I. What is a Candida Albicans Overgrowth?
Candida is the name given to a family of fungi that are ever present in the human body. There are over 20 species of fungi that belong to this genus. An overgrowth of any one of these organisms will turn into a fungal infection called Candidiasis. The most common species that is prone to overgrow is Candida Albicans. It is a specific yeast that exists in the intestinal tract, mucous membranes, and on the skin. In a healthy gut, this bacteria is kept at bay and doesn’t cause problems. (1)
An overgrowth of Candida Albicans can wreak your health in many different ways. It is the root cause of the ever-so-common yeast infection that affects around 75 percent of all American women. (2) It robs the body of energy, weakens the immune system, increases oxalates in the system which in turn poison the mitochondria, and often leads to Leaky Gut.If left untreated, the leaky gut caused from Candidiasis opens the door to Candida Albicans spreading into the bloodstream, resulting in a dangerous systemic fungal infection. (3)
The issue with Candida is that it is opportunistic and aggressive. If the gut flora on the intestinal wall is out of balance, weakening the immune system, Candida will take advantage and eagerly take over. It has a unique protein that allows it to adhere to the gut lining. This adhesive protein disables the human body’s natural mechanisms of removal.
It is important to note that Candida is asexual. When Candida grows it does something called “budding.” This slow growth method is much like a flower or a tree that buds flowers. Because Candida is asexual, and does not need a mate, it is virulent. As it grows it produces more branches off of those buds. Those branches multiply branches and their branches multiply branches. These act likes roots of a tree. As they get longer and stronger they literally burrow holes in the lining of your gut. This, even after Candida is controlled, results in a Leaky Gut, causing food to permeate into the blood stream.
II. How Do You Get a Candida Overgrowth?
There are multiple factors that contribute to the overgrowth of Candida Albicans:
First and foremost, one of the biggest factors in determining the health of your gut and it’s susceptibility to Candida fungal overgrowth is your Diet.
The Western Diet is anything but healthy:
Processed Foods: Processed foods dominate the shelves in local grocery stores and are loaded with chemicals, preservatives, and high amounts of sugar.
Pasteurized Conventional Dairy: Pasteurized dairy is devoid of any real nutrition and is loaded with hormones.
CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) meat: CAFO meat from conventionally raised animals on factory farms is loaded with hormones and antibiotics.
Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides: Most of the fruits and veggies you will find in your supermarket are heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides while many are even genetically modified (GMO).
Gluten/Grains: Gluten and most grains are gut irritants and have been shown to irritate the intestinal barrier, weakening immune health.
Absence of Cultured Foods: Cultured and fermented foods are completely foreign to most people’s diets and not consumed regularly.
The list goes on and on. All of the above factors each cause disastrous effects on gut health and can cause irregular gut flora, the perfect environment for candida to take over the gut and thrive It’s safe to say that the Western diet is a recipe for disaster and not supportive of a healthy gut.
There are a few specific foods that cause Candida Albicans to flourish:
Sugar: One of the biggest triggers for Candida to grow out of control is a diet high in Sugar. Sugar causes Candida Albicans to grow and thrive more than anything else. Unfortunately, in the Standard American Diet (SAD) there is sugar in almost everything so most people suffer from dangerously high amounts of sugar on a daily basis.
Foods High in Mycotoxins & Aflatoxins: When Candida overgrows and takes over the gut, it feeds on foods high in sugar. As these sugars are metabolized by this opportunistic fungus, certain toxins are produced in the gut as a by product. These Fungal toxins are mycotoxins and aflatoxins. Therefore, it is of upmost important to avoid eating foods that contain high amount of mycotoxins and aflatoxins such as peanut butter, almonds, pistachios, brazil nuts, maize, figs, cottonseed, Balsamic Vinegar, rice, and spices.
Surprisingly, there are many lifestyle factors that can weaken your gut health and cause an imbalance in your gut, contributing to a candida overgrowth. Some of these include high amounts of stress, lack of sleep, weak immune systems as the result of insufficient immune stimulation ( aka the hygiene hypothesis: the belief that people who live in mostly sterile ‘anti-bacteria’ environments don’t get adequate exposure to bacteria to build a healthy immune system ), and psychological and emotional stress such as worry, anxiety, and anger.
‘Endogenous factor’s is a fancy way of saying factors that already exist from within the body. There are many endogenous factors from both the body and inside the gut that could be the root problem, contribute to causing Candida overgrowth. These could include SIBO, pathogenic overgrowth and gut infections ( such as H. pylori ), and hormone imbalances.
One of the biggest factors that determines whether Candida Albicans overgrows in the gut or not is the state of an individuals microbiota (aka the gut flora in the large intestine). Gut flora resides on the inner most layer of the intestinal lining, the mucus layer. The body’s largest bacterial community is located in the gut with about 10¹² of bacteria per gram of tissue. In a healthy individual, their gut flora is dominated by beneficial microbes. A healthy gut flora includes beneficial fungi, protozoa, beneficial viruses, and even beneficial worms. In a healthy gut, all these beneficial microbes work together to live in harmony, keep the body balanced, and keep the tight junctions in the intestinal barrier working correctly.
Amidst the beauty of all the beneficial microbes, it is important to recognize that there are also hundreds of bad bacteria and pathogenic microbes that coexist along-side the beneficial bacterial strains. For an individual to be healthy and have strong immune system, these good bacteria must far outnumber the bad. When the gut flora is dominated by healthy microbes, the pathogenic bacteria are outnumbered and kept in check, often remaining neutral. However, these neutral microbes are very opportunistic and when given opportunity, will eagerly take over and turn pathogenic.
When the gut flora is out of balance, the immune system weakens, making that individual more vulnerable to sickness and disease (such as autoimmune diseases). The tight junctions in the lining of your gut walls weakens often resulting in leaky gut. (Source) Therefore, the condition of the gut lining is directly related to the health of the gut flora.
One of the biggest causes of gut flora imbalance is antibiotics. Upon taking a course of antibiotics, you not only wipe out the pathogenic bacteria but also the beneficial gut bacteria in your gut wall(3). This is devastating for your gut health. You don’t only ingest antibiotics when you’re taking a pill prescribed from your doctor. There are many sneaky ways they find their way into your system such as conventional CAFO meat and drinking water. (Source)
It is important to limit the use of steroids and synthetic hormones such as birth control and contraceptives. Steroids increase your blood sugar which can feed candida. Birth control pills actually alkalize the urinary tract which should be acidic, creating a welcoming environment for candida to grow.
Environmental molds, toxins and funguses can both contribute and aggravate a Candida Albicans overgrowth.
III. Do You Have a Candida Overgrowth?
Well, this is a list of some of the major symptoms, from topical to internal. This list is far from exhaustive.
- Athlete’s foot
- Jock itch
- Tinea rashes
- Thick, yellow fungal nails
- Vaginal Yeast Infection
- Crushing Fatigue
- Brain Fog
- Irregularity in Bowel Movements
- Abdominal Pain
- Food Allergies
- Intense Sugar Cravings
- Regular Sinus Infections
- Mood Disorders/Mood Swings
- low immune function
- chemical sensitivities
- Joint Pain
- It Can Drive Autoimmune Conditions such as Chronic Fatigue, MS, Hashimotos etc.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
The exciting news is, there’s SO MUCH you can do to turn this downward spiral up and in a different direction! YOU can take charge of your health and future. Thanks to the incredible research in epigenetics, you can modify what genes are expressed by diet and lifestyle factors.
So, set up a free 45 minute consultation with us. We’re here to help and serve you. We’ll get clear on where you are and where you want to go then hammer out a plan to get there.
Your time is now… step up and claim your health. Here’s our calendar.