Candidiasis: A Rising Epidemic…The Missing Link in Disease?by Michelle Tonkin ND
What is it? Candidiasis: A medical term used to describe yeast
overgrowth usually found in intestines or other parts of the
body. Candidiasis has been around for centuries and
is not a new medical problem. However, it has become a
chronic dilemma in our modern society. It is a negative
yeast infection that has its beginnings in the
digestive tract and can slowly begin to infiltrate other areas of the body. Yeast itself is a vegetable organism and is a very strong invasive parasite
that attaches itself to the intestinal wall and becomes a permanent resident of our internal organs. It is estimated to affect over 30 million men and women every day. It is also estimated that nearly half of the world’s population has or will have a moderate or severe candida condition at some point their lives. (1) Normally, a healthy immune system will keep Candida levels in check. If the immune system is strong it will remove these antigens. (An antigen is something foreign or toxic to the cells of the body.) However, in cases where the immune system has been weakened, these yeast toxins can interfere with normal tolerances and can result in various allergic responses in the body. Millions of people suffer from sickness and disease because of one major factor: improper elimination of poisons/toxins. Candidiasis is opportunistic and therefore, thrives in this polluted body environment.
What causes it? |The following are some areas, which can permit excessive yeast overgrowth.
· 1. Toxic Body Each year the average American consumes 150 lbs of soft drinks...that’s 52 tsp. of refined white sugar every day! Junk food consumption has increased dramatically as well. “Compared to 1981, in 2001 the average American consumed in one year: 45 large bags of potato chips - up 78%; 120 orders of French fries - up 130%; 190 candy bars - up 80%; 120 pastries or desserts - up 95%; 150 slices of pizza - up 143%” (1)Diet is not the only source of toxins. Our environment is being polluted more and more each day, with chemicals and air-borne pollutants. With these on-going toxins being introduced to our air and water each day, our body’s job of elimination becomes increasingly important. Toxins in our food, water, and air supply can create a state of autointoxication (the a state of being poisoned by toxic substances produced within the body and stored in the lymphatic system and the colon.) Jay Williams, PhD, identified it this way: “Every cell of our body is affected by this self-poisoning. When toxins accumulate in the nervous system, we can feel irritable and depressed. We can feel weak if they back up into the heart, bloated if they reach the stomach and our breath is foul if they reach the lungs. Rashes and blotches can develop if these poisons attempt to leave the skin, or we can look pale and our skin appears wrinkly.”(2) These toxins can also affect our glandular system, resulting in fatigue, lethargy, depression, lack of libido,and early aging. Reference:(1) http://www.alkalineenergydiet.com/section/39,ay Williams PhD Possible signs and symptoms of a toxic body (2) Ibid
· 2. Antibiotics Use and over-use of broad-spectrum antibiotics can promote excessive yeast overgrowth. The reason being is that antibiotics are not exclusive; they attack “unfriendly” as well as “friendly” or good bacteria. Candida yeasts are not affected by antibiotics, and in fact, in the absence of the good bacteria, multiply and reproduce themselves, raising large yeast colonies. Hence, every infection treated with antibiotics may encourage further yeast overgrowth. Thus, a vicious cycle may develop resulting in decreased immunity, greater risk for reoccurring infections, and candida overgrowth.
· 3. Birth Control Several years ago the Great Smokies Medical lab published studies showing that hormones could affect intestinal bacteria. A common complaint of women on birth control pills is yeast infection.(1) The Pill is predominantly of estrogen origin. Estrogen in the synthetic form (HRT) has been found to promote the growth of yeast. Reference: (1) http://www.becomehealthynow.com/ebookprint, Dr. Gary Farr, 24 February 2002. Candida Albicans (Yeast)
· 4. Immune System Dysfunction Our immune system is comprised of many different defenders- white blood cells, antibodies and immunoglobulins. When our immune system is weakened due to infection, poor nutrition, illness, lack of exercise, stress or use of certain drugs such as steroids, the human body is more susceptible to yeast overgrowth or Candidiasis.
· 5. Hormonal Imbalances Hormonal Imbalances are on the rise. Millions of dollars are being spent on HRT (hormone replacement drugs). Our post war woman baby boomers are arriving at menopause in unprecedented numbers. Men are also experiencing declining levels of DHEA and testosterone in their bodies. Why is there is so much hormonal imbalance in our world today? Artificial chemicals which resemble estrogen (known as xenon- estrogens) are present in our modern day environment. Pesticides, insecticides, solvents and plasticides fall in this category. These toxic chemicals can damage the ovaries and testicles leading to hormonal imbalances such as infertility and premature menopause.
· 6. Diet The American diet has changed dramatically since the turn of the century. We now live in a fast paced, fast –food environment. Our foods are loaded with sugar, food colorings, preservatives, chemicals, and other various additives. The low nutrient, low fiber, highly refined carbohydrate diets of most Americans can in time, transform a once healthy intestinal terrain into a “life-less pipe containing layers of encrusted fecal material, mucous and debris thereby promoting the growth of candida and other parasites.” (1) Reference: (1) Conley, Edward J. Dr. America Exhausted Breakthrough Treatment of Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Flint: Vitality Press, 1997 (Pg 44)
· 7. Stress We live in a very demanding world. Our jobs, families, responsibilities and social activities, have us all “on the go” most of every day. This constant ongoing stress can have negative effects on our body. Over time, this stress causes oxidation- severely damaging our enzyme systems. Our bodies require rest to recover from all the stress that is placed on them. Unfortunately, many of us often go from one stressor to the next- depleting ourselves, until we eventually crash. Combine this stress with a diet that does not provide the body with the necessary nutrients to function, and one can see why stress is another factor in contributing to Candida overgrowth.
· 8. Leaky Gut Syndrome: When the immune system is weakened for a period of time, then opportunistic Candidiasis can develop. If this overgrowth is permitted to continue, it will produce very long roots called rhizoids. These vine-like roots can actually puncture the mucosal lining of the intestine. When this lining becomes damaged, the resulting condition is called “Leaky Gut Syndrome” (meaning that the mucosal lining has developed small holes). (2) The microscopic holes allow food particles, bacteria, viruses, parasites, funguses, and yeasts like candida to flow freely into the bloodstream. The body sees these particles in the bloodstream as foreigner invaders and goes on the offensive, producing antibodies to attack the intruders. This can result in the development of food allergies, environmental/chemical sensitivities, and ultimately autoimmune disease processes.
· Candida Symptoms:
· Extreme lethargy
· Diarrhea, chronic gas, bloating, abdominal cramps alleviated by bowel movements,
· Irritable Bowel Syndrome
· Lactose intolerance
· Anxiety, Hyperactivity, Attention Deficit Disorder
· Allergies and allergy symptoms, chemical sensitivities
· Panic attacks
· Sinus problems
· Eye fatigue
· Muscle weakness and bone pain
· White tongue and a white coating
· Psoriasis/seborrhea dermatitis/dandruff, dry, itchy skin
· Rectal itching
· Frequent yeast infections in women
· High sugar or mold foods drastically increase symptoms.
· Avoiding food helps to alleviate symptoms I
· Inflammation of the hair follicles (candidiasis folliculitis) of various parts of the body (feet, legs, arms)
· Frequent urination
· Swollen lips/face
· Symptoms worse after waking
· Facial rash
· Chronic inflammation and irritation of the eye and conjunctivae
· Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
· (Reference: )
· Diagnosis of intestinal Candidiasis can be difficult due to the fact that small amounts of yeast are normally found in everyone and can be difficult to distinguish whether it has become invasive. From an Alternative Medicine standpoint, diagnosing Candidiasis is best done through an individual’s complete medical history. This is because most people will have the antibody for candida in a blood test even if they are not suffering from Candidiasis. Stool specimens and physical examinations may also be necessary. Another diagnostic tool becoming more popular is Dried Blood Cell or Live Blood Cell Analysis.
· Diet: It is important to eliminate yeast and mold containing products from the diet while treating yeast infections, i.e. breads, cakes, cookies, etc. that contain yeast or alcohol. A diet high in complex carbohydrates, whole grains (gluten free is usually better), lots of vegetables, and good protein from fish, beef, chicken, or eggs, is recommended. Sweet fruits should be avoided along with prepared fruit juices. Omit caffeine drinks like coffee and black tea. Caffeine free Herbal teas are encouraged.
· The following supplements may help with this condition:
· Buffered Vitamin C: 3000 mg in divided doses throughout day
· Digestive Enzymes: 1 with each meal or snack
· Probiotics (good bacteria): 1 in the am and 1 in the pm (increase by one capsule every few days for a total of 6 capsules/day divided doses)