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Candida – the yeast infection

Candida is a common disorder that has caused much controversy in the medical industry. The orthodox medical profession denies its existence, except in very limited cases, making it very difficult to get a medical diagnosis of Candida even when an overgrowth has been confirmed by a laboratory test. Despite this situation, public awareness of Candida has continued to grow.

So what exactly is it… Candida is the popular term for candidiasis (Candida overgrowth) – a condition first identified by American physicians in the 1970’s. Moderate amounts of Candida albicans live in every one of us without causing any harm, but when given free rein to grow unchecked, e.g. by wiping out the surrounding bacteria with broad-spectrum antibiotics, Candida can change into its fungal form and spore through the intestinal wall into the rest of the body. Once through, it rampages around the body producing a multitude of symptoms.

The signs and symptoms show how such a disorder can be overlooked or misdiagnosed by the medical profession, these include: feelings of heaviness, sluggishness, possible infections, mental dullness, excess mucous and bloating. Chronic Candida overgrowth can lead to chronic tiredness, chronic vaginitis or prostatis, anal itching, bloatedness, flatulence, other digestive problems, hayfever, asthma, muscle aches, loss of libido, joint pains, extreme sensitivity to tobacco smoke and chemical fumes, mucous in the stools, frequent colds, cravings for sweets and yeasted breads, recurrent fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, nail fungi, low immunity, cystitis, thrush, PMS, scattered memory, an unfocused mind, memory loss, food allergies and in extreme cases manic depression.

The most prolific causative factor is prolonged or repeated use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Low level ingestion of antibiotics also comes from consuming non-organic commercial meat, dairy, eggs and poultry as most livestock are dosed daily with antibiotics in their feed. Other possible causative factors include use of immuno-suppressive drugs; use of steroids; heavy metal poisoning; hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause; a diet high in fermented yeast and refined sugars; prolonged use of the contraceptive pill and according to Chinese philosophy, too much anxiety and worry also contribute to the situation.

From a nutritional point of view, above all the other symptoms Candida albicans thrives at the expense of a number of important dietary functions. The synthesis and absorption of vitamins and minerals are prevented, the acidity of the intestine is increased and digestive enzyme production impaired. All these features allow Candida to establish itself in the intestines, while beginning to weaken the body due to the malabsorption of minerals and vitamins essential for a huge number of chemical processes in a healthy body. Hence chronic long term Candida overgrowth by affecting vitamin and mineral absorption can seriously impair immunity thus endangering the body to a whole host of nasty ills and autoimmune diseases.

Treatment from orthodox medicine is almost non existence as to the professions almost complete denial of the disorder. Naturopaths and nutrition consultants on the other hand are experts in this field and will treat the client with a variety of supplements and severe dietary changes. Candida specialists have cited that it can take up to two years for the Candida overgrowth to completely subside. However it must be remarked that controlling Candida through a strict diet will cause the dying Candida overgrowth to literally fight back, as when a happy Candida albicans fungus having hooked itself into your intestine wall gets starved by food elimination, it will die, upon which it releases a toxic gas into your intestines. This toxin gas will not cause you any serious damage except to temporarily increase toxins within your body, so it must be noted than eradicating Candida overgrowth will make you feel pretty unwell for a short while until the toxins are released through the kidneys.

Dietary changes such as eliminating all processed foods, yeasted breads and pastries, sugars, alcohol, dairy products, vinegars, dried fruits, sweet and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and most fruits are all to be avoided. Consuming sauerkraut, seaweeds, garlic and other vegetables are highly recommended to establish beneficial acidophilus cultures in the digestive tract. A full list of foods to take and foods to avoid in the treatment are available from your natural health practitioner. In clinic, Candida can often accompany a variety of conditions such as stress, hyperglycaemia, leaky gut syndrome, adrenal exhaustion, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Above all else the single most important supplemental treatment we can take in order to tame Candida overgrowth are probiotics, taken before foods these encourage the growth of good bacteria in the gut flora thus combating yeast infections. Herbal teas and tonics can be taken to soothe the digestive tract, encourage absorption of essential nutrients, and combat the cravings for avoidance foods with the help of liquorice, cinnamon, pau d’arco and barberry.

Your Health Is Your Greatest Wealth,

Article written by Caroline Evans (C)