Here is a great article about the signs and symptoms of Candida overgrowth. Although being on an elimination diet can be trying, I can tell you first hand that there is nothing like feeling 100% healthy. Thank you Mind Body Green for this article…
You might be wondering, What on earth is candida? Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption but, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression.
How do you get candida overgrowth?
The healthy bacteria in your gut typically keep your candida levels in check. However, several factors can cause the candida population to get out of hand:
Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast)
Consuming a lot of alcohol
Taking oral contraceptives
Eating a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut and pickles
Living a high-stress lifestyle
Taking a round of antibiotics that killed too many of those friendly bacteria
Here are 10 common candida symptoms
Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
How do you test for Candida overgrowth?
You’ll want to check your levels for IgG, IgA, and IgM candida anti-bodies. These can be checked through most any lab. High levels indicate an overgrowth of candida. I find in my clinic that these can often be negative even when the stool or urine test is positive.
I find this to be the most accurate test available. This will check for candida in your colon or lower intestines. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be affective. (Note: be sure that your doctor orders a comprehensive stool test rather than the standard stool test.)
Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test
This test detects a waste product of Candida yeast overgrowth known as D-Arabinitol. An elevated test means an overgrowth of candida. This test will determine if there is candida in your upper gut or small intestines.
How do you treat candida overgrowth?
Effectively treating candida involves stopping the yeast overgrowth, restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check, and healing your gut so that candida can no longer enter your bloodstream.
Getting rid of the candida overgrowth primarily requires a change in diet to a low carbohydrate diet. Sugar is what feeds yeast, so eliminating sugar in all of its simple forms like candy, desserts, alcohol and flours.
And reducing to only one cup a day of the more complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans, fruit, bread, pasta, and potatoes will prevent the Candida from growing and eventually cause it to die. I would recommend eliminating all fermented foods as well.
Using diet alone could take three to six months before the candida is back under control. Because of this I use an anti fungal medication such as Diflucan or Nyastatin for a month or longer with my patients. If you are self-treating you can take a supplement of caprylic acid. Caprylic Acid comes from coconut oil and basically “pokes holes” in the yeast cell wall, causing it to die.
You may read that some people recommend herbs such as oil of oregano. Oil of oregano can be very effective, but it can also kill good bacteria so I don’t recommend it. The anti-fungal medications and caprylic acid are very specific to yeast and will not harm your good bacteria.
It’s a must to restore the healthy bacteria that typically keep your candida population under control, you should take probiotics on a regular basis. Taking anywhere from 25 to 100 billion units of probiotics should help to reduce the Candida levels and restore your levels of good bacteria. Finally, healing your gut by eliminating inflammatory foods that can harm your GI tract and introducing foods that aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, will prevent candida from working its way through your body, and will dramatically improve your overall health.
If you would like to find out for sure if you have candida overgrowth, consider seeing a functional medicine doctor who is trained in detecting and treating candida.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
What this has meant for me…
I have been on a Paleo diet without dairy & only consuming low glycemic fruits. No nuts or seeds either. It has not been easy, but I keep in mind that it isn’t going to be this way forever. The first two days were the hardest and it only got easier from there. I am lucky that I was still able to keep drinking Shakeology throughout this time…I feel like a completely new person almost 9 weeks later!
As for me, my symptoms were mostly in my joints and skin. I was experiencing a lot of joint pain and discomfort. I urge you to ignore those that tell you that it is just something that comes with aging. I believe that our bodies are made to function pain free for more than 30+ years. I could have taken that ill advice of others and gone to a regular doctor to receive my “arthritis” diagnosis and medication. Instead of going the traditional route, I went to a doctor that was able to give me a variety of tests that confirmed that I did in fact need to heal my gut. In time, I started to see my symptoms disappear I no longer had pain from standing for longer than 15 minutes. I can workout regularly without having to modify my movements. My skin is healthy and I no longer have eczema.
Another tough pill to swallow was being told that I didn’t “look” like I had hypothyroid. I suppose that is a good thing, but we should not let appearances determine what ails us. I have been working out for years. Although my hypothyroid had prevented me from being lean, I stayed within my target weight by eliminating sugars and gluten. I have spoken to many people that have hypothyroid that tell me that they can’t keep the weight off. Although it is an uphill battle, it is possible. Just keep in mind that we are fighting double time to maintain a healthy weight.
I hope this article is helpful to you. Sometimes eating Paleo & Gluten Free isn’t enough…if that is where you find yourself, try eliminating sugary fruits, nuts, seeds and all empty carbs. When I removed the sweets from my diet, I lost the remaining weight that had plagued me. I should clarify that for me, sweets meant, dates, prunes, raisins, figs, bananas, frozen peaches, and watermelon. I gave up soda ages ago and I only drink carbonated water or regular water infused with fruit or mint. I never would have thought that my healthy fruits were feeding candida!
Please feel free to send me an email or comment about your journey…
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me…Philippians 4:13