Candida is the reason I am in the health industry.
It sounds like a pretty word but in fact it is an overgrowth of yeast in the body. According to The Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, Candida is defined as: "any of a genus of parasitic fungi that resemble yeasts, occur especially in the mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract where they are usually benign but can become pathogenic, and have been grouped with the imperfect fungi but are now often placed with the ascomycetes; especially: one (C. albicans) causing thrush."
My symptoms of Candida were classic: I was tired all the time; I had persistent gas and bloating; I had vaginal yeast infections every month; my joints and muscles ached; I had brain fog to the point that if I didn't write things down I'd never remember them; I was depressed and my sugar cravings were so bad that I would get up in the middle of the night and drive to the store to get something sweet to eat. I learned later that Candida feeds on sugar so it was causing these intense cravings.
When I complained of my symptoms to a friend schooling to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she identified it as Candida. I had never heard of it at the time but now know that it affects a vast amount of the population, including both men and women.
The scary thing about Candida is that it produces many mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic substances harmful to the body. These mycotoxins can initiate many degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disorders, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
If you recognize some of the symptoms listed above, there is a quiz developed by Dr. William G. Crook that can be found online. It's an abbreviated version of a more comprehensive quiz and depending on your score, you can determine if you have yeast-connected health problems.Read more about the prevention of yeast infections
If are suffering from Candida, here are a few simple recommendations:
1. Eliminate or minimize antibiotics, steroids, immune suppressing drugs and oral contraceptives (only after consulting your health care provider). These medications set up the perfect environment for Candida to flourish.
2. Cleanse your system with anti-fungal herbs such as Uva Ursi, garlic bulb, Caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, etc. There are cleansing kits on the market that you can pick up at your local health food store which incorporate these herbs plus many more.
3. Re-establish good bacteria with probiotics (good bacteria such as acidophilus and bifidus). It is best to get your probiotics in supplemental form because you can get a much stronger, therapeutic dose. For every yeast organism you have, you need approximately one million good bacteria to combat it, so it is important to supplement daily.
4. Increase your fiber consumption (flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber.) This will help absorb and sweep out Candida toxins. Thirty to forty grams of fiber per day is required.
5. Change your diet to one that will not encourage growth of Candida. Eliminate all sugar and sweeteners including fruit, fruit juices, carbohydrates and dairy products. Eliminate all fermented and moldy foods including alcohol, soy sauce, vinegar, mushrooms and peanuts. Cut out all forms of alcohol. Eat plenty of vegetables and lean proteins. This is necessary to starve the Candida while you are killing it off.
6. Drink plenty of clean, purified water: at least a half (1/2) ounce of water per pound of body weight. (For a 120 pound person, that would mean 60 ounces (1.7 Litres) of water or about 7 tall glasses.)
7. Enhance digestion by eating more raw foods, chewing thoroughly and taking digestive enzymes with every meal.
Improve immune function by stimulating lymph flow through exercise and deep breathing.
8. De-stress your life as stress seems to aggravate conditions such as Candida. Walking, yoga, meditation, deep breathing… all of these things can help.
Once you begin to eliminate Candida from your body, you will find your energy increasing, your mind clearing, cravings diminishing and overall well-being improve dramatically. Keep in mind, before you feel better you will likely experience die-off symptoms that can include: headaches, mood swings, skin breakouts, the need for more sleep and more. When doing any cleanse please seek advice from a qualified health professional.
Take it from me; I got rid of Candida five years ago and it hasn't come back since. And I feel healthier and happier in my 40s than I did in my 20s and 30s.
If you get twinges of sugar cravings or brain fog, step back and readjust your lifestyle. Monitor your intake of sweets, your levels of stress, and ensure you're taking probiotics on a regular basis. Be aware of the symptoms of Candida so you can implement lifestyle changes that will keep your body on track.