Candida is a yeast-like fungus found within the gastrointestinal system. It is a normal part of the healthy microbiome that aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Overproduction of candida within the body can lead to many health issues ranging from migraines and digestive issues to depression. When produced in greater than normal amounts, candida may enter the bloodstream and release toxins throughout the body or destroy digestive lining causing leaky gut syndrome.
Candida overgrowth has become more common in recent years because of antibiotic overuse, increased consumption of processed foods, the presence of hormones and antibiotics in food products, and increased use of oral contraceptives.
Occurrences that may trigger candida overgrowth:
- Frequent use of antibiotics or failure to restore bacterial balance after taking antibiotics.
- Frequent consumption of refined carbohydrates, sugar, or alcohol.
- Prolonged use of oral contraceptives.
- A high stress lifestyle.
Symptoms of candida overgrowth:
*Often indicated by the presence of two or more symptoms.
- Intense cravings of sugar, bread, or fermented foods (pickles, vinegar).
- Low blood sugar.
- Rectal itching.
- Constipation or loose bowels.
- Storage of excess fat around the midsection, “beer belly.”
- Recurrent fungal infections – athlete’s foot, ringworm, vaginal yeast infections, etc.
- Painful gas and bloating.
- Recurring infections.
- Autoimmune disease.
- Night sweats.
- Irritability, mood swings, depression.
- Severe allergies.
- Trouble sleeping or feeling restless.
- Pallor – unhealthy pale appearance.
- Poor memory, indecisiveness, and lack of clarity.
These symptoms are also closely associated with nutritional deficiencies, metal toxicity, exposure to pollutants, and lifestyle imbalances; therefore candida overgrowth is not always considered or treated. CandidaMD.com notes that treatment for candida overgrowth alone will often eliminate or decrease most symptoms, but is most effective when combined with treatments for liver, thyroid, adrenal, and immune health.
Home Treatment for Candida Overgrowth
According to Holistic Help, most research for home treatment of candida overgrowth will consist of following a Candida Diet, taking an anti-fungal, and restoring the microbiome with probiotics. Treatment requires consistency and dedication.
- Eliminate sugar – Sugar feeds candida, the first goal in treatment is to starve it. Make sure this is done safely and effectively. Consider joining an online sugar detox program like the “I Quit Sugar” eight week detox program, visiting your library to checkout a sugar detox book, or consulting a holistic nutritionist.
- Remove digestive irritants – Getting tested for food sensitivities and allergies may be helpful, but identifying digestive irritants can also be done using an elimination diet. Common irritants include wheat or gluten (found in oats, barley, rice, processed foods, etc.), dairy, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sugar, red meats, and vegetable or canola oils.
- Clear your gut by rotating anti-fungal herbs, a process that can take several months. According to Maura Henninger, N.D., the best anti-fungal herbs for this purpose are berberine, grapefruit seed extract, and olive leaf combined with caprylic acid which breaks down candida. Colloidal silver and oregano oil are also effective. Anti-fungals must be rotated during this process as candida can become resistant rather quickly.
- Repopulate with good bacteria. It is important to intake good bacteria from a variety of sources. Most homeopaths recommend rotating probiotic supplements every one to two months. Click here to read more on selecting an effective probiotic supplement.
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