My name is Erica White. I’m founder of Nutritionhelp, a graduate of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and an Honorary Fellow of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy. I'm also the author of the 'Beat Candida Cookbook', updated and expanded in August 2014 and flagged by Amazon for many years as their No.1 Best Seller for Special Diets. My other books include the 'Beat Fatigue Handbook'.
If you have been diagnosed with candidiasis or yeast infection or thrush (oral or vaginal), you might be interested to read the following information.
Candida albicans is a common yeast which is found in the gut of every human being in small amounts and is just one of dozens of different micro-organisms making up the gut flora.
The digestive system is the largest and, from a nutritional point of view, the most important system in the whole body. As the word ‘flora’ implies, the gut is rather like a garden and, like a garden, it has weeds. Candida albicans is a typical ‘gut weed’ and in small amounts it is no more of a problem than a few daisies on the lawn. But if any of these ‘gut weeds’ get out of control by multiplying and becoming too large a proportion of the gut flora, we have a situation of gut dysbiosis. Many authors and medical researchers agree that particular factors which encourage this to happen include stress, antibiotics and other medications including steroid treatments, hormonal intervention (such as the Pill, HRT or IVF), alcohol, drinks containing stimulants (tea, coffee, chocolate and cola), and a diet high in refined carbohydrates (white flour and sugar). As a result, it appears that we have a modern epidemic of apparently unrelated health problems which we have largely brought upon ourselves.
Almost anything you can think of – thrush (oral or vaginal), digestive and bowel problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); hormonal problems like premnstrual syndrome (PMS); skin problems like acne, eczema and psoriasis; problems with the joints and muscles including fibromyalgia; allergies; sinusitis; depression and anxiety - the list goes on and on.
It has been found that when the simple yeast proliferates, it changes into a fungal form which is then able to break through the intestinal wall and migrate to any other tissue in the body, causing many different symptoms, both physical and mental. In addition, it makes the gut wall porous, enabling other microbes and also particles of incompletely-digested foods to leak through from the gut into the blood-stream. Not only does this lead to problems of food sensitivity but it also places a heavy load on the immune system, creating a vicious circle as it weakens the body’s fight against candida and other invaders. It’s not surprising that candida sufferers often say they ‘feel ill all over', largely because candida is known to release at least 79 toxins which enter the bloodstream and cause problems anywhere in the body.
Unfortunately, fighting candida is fraught with difficulties because, as it is destroyed, it releases even more toxins than when it’s alive in whichever areas of the body it has colonised, so that symptoms in those areas seem to be getting worse. In addition, there can be an increase in general aches and pains, digestive problems, woolly-headedness, depression and anxiety. This is known as the Herxheimer reaction (or ‘die-off’) and it needs to be carefully controlled in order to minimise the unpleasant effects. In addition, it is important to take nutritional steps for supporting the liver’s detoxification processes.
Unfortunately, you can’t bring candida under control just by taking a course of pills like an antibiotic, but carefully following all the points of an anti-candida four-point plan has been effective for very many people.
My experience shows that this regime needs to be followed until symptoms are under control, at which point it is helpful to carry out a one-month diet-relax experiment. Even if this is successful, it is invariably helpful to return to the strict anti-candida diet for a further year in order to consolidate the newly-established healthy balance of microbes which has just been achieved in the gastrointestinal tract. Candida has been shown to be extremely opportunistic, so it is wise to follow an appropriate anti-fungal programme to ensure that it once again takes its proper place as a minor inhabitant of the gut flora.
The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough, by Dr. William Crook
Optimal Wellness, by Dr. Ralph Golan
Candida & Candidosis, by Professor F. C. Odds