candida albicansDo you or someone you know consistently have any of the following symptoms?

  • Energy imbalance – either insomnia or extreme fatigue
  • Lack of concentration, “foggy brain” syndrome, incoordination
  • Depression, attacks of crying and anxiety, irritability, frequent mood swings
  • Migraine headaches, body aches, joint soreness, flu-like symptoms
  • Weakness or swelling of muscles and joints
  • Gastrointestinal disorders or symptoms, bloating, “leaky gut” syndrome
  • Inability to lose weight, food allergies
  • Skin rashes, hives, fungal infections, athlete’s foot, acne, eczema
  • Reproductive organ symptoms and disorders, such as vaginitis, cystitis, prostatitis
  • Endometriosis, infertility, loss of sexual desire and/or feeling, impotence
  • Cramps and menstrual irregularities, premenstrual symptoms
  • Respiratory problems, asthma, bronchitis
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein Barr
  • Cold hands or feet, low body temperature
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Bruise easily
  • Sinuses, allergies, sensitivities to odors, perfumes, chemicals
  • Bad breath, foot or body odor
  • Increased symptoms with sugar intake or exposure to molds

This list may seem like it covers practically every ailment possible, but these symptoms may actually be a manifestation of Candida albicans overgrowth, known as Candidiasis.

What is Candida albicans?

Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus, normally present in small, yet harmless, amounts in the mucous membranes of the body. Unfortunately, when this particular yeast-like fungus multiplies, overgrowth occurs, and it can become the root cause of many diseases and ailments.

As toxic levels of Candida increase, the liver, intestines, skin, and other filtering organs of the body become overworked while trying to eliminate the excess.

An overabundance of yeast can also disrupt the body’s normal hormonal levels, by interfering with the functions of the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, along with the ovaries and testes. In time, the immune system becomes impaired, symptoms begin to occur, and the individual becomes more susceptible to illness and disease.

Dr. Darren, in his article on “The Chronic Candidiasis Syndrome” wrote,

“Systemic Candidiasis has been most noted in AIDS or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy in which the body’s ability to defend itself from pathogens is compromised. In these patients, Candida primarily originates from the gastrointestinal complement.

“Infants, diabetics, and individuals with various other immunological dysfunctions also provide a predisposition to Candidiasis.

” . . . a proliferation of Candida in the intestines may be a factor in severe chronic health problems. The Chronic Candida Syndrome (also, Candidiasis Hypersensitivity Syndrome [CHS], or Candida Related Complex [CRC]) is characterized by a collection of diverse symptoms, and there are several schools of thought about contributing factors.

“Patients are often referred to a psychiatrist for their ‘neurotic condition’ and the failure of modern science to find a physiological diagnosis. Routine blood tests usually do not reveal anything unusual. Chronic Candida Syndrome has attracted an enormous amount of attention as being a cause or a factor in numerous health problems.”

“Most recently, it has been suggested that the Chronic Candida Syndrome may play a part or be a cause of Attention Deficit and other psychological disorders in children. This especially includes those children who may have been placed on antibiotics for reasons such as chronic ear infections (recent evidence supports that some are viral and can not be helped by antibiotics).

What causes Candidiasis?

The number one cause of Candidiasis is the overuse of antibiotics. Not only do doctors prescribe them all too often, antibiotics are also found in most grocery store brands of meat and dairy. This is because antibiotics attack the normal (friendly) bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby encouraging the overgrowth of Candida.

These “friendly” bacteria are necessary for our good health, so when we destroy this essential balance of normal “flora” in the intestines, the yeasts multiply unchecked, causing minor symptoms to serious illnesses.

Even young children who have frequently prescribed antibiotics for ear infections, or teenagers who are continually taking antibiotics for acne, increase the risk of CCS.

Dr. Darren says, “Most recently, it has been suggested that the Chronic Candida Syndrome may play a part or be a cause of Attention Deficit and other psychological disorders in children. This especially includes those children who may have been placed on antibiotics for reasons such as chronic ear infections (recent evidence supports that some are viral and can not be helped by antibiotics).

“Candida may truly be one of the most important pathogens today. Future research will certainly yield the facts behind the Candida mystery.”

Other contributing factors to Candida imbalance are:

  1. Birth control pills and anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids and non-steroid)
  2. Low stomach acids brought on by poor digestion, overuse of antacids, anti-ulcer medications
  3. Foods that are made with sugar or other sweeteners, yeast, molds, and/or fungi (Examples of these foods are: most bread and bakery goods, crackers, dried/cured foods, cheese, carbonated drinks, and all sweet-tasting foods – including most fruits.)
  4. Poor oral hygiene and the build-up of dental plaque promote the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the mouth.
  5. Lack of digestive enzymes
  6. Nutritional deficiencies

How is Candidiasis diagnosed?

The majority of the medical community still overlooks Candidiasis as a viable factor in many ailments despite its increasing occurrence. Even with the many published studies, doctors typically remain misinformed. They do not understand that Candida is a pathogen, which when overgrowth occurs will eventually affect even patients with strong immune systems. Most physicians dismiss or avoid discussing how recurrent use of antibiotics can produce Chronic Candida Syndrome.

Diagnosing CCS is usually difficult. Though there are several medical lab tests for Candida (blood serum test, skin test for mold sensitivity, stool exam), most do not give a definitive, accurate measurement of what could be an abnormal count.

Most medical tests find it difficult to distinguish whether or not an overgrowth of Candida is occurring because small amounts of yeast are normal in the body.

However, the doctors who have tried antifungal and diet therapy for their patients (perhaps as a last resort), and have seen the dramatic changes that can take place, can not deny the existence of CCS. Consequently, the best evidence of CCS may be visible after the patient tries different therapies, and symptoms improve.

Fortunately, the majority of nutritionists, chiropractors/kinesiologists, and other alternative medicine practitioners have been long aware of the havoc Candidiasis can produce in a person’s body and can accurately diagnose the symptoms.

Self Care?

It is first important to eliminate foods and chemicals that encourage Candida overgrowth. Dr. Mary Rodio, who has written the article “The Fungus Among Us – Candida Albicans”, recommends that those who suspect they have Candidiasis avoid the following:

  • Cow’s Dairy Products
  • Refined, White Flour
  • Fruits and Fruit Juices
  • Peanuts/Peanut Butter
  • Mushrooms
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Artificial Chemicals and Additives
  • Fermented Products (Beer, Wine, Soy Sauce, Vinegar, Pickles, Sauerkraut, etc. . .)
  • All Products and Bread Containing Yeast
  • Environmental Molds and Food Products Containing Molds(ex: cheese, leftover foods)
  • Antibiotics and hormones (also found in most brands of meats and poultry)
  • Antacid/anti-ulcer medication
  • All sugars or natural sweeteners (syrup, honey, etc) and artificial sweeteners

The next important step is to stop the proliferation of yeast in the body. Physicians who are familiar with CCS may prescribe antifungal drugs for killing Candida. For those who understand the importance of avoiding pharmaceuticals, especially since pharmaceuticals have been instrumental in promoting Candidiasis, it may be necessary to check with your holistic practitioner for recommendations of herbal and non-invasive treatments. As always, it is best to be as self-informed as possible.

One of the reasons treatment of Candidiasis may fail is few patients understand how crucial it is to remove all artificial sweeteners/sugars (simple and complex) from the diet. Also, avoid all simple carbohydrates, which readily turn into simple sugars once digested.

Eliminating these from the diet is imperative because neither medical nor alternative therapies of CCS are successful without removing sugars completely from the diet. Included in the list of foods to avoid are fruit, fruit drinks, soda, corn syrups, or anything else that tastes sweet. Studies have shown that Candida rapidly multiplies in the presence of sugar, along with increasing its ability to adhere to the mucous membranes throughout the body.

Increase the beneficial “friendly” bacteria in the digestive tract by supplementing with “probiotics”.  “Friendly” intestinal bacteria, which are used as a preventative rather than a cure, will help prevent Candida from recolonizing the intestinal walls. These beneficial bacteria also produce lactic acid, formic acid, acetic acid, and hydrogen peroxide, which produce an unfavorable environment for Candida.

If you are concerned that you may have a problem with Chronic Candida Syndrome, you may want to see a nutritionist, chiropractor/kinesiologist, or another alternative-healing practitioner. They are usually much more familiar with CCS and can provide holistic healing methods to combat the symptoms and intrusive nature of Candida.

For “self-education”, the best in-depth resource I have ever found is written by William Crook, M.D., “The Yeast Connection”. This book has been revised and updated many times, so be sure you get the newest addition for the most accurate information.

Part 2 of this article will address the relationship between Candida and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein-Barr, and other serious health conditions. Herbal suggestions will be included.

[reprinted from Applied Health Journal No. 59]

[Applied Health Publications are registered in the United States Library of Congress, ISSN: 1525-6359]