What are the Candida and the candidiasis?
A candidiasis is a yeast-like fungus. In humans, the Candida albicans species is the most commonly encountered. It is naturally present in the intestine and vagina, and is normally harmless: in a healthy body, its multiplication is controlled by the bacterial balance. But when this balance is disrupt, Candida proliferates and becomes pathogenic. Drugs, a weakened immune system, pregnancy or diabetes may trigger the development of Candida. The infection can affect either the skin or mucous membranes, causing itchy, reddish lesions and whitish secretions. In the case of a mouth infection, a whitish, creamy deposit (thrush) appears on the tongue. Genital candidiasis (vulvovaginitis for women, balanitis for men) cause itching and white and creamy discharge.
A localised Candida infection is minor and easily treated with antifungals. However, when the immune system fails to contain the proliferation of yeast, it can invade the mouth, gut and anus, before spreading to the skin and mucous membranes. The infection can become chronic, with serious consequences for the health and welfare. There has been a significant increase in Candida infection cases over the last 20 years. The main causes of this increase are: a diet rich in refined sugar, preservatives and food colouring, the increasing concentration of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics in our food, frequent use of antibiotics, birth control pills, sleeping pills or sedatives.
Symptoms of candidiasis are very diverse, they can be in the realm of digestion, immune system, energy or emotions. Here is a list of the most common physical symptoms: diarrhea, constipation, bloating, intestinal pain, flatulence, anal itching, bad breath, unexplained weight gain and loss, nutritional deficiencies, eating disorders, strong attraction for sugary, fatty foods and alcohol, painful and irregular periods, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fungal infections, cystitis, chronic sinusitis, psoriasis, eczema, acne, hives, chronic fatigue, pain and muscle fatigue, joint pain, asthma, sight disorders , bronchitis, headaches.
From an emotional perspective, candidiasis can cause depression, anxiety, irritability, aggressiveness, dissatisfaction, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, morning brain fog and low libido.
The diagnosis is difficult to establish because of the variability of symptoms. Sick people do not generally link their different symptoms and try to treat them separately, sometimes they see a different specialist for each problem. The following medical tests may help in diagnosis of Candidiasis: blood or genital secretions analysis analysis, stool culture (culture of organisms present in the stool), skin tests. Several self-tests available online will help you determine if you could potentially be suffering from candidiasis, before starting costly medical exams.
Candidiasis should be treated on several fronts to be beaten Thus, all the approaches described below are complementary and do not suffice to themselves.
Candida feeds mainly on sugar, so treatment of candidiasis requires to adapt the diet first. It is long and can be difficult for people wich eating habits or very different from the Candida diet. However, the diet is essential to the healing process, as antifungal agents have only a localized and transient effect on the infection. The Candida diet consists of the elimination of all kinds of sugar, molds, yeast and antibiotics in food. To help your body beat the infection, you should also remove all the foods that are difficult to digest, and foods with a high glycemic index. Generally, I recommend you use only natural and unprocessed produce, as process foods contain additives that must be digested and eliminated by your body, which will exhaust it. For a detailed description of the Candida diet, you can read the second part of this article.
This step must be done before the diet. It is essential to get rid off of toxins that clog up your body and prevent a strong Herxheimer reaction (explanation below). Indeed, during an Candida infection, toxins produced by the fungus are absorbed in the intestine before being filtered by the liver. Thus, the liver being heavily solicited during a candidiasis, it is necessary to give it a boost, so it can fully perform its cleansing function. You can take capsules or herbal solutions (artichoke, milk thistle, birch, turmeric, black radish…), which support the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and intestine functions. Ask your therapist to recommend you the right products for your needs, as well a diet to be followed while taking these supplements.
The other component of your detox is colon hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation. It will physically eliminate pathogenic Candida colonies lining your large bowel. Colonic irrigation provides immediate relief to your digestion problems. It is complementary to taking products to support liver function.
When the gut wall is irritated, it is likely the intestine can no longer absorb nutrients effectively, leading to dietary deficiencie. But the body needs its full capacity to beat the Candida. This is why it is necessary to take vitamins and minerals in the form of food supplements.
Probiotics are available as a powder or capsules. They will help rebalancing the intestinal flora by repopulating the gut with beneficial bacteria in the body, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. These have the characteristic of producing lactic acid – which will the intenstinal environment more acidic and thus less favorable to Candida – and biotin, which inhibits the transformation of Candida from the yeast to the pathogenic fungus that causes symptoms. In addition, they help the intestine and the liver in detoxifying the body, thus promoting healing.
To maximize the effect of probiotics, take them in the morning on an empty stomach with a glass of warm water, at least fifteen minutes before eating. Thus, probiotics can cross your stomach quickly, which will decrease the risk of your gatric juices destroying them.
The beneficial effect of yogurt and kefir with Lactobacilllus is controversial, as the number of bacteria in yogurt is ridiculously small compared with a probiotic tablet. There is also the risk that the bacteria are killed in the stomach by gastric juices before reaching the gut. However, it has not been proven their are ineffective. So eat yogurt if you like it, but do not force yourself if you do not.
Many foods naturally contain antifungal substances:
Garlic: very effective when eaten raw. You can use it as a condiment as much as you want. If you do not like its taste, use garlic extract capsules.
Caprylic acid: it is naturally present in coconut. Use in all its forms: fresh, grated, milk, flour and coconut oil. Warning: coconut flower sugar is still sugar! Do not eat it! You can also find caprylic acid capsules.
Oleic acid: naturally present in olive oil, which is composed of 72% of oleic acid. It is also present in hazelnut (77%), avocado (68%), rapeseed (56%) and sesame oil (39%). Use these oils raw to make the most of their properties.
Aloe vera: Ffresh aloe vera costs is an antifungal, anti-inflammatory and natural tranquilizer. Thus, consuming it will help fighting the Candida overgrowth, as well as healing the irritated bowel wall. Get fresh, organic aloe vera gel, avoid capsules and rehydrated lyophilized powder, which are less effective. Take two tablespoons of gel diluted with water, three times aday.
Chlorophyll: responsible for the green color of plants, its therapeutic effects are well known. It has germicidal properties, promotes healing and the proper functioning of the intestine and liver. Make a habit of eating more green vegetables and season your dishes with fresh herbs: basil, tarragon, cilantro, parsley, chives… Algae are also an excellent source of chlorophyll, including chlorella, available as powder or capsules.
Grapefruit seed extract: it is reknown for its germicidal properties. It does not affect the healthy bacterial flora of the intestine, and does not arm s with bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. You will find grapefruit seed extract as capsules or drops. Make sure that the extract is produced from organic grapefruits, to ensure the consumption of atoxin free extract. Eating grapefruit does not have the same effect. Rather, it will feed your Candida because of its sugar content!
Ginger: you can use it as a condiment, cooked or raw, or make drinks. In the morning, prepare a thermos of ginger tea by boiling fresh ginger slices into filtered water for ten minutes. Then add fresh lemon juice to your drink, and enjoy it hot or cold.
Pau d’arco: or lapacho Tabebuia avellanedae in Latin, comes from the bark of a tree sacred to the Incas. In addition to its antifungal properties, it detoxifies the body and strengthens the immune system. Pau d’arco is consumed in the form of infusions, you will need to boil it for 10 minutes.
Rutabaga: rich in fiber, potassium and vitamins, it will help rebalancing the intestinal flora. You can eat it raw, baked, mashed, as a soup …
Antifungals creams, pills or soaps prescribed by your doctor can relieve external symptoms like itching and fungal nail infections. However, it is important to look after your gut candidiasis to permanently dismiss your skin fungus.
The Herxheimer reaction consists of aggravation of a disease in its early treatment. When treating candidiasis, this reaction is caused by the fact that the death of Candida releases large amounts of toxins in the body. When the liver detoxification capacity is exceeded, the blood toxicity rate increases, creating a worsening of symptoms. That is why it is essential to support liver function while treating a candidiasis.
People with chronic candidiasis often suffer from Hexheimer reaction when taking strong antifungal to treat their skin fungus.
To know more about the Candida diet, read the second part of this article: the Candidiasis, part 2: the Candida diet.
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