What causes Candida
Candida albicans proliferates in the intestines because of several factors, including stress, weak immune system (due to illness, organ transplantat, injury etc), immundefects, antibiotic overuse, oral contraceptives, and use of cortisone or prednisone. It can change from the harmless non-invasive, sugar fermenting yeast like organism to the mycelial, or fungal form with long, root like structures that can penetrate the membrane lining of the digestive tract and spread to the rest of the body. Sugar and allergens from food and surroundings will maintain or even worsen the condition, and the fungus gets its own life, where it nourishes on the nutrients that it get from your body. So even if the original factors that weakened the immune system and started the fungal infection are removed, the fungus will in many cases continue living in the body, as long as its fed with sufficient amounts of sugar in the intestine, where it has its origin. The result is a permanently weakened immune system and many unpleasant symptoms.
Candida and Antibiotics
One of the most common causes to an outbreak of Candida is antibiotics. A full course of antibiotics kills the harmful bacteria for which it is prescribed, but it also destroys beneficial and friendly bacteria that live in your gut. This can leave your body defenseless to harmful bacteria and fungi, such as the Candida yeast that quickly dominates the small intestine and causes problems. Of course there are times when you do need that antibiotics prescription, but the truth is that doctors prescribe it for too many health issues unnecessarily, like the common cold or a sore throat.
Buying organic food can help to reduce your exposure to antibiotics. Some countries like the USA, antibiotics is used in the livestock industry, to keep mortality rates low and profit margins high. Some of these antibiotics make their way on to our plates in the form of meat and milk. This has become so widespread that the European Union has banned it completely, and won't even import beef that has been raised in this way.
Candida and your Diet
The modern diet is like a feast for Candida. It´s nutrient-poor, low-bulk, low in fiber and rich in high-refined carbohydrate diets. Through this diet over a period of years, a healthy large intestine can be changed into a lifeless pipe caked with layers of encrusted fecal matter (the site of constant putrefaction, fermentation, rancidification and home for pathogenic bacteria) and mucus. It´s an excellent environment for the proliferation of the mycelial tentacles of Candida. Candida albicans, a normal inhabitant of a healthy colon, prefers to live in this toxic filth where it is warm, putrid and lack of oxygen. Consequently, this family of yeast does well in most colons. In many cases, they become so prolific that they escape the confines of the intestinal tract and cause havoc throughout the rest of the body. The high-refined carbohydrate diet also serves as a very desirable food for C. albicans. Further diseases actually begins here because toxins are absorbed to cause malnutrition of our body cells while absorption of essentiel nutrients is prevented.
The small intestine, housing a more fluid chyme, does not become so caked with old fecal matter as it does with mucus. This also encourages Candida proliferation. The small intestine is considered to be the place where the Candida albicans is most abundant, because the environment here is so optimal and because most sugar from the food is taken up here, so there is plenty of nutrients for the fungi to grow on. It’s also the last place you will find overgrowth of the harmfull fungi when you have defeated it.
Carbohydrates consists of sugar, starch and fibers. Since Candida is a yeast it needs sugar to thrive and multiply. Sugars are the simplest kind of carbohydrates and consists of glucose (grape sugar) in vegetables and industryproducts, fructose (fruit sugar) in vegetable products, lactose (milksugar) in dairyproducts, maltose in dark breadproducts and saccharose (consists of glucose and fructose) in vegetable products and industryproducts. The Candida albicans loves them and can easy grab them in the gut and grow on them in the intestine and elsewhere in the body. Sugar leads to a rapid increase in the bloodsugar (high GI (Glycemic Index)) and thus easy nutrients for the fungus around the body through the blood.
Starch is a bit more complex kind of carbohydrate consisting of severel glucose molecules bound together. The bindings must first be cleaved for Candida to grab the sugarunits, which makes it a more preferred food for Candida patients to eat than sugar. Bloodsugar (GI) is not rising as rapid with starch as with sugar.
Fibers are complex structures of glucose bound together in larger molecules which makes them excellent as foodingredient for Candidapatients with a systemic infection, because the Candida must work very hard to get the sugarunits. It leads to a constant low bloodsugar (low GI). The result of a fiberrich diet is starvation of the fungi.
Yeast, like Candida albicans, use sugar to grow on and the main focus for Candidapatients must always be on keeping the content of easy digestible carbohydrates (sugar) low. Easy digestible carbohydrates (sugar) includes sugar itself, foods containing sugar and also anything that converts to sugar. Refined carbohydrates like processed food made with white flour, other refined grains and alcohol can all contribute to Candida growth. Fiberrich food is always the best for Candidapatients.
The release of sugar to the blood from a specific food and thereby its ability to raise the bloodsugar after being eaten can be expressed by the Glucemic Index (GI). The higher the GI, the faster release of sugar into the bloodstream. It can also be used as a guideline for how fast the fungus in the gut and elsewhere in the body is supplied with sugar. Here it is not surprisingly foods with a high sugar content, that have the highest GI, but also various grain products like white bread and flakes. The presence of fat, protein or soluble dietary fibers can slow the gastric emptying rate and lower the GI. Therefore is food with low GI more suitable for Candidapatients. These foods are beans (kidney, white, black etc.), nuts (filberts, brazil and almonds), seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, hemp, sesame) and most vegetables. Fish, meat, eggs etc contains fat and proteins and only very little carbs. These kinds of food are therefore ideal as Candidafood.
Diet and immune system
A healthy immune system should be able to keep Candida at bay. However, a diet rich in sugar actually depresses your immune system because it’s so poor in essentiel nutrients, leaving it vulnerable and allowing the Candida yeast to proliferate.
Moldy and yeast-containing foods must also be avoided, as they can aggravate symptoms of Candida too. Among some other foods are, condiments, sauces, coffee, tea, dairy produkts, wheat and packaged and processed food, that will promote the growth of Candida. This kind of diet results in fewer “friendly bacteria” in the intestinal tract. Be also aware of undetected foodallergies that can weaken the immunesystem. Focus must be on keeping the sugarcontent in the food low, on eating Candidakilling food, on eating gutstimulating food and very important on eating immunboosting food. A much more detailed description of the Candidadiet can be found in the diet section.
Candida and the Pill
In other sufferers, an outbreak of Candida can be traced to the contraceptive pill. The stomach is a delicate organ, containing a precise mixture of microorganisms and yeasts that help process and digest food. They depend on the right balance of chemicals to support them, but this equilibrium can be thrown off by the hormonal imbalances caused by the Pill.
By disturbing this balance, the Pill opens the door for Candida to once again outgrow its competitors in the gut. Estrogen, the major ingredient in the Pill, is known to promote the growth of yeast. If you need evidence of how this can happen, see how many women get regular yeast infections while on the Pill, its exactly the same principle.
Another contraceptive device that may cause Candida is the copper IUD. It has been shown that copper can increase yeast growth in much the same way as Estrogen does. So be very aware of these problems when choosing your contraceptive technique!
Women are generally more susceptible to Candidiasis than men for several reasons. Female hormonal levels are constantly fluctuating and sustained high levels of estrogen can occur. This condition tends to impair immune system function. C. albicans growth is stimulated by the female hormone progesterone. Its levels are elevated during pregnancy and in the second half of each menstrual cycle. Synthetic progestins are found in oral contraceptives and also contribute to Candida overgrowth. The female anatomy lends itself to the ready migration of C. albicans from the rectum to the genito-urinary system. Vaginal yeast infections are a common result.
Candida and Stress
Stress affects your body in two ways, both of which can lead to excess Candida. One of your body's first reactions to a stressful situation is to release Cortisol, a hormone that depresses your immune system and raises your blood sugar level. The Blood sugar level rises when the body's own stores of glucose is released to the blood when cortisol is released. The body has stored glucose in the form of glycogen (composed of several glucose units linked together) in the liver and muscles. The Candida yeast feeds on the extra sugar, while your weakened immune system is powerless to stop it. Quickly it overpowers the balanced mixture of microorganisms in your small intestine. The Candidafungi in the intestine and other parts of your body will be fed with sugar from the bodys own stores even if you eat a diet low in sugar as long as you are under stress.
Prolonged stress can also weaken your adrenal glands, which are an important part of your immune system. These small organs release hormones that regulate several different systems within your body, and they are responsible for production of the 'fight or flight' hormone adrenaline. If your adrenals become drained you will feel constantly tired, and probably find yourself drinking cup after cup of coffee. Your immune system becomes similarly drained and unable to respond properly to pathogens like the Candida yeast. A stress-free lifestyle is therefore a crucial element in the battle against your Candida infectionen. Stress can maintain and worsen your Candida infection, and its therefore very important that you take stress seriously. For Candidapatients there are three kinds of stress, to be aware of. The first one is mental stress that comes from stress related to work, relationships, psychological trauma, financial problems, etc. The result is often poor sleep, increased heart rate and a number of other stress-related symptoms. The lack of sleep causes for instance that the brain and intestines are not allowed to relax. The result will be a constant state of alert and poor digestion. Due to the increased alertness, cortisol will be released into the bloodstream and blood sugar levels will be constant high because the body's own stores of sugar are released. The result will be that the Candida is fed with plenty of sugar and thus a deterioration of your systemic Candida infection.
The second type of stress, Candidapatients must be aware of, is the physical stress that comes from strenuous exercise, hard physical work etc. In this state, the muscles are using lots of sugar as energysource so they can work hard. The sugar is transported to muscles via the blood. The sugar comes from food in the intestine and the bodys own glucosestores in the liver and muscles. The result will be that the fungus is fed with the increased amount of sugar carried around in the blood. Prolonged strenuous exercise can be extremely harmful to Candidapatients. In addition, strenuous exercise increases the need for vitamins and minerals, ie substances that Candidapatients already have difficult getting enough of. The result will often be nutrient deficiency diseases and a weakened immune system and thus a worsening of the Candida infection.
The last type of stress that can aggravate your Candidastate, is the internal stress that the body will experience when exposed to serious illness, serious injury and major surgery. This condition does not increase blood sugar levels so much, but it puts a lot of pressure in the immune system. In addition, the body's need for nutrients will be increased, nutrients that you as Candidapatient already have difficult getting enough of. An untreated systemic candidiasis is a severe stressfactor for the body, because Candidacells constantly dies and produce new cells as part of their normal cyclus. As fungicells constantly are dying, a large number of toxins are released into the body. These toxins weakens your adrenal glands, which are an important part of your immune system. A more detailed description of this phenomenon is found in the Die-Off section.
Chlorine is used in drinkingwater to kill bacteria and thereby secure the watersupply. But if you get chlorinated drinkingwater into your body it will kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut just like with antibiotics. This weakens your immune system, disrupts your digestion and allows the small number of Candida yeast cells in your gut to grow into a Candida infestation. You may be drinking chlorine every day, bathing in it, showering in it and using it to wash the clothes that you and your family wear.
To avoid chlorine you must first of all start with the water you drink. Most cities add chlorine to their water, so the best solution is a whole house filtration system that removes it before it even enters your house. You can buy different kinds of systems, but be sure to buy one that filters your entire water supply. That way, not only will you have pure drinking water, but the water you cook with, bathe with and wash your clothes with, will be free of chlorine. Talk to a good salesperson in the area that can advice you to buy the system that fits you.
If you cannot afford a whole house water filtration system, get individual filters for every sink the house and especially for the kitchen where you get your drinking and cooking water. When you go somewhere like shopping, always bring your own bottled water or buy it rather than drinking from public places. You must also avoid all kinds of swimming pools with chlorinated water. For some patients also chlorinated bleach can be a problem, buy products without chlorine instead.
Mercury in your Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings contain at least 50% mercury, and this is poisonous to the body. Mercury particles and vapor are continuously released in the body as you chew, grind and brush your teeth.
Mercury significantly weakens the immune system and can be the cause of many health problems. One of these is Candida. The mercury leaks from the dental fillings and kills the friendly bacteria in your gut, allowing Candida to take over. There is no safe level of mercury to have in your system, so keeping it in your mouth is definitely a bad idea. If you can afford it, do take charge of your health and have them replaced.
Worm and Parasites
Worm and parasites can get into your intestinal system, causing disturbances to the healthy bacteria and allowing Candida to grow. These parasites are a common human infestation in many parts of the world. Parasites can often be found in contaminated water supplies, particularly in less developed parts of the world. Don’t drink tap water or water from streams, rivers or lakes from these parts of the world. Unfortunately the popularity of sushi, ceviche, steak tartar and medium rare burgers have sent the rate of worm infestation shooting up. Always make sure your meat and fish are well cooked. Pets can also give you worms, so be sure to regularly deworm them and don’t share dishes with them! Try to always wash your hands after handling them.
There are many other factors that can weaken the immunesysteme and thereby thrigger a systemic Candidainfection or worsen the symptoms of an excisting infection. There is also a big difference from person to person, on how little it takes to weaken the immune system and thereby trigger a Candida infection. Many have no problems with certain products while others are much more sensitive to them. It will often be a combination of several factors that trigger a weakening of the immune system and the outbreak of the Candida infection. Some of these factors include untreated infections (like sexually transmitted diseases), chronic diseases, lack of exercise, nicotine and alcohol abuse, drug abuse, overdose or allergic reactions from medications and supplements, pollution, nutrient deficiency (eg vitamins and minerals), use of cosmetics etc. Use of cosmetics can be very problematic for Candida patients. For most cosmetics and body care products there will be some absorption of chemicals through the skin into the bloodstream. This will worsen the systemic Candida infection, weaken the immune system and cause allergic reactions. Therefore, we advise not using any cosmetics or bodycare products when you have a systemic Candida infection, unless it is guarenteed that there will be no absorbtion into the bloodstream of chemicals. Fortunately, there are alternatives and we have in our store a selection of very gentle body care products. You can use these products without damaging your health. They are very mild, and you will experience no absorption through the skin into the bloodstream. There are no known allergenic reactions to these products.