Yeast. It is both friend and foe. When it’s in our bodies, though, it tends to be more foe. Ladies, it’s a word we all dread and it’s synonymous with a major amount of discomfort. We’ve seen the commercials. The smiling pretty woman who magically clears up her vaginal yeast infection in a few days and life is back to wonderful. There’s another type of yeast infection that’s impacting our lives and you’re unlikely to hear about it from your doctor.
What is yeast exactly? Yeast is a fungus. It can convert sugar into alcohol, hence wine and beer. It’s also used to make bread rise. It’s a single celled organism that is capable of rapid reproduction. Yeast is naturally found in our system. There are about 1,500 different species of yeast. No big deal if it’s in balance with the rest of the good and bad bacteria in our body. When yeast gets out of hand it can potentially wreak havoc on the body. The place it likes to hang out the most isn’t our va jays jays, it’s our gut.
Researchers are starting to look into the belief that many holistic healers have had for centuries, yeast overgrowth in the intestines can cause disease, inflammation, pain, and depression. The yeast that is harmful to us is Candida. This is typically the type of yeast that causes vaginal infections. It can also clog up our intestines, but can infect our skin and blood as well. For example, my dog often gets a yeast infection on the top of her nose. No clue why. But the skin on her nose begins to literally peel away. On humans this can take the form of rashes, usually round. The primary food source of yeast is sugar. To be clear, this is not the type of yeast being used to make wine, beer or bread.
What’s the big deal about Candida overgrowth?
Because yeast can quickly multiply, Candida can quickly get out of hand and overpower the good yeast. It can also suppress the immune system. Especially if you have a diet that’s high in refined sugars. Yeast overgrowth, especially in the gut, has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It may also have a connection to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Further it can cause inflammation and fatigue. Candida overgrowth can spill into the blood and other parts of the body through a leaky gut. That is exactly as it sounds, small holes in the intestinal wall that allow toxins to spill into the blood. These toxins can lead to obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance (diabetes), and inflammation. Fatigue can come about because the Candida is literally eating most of the nutrients, especially sugar, that the body needs to burn for energy. If you’re having trouble losing weight or have a myriad of other strange symptoms that seem to have no other explanation, yeast may be the culprit.
Signs you may have Candida Yeast overgrowth
Unfortunately Candida infection shares common symptoms with other types of diseases and conditions. Candida overgrowth can trigger multiple effects throughout the body. Because medical professionals are generally taught to observe and treat a single symptom your primary care physician might miss this. Some may outright poo poo it. A yeast overgrowth is a systemic problem and will have impacts and symptoms throughout the body. This is why having a leaky gut can be a health hazard. Here are some common signs of Candida infection:
- Fungal infections of the skin and nails such as athlete’s foot, ringworm and toenail fungus
- Chronic fatigue or a general feeling of being rundown despite getting enough rest or fibromyalgia
- Bloating, constipation or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid artheritis, Lupus, Sceleroderma
- Irresistible cravings for refined sugar and carbohydrates
- Co-located infections and itching of the vagina, anus and urinary tract
- Severe seasonal allergies along with itchy face and/or ears
- Lack of focus or inability to concentrate, brain fog
- Skin rashes such as eczema, hives and psoriasis
- Mood swings, depression, anxiety or irritability
How to know for sure and treat a Candida Yeast infection
Since yeast infection is often not considered the culprit in anyone of these conditions your primary care physician is unlikely to test you for them. However there are four tests you can get by request or by going to an independent testing lab. This may or may not be covered by health insurance. It’s best to check ahead of time for a pre-authorization.
- Test the blood for IgG, IgA and IgM Candida antibodies – get a total level test as it can often give false negatives due to the immune system suppression
- Get a Complete Blood Count (CBC) – a low white blood cell and lymphocyte count along with a high neutrophil count can be an indicator
- Stool testing will probably yield the best diagnosis as it directly tests for yeast and type, be sure to ask for a complete versus standard test
- Test for Candida waste product. As a living organism it gives off waste in the form of D-Arabinitol which can be detected using a urine organix dysbiosis test
If you test positive for Candida overgrowth there are several ways to treat it naturally that doesn’t require a prescription. Keep in mind that antibiotic will not only impact the Candida, it will also kill off the good bacteria. You don’t want that. There are systems out there that can do this work naturally. Look for the following components:
- Heal the gut – if you have a leaky gut you want to stop the flow of toxins into the blood. This step should be done first! Here’s a tip, cut out the gluten and take supplements that are meant to heal the lining of the gut. Bone broth is a great natural healer.
- Cut out the refined sugars and carbohydrates. This is what the yeast feeds on.
- Begin to introduce pro and prebiotics – good bacteria
- Kill the yeast. There are natural enemies to yeast that are perfectly safe to eat. This is why you heal the gut first. Once the yeast dies, you don’t want that flowing into the blood stream or overwhelming the body’s natural detox system.
- Flush the dead yeast. Drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fiber and use a cleanse responsibly to assist the body with flushing the toxins out.
Of course before embarking on this journey you should consult a physician and potentially a nutritionist. When considering a program do one that feels right for you. Avoid one that relies on too many supplements. There are natural born enemies of yeast such as garlic, tea tree oil, olive leaf extract, oil of oregano, cinnamon and many other common household herbs. Do some research. The earth was created with balance. Everything that occurs in nature has an opposite. Because yeast needs to be kept in check, nature has provided the tools necessary to do so. Do you have any experience with fighting Candida infection? If so, comment below. We love to hear from you. Remember to share this post within your communities.
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