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GENERAL INFORMATION

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

Steroids

Poor digestion

Poor nutrition

Gut dysbiosis

Allergies, including food

Stress

Exhaustion

Diabetes

Chemical sensitivities AIDS

Cancer

SYMPTOMS OF CANDIDA OVERGROWTH

Acne

Allergies that may worsen in damp, muggy, rainy conditions

Anxiety

Asthma

Athlete’s foot

Bad breath

Bladder and kidney infections, cystitis

Bloating

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

Confusion

Constipation

Coughs

Cramps and other menstrual irregularities

Cravings, especially for sweets, starches and alcohol (fermented products)

Cystitis or Interstitial Cystitis

Dandruff

Depression

Diarrhea

Dizziness, loss of balance

Ear problems, usually pain, fluid build-up or tinnitis, recurrent infections

Eczema

Emotional problems

Endometriosis or infertility

Eye problems – burning, itching, black spots in front, erratic vision

Fatigue – chronic fatigue syndrome, lethargy, drowsiness

Food cravings

Food sensitivities, intolerances, or allergies

Fungal infections on skin and nails

Gas

Gastritis

Hair loss

Headaches

Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat

Heartburn

Hemorrhoids

Hyperactivity

Hives

Hypoglycemia

Hypothyroidism

Impotence

Indigestion

Insomnia and other sleep disorders – nightmares, restless sleep

Intestinal pain

Irrational fears

Irritability

Jock itch

Joint pain and swelling

Lethargy

Migraines

Mood swings (frequent)

Mouth sores, bad breath, canker sores

Mucous in stools

Nasal congestion, post-nasal drip

Nausea

Panic

PMS

Prostatitis

Psoriasis

Puffiness

Rashes

Rectal itching

Respiratory distress – excess mucous in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs

Saliva problems – blocked salivary glands, too little saliva

Sexual problems

Sensitivities to perfumes, tobacco, fragrances

Sinus pressure

Skin infections or dry, flaky skin

Sleep disturbance

Sore throat

Stiffness

Stomach problems – heartburn, indigestion, belching, nausea, vomiting

Thrush (white coated tongue)

Urinary infections, frequency or urgency

Vaginal yeast infections

Weight gain

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.

DIE-OFF SYMPTOMS

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

• headaches

• 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:

Suggested phases for candida elimination version of SCD

Lists of ranked fruits and vegetables & natural and prescription anti-fungals

Links to resources and diagnostic laboratories

Note: Remember to assess all recommendations in the bibliographical references for their legality or illegality with SCD.

SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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