Learn About Candida:
>>Factoid: 85% of your immune system cells reside in the gut. To that end, the gastrointestinal system plays a key role in immunoregulation and activation of tolerance mechanisms.
Understanding Candida, the Gut and much more!
Candida and molds are fungi. Candida, molds, and food intolerances all cause an allergic response. The patients with these sensitivities/allergies develop intestinal and mucosal edema (swelling), slowing their food transit time and allowing greater absorption of calories, retention of fluid, and intestinal inflammation.
Many sinusitis patients have both Candida / fungus AND food allergies/intolerances, both of which cause gut inflammation.
The process can be broken down as follows:
- Candida gut inflammation causes the body to be unable to process many foods; hence food allergies/intolerances are created by the Candida.
- Food allergies/intolerances cause gut inflammation, which then makes the Candida inflammation worse.
- A vicious cycle develops. The Candida makes the food allergy worse and the food allergy makes the Candida worse. When you remove BOTH ANTIGENS (food allergies and Candida from the gut) that are causing inflammation, you get superior results. With mold/fungal exposure, all patients are more susceptible to food allergies, because the immune system is in overdrive mode, fighting the mold. Any other fungal invader, like Candida, can cause almost instantaneous gut and systemic inflammation.
There are several items that increase Candida in the gut:
- Immune deficiency,
- heavy metals,
- low thyroid hormone
- chlorine in tap water,
- sugar, and
- one of the most important, airborne mold.
The Thyroid hormone controls the rate at which oxygen and iodine circulate through each cell. Both oxygen and iodine have antimicrobial properties; therefore, it is a good thing to have a good flow of each through each cell. In patients with Candida, we find the optimum flow rate that decreases Candida in the gut is a free T3 blood level of 3.7-4.2, with normal lab values being 2.0-4.4. In patients who have chronic gut Candida, whenever antibiotics are taken, they should take anti-Candida protection, such as Nystatin and a strong probiotic supplement, like Ortho Biotic. One of the best gut health regimens is VSL#3 or Ortho Biotic, 1-2 capsules, 2 times per day, plus Bubbies Sauerkraut (found at Whole Foods), a small serving 3-4 days per week with meals. This regimen will provide the healthy organisms that are anaerobes ( living in low or no oxygen) to populate the gut. Studies have shown people with these organisms in their gut are generally more healthy with less illness.
Candida Treatment consists of:
- Stopping the Fungus/Yeast/Candida overgrowth. Stop feeding them. (See Candida Diet guidelines. )
- Replace the Fungus/Yeast/Candida with natural healthy gut bacteria (normal flora) by taking probiotics! The healthy bacteria will kill the yeast by competing for food. Healthy gut bacteria will boost your immune system by re-colonizing your digestive tract with normal bacterial flora. Normal bacteria are present in Acidophilus pills, Lactinex pills, Essential Flora, Ortho-Biotics, VSL#3 (VSL is the most powerful gut bacterial flora product of all), Lactobacillus, and Bulgaricus, (which also neutralizes stomach acid). Other sources of good bacteria are plain yogurt, and buttermilk. The goal is to ingest 50 billion colonies, twice a day. Probiotics are good supplement to take daily for the rest of your life to maintain the proper balance of flora in your gut, and to achieve overall wellness.
- Kill the yeast with anti-yeast medications (examples: Diflucan, Nystatin, Oregobiotics). These products will help increase the alkaline levels of your body which makes it difficult for Candida to flourish. Note that once you get rid of yeast, if you start feeding them again by getting off of the diet, they WILL return.
- Do not drink or use tap water in food-related preparation. It has too much chlorine in it and that will kill the normal gut flora, which will then allow yeast to over grow. This includes coffee and tea made from tap water at work and in restaurants. Use bottled water when eating out. Do not use tap water for cooking. Boiling water DOES NOT remove chlorine. The filters you get for the faucet, Pur or Brita, are fine to use for your cooking water, but not for drinking water. Use a pool chlorine test kit to be sure that your tap water filter is removing chlorine. Chlorine kills off the good bacteria and allows yeast to over populate again. Even a small amount of chlorine will cause yeast overgrowth and defeat all other treatment.
- No Alcohol. It is best to have no alcohol in any form during the recovery period. (Most are usually loaded with refined sugar.) Once your system is balanced and the Candida is under control, an occasional vodka drink is acceptable (not the sugary, flavored ones though!). Further, beer and wine are fermented. Alcohol is the byproduct of this fermentation.
- Do not eat grains. Maintain a gluten-free diet. For some patients this is only during the recovery phase. For others who test positive for a gluten allergy or are ALCAT confirmed gluten sensitive, it is life long. This means all breads, most pastas, oatmeal, barley, etc.
Candida effects can vary widely and different people have different reactions, particularly when the Candida begins to die off. Depending on the severity of your overgrowth it can take any where from 8 to 16 months to rid your body of Candida. Again, like chronic sinusitis, finding relief from Candida is a process that has several components. THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL. You have to take control of your body, your environment, and your diet.