The Candida Handbook
OK, don't look at the picture to the left because you can't have that. But before you consign yourself to the world of Candida, let me tell you how many of my patients are absolutely convinced they have Candida and don't. They read it on a website, their symptoms are listed in a book, someone told them they did, they had a test. I’m here to tell you that often, the symptoms you are experiencing are not Candida, which explains why whatever treatment you choose, does not eliminate the symptoms altogether. Instead, they keep returning. True Candida infestation is simply a natural process of your intestinal tract that has gone out of control, often after antibiotic therapy, severe stress, long-term intestinal cleansing or severe illness. So don’t jump to conclusions, but instead keep your head, keep ignoring the chocolate and read on. Candida Albicans is a type of parasitic yeast like fungus that inhabits the intestines, genital tract, mouth, esophagus and throat. This fungus is present in some amount in every healthy body, and in fact lives in healthy balance with the other bacteria and yeasts in the body. However, certain conditions can cause it to multiply, weakening the immune system and causing an infection known as candidiasis. Certain drugs that are used widely in the population may promote candida overgrowth, such as corticosteroids, birth control pills, anti-ulcer medications including Tagamet or Zantac and antibiotics. Since these can suppress immunity, they can also disrupt the delicate balance of immunity in the gut that polices the levels of bacteria and fungi that are present.
Because candidiasis can affect various parts of the body, it can be characterized by many symptoms. Generally there needs to be quite a few of these symptoms present to really indicate a candidiasis infection, not simply one or two. These might include constipation, abdominal discomfort, headaches, bad breath, sore throat, chronic sinus congestion, white spots or a white coating on the tongue, vaginitis, sugar cravings, rectal itching, acne, extreme fatigue and kidney/bladder infections. Symptoms often worsen in damp and/or moldy places, and after consumption of foods containing sugar and/or yeast. Because of its many varied symptoms, this disorder is often mislabeled as something else and left untreated. This is what may allow it to spread to adjoining organs such as the liver and gallbladder which can then impair detoxification ability and affect even respiratory health.
When candida infects the vagina, it results in vaginitis characterized by a large amount of white discharge and intense itching and/or burning. When the fungus infects the oral cavity, it is called thrush. White sores may form on the tongue, gums and inside the cheeks. In a baby, the white spots of oral thrush may resemble milk spots. Oral thrush in an infant can spread to the mother’s nipples during breast feeding, leading to a situation in which mother and baby continually re-infect each other, and even mastitis can result. Candida can also be responsible for diaper rash, athlete’s foot or jock itch. In the most severe cases, candida can travel through the bloodstream to invade every organ system in the body and can even contribute to a type of blood poisoning called candida septicemia.
Candidiasis may affect both men and women; however, it is rarely transmitted sexually. Anyone who has been on long-term antibiotic therapy, or whose immune system has been weakened by a chronic condition or disease, is highly susceptible to candida, since it is the immune system and the friendly intestinal bacteria which controls the normal growth of this fungus. When antibiotic use first became widespread it was noted immediately that yeast infections increased. As it proliferates, the fungus releases toxins that weaken the immune system further. This can contribute to the sudden development of food or airborne allergies in people who never were troubled by these issues previously.
There are diagnostic tests for candida, but often they only detect a few variant strains of the fungus. In fact, there are numerous strains and accurate detection can be a double-edged sword. At what point do you assume there is an infection? Levels can vary between individuals and also depending on the varying pH of the body system. For instance, closer to a woman’s menstruation, candida levels will be much higher than normal, giving a false positive. This explains many woman who develop yeast infections or their symptoms around their period.
So instead, I recommend going through a treatment period if there are five or more symptoms present from the above list and that have been persistent for more than two months time.
My Candida Therapeutic Protocol:
*Increase hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and bile all of which are essential to reduce the candidiasis infestation.
*Take a supplemental immune booster that will increase the resources to stop candida overgrowth. Goldenseal is a great choice as is the chinese mushrooms such as Ganoderma and Shitake.
*Supplements that are designed to kill fungal and parasitic strains of candida are essential to eliminate current growth and to prevent future growth. I recommend Pau D’Arco, Wormwood, Goldenseal, Cat’s Claw and a wonderful package from Pharmax called CandiClear. The use of garlic in a concentrated form is also perfect.
*It is also vital to increase the amount of probiotic friendly flora [acidophilus, bifidus] present in the intestines. These are especially important throughout the latter part of the diet.
*30 days of a Candida-Resistent diet are also recommended, but only 30 days and no longer. This diet reduces the intake of sugar and yeast-bearing foods which are the basis of candida metabolism.
Candida-Resistant Diet: This diet is fruit-free and contains relatively few grains and high carbohydrate vegetables. Depending on your likes and dislikes, using these general guidelines, you can change menus to suit your tastes and those of other members of your family. Many and perhaps most individuals with yeast-connected health problems are allergic to several (and sometimes many) different foods. The more frequently you eat a particular food, the greater are your chances of developing an allergy to that food. Moreover, you tend to become addicted to foods you are allergic to and you crave them, even though they may be contributing to your fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, depression or other symptoms.
When you rotate your diet and eat a food no more frequently than every fourth day, you accomplish two main goals: First, you avoid becoming addicted (allergic) to various foods. Second, (and equally important), you are better able to identify foods that could be causing problems.
So begin with vegetables. Most vegetables contain lots of fiber and are relatively low in carbohydrates. They can be fresh or frozen, and you can eat them cooked or raw. Choose from asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green pepper, lettuce, okra, onions, parsley, radishes, soybeans, string beans, tomatoes, turnips and greens.
Meat and eggs are perfect because they are a mixture of high protein and healthy fats. You can eat as much of these as you wish including all fish ans shellfish.
I highly recommend nuts, seeds and oils for the essential fatty acids. Increasing your intake of essential fatty acids is the first step to reducing sugar addiction in your diet. After a few weeks you will notice that your taste for sugar will have reduced significantly. Nuts may disagree with you and cause symptoms, especially if you’re allergic to yeast and molds, so only include them if they seem good for your system. Remember to use unprocessed nuts and seeds and unrefined oils from a natural food store in order to avoid rancidity and hydrogenation. Even butter is fine in moderation, particularly raw butters.
As far as drinking, water is the choice. Juice is much too concentrated a source for sugar, and caffeine can really reduce your adrenal ability at a time when it is vital for your adrenals to be at the top of their game.
All other foods should be eaten cautiously and no more than a few times each week, such as potatoes, grains, squash, rice, beans and breads. You must also completely avoid all sugar, sugar substitutes and sugar-containing foods, even honey and stevia. Beware of packaged or processed foods and most cheeses contain yeast as do alcoholic beverages. You will also want to avoid condiments, sauces and vinegars all of which contain yeasts and sugars. Herbs, salt and pepper are fine however. Avoid mushrooms and any other foods that may contain mold, such as old vegetables and even leftovers. Mold is something that may not be visible, but will be detected in the gut, making your symptoms worse, not better.
After the diet has been completed, you may begin to rotate the foods you have avoided back into your diet cautiously. Please take note of your reaction to each food, as you will find there may be certain foods you cannot tolerate at all due to the healthy nature of your system. Any time in the future that you become seriously ill, or have to take antibiotics, be sure to take large amounts of acidophilus and bifidus throughout which will help maintain the healthy balance of your gut.