Last Updated: 2/21/2018
Candida is no longer the diagnostic mystery and treatment challenge it once was in the past. But if you suspect you have it – in order to relate and apply appropriate treatment; the genus of the ailment must be defined.
Wikipedia and other on-line dictionaries alike define candida as “a genus of yeasts and is the most common cause of fungal infections worldwide.”
Gut bacterial imbalance occur and infectious fungi culminate with potential to cause any number of illness and disease within the body. Thankfully many yeast and bacteria species are harmless ‘commensals’ [i.e., different organisms that co-exist without harm or benefit to the other].
Whereas these microorganism colonies are often referred to as ‘endosymbionts’ [i.e., microorganisms or bacteria that live in cells or body]; or gut flora [gut microbiota or gastrointestinal microbiota].
When mucosal barriers are disrupted and produce mucous: e.g., inflammation of digestive, genital…vaginal tissue, urinary tracts and mouth; our immune system becomes compromised and health risk increases.
Mucosal “Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. ‘There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida albicans. Candida yeasts normally live on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection; however, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop. Symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the area of the body that is infected (CDC 2015).”
When Candida yeast microorganisms overwhelm our immune system it is likely the result of an alkaline environment caused by an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the gut. This often leads to overgrowth of a fungal colony species that can inflame and infect tissue at its origin, or spread somewhere else in the body, or infect others.
For example, when the fungal infection of thrush overgrows on the mouth, tongue or throat the slightly raised patches on the mucous membrane and beneath it are usually raw and bleeding.
Thrush is defined as “Oral thrush — also called oral candidiasis (kan-dih-DIE-uh-sis) — is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. ‘Oral thrush causes creamy white lesions, usually on your tongue or inner cheeks. Sometimes oral thrush may spread to the roof of your mouth, your gums or tonsils, or the back of your throat (Mayo Clinic 2016).”
Even a newborn can get the disease if the mother had a vaginal yeast infection during delivery. Since newborns have an imperfect and immature balance of bacteria; and elderly with suppressed immune systems – medical conditions are more susceptible to infection of tissue.
Although not typically contagious between toddlers, if a child with thrush has put a toy in mouth and another shares that toy in the same way, then the risk is higher of contracting the disease. Or if an adult handles dentures for example. Whereas that object is handled by someone else and put into their mouth. (WebMD 2014). Or you share a toothbrush or drink out of the same cup, etc.
If the Candida albican yeast overtakes the bacteria balance of the stomach and small intestines and then becomes present in the large intestines, this is a sign your system is fighting a battle it can’t win unless something changes. If lifestyle change and treatment course are not applied at some point; systemic bodily infection may occur. And when the immune system is suppressed or in a weakened state any number of ill-health condition(s) may manifest.
Below are 18 illness and disease risks with connection to increased Candida yeast through unhealthy bacterial gut balance and increased fungi growth preceded by inflammation and infection.
“1) Acne or psoriasis 2) Allergies 3) Diabetes 4) Digestive disorders that cause gas, bloating, colitis or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) 5) Ear infections 6) Emotional upsets and depression 7) Energy imbalances or insomnia 8) Hormonal problems 9) Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 10) Hypoglycemia 11) Hypothyroidism 12) Lung problems 13) Obesity 14) Pollen allergies 15) Reproductive Organ Disorders 16) Sensitivities to foods, chemicals, and/or molds 17) Susceptibility to viruses, bacteria, and other infections. 18) Thyroid. ‘Some practitioners believe that Candida overgrowth can lead to onset of chronic illnesses: Chronic fatigue symptom (CFS), fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, cancer, and autism (Jordan 2016).”
Simply by examining one of these diseases in a study, it is possible to see how a fungi infection starting in the gut could cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or any other number of ill-health conditions.
This is explained by Professor Maureen Hanson, of molecular biology and genetics at Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y.
She states, “Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have a different profile of bacterial species in their gut microbiome than healthy individuals,” “In the small study, she and her colleagues found that people with chronic fatigue syndrome had less diversity or different types of bacteria, compared to healthy people without chronic fatigue syndrome. People with chronic fatigue syndrome also had more species of bacteria that promote inflammation and fewer bacteria that dampen inflammation, the researchers found (Doheny 2015).”
Professor Hanson describes balance of certain bacterial species is essential at keeping inflammatory and anti-inflammatory bacterial colonies and infectious fungi concentration under control. And one way to do this is by adding probiotics to the daily diet. Normalizing and sustaining an acidic gut environment helps to keep candida yeast at bay.
“So returning your stomach to its normal acidity helps to restrain the Candida overgrowth.” A gut acidity environment is essential for healthy balance of gut flora.
Healthy diet and “Probiotics are a great supplement to take whether you have a Candida overgrowth or not. They help with digestion and maintain a healthy balance of gut flora in your digestive tract, so you should consider making probiotics a part of your routine (Perfect Health 2016).
“Compelling new studies are showing how probiotics can help keep healthy people healthy. One study showed a decreased incidence of common infectious diseases among kids in day care.”
— Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders,
“Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes disease. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy (DiLonardo 2014).
Evidence from clinical research demonstrates that adding ‘good’ bacteria to the diet promotes a healthy digestive and immune system.”
— Dr. Allan Walker,
Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Avoid the following foods that create an alkaline gut environment – where Candia yeast thrives. And consider taking a daily probiotic supplement recommended by your doctor. By returning the gut environment to become more acidic – the candida flare-ups become less acute or chronic and severity of unwanted symptoms will likely decrease or disappear.
Candida depends on sugar to survive. Cut off the food source and you’ll starve-kill the fungus. All sugars, baked goods, breads, refined flour, alcohol, vinegars, pickled vegetable, dried fruits, cheeses, mushrooms should be considered suspect or cause of candida symptoms.
Remove one unhealthy food habit at a time from the diet. Wait a week and see if unwanted condition begins to dissipate or improve.
Also check food labels for fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, mannitol, sorbitol and sucrose. Avoid honey, maple syrup and molasses. Remove processed and packaged foods from your diet (high in sugars).
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, yogurt, meats, fish, poultry, oils such as olive, sesame, flaxseed and sunflower, butter and lemon.
Consider taking probiotic supplements as previously stated beneficial to good health by the experts.
“Taking probiotics is a habit that can really benefit the digestive system, which is intricately connected to our overall health.”
— Dr. Michael F. Roizen,
New York Times best-selling author, Chief Wellness Officer, Cleveland Clinic
Healthy Immune System through Exercise
“Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing waste products from your cells. When it is functioning poorly, viruses, bacteria and fungi can accumulate in the system, creating a great breeding area for Candida. Moving your body increases circulation of the lymph fluid, eliminating these pests quickly before they become a problem (Perfect Health 2016).
Treatment for itching, irritation and inflammation
Although there are many remedies and treatments listed on the Internet and books, I highly recommend you seek treatment for symptoms by a Digestive Health Specialist (Gastroenterology), or board certified Internal Medicine physician with a specialty in Candida diagnosis, treatment and other medical and dietary referral experience. Especially when experiencing excessive itching, irritation and inflammation of genitals and mouth. If you don’t apply timely treatment to alleviate symptoms, you may unwittingly set the stage for systemic disease.
Once diagnosed and receiving proper treating for a particular Candida strain… it can take months to years to remove it. And it may take a combination of specific medical treatment, diet, exercise, and pre-probiotic supplementation, etc.
Candida can be treated and reversed. However what may work for others may not work for you. This is why it’s so important to receive accurate diagnosis and timely treatment from a licensed and board certified medical doctor.
Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Corp., Officer, CPT, RET. 2018 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.
CDC. “Candidiasis.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 12 June 2015. Web. 21 July 2016.
DiLonardo, Mary Jo. “What Are Probiotics?” WebMD. WebMD LLC, 2014. Web. 21 July 2016.
Doheny, Kathleen. “Gut Bacteria May Hold Clues to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” Stltoday.com. STLtoday.com, 15 July 2015. Web. 21 July 2016.
Jordan, Jo. “Signs and Symptoms of Candida Albicans Intestinal Yeast Overgrowth.” Puristat. Puristat, Inc., 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.
Mayo Clinic. “Oral Thrush.” – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 2016. Web. 21 July 2016.
Perfect Health. “Exercise And Candida » The Candida Diet.” The Candida Diet. Perfect Health. All Rights Reserved. Design by Five J’s Design., n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.
Perfect Health. “Why Use Probiotics For Candida? » The Candida Diet.” The Candida Diet. Perfect Health. All Rights Reserved. Design by Five J’s Design., n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.
WebMD. “Thrush-Cause.” WebMD. Healthwise, Incorporated, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 21 July 2016.