What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is and actively dividing, potentially pathogenic form of fungi known as yeast. A small amount in our mouths and intestinal tract is naturally occurring and not usually considered clinically relevant. In fact, yeast is small numbers is symbiotic and actually helps with digestion and nutrient absorption, especially in the context of role in fermentation of carbohydrate fibers. However, when there is too much present, or the immune system response leads to inflammation, Candida can significantly impact the integrity of the intestinal wall causing yeast poisons and a multitude of toxins to enter the bloodstream — a phenomenon known as ‘Leaky Gut,’ which can lead to a variety of health issues
What are common symptoms of candida?
- 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, insomnia, mood problems (anxiety, depression, etc.) i.e. many functional conditions have been correlated with Candida overgrowth
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis have also been correlated with Candida overgrowth
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and brain fog
- Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Especially in women, vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Seasonal allergies, itchy ears, sinus infections all have been correlated with Candida overgrowth
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings via a unique call and response behavior modification due to alteration of toxin actively being released by large colonies of yeast
How does candida overgrowth occur?
Generally speaking, Candida overgrowth can be correlated with the following:
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Consuming excess alcohol
- Oral contraceptives
- Living a high-stress lifestyle or having prolonged stress in your life
- Taking at least one round of antibiotics that killed too many friendly bacteria, leaving “space” for candida to expand unchecked
- Immune over-response, causing threat to the normal flora yeast and triggered candida defense and aggression
How do we reverse Candida overgrowth?
At Natural Balance, we offer a comprehensive, individualized program to treat a Candida overgrowth and many other functional problems that impact the digestive system. This plan includes diagnosis, dietary intervention and a regimen of supplements as needed. For most patients it is worth starting with the basics, such as working with our registered dietitian, Jenna Wunder, and starting an evidence based anti-yeast diet and basic Candida inhibition, heal and repair supplements. Jenna will counsel on what foods to remove and which to include as confusion abounds out there about what is best, and the reality is a personalized approach is always best. She will tell you where to shop, provide grocery lists, and recipes as part of her counseling sessions. Food and supplements are used to improve digestion, treat underlying inflammation, and to repopulate the gastrointestinal tract with good bacteria. Additional vitamin and mineral supplements are recommended as needed. It is often suggested that a patient have ALCAT food sensitivity test to determine foods contributing to inflammation and a comprehensive stool test may also be indicated depending on current symptoms and past medical history.
Comprehensive Candida Program
New patients will meet individually with Ms. Wunder for a minimum of 2 hours. In this first session, Jenna will discuss the full Candida protocol which includes dietary and supplement recommendations. Patients will have all of the information they need to implement the diet and start supplements after this initial visit. Follow-up visits are scheduled every 2-4 weeks based on individual needs. Duration of treatment is 2-6 months depending on severity of overgrowth and other individual factors.