What is Candida?
It’s definitely not something we learned about in nursing school. Some might think of the dreaded vaginal yeast infection…something I thankfully have never experienced. It turns out we ALL have yeast, some just more so than others. Antibiotics, birth control, stress, excess alcohol, and non steroidal ant inflammatory drugs NSAIDS, are a few things that can lead to a candida overgrowth. I had my fair share of each of these, but the antibiotics for lyme disease pushed me over the edge. When overproduced candida breaks down the walls of the intestines and penetrates into the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causes leaky gut. A leaky gut is literally just like it sounds, the tiny holes in our intestines enlarge and undigested food, bacteria, and waste pass through. This sends our immune system into attack and food sensitives and autoimmune diseases can begin.
Common Candida Symptoms
- Skin and nail fungal infections, athlete’s foot, toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down, chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, foul smelling gas
- Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, Multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, brain fog
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes, acne, sweating, cradle cap
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal/vaginal itching
- Allergies, itchy ears, popping ears, or feeling underwater/stopped up
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
I found several people online who cured cystic acne with the candida diet and decided to give it a try. Since candida thrives on sugar, eliminating all forms is a must which meant my favorite candy, desserts, alcohol, and fruits were out. Also anything inflammatory or genetically modified since these can damage your already inflamed intestines, so corn, soy, gluten, nuts, and rice were eliminated as well. I know it sounds radical, but within a week and a half I was improving! But as the candida started to die off hundreds of toxic byproducts were dumped into my bloodstream. The liver is the number one organ that processes these toxins with the skin being number two. It made sense that my skin was riddled with inflammation considering what my liver had already been through processing years of antibiotics, aluminum deodorant, fluoridated water & toothpaste, and GMO foods. Eventually as my liver healed with the help of milk thistle more and more symptoms dissapeared. When I stopped giving into the sugar cravings and essentially starved the fungus out the toxins were no longer poisoning my body. My intestines began to heal and I started absorbing my vitamins and nutrients.
After a year of switching to organic food, detoxing, and taking herbs/supplements/and probiotics I feel better than I have in at least ten years.
One supplement I still take is caprylic acid which comes from coconut oil and basically “pokes holes” in the yeast cell wall, causing it to die. Once you clear out the overgrowth and allow the intestines to heal it’s a must to restore the healthy bacteria that typically keep your candida population under control by taking probiotics daily. Taking anywhere from 25 to 100 billion units of probiotics should help to restore your levels of good bacteria and prevent an overgrowth in the future. I took probiotics everyday during lyme disease treatment, but it clearly wasn’t enough. Kefir, Kombucha, & Homemade Sauerkraut are a few other ways to increase your good bacteria.
If you decide to give it a try, just remember since candida feeds on sugar, you will have INTENSE cravings. If you give in, you feel great initially, crash later, and the vicious cycle will start again. If you can stick with it long enough you’ll beat the candida and the cravings and you’ll start to feel sorry for all the addicted shoppers at your local grocery store.
You are stronger than your fungus’s cravings. Do not give in. You can’t be a fun guy with fungi.
Emily Smith RN-BSN
Holisitic Health Coach