Welcome to Part One of our Candida Overgrowth Blog series.
Within this blog series we’re going to cover what exactly is Candida, how do we end up with an overgrowth, what are the symptoms, and how we can treat it naturally through diet, lifestyle, herbs and supplements.
I hope this helps any of you out there struggling with Candida Overgrowth.
What Is Candida?
Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus that naturally occurs within the body, existing in our intestines, genitals, mucus membranes, skin and other organs.
We all have it, and the majority of the time, it’s harmless. It only becomes problematic when imbalance occurs, such as an overgrowth of Candida Albicans.
What Contributes to Candida Overgrowth?
The most common cause for an overgrowth of Candida albicans happens after taking antibiotics, however other causes include:
- Overconsumption of sugar and processed, refined foods
- Overconsumption of alcohol and coffee
- Chronic, prolonged stress
- C-section deliveries
- Antibiotics in our meat supply
- Taking oral contraceptives
- Anyone with a weakened immune system
But How Are These Contributing to an Overgrowth?
Antibiotics are pharmaceuticals which can very quickly wipe out beneficial bacteria in our guts and deplete our immune systems.
The problem with antibiotics is that they tend to not be very selective. They don’t know how to distinguish between the good bacteria in your gut and the bad. This means that the good bacterial colonies in our guts can suffer some extreme damage, if they’re not eradicated entirely with a course of antibiotics. See my blog here on Here’s How to Help Your Body Recover from Antibiotics Naturally to learn more.
Now, as we know, candida is a normal part of the human body, but it is an opportunistic yeast and as soon as the opportunity presents itself, candida will take control.
And what better way to present an opportunity than with the exposure to antibiotics, immuno-suppressants, or cortico-steroid-based medications? These create the perfect eco-system for candida to thrive.
Since there are some cases when we need to take antibiotics, I wrote the above mentioned blog post to help you out 🙂
Over Consumption of Sugar and Processed, Refined foods
Starch is the food source for Candida albicans, and so if your diet is high in refined or processed foods, starchy foods (think all the white stuff, bread, rice, pasta, sugars, cakes, pastries and fruit etc.) then you are more susceptible to experiencing a candida overgrowth. All the sweet stuff provides the perfect fuel for yeast, mold, bacteria and fungus to thrive within the body.
Plus, not only does this high carbohydrate consumption directly provide fuel for the candida, but it also weakens your immune system. And what does a weakened immune system expose you to? Candida.
Stress paralyses the immune system. Stress impacts the immune system so strongly, and an aggravated immune system can really exacerbate candida overgrowth.
It’s important to identify where any stresses are coming in, whether it’s people, your job, financial, not getting enough sleep or maybe it’s environmental.
You have to take a proper look at your lifestyle and see where you can remove the stress.
At the end of the day, you can throw all matter of anti fungal herbs and probiotics at yourself until the cows come home, but if you don’t deal with the stress, you’re limiting the amount of benefits you’re going to get long term.
Over Consumption of Coffee/Alcohol
Both coffee and alcohol can have an effect on the nervous system, circadian rhythm and adrenal system, and over consumption or reliance on these can become a big problem, especially when candida is involved.
High cortisol and adrenaline levels signal stress in your body, and as previously mentioned, stress leads to a weakened immune response.
These beverages can also cause chaos with your blood sugar levels, and out of whack blood sugar levels are another cause and aggravator of candida.
What are the Symptoms of Candida?
Below is a non-exhaustive list suggesting you may have a candida overgrowth:
- Fungal Infections on the skin and nails
- Oral Thrush
- Vaginal Thrush
- Cradle Cap
- Jock Itch
- Joint Pain
- Digestive Disturbances
- Chronic Fatigue
- Brain Fog
- Weakened Immunity
- Sinus Infections
- Memory Issues
- Mood Disorders
- Recurring UTIs
- Skin Infections
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Recurring Infections, Oral Thrush, Fungal Issues
- Persistent Constipation, Bloating, or Gas
- Intense Sugar Cravings
- Excess Mucous
- Persistent Food or Environmental Allergies
- Depression and Anxiety
- White Coating on the Tongue
As you can see, the symptoms are varied and so it’s always a wise idea to ask a naturopath or doctor to determine if you have it with a test.
I also encourage you to do your own research into candida symptoms. Personally I love the book Body Ecology by Donna Gates, but there are plenty of other books, articles and videos out there for more information.
How to Test for Candida
There are stool, blood, and saliva lab tests for Candida overgrowth.
There’s also this home spit test you can try at home:
Every morning for six days after waking up, before you eat or drink anything, fill a glass of water halfway and spit roughly a 1 cent-sized amount of saliva into the glass.
Keep an eye on it over a 45-minute period and record your results each day for six days.
Your saliva will either stay floating on top, suggesting there is likely no Candida overgrowth to worry about, it will sink to the bottom, suggesting Candida is likely an issue for you, or it will grow legs, also suggestive of Candida overgrowth.
How to Get Rid of Candida Overgrowth
There are many ways to approach this, and since everyone is individual, everyone will need an approach suited to them.
The general basis however is this – you need to do three things:
1. Stop the yeast overgrowth
2. Build up the friendly bacteria
3. Heal your gut
My upcoming blogs will cover a variety of natural ways to help remove the Candida overgrowth and get yourself back in balance, however, I highly recommend you work alongside a qualified health practitioner, especially if your symptoms are severe.
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.