Yeast: A Common But Often Undiagnosed Problem & Sugar Switch.
Brain fog, fatigue, bloating, chronic sinusitis, lung and skin issues, and a slow metabolism are all signs that yeast is on the loose in your body and growing out of control. Before many of these symptoms appear, many people complain about feeling “run down”, “exhausted” or that they are experiencing “flu-like symptoms”. They develop an intense craving for carbohydrates like bread, pasta, pastries, & baked goods and candy. The trouble is, the more sugar and grains you consume, the more it feeds the unnaturally large amount of yeast in your intestines – and the more yeast proliferates, the more intense your cravings become. This explains why candida is one of the 4 main Sugar Switches and underlying causes of sugar & carb addiction. Additionally, if left unchecked, over time candida will weaken your intestinal lining and immune system, causing a host of chronic and sometimes serious health conditions.
- Brain fog
- Intestinal issues like: bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea
- Sluggish metabolism
- Sugar & carb cravings
- Food allergies
- Lung and skin issues
- Toenail fungus, jock itch, yeast infections, chronic UTIs
- Joint pain
- IBS, Chronic Fatigue & Mood disorders
What is candida, anyway?
Candida is a fungus found in the body that helps with nutrient absorption and digestion. It’s considered normal gut flora, but when left unchecked candida can grow out of control and cause havoc in your body.
What causes it?
Unfortunately, our lifestyle and environment directly contribute to imbalances in our digestive tract and the overgrowth of yeast.
- Antibiotics launch the largest assaults on the GI tract. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use wipes out our beneficial bacteria for up to 2 months. What’s worse, our gut flora cannot fully recover after antibiotic usage without proper intervention and probiotics.
- Other medications: birth control, NSAIDs, PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors/antacids) and steroids
- Diets high in processed foods & sugar
- Diets low in soluble fiber
- Dietary toxins like gluten and GMOs
- Stress and GI infections
We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed or are born by C-section are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, making them more susceptible to bacterial and yeast overgrowth. This also implies that they have a higher need for dietary and nutritional interventions, like consistently eating a diet rich in fermented foods and probiotic supplementation.
Can you test for it?
Many tests we use to diagnose yeast problems are not definitive or foolproof. A diagnosis must often be made from a patient’s story, symptoms, and a questionnaire. Blood antibody levels for yeasts, stool tests, and organic acid urine tests for yeast metabolites can be helpful if they come out positive, but don’t rule yeast out if they’re negative.
Here are the two tests I use for yeast.
I recommend an integrated approach to yeast overgrowth. Taking the following steps can help eradicate candida overgrowth for good and start the healing process. The incredible thing about bringing this fungus back into balance is that you will also rediscover your mental clarity & focus. Your energy will return, and problems like chronic sinusitis, UTIs, yeast infections and even skin issues will vanish. Finally, your need for sugar and carbs will disappear.
The 3-Step Candida Cure:
1) Starve the yeast and follow a candida cleanse for 30 days
2) Kill the candida off using anti-fungal herbs
3) Rebuild and balance the intestinal tract.
Step 1: Candida Cleanse:
Start by starving the yeast of its fuel source. Sugar, all grains, vinegar, alcohol, starchy carbs and moderate/high- sugar fruits and even mushrooms should be 100% removed from your diet. Even the smallest amount of these foods will cause yeast to proliferate. For a downloadable detailed list, click HERE.
Step 2: Kill off the Candida overgrowth
Here are the Top 4 natural treatments:
Here are the supplements you need to reduce candida numbers to manageable levels and release the fungus’s grip on your body, mind and energy:
1) Plant Enzymes (2 caps, 3 times daily). This is the step most people miss. These enzymes target biofilms. Biofilms are a protective layer that candida creates to hide from the immune system and render the fungus “body” nearly impenetrable by herbs and medications.
2) Oil of Oregano (3 caps, 2 times daily, for 30 days) Oil of Oregano is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal agent.
3) Allicillin: (2 caps, 3 times daily). Garlic helps fight fungal infections and boosts the immune system.
4) Probiotics (30-50 billion units daily): Take at least 20 billion live organisms a day of lactobacillus and bifidobacter species. A special “yeast against yeast” probiotic called saccharomyces boulardii can be very safe and effective in controlling yeast.
Step3: Rebuild and Balance the Intestinal Tract
(This is the step most people miss and why yeast is so difficult to get rid of.)
Here’s the catch: Yeast is usually considered a secondary infection. As long as you have a weakened digestive tract and immune system, yeast will proliferate and grow out of control. Because of this, it’s useless to try to eradicate it without actively healing and rebalancing the digestive tract and immune system.
Doing so would be like attempting to prevent mushrooms from growing on moist manure. You can continue to pick them, but they’ll continue to grow back until you change the living conditions (i.e., by drying the manure). The same is true with yeast, which is one of the main reasons why you hear people say that they can’t get rid of yeast overgrowth and have to stick to an anti-candida diet for years instead of weeks.
Following your candida cleanse and anti-fungal treatment. It’s critical that you actively work on rebuilding and balancing the contents of your intestinal tract. The bad news is that this is not just about adding a high-quality probiotic. A therapeutic probiotic is an essential step, but not the only one.
You must also ensure that you aren’t fueling the fire and causing repeated damage to your intestinal tract. Limiting exposure these medications is important.
If you need to take antibiotics, protect yourself by incorporating Sacchorymyces boulardii twice per day during the course of your antibiotics and for at least 60 days after.
Supporting your Intestinal tract means you must also limit/eliminate foods that can cause the overgrowth in the first place.
Eliminate inflammatory foods:
- Gluten – Gluten is the protein found in most grain products, including wheat. Gluten is not only
difficult to digest for more than 8 out of 10 Americans; it has also been shown to be a common cause of gut inflammation.
- Dairy – Conventional cow’s milk is another food that can damage your intestinal tract and create the
perfect environment for yeast to take over. The component of dairy that will harm your gut is the protein A1 casein. The Pasteurization process will destroy vital enzymes, making sugars like lactose very difficult to digest. Sometimes raw milk can be used, but this is very individual-specific.
- Grains contain large amounts of anti-nutrients or nutrient blockers called phytates and lectins. Lectins act as a plant’s natural insecticide. This is good news for plants, but bad news for your body. Sprouting and fermenting grains reduce phytates and lectins, making these foods easier to digest, but it’s still best to eliminate them from your diet until your digestive tract is healed.
- GMO’s and hybridized foods tend to be the highest in lectins since they have been modified to fight bugs.
- Sugars feed yeast, bacteria and cause inflammation.
- Alcohol feeds yeast and damages the GI tract.
Incorporate gut-supporting & healing foods:
- Sauerkraut and Kimchi are incredible for their naturally high levels of lactobacillus and powerful gut-healing enzymes.
- Kefir – small amounts of homemade kefir are best. If you can’t tolerate dairy, you can try water kefir.
- Bone Broth has been consumed by various cultures around the world for centuries. It’s a tonic that has been responsible for bringing people “back from the dead” and healing all types of aliments, especially digestive disorders. Read HERE about how to make it and reap all its healing benefits.
- Kombucha is a fermented tea which is beneficial because of its concentrations of Saccharomyces boulardii. Saccharomyces boulardii is a form of yeast best taken during antibiotic treatment and for 60 days following antibiotic treatment. It’s effective for combating diarrhea, food poisoning and even C. difficile infection.
- Miso is one of the mainstays of a traditional Japanese diet. It’s fermented and a wonderful way to incorporate probiotics such as lactobacilli and bifidus bacteria into your diet. Miso is extremely nutrient-dense and is alkalizing to the body.
- Sea Vegetables are super-food ocean-based plants such as kelp, spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae. These probiotic foods have been shown to increase the amount of both Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract. Sea vegetables are also an incredible source of trace minerals such as manganese, selenium, vanadium and zinc which are all very important in the formation of strong bones and joints. Sadly, most trace minerals are missing from our diets in part due to our mineral deficient depleted soil.
Essential Gut-healing supplements:
- Probiotics are the most important supplement to take because they help replenish good bacteria and crowd out bad bacteria and yeast. I recommend getting probiotics in both food and supplement form. Re-inoculate your gut with beneficial bacteria that will keep bad bacteria at bay. Load up on BOTH probiotic-rich foods and take AT LEAST 50 billion units of probiotics daily. Use a high-quality brand.
- Digestive enzymes (one or two capsules at the beginning of each meal) ensure that foods will be fully digested, decreasing the chance that partially digested food particles and proteins will damage your gut wall and allow yeast and bacteria to proliferate.
- Zinc L carnosine is a special kind of zinc with an affinity to help protect and heal the mucosa of the stomach and intestinal tract.
- Quercetin has also been shown to improve gut-barrier function by sealing the gut. It supports the creation of tight junction proteins. It also stabilizes mast cells and reduces the release of histamine, which is common in food intolerance. New studies have also shown quercetin’s effectiveness in healing ulcerative colitis. Take 500 milligrams three times daily with meals.
- L-Glutamine is critical for any program designed to heal a leaky gut. Glutamine powder is an essential amino acid supplement that is anti-inflammatory and necessary for the growth and repair of your intestinal lining. One way L-glutamine benefits you is by acting as a protector. It coats your cell walls and acts as a repellent to irritants. Take 2–5 grams twice daily.
- GI Revive is one of the best most comprehensive gut healing supplements I’ve found and use with clients. It comes in either a capsule or powder form.
Natural Digestive Aids:
- “Bitters” have been used for hundreds of years to stimulate digestion. Bitters are usually taken in very small dosages in the form of a tincture. I recommend finding a licensed herbalist to assist you.
- Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar helps digest protein and fat in the stomach. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and improves mineral absorption. It has also been reported to kill yeast overgrowth. Avoid distilled vinegar, as it’s been stripped of all of its healing/beneficial properties. Add 1-2 teaspoons in 4 ounces of water 15 minutes before a meal, and/or use as needed for regular heartburn relief and to aid digestion.
If you can follow the above protocols, you’ll be well on your way to successfully getting rid of candida and healing your gut for good.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.