Are you struggling with these seemingly ‘random’ issues like bloating/gas/constipation keeping you from living your best life?
This is more common than you think. As Type A, high-achieving women, we’re under a lot of STRESS. Not only from our schedule, boss, & finances, but pressure we put on ourselves to get to the gym, eat right, & be there for everyone.
All this stress creates DEPLETION. Depleted energy, vitamins/minerals, probiotics, fiber, enzymes, & hormones.
We’e more depleted than ever & it’s showing up as unpleasant symptoms in our guts, brains, skin & monthly cycles.
What if I told you there may be critters in your GI tract that were causing many of these unwanted symptoms?
What if there were gaps in your current nutrition, training & lifestyle leading to this dysbiosis?
I used to be so afraid to eat ANYTHING in fear that I’d become so bloated that my belly would poke out of my shirt.
I was struggling to find foods that agreed with me & I found myself deprived & missing out on social occasions because of it.
It wasn’t just because I was afraid of looking bloated, it HURT too. Often times leaving me curled up in bed with a hot pad on my guts.
It wasn’t until I realized that I might have a disrupted microbiome, that I took a stool test to find out.
I found out not only was stress & nutrition a factor, but also that the infrastructure and physiology of my GI tract was compromized.
Feeding my body the best nutrition wasn’t enough, I had been chronically nutrient-depleted from years of disordered eating, and exposure to chronic stress, oral contraceptives, caffeine, environmental toxins, antibiotics, & sugar consumption causing a servere dysbiosis in my gut.
Where to begin!
So instead of restricting even MORE food & missing out on even MORE of my life, I shifted focus to the root cause of my distress – my insides!
If you are in the same boat as I was, don’t suffer alone any longer.
We recommend a trustworthy functional health coach who will educate about the root causes of dysbiosis & help you through a whole-body healing approach so you can get back to living a life free of distress!
If you’d like to connect, apply for a call here.
What is Candida
Candida is a term often applied to when a patient has an overgrowth of detrimental yeast species that can ‘take over’ your digestive system. This can result in a weakened immune system, digestive issues, chronic vaginal yeast infections, liver toxicity issues and can lead to skin rashes.
It’s actually OK to have yeast in our body. In fact, there are approximately 150 species of yeast that call the human body home. The most prevalent type is Candida albicans. This fungus usually inhabits the mouth, intestines and vagina (ie. mucous membranes of the skin).
Under normal, healthy circumstances, Candida is kept under control by good bacteria that ALSO make their home in the intestines, mouth and vagina. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidus are the predominant friendly flora that inhabit our bodies (and hence why clinically proven probiotics contain these species).
Here’s what happens: yeast crowds out normal gut flora and changes the composition of gut enzymes and diminishes the gut’s ability to properly absorb nutrients.
That’s not all that happens, though. Yeast also releases toxins that are then absorbed through the gut or throughout the body. Yuck.
Yeast imbalance can be quite uncomfortable, too. Overall, a yeast and fungal imbalance can lead to an wide array of health challenges ranging from digestive issues to energy slumps.
Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
- Cognitive: Inability to focus, Poor memory, Brain fog, Irritability, Anger, Dizziness, Depression, Crying spells, Panic attacks, Low libido, Persistent extreme fatigue
- Nervous System: Hyperactivity, Cravings for sweets and alcohol, Insomnia, Poor coordination.
- Digestion: Acid reflux, Bloating, Flatulence, Nausea, Diarrhea, Constipation, Stomach cramps, Indigestion, Burping after meals, Mucus in stool, Hemorrhoids, Itching anus.
- Skin: Acne, Cysts, Hives, Night sweats, Psoriasis, Eczema, Dermatitis, Fungal infections of the nails & skin, Athlete’s foot, Body odor.
- Oral: Thrush (white coating on tongue), Swollen lower lip, Halitosis, Metallic taste in mouth, Bad breath, Canker sores, Bleeding gums, Cracked tongue.Persistent cough, Mucus in throat, Sore throat,
- Allergies: Sinus congestion, Chronic post-nasal drip, Flu-like symptoms, Hay fever symptoms, Sinusitis, Asthma.
- Optical: Eye pain, Itchy eyes, Sensitivity to light, Blurred vision, Bags under eyes, Ringing in the ears, Ear infections.
- Urogenital: Recurring yeast infections, Recurring UTI’s (urinary tract infections), Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), PMS & menstrual irregularities, Fungal rash.
- Immune System: Frequent colds and flu, Allergies, Sensitivities to food, fragrances and chemicals.
- Metabolism: Inability to lose weight, Water retention, Weight loss.
- Headaches, Heart palpitations, Chronic body pain and/or joint pains, Muscle aches and stiffness.
Take the Functional Nutrition Candida Questionnaire to rule out possible Candida overgrowth.
What Causes Candida?
Candida is caused by an opportunistic yeast which over proliferates in the body when the conditions are right, such as an acidic, damp and sugary environment.
- Taking antibiotics, which kill off many of the healthy bacteria in your gut
- Constant emotional stress
- Diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (white flour products, cakes, biscuits, refined sugar, honey, cordials, soft drinks, fruit juice and certain fruits, particularly dried fruit)
- Long term use of the contraceptive pill
- Overuse of certain medication like antacids, corticosteroids and hormone therapy
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Eating too fast resulting in low stomach acid and lack of digestive enzymes
Effects of Candida Overgrowth (aka what happens if you don’t fix it)
Over time a persistent intestinal overgrowth can result in Candida invading the mucous membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract, particularly in the lower intestines and colon. This process severely interferes with normal mucosal health and produces microscopic holes in the membranes allowing yeast, bacteria, undigested food particles, pollen, environmental pollutants and other material to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as “leaky gut syndrome”.
If this complain is not addressed it may contribute to further complications such as:
- Skin rashes
- Fungal infections
- Depressed immunity
- Systemic candida which affects the lungs, liver, kidneys and brain.
- Serious allergies, food sensitivities, asthma and sinusitis
- Digestive complaints such as colitis, diarrhoea, constipation, cramps, bloated stomach, flatulence and bad breath
- Genital thrush, prostatitis, pre-menstrual complaints (excessive bleeding and cramps) and low libido
- Fatigue, anxiety, nervousness, inability to think (foggy thinking), decreased concentration, irritability, headaches and depression
- Excessive sweet cravings, weight gain and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels)
- Chemical sensitivities
How do you Diagnose Candida?
It’s recommended to use a stool test that diagnoses whether there is an overgrowth, but also identifies exactly what strain(s) is present so that the correct antifungal medicine can be prescribed.
It’s important that the doctor doesn’t treat based on symptoms alone as there are many conditions which can cause this long list of symptoms and the treatment takes time, major (temporary) diet changes and appropriate medications (either botanical or conventional or both).
Natural or Functional Treatment Approach for Candida
To address Candida successfully, you need to adhere to a number of steps simultaneously in order to make sure the candida has no way of surviving.
Again, first and foremost the species of concern must be identified with diagnostic testing so that we succeed in killing it with the right medicines. However, diet also plays an extremely vital role:
1. Starving it: Avoid sugar, yeast, mushrooms, alcohol, vinegar, all fermented foods, wheat, white flour products – really any grains. Sugar is the fuel source of the yeast, namely foods rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates including concentrated sugars, soft drinks, cordials, alcohol, sweets, most fruit, dried fruits, white flour products and yeast-containing products.
These burden the immune system which is overburdened and struggling to overcome the yeast infection, they also feed the bacteria.
Do this: Replace these with whole foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and micronutrients including vegetables, well cooked legumes, whole nuts and seeds and protein such as eggs, antibiotic-free/ organic meats.
“Sweet feeds yeast” and “bitter is best” are two catch phrases to remember when considering what to eat.
2. Killing it: Antifungals are important in destroying the cells and biofilms of the Candida albicans yeast or fungus. The antifungals work with probiotics to first kill the Candida overgrowth, then repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria.
Candida can adapt to individual antifungals over time, so we recommend taking multiple antifungal supplements at the same time. Some good options are garlic, onions, thyme, goldenseal, wormwood, caprylic acid (coconut oil), garlic, grapefruit seed extract (GSE) dandelion, andrographis, rhubarb and pau d’arco either in the diet or as a supplement.
To get the most benefit from your supplements, try to take your antifungals first and then wait at least 2 hours apart to take the probioitcs during the day.
It is recommended to stop taking the antifungal after you have completed your treatment plan and feel that you have beaten your Candida overgrowth. As soon as you notice your symptoms declining, you can wean off the antifungals. However, if you notice your symptoms regressing, then begin the antifungal regimen again. As always, consult with your doctor about your antifungal treatment if you have concerns.
We recommend Metagenics Candibacter AR (thyme, oregano Sage, Lemonbalm), Pure Encapsulations (grapefruit Seed Extract) and Dr. Axe Candida Combat (contains biofilm enzymes, oregano, astragalus, Pao d’Arco and S. boulardi).
3. Feeding it: Reintroducing beneficial gut flora such as taking a good quality probiotic supplement – in particular S. Boulardi (we love Klaire Labs). Improve the immune system by eating large amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish, bitter foods, lemon juice, vegetable juices: supplements such as echinacea, olive Leaf, Vitamin C, garlic.
Repair normal gastrointestinal membrane integrity and heal “leaky gut syndrome” (which can result from the inflammation caused by the infection) with glutamine rich foods such as celery, spinach, dandelion greens, lettuce, parsley, brussels sprouts and carrots.
Lifestyle Factors to Implement
- Support liver, digestion and detoxification processes by eliminating tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy, carbonated drinks
- Don’t overeat, and even allow yourself to get a little hungry before eating. This allows the Migrating Motor Complex to complete between meals.
- Chew very well, combine your foods properly, and be relaxed at meal times to encourage stomach acid production
- Improve digestive enzyme secretion by increasing bitters such as Digestive enzymes and herbs such as Gentian, Meadowsweet and Dandelion
Nutrition Factors to Implement
- Increase water intake to flush the kidneys and bowels of wastes and acidity. Introduce herbal teas to increase your water intake and cleanse the digestion. Teas such as Peppermint, Ginger, Lemongrass and Fennel are ideal
- Consider increasing the amount of garlic in your diet as garlic and onions as they are antimicrobial due to the sulphur content.
- Consider a vegetable juice each day such as carrot, celery, ginger and beetroot
- Consider more bitter foods in your diet such as lemon, radicchio, arugula, endive and beet greens
- Recommended to eliminate simple sugars from your diet such as sugar, honey, cakes, breads, chocolate, biscuits and bakery type foods
- Recommended to eliminate fermented foods (at the very beginning) such as mushrooms, vinegar, alcohol, wine, condiments, bread and yeasts. ACV is ok for some people as it actually alkalizes the body which causes yeast to die.
- Consider fermented dairy, like Kefeir, containing live probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus is also a valuable addition to the diet