I’m sure that you’ve clicked on a link or seen an add that promised you instant weight loss and the solution to something called Candidiasis, which is a gastrointestinal conduction that is caused by the overgrowth of a specific type of yeast C. Albican. Typically, this yeast is considered to be harmless, and can actually live symbiotically in your intestines without ever compromising your health. However, if this yeast proliferates an overgrowth will occur, leading to the condition we know as Candidiasis.
- Chronic fatigue (general symptom)
- Thrush (general symptom)
- Bloating and gas (gastrointestinal symptom)
- Rectal itching (gastrointestinal symptom)
- Frequent/reoccurring yeast infections (genitourinary symptom)
I want to empathize that while candidiasis occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, it’s important to understand that symptoms can manifest in nearly every organ system of the body. Depressed immune system and dietary considerations are the largest root cause leading to candidiasis and should not be overlooked. While treating symptoms can seem important, using antibiotics or other anti-fungal medicines typically render unsuccessful in the treatment of the actual disease. Candidiasis is a multifactorial condition and the response to this condition will need to be equally as complex.
Understanding the root cause to candidiasis
There are many lifestyle choices that can predispose a person to Candidiasis, and the overuse of antibiotics is one of them. When a person takes antibiotics, it actually surpasses the immune system allowing the medication to work. If overused, prolonged periods of a depressed immune system can lead to complicated conditions like Candidiasis among others.
Another lifestyle choice that can lead to this tricky condition is high intake levels of sugar. Sugar also depresses the immune system and can give the perfect breeding grown for bad bacteria and yeast to take over. When I say sugar, I am also including natural sources as well, such as honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar.
Here is a list of potential predisposing factors that can lead to yeast overgrowth:
- Dietary factors (high sugar intake)
- Drug use (antibiotics is one of them, as well as hormone therapies)
- Weakened immunity
- Alcohol consumption
- Untreated diabetes or insulin resistance (precursor to type two diabetes).
Understanding the root cause that leads to Candidiasis on an individual basis is the most important factor when considering therapeutic options. Once we have an understanding of why this overgrowth is occurring, we can work to change lifestyle choices and use preventative measures to mitigate any reoccurring overgrowth. Please understand that there are many tests and laboratory analysis (stool samples and antibody/antigen levels in blood) that can aid in the diagnosis of this condition, but patient history is the best tool any practitioner can utilize.
Detoxifying agents to aid in the recovery/prevention of Candidiasis
We want to use natural methods to help restore our bodies equilibrium as much as possible. Fortunately, in the naturopathic realm there are many effective methods to apply.
Garlic: This is a potent anti-fungal agent because of the active compound called ‘allicin’. While it is responsible for the strong smell, it is also responsible for the healing properties. When using as a treatment for candidiasis, it’s important to consume at least 10 mg daily under the supervision of a naturopath or health care provider.
Propolis: This has antimicrobial properties that prevent viruses, bacteria and other harmful organisms. This works largely as an immune system booster, allowing for your intestinal flora to balance.
Probiotic: I stated earlier that the most common root cause leading to candidiasis is a depressed immune system, supplementing with a probiotic can lead to the promotion of healthy bacteria. When considering which probiotic to choose, we want to ensure that lactobacillus is present with 5-10 billion cells.
The good news is, we can use preventative measures to reduce the risk of disease by eating a well-balanced diet, ensuring that we have sufficient levels of vitamin D, E, C and zinc. Regular physical activity outdoors, also provides immune support.
Jessy Goldthorpe, AMCC student