CANDIDA & THE SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET (SCD)
Candida, also known as candida overgrowth, or yeast infection, refers to candidiasis, or an overgrowth of candida albicans, a type of single-celled fungus, a microorganism that is neither animal or vegetable. A chronic state of candidiasis can lead to candida-related illness and/or Candida-Related Complex, and can become an underlying factor in many other diseases and disorders.
Candida albicans live in the mucous membranes of the human body. They are normally found in the eyes, ears, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract and the genitourinary tract. Candida is also found on our skin, and under finger nails and toe nails. In small numbers, candida are one of the friendly organisms who inhabit the human body and normally serve a useful purpose. Many experts feel that candida alibicans is one of the most allergenic of microorganisms; normally our immune systems regulate the growth of candida. However, if the immune system is already weakened from stress, exhaustion, or other factors, then candida levels can increase rapidly. The resulting symptoms of candida overgrowth can cover a wide spectrum of physical and mental responses.
There are many in the medical world who do not yet recognize the role candidiasis or Candida-Related Complex plays in chronic illnesses. Many doctors generally recognize only vaginal yeast infection, jock itch, an oral yeast infection known as thrush, and the systemic candidiasis found in those with severe immune deficiencies such as in AIDS patients. Standard tests to detect normal or abnormal levels of candida are often inconclusive, so there is as much controversy as there are differing recommendations on how to deal with it.
Candidiasis or candida-related illnesses can affect women and men, child and adult. An overabundance of candida can produce minor or major symptoms depending on the individual.
CAUSES OF CANDIDA OVERGROWTH
Repeated or prolonged courses of broad-spectrum antibiotics
Birth control pills
Allergies, including food
Chemical sensitivities AIDS
SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA OVERGROWTH
Allergies that may worsen in damp, muggy, rainy conditions
Bladder and kidney infections, cystitis
Brain fog (trouble concentrating, poor memory)
Chemical sensitivities (dyes, soaps)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Cold hands and feet, low body temperature
Colic, diaper rash and thrush in children
Cramps and other menstrual irregularities
Cravings, especially for sweets, starches and alcohol (fermented products)
Cystitis or Interstitial Cystitis
Dizziness, loss of balance
Ear problems, usually pain, fluid build-up or tinnitis, recurrent infections
Endometriosis or infertility
Eye problems – burning, itching, black spots in front, erratic vision
Fatigue – chronic fatigue syndrome, lethargy, drowsiness
Food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies
Fungal infections on skin and nails
Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat
Insomnia and other sleep disorders – nightmares, restless sleep
Joint pain and swelling
Mood swings (frequent)
Mouth sores, bad breath, canker sores
Mucous in stools
Nasal congestion, post-nasal drip
Respiratory distress – excess mucous in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs
Saliva problems – blocked salivary glands, too little saliva
Sensitivities to perfumes, tobacco, fragrances
Skin infections or dry, flaky skin
Stomach problems – heartburn, indigestion, belching, nausea, vomiting
Thrush (white coated tongue)
Urinary infections, frequency or urgency
Vaginal yeast infections
WHAT’S THE CURE?
To eliminate the candida overgrowth, it is necessary to destroy as many of the yeast organisms as possible, restore a balance of friendly or beneficial bacteria within the body, and consume foods and drinks that do not feed the yeast. This often requires time and patience. The body must become healthy, able to digest and assimilate foods properly, and become strong so that the body’s natural defenses (immune system) can prevent the yeast from flourishing and overgrowing. Restoring the gut ecology is critical.
Remember, that healing will probably take the same number of months (or years) as you’ve been feeling symptoms. If you’ve felt unwell for 2 years, then it may take 2 years on an elimination diet to achieve full healing and a balanced gut ecology. Hering’s Law of Cure states that “all cure (healing) starts from within out, from the head down and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared or been suppressed.”
• Making significant changes to diet and lifestyle are the primary “cure” to candida overgrowth.
• Probiotics, whether in the form of a SCD-legal supplement or fermented foods like yogurt, are critical.
• Supplementing minerals and vitamins is important, as it will provide essential nutrients to help the immune system recover.
• Natural and prescription anti-fungal supplements are available; however the resulting die-off symptoms can be stressful and uncomfortable and should be used cautiously. Use of an anti-fungal supplement is optional, not required.
• If antifungals are used, it is important to rotate them in order to maintain effectiveness.
• Ointments (natural, OTC or prescription, all SCD-legal) may often relieve the discomfort and discharge in the genitourinary tract for both women and men that often accompanies a candida overgrowth.
• Healing or improving the digestive tract, restoring the overall gut ecology, is critical to long-term control of candida; this takes time and patience.
Frequently during the candida elimination diet, die-off symptoms can occur as the candida (and other pathogens) are killed off either by starving them or by use of an anti-fungal. Die-off symptoms are the same as the “detox” reaction, or a Herxheimer reaction. Die-off will release a high number of toxins into the body’s systems, and it takes some time to dissipate.
Die-off symptoms generally make you feel as if you have the flu, and can include
• increased mucous secretions in nose, throat, sinuses, lungs, intestines
• muscle and joint aches and pains
• digestive disturbances
• changes in behavior or emotions
Die-off can be stressful, so it is suggested that if you decide to use an anti-fungal start off with very small amounts and slowly increase the dosage. It is also recommended that you switch the types of anti-fungals every few weeks to maintain the effectiveness of the supplement.
To complicate matters further, symptoms may not be triggered by die-off but instead be a sign of a food insensitivity or allergy. It is often better to follow a candida elimination diet for several months and not use an anti-fungal until your body is stronger and you’ve identified most of your food allergies and insensitivities. This helps you ensure that you are simply experiencing die-off, and not an allergy.
For further information see other files:
Note: Remember to assess all recommendations in the bibliographical references for their legality or illegality with SCD.
Brostoff, Jonathan. Food allergies and food intolerance. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press, 2000. 0892818751
Connolly, Pat. The candida albicans yeast-free cookbook. Los Angeles: Keats Publishing, 2000. 0658002929
Crook, William G. The yeast connection handbook. Jackson, Tenn.: Professional Books, 2000. 0933478240 (continually revised and updated)
Crook, William G. The yeast connection and the woman. Jackson, Tenn.: Professional Books, 1998. 0933478224 (continually revised and updated)
Martin, Jeanne. Complete candida yeast guidebook. Rev., 2nd ed. Roseville, Calif.: Pirma Health, 2000. 0761527400
Murray, Michael T. Chronic candidiasis. Three Rivers Press, 1997. 076150821x
Trowbridge, John P. The yeast syndrome. New York: Bantam, 1986. 0553277510
Williams, Xandria. Overcoming candida. New York : Element Books, 1998. 1862041725
Winderlin, Christine. Candida-related complex. Dallas : Taylor Publishing, 1996. 0878339353