Are candida and leaky gut making you ill?
Candida contributes to leaky gut and is common in today’s society. In order to understand these two health concerns, you first need to understand that in the body we have both good and bad bacteria. Ideally, the bacteria good bacteria balances out the bad, but when the immune system is low your good bacteria count is lower than usual, which leads to bad bacteria taking over.
Candida albicans is a yeast-like organism that lives in small amounts in your mouth and on the skin. Your body has a natural defence system to help control yeast and fungal infections – that is the good bacteria. When your immune system is working well infections are held in check but, if your immune system is weak, yeasts may move to a fungal form and start to invade the body, making you sick.
Candida albicans is often not invasive in its yeast form but, when it turns to a fungal form, it is invasive and can make rhizoids. These can break through your mucosa or intestinal walls, leaving tiny holes which allow toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as leaky gut syndrome, which is one of the causes of food and environment sensitivities and allergies.
The most common form of candida infections is Candida albicans, but there are over 150 types of candida. Typically though, when talking about “candida”, people are usually referring to an overgrowth of Candida albicans. This is a syndrome identified by Dr Orion Truss and Dr William Crook, who both wrote books on the subject in the late 1970s. It is related to the subject of dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy gut bacteria and not just candida overgrowth.
When your immune system is working well infections are held in check but, if your immune system is weak, yeasts may move to a fungal form and start to invade the body.
Causes of candida are thought by holistic practitioners and doctors who recognise the prevalence of the syndrome to include poor immunity due to: a lack of nutrients, heavy metal overload – especially lead (from petrol and lead plumbing) and mercury (from amalgam fillings) – and chemical overload from our polluted environment. Stress and electromagnetic/ geopathic stress can also be a cause of low immunity. Since the continual presence of Candida albicans overloads the depleted immune system, and its toxins are immunosuppressant, it creates a cycle. Bad food habits and allergies can fuel further nutrient deficiencies.
Some foods in excess, such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine can lower the immune system by depressing neutrophils and lymphocyte activity. You can sometimes ee this on your blood test. Sugar, of course, also feeds candida. Caffeine stresses your adrenals and weak adrenal glands again lower the immune system. Further to this, lack of dietary fibre makes you more likely to get intestinal candidiasis as it will cause constipation, which helps create an environment where Candida albicans can easily flourish. Add to this overuse of antibiotics which can kill healthy gut bacteria, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, steroids, hormone imbalance, yeast products, moulds and fermented foods, thyroid issues and you have a huge playing field for candida to develop.
Candida albicans also releases poisons into the blood, which cause all kinds of symptoms. Toxins released include ethanol, which is made when yeast has lots of food. A lot of ethanol can cause symptoms like being drunk. Acetaldehyde, the main candida toxin, can damage organs; disrupt fatty acid oxidation and production of collagen; cause abnormal behaviour, memory loss, distorted thinking, mood swings and depression; impair thinking and lead to emotional upsets. Another substance, formaldehyde, also has a toxic effect on all organisms.
Some of the symptoms of candida are thought to be: chronic fatigue, food allergies, low blood sugar, causing sugar and carbohydrate cravings, vaginal or oral thrush, stomach pain and bloating, excessive wind and indigestion, and joint pain. The list goes on.
Candida is stubborn to get rid of but it can usually be treated in 2-6 months, provided the person follows the required eating plan and continues to take the correct dosage of herbs and supplements. Any protocol also needs to be combined with a no-sugar and no-alcohol diet, however, so it’s about changing your habits and lifestyle. Not an easy thing to do but only a small price to pay to get healthy and remain healthy. You should see your natural practitioner to assist you with your fight against candida as it is a deceptive issue and can fool you into thinking it’s gone when it really has just died down. Your practitioner can direct you how to overcome it properly.
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