines and only 5% of that is pumped from your gut through tiny fibers up to the brain in your skull. This not only keeps you feeling happier throughout the day, but also helps your body keep more balanced cortisol levels. A nasty spike of that stress hormone leads to a whole slew of health issues including elevated blood sugar (hello, prediabetes, diabetes, & cancer!?), weight gain, anxiety, irritability, and infertility to name a few.
In addition to your intestines being the main gatekeeper of your serotonin, it’s also where 80% of your immune system resides. Your immune system is your body’s natural built-in defense against viruses, diseases, sicknesses, skin breakouts, etc. Yes, I included skin breakouts, which also means lesions, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, hives, and any other form of skin irritation. Your skin is one of many ways our bodies try to alert us of something wrong inside your intestines. Other illnesses and sicknesses that take too long to heal is another sure sign that your immune system isn’t functioning, as it should.
Your gut is also where your digestive system is too. Its sole purposes are to convert food into much needed nutrients and to rid the body of waste. This is where small traces of Candida Yeast aid the digestive system and then when we die, return our bodies back into the ground. Which if we weren’t embalmed, it would work much like how fungus grows on anything dead. The fungus first softens it into a pulpy mush—just think of a bruised apple or rotting fruit here—and overtime nothing would be left at all.
Yes, you heard me right. Candida Yeast is supposed to be in your body and you can never fully get rid of it.
This is an area where so many of us get confused. I get emailed often with people asking me how to get rid our their Candida and when will they be fully cured. Our digestive system needs small amounts of Candida so it can function properly. That’s why our bodies tolerate it being there.
The truth of the matter is, like our bodies, we must learn to tolerate the yeast and do everything we can to keep it regulated on a daily basis. Because, you guys, that’s the core problem—Candida Overgrowth. It’s the overgrowth that has enabled this once tolerable little yeast to expand throughout your intestinal tract (and almost your entire body once it breaks into your bloodstream) like foam, suffocating your healthy cells and embedding itself within. That’s the point where it’s no longer just a yeast anymore—it’s morphed into a fungus that’s eating away at everything it touches.
To make matters worse, it oftentimes goes undetected in your body because it can camoflauge itself as your cell, not the nasty yeast-turned-fungus that it truly is. And like I said, it’s devouring everything in its path because its sole job is to help return your body to the ground. It proliferates the lining of the GI tract and colon, leaking poisonous toxins and waste into your body known as leaky gut. Yep, a very fitting name for all that nastiness it’s leaking inside you.
And that’s exactly where countless thousands of health issues are rooted.
After your immune system has exhausted itself trying to ward off this intruder, it holds up the white flag in full surrender. Though, not without side effects—a lot of them horrific. Autoimmune disorders have grown to be an epidemic almost as big as this Yeast Overgrowth, effecting nearly 50 million Americans, which equates to about 1 in every 5 people who have a reported autoimmune disorder. And that’s not counting those who are undiagnosed or even misdiagnosed. How scary is that? Taking it further, this yeast-turned-fungus has been linked to cancer, pre & diabetes, depression, panic attacks, irritability, skin breakouts, hives, rashes, bladder & yeast infections, inflammation, headaches, fatigue, nausea, itchiness, constipation, diarrhea, athletes foot, bloating, gas, joint & muscle pain, and the list goes on. Do you suffer from any of these symptoms? If so, then I urge you to consider the state of your gut.
*Please be mindful I’m simply sharing my personal experience along with some of the information I found helpful or insightful, so you can continue to do your own research alongside your health care practitioner. I don’t ever advocate relying on someone’s blog to make major medical decisions.*
Here are common Candida Overgrowth and Leaky Gut Syndrome symptoms:
- Brain “fog”—hard to focus or think straight
- Oral Thrush (a white film on tongue or in the mouth)
- Bad breath, foul taste in mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and indigestion
- Increasing allergies to foods (gluten or celiac problems can be a direct result of Candida overgrowth) more
Constant craving for something sweet!
- Joint pain with arthritis-like symptoms
- Chronic sinus drainage—which antibiotics don’t help!
- Weight gain (or loss) and the inability to change it.
- Fungus on the toe-nails
- Itching, red eyes, ear drainage
- Acne Breakouts
- Candida Skin rashes on the body (eczema, atopic dermatitis)
- Candida Rash around the groin or in the folds of skin
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Bladder infections
- Anal, penile or vaginal itching
- Hair loss
- Vision problems
- Anxiety and/or panic
- Depression from feeling so low and bogged down all the time
Some of us have a Candida overgrowth that has reached its advanced stages, while others have only just started to notice the symptoms. It makes perfect sense that those who have suffered longest from their Candida will also take the longest to be regulated. The longer that you have had a Candida overgrowth, the more entrenched this fast-growing yeast is within your gut.
The causes of Candida Overgrowth—Leaky Gut Syndrome—are not the same for each individual person. Some people have it due to a combination of reasons. Common sources of this overgrowth include:
- 1. ANTIBIOTICS
- 2. BIRTH CONTROL PILLS OR DEVICE
- 3. EXCESSIVE STRESS AND ELEVATED CORTISOL
- 4. POOR TAP WATER QUALITY
- 5. PARASITES AND INTESTINAL WORMS
- 6. CHRONIC CONSTIPATION
- 7. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
- 8. HYPOTHYROID
- 9. IMMUNE DEFICIENCY
- 10. HORMONAL IMBALANCE, HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
- 11. DIABETES
- 12. POOR DIET WITH UNNATURAL FOODS PUMPED WITH TOXINS AND ANTIBODIES, HIGH CARBS AND HIGH SUGAR CONSUMPTION
Gastrointestinal—Gut—Health is SO important and treating it holistically is the absolute best approach. And taking it very slowly will be the best and most tolerable way to move forward. When yeast cells are rapidly killed, a “die-off “(or Herxheimer Reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body.
The Candida yeast cells actually release 79 different toxins when they die, including ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol) and acetaldehyde (which is produced by oxidation of ethylene and is popularly believed to be a cause of hangovers from alcohol consumption). Acetaldehyde in particular has a whole host of detrimental effects on your health and wellbeing. It can impair your brain function and even kill brain cells, so you can see how acetaldehyde is linked to Candida symptoms like brain fog and fatigue. These by-products also cause allergic reactions and inflammation that lead to an array of undesirable symptoms. Candida Die-Off symptoms will vary from person to person, as each will have different degrees of infestation. Often times, your original Candida Overgrowth symptoms could magnify, or reoccur.
The point when the die-off symptoms kick in is sadly the time when many people prematurely abandon the process of regulating their yeast overgrowth, so it’s important to be prepared, be patient, be committed, and understand what your body is going through.
Here is a list of some of the symptoms you might experience during a die-off (otherwise known as a Herxheimer reaction):
- Swollen glands
- constipation or diarrhea
- Increased joint or muscle pain
- Elevated heart rate
- cold feeling in your extremities
- Body itchiness
- hives or rashes
- Skin breakouts
- Recurring vaginal, prostate, bladder, and sinus infections
If you are having severe Die-Off symptoms, slow down your treatment and reduce your dosage of probiotics and antifungals. Your liver is the main pathway for eliminating toxins, and the Die-Off symptoms mean that it is being overwhelmed with the toxic by-products produced by the dying yeast organisms. Cleansing the body from a yeast overgrowth takes time, and is not pleasant. But left un-addressed, the candida can cause much more harm. Scientific research and new publications of clinical studies are finally showing that regulating this overgrowth has reversed—and even cured—many Gastrointestinal Diseases.
To help make balancing your Candida Yeast Overgrowth more tolerable:
Increase water intake to flush out the toxins faster: If you want to feel better, all those byproducts that are released by the Candida yeast—fungus—need to leave your body. You can give them a push by drinking more water!
Eliminate Refined Sugar & Processed Foods: These types of foods actually feed the yeast and that’s not what you want when you’re trying to reduce your detox symptoms. If you can’t completely eliminate these, then do your very best to reduce how much of them you have. Increasing your probiotics, antifungals, and enzymes (all found in our ProBio5 that I’ll get to shortly) can help offset your starch and sugar indulgences, but it’s important to eat as many of the right foods as possible. I know dietary changes can be hard, so instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t have on your plate, try adding veggies to all of your meals. Sneak them in your smoothies. Juice them. Throw a handful of leafy greens on the side of your favorite dish.
Slow down and rest as much as possible: Stress can weaken your adrenals and reduce your body’s ability to fight pathogens like a fungal infection. Relaxing and taking some personal time will help your immune system to do what it was designed to do.Be aware that yeast die-off reactions are a sign that your yeast treatment is succeeding because it is an indication that yeast cells are dying, usually in large numbers. However, it is also an indicator of your body’s toxic overload, often indicating more poisons are being released than the body can adequately cope with at one time. In most cases, yeast die-off is a sign that the system’s eliminatory pathways (intestinal tract) are overburdened or as oftentimes happens, blocked, as in constipation and liver stress. Adding a magnesium supplement is so important as it will aid the digestive tract (intestines) in more effectively and promptly eliminating waste. If increasing this dosage becomes too intense, then back off to a lower dose.
Use natural supplements to your advantage: It’s no secret that good quality probiotics and magnesium are essential DAILY staples to regulating Candida Overgrowth and helping keep it balanced throughout your life. Yes, that means you should be taking these consistently.
My top probiotic supplements right now are:
There are a few other supplements out there that can really help reduce and/or prevent “die off” aka detox symptoms.
Here they are:
— PREbiotic Fiber Pre-biotics and probiotics are completely different things. You need a probiotic to help replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut and pre-biotics are like the miracle grow for that healthy bacteria.
So what exactly is Prebiotic Fiber? It’s basically the food that Probiotics (aka good bacteria) eat. It is indigestible fibers that are in certain foods and supplements. When Prebiotics are in the system, it makes the environment more conducive for Probiotics to flourish. Feeding them is necessary for a healthy micro biome. Any one who isn’t getting enough healthy fiber in their diet should consider supplementing prebiotic fiber.
— Vitamin D with K2: Not only does this awesome combo provide additional immune system support, but it also promotes normal bone mineral density, helps support bone health, helps maintain cardiovascular health, promotes elasticity of blood vessels, and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
— Omega-3s: Research suggests that omega-3s support healthy lipid levels, normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which can help promote cardiovascular health, brain health & healthy brain development. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function. Omega-3s also help with stress management and Aid in relaxation.
— Milk Thistle / Liver Support I can’t even begin to stress how important taking care of your liver is. Milk thistle promotes liver and gallbladder health by providing free-radical scavenging activity, stimulation of liver cell regeneration, and prevention of toxin uptake by the liver cells. It has been seen to demonstrate strong protective activity when liver cells are challenged by a variety of toxins. Milk thistle supports the regeneration of damaged liver tissue, supports healthy liver and bile cholesterol, and helps limit liver damage as a result of disrupted oxygen supply. If you still struggle to omit lots of sugar and processed foods from your diet, take medications (some are much harder on your liver than others—this includes OTC), and if you enjoy drinking alcohol regularly, then you may want to seriously consider adding milk thistle to your daily routine. It’s also an ideal product to take during a detox and/or cleanse.
— B-Vitamins & Eletrcolytes: Increases energy & helps with mental fatigue, promotes a healthy nervous system, bone marrow & intestinal tract, promotes cardiovascular health, maintains healthy levels of serotonin, thereby decreasing stress & improving mood.
Are You Getting The Right Treatments?
There are three important elements in any Candida Yeast Overgrowth treatment:
– Probiotics (and Prebiotic Fiber)
Foods To Eat:
– Fresh Cuts of Meat (not-processed, organic, free-range is best)
– Yogurts with live active cultures and low sugars (unsweetened)
– Non-glutinous grains like quinoa, brown rice
This Chart Shows More Options to Help Combat Against Candida:
Probiotics are the good bacteria that line your gut. They help with digestion and prevent infections from spreading, thus strengthening your immune system. Supplementing good quality probiotics to replenish them in your gut will help to reverse your candida overgrowth. And if you’re not eating enough healthy dietary fiber, then adding in prebiotic fiber is critical as that’s what feeds the healthy bacteria (probiotics).
My Probiotic Recommendations Right Now Are:
ANTIFUNGALS / DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
Your natural enzymes help break down the walls of the candida cells. When your gut is healthy you shouldn’t need to supplement this. However, if your gut health isn’t ideal (or you’re eating something that’s basically Candida food) then you could have digesting issues and adding in natural enzymes could help. Dr Tobias has a great product you can check out here.
Antifungals can then enter and attack/kill the yeast-turned-fungus overgrowth. Natural antifungals work best because they have fewer side effects than prescription drugs. Here are a few examples:
- Caprylic Acid
- Oregano Oil
- Grape Seed Extract
And I don’t mean sugary drinks and sodas here! I’m talking about plain old water—filtered, alkaline, and natural spring water is best since fluoride and other nasty contaminates are found in regular tap water and even some bottled waters too. If you haven’t seen my post about the dangers of fluoride, then click here to see it. And if you’re a big sports drink lover, then try replacing it with organic coconut water (but if you’re in the middle of a detox, don’t go too overboard with it).
Be aware that detox (die off) reactions are a sign that your yeast treatment is succeeding because it is an indication that yeast cells are dying, usually in large numbers. However, it is also an indicator of your body’s toxic overload, often indicating more poisons are being released than the body can adequately cope with at one time. In most cases, die-off is a sign that the system’s eliminatory pathways (intestinal tract) are overburdened or as oftentimes happens, blocked, as in constipation and liver stress.
This is why taking a magnesium supplement along with your probiotic system is so important.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that oftentimes needs to be supplemented—even if you’re taking a multivitamin. It alkalizes the body, helps with hydration (it’s an essential electrolyte!), relaxes the nervous system and improves sleep, and aids your probiotic and enzymes with gut health, relieving constipation and moving those nasty toxins get out of your body. There are many other benefits and I encourage you to check them out, from heart health to healthier bones.
You can experiment with these to see how each one could benefit your Candida Overgrowth symptoms—and your overall wellness. And since these are products I personally take regularly for amazing health, you can learn more about them in this article here.
What better time than NOW to get Your Gut Healthy and make this the YEAR OF YOUR BEST HEALTH?!
Your gut health totally rocks!
PS: Please be mindful I’m not suggesting not go to your doctor if you suffer from this. I’m simply sharing my personal experience along with some of the information I found helpful or insightful, so you can continue to do your own research alongside your health care practitioner.
PPS: If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend who could benefit from it!
Recaging The Beast