Candida, Gut Flora, Allergies, and Disease

Allergies are symptoms of an overwhelmed immune system trying frantically to defend itself from any and all possible threats. Allergy medications suppress symptoms, and symptom suppression eventually leads to disease. Food allergies, seasonal allergies, and most of the other kinds of allergies can be completely eliminated. But there’s a catch. You’re going to have to change your diet.

Your body’s gut flora primarily consists of bacteria and fungi. A healthy gut contains a ratio of about 1000 bacteria to 1 Candida yeast cell. The fungi that likes our body best is Candida albicans, a kind of yeast that proliferates in a host who consumes a poor diet or otherwise disrupts their gut flora. The following are examples of how our modern lifestyle tends to disrupt our natural gut bacteria:

  • Antibiotics from our food, soaps, water, and drugs
  • Refined foods that feed the wrong flora
  • Vaccines, drugs, heavy metals, and other toxins that kill beneficial flora
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins that kill our bacteria
  • Other toxic “foods” that disrupt our gut flora (like foods that contain heavy metals, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, etc.)

Naturally, our gut consists of a massive array of beneficial gut bacteria (and some Candida) that help us break down and assimilate food, assimilate nutrients, and produce hormones, all while crowding out any potential pathogens and keeping Candida at bay. It’s no coincidence that the most beneficial gut bacteria loves to dine on the most beneficial foods we can eat – raw, organic vegetables. The more fresh, raw, organic produce you eat, the healthier your gut flora will be.

Candida are Such Opportunists!

So what happens when you kill the good guys? Funny thing about Candida, the spores can survive just about anything. Candida is not all bad; it has its job to do, just like every other microbe, but when it’s not kept in check, things get messy. When you drink alcohol, take antibiotics, or do anything else that disturbs the gut flora, what you’re doing is killing beneficial bacteria and leaving behind Candida spores. These spores will hatch and flourish when they discover the coast is clear. Ideally, when this imbalance happens, our appendix squirts out some bacteria it had saved up for just such an occasion. Unfortunately, our modern sugary chemically laden diets and lifestyles have given Candida the boost it needs to take over the gut to the point at which the appendix’s bacteria can’t compete.

Candida is the key that unleashes a barrage of other infectious microbes and partially digested food from our gut into the bloodstream.

At this point there’s a very inhospitable environment in the gut. Candida doesn’t seem to mind neighbors, so once the gut is overrun by Candida, imagine a party with lots of other unsavory characters that got out of hand. Some of the gut flora that may have been beneficial to us before will now adapt to its new environment, and in turn, not be so beneficial. Microbes mutate and change in fascinating ways. Take e-coli, for instance. It’s a perfectly fine bacteria to have in our gut under natural circumstances. The problem is, when a cow is left in a pen, is fed an extremely acid and unnatural diet, and is given large quantities of antibiotics, the bacteria mutates to a much hardier and deadly form of the bacteria. Everything we put into our gut creates and manipulates the flora for better or for worse in countless ways. Feed your gut the good stuff, and you’ll have good flora. Eat the wrong foods, or take drugs, and you’ll have flora that adapts to a poor environment.

From Yeast to Hyphae – A Causal Agent of Other Infections

Speaking of adapting, once that Candida is feeling crowded and has outgrown its home in the gut, Candida can grow out of its single-cell yeast form and into a filamentous fungal form that grows root-like tentacles (hyphae) that drill deep into the mucosal lining of the gut, poking “holes” into already an irritated and inflamed, gut lining, resulting in a leaky gut. Now Candida and all kinds of other crap (excuse the pun) can leak into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Candida can infect every organ of the body. When it takes the fungal form, it creates a toxic biofilm that protects itself against things that would normally kill it (like antibiotics).

Candida

Candida is the key that unleashes a barrage of other infectious microbes and partially digested food from our gut into the bloodstream. Now the body is in a constant tug of war with Candida and other invaders that continue to try to rip it apart. There is a back and forth with the gut’s permeability, as the body is constantly repairing the gut as best it can and fighting off infection from within the gut and throughout the body.

Rasterelektronische Aufnahme zur Infektion von humanem Gewebe durch Candida albicans.

Candida, parasites, infectious bacteria, other fungi, and all kinds of microbes that escape the gut will set up their colonies where they can hide and find food. Infectious microbes generally eat simple sugars and decaying cells. Pathogens like to congregate in cavities and around old injuries (this is why old injuries ache and become inflamed). The mere presence of these microbes irritates their surroundings, causing damage to cells, which end up feeding the pathogens (as mentioned, they feed on dead and decaying and damaged cells). It’s not too difficult to see why the body will crave sugar. Every time you feed the pathogens there’s a feeling of relief within the body. It feels good. The pathogens are eating the sugar and leaving us alone for a moment. Unfortunately, the next thing they do is multiply. They turn back on you when they’re out of sugar to eat. And the more damage they do to the body, the more food they have to eat.

There are at least 70 different toxins live Candida releases, and even more toxins are released when Candida dies. Two of the most prominent toxins produced are acetaldehyde and gliotoxin. Acetaldehyde which is a metabolic byproduct of Candida that is similar to carbon dioxide that we exhale, leads to oxidative stress and inflammation. Too much acetaldehyde in the body is the equivalent of alcohol poisoning. Gliotoxin is another major toxin created by yeast that suppresses the immune system and kills key immune cells, liver cells, and impairs the liver’s ability to detoxify the body.

Is Candida the Problem?

Both of the aforementioned toxins can be linked to almost every autoimmune disease or symptom there is, but once Candida permeates the gut, it’s not just Candida causing the problems. The body is susceptible to anything and everything at this point. All kinds of undigested food particles and microbes flood the bloodstream off and on as the gut walls deteriorate and heal, back and forth, all while the immune system is completely overtaxed. To make matters worse, what Candida does to the intestinal wall when it goes fungal, it will do in other areas of the body as well, which wrecks havoc on the immune system. The typical human in a modern society is dealing with so many different kinds of infections and other toxins at one time that the body reacts to anything and everything that doesn’t belong. The more inflamed the body becomes, the more the immune system becomes overburdened and confused. It’s a painful cycle that starts with allergies and eventually leads to autoimmune disease. In other words, aches and pains from old injuries and allergies, any kind of allergies, are some of the first signs of an unbalanced, unhealthy gut that is currently, or has been, seeping toxins and microbes into the body.

Most people have pockets of infection all over their bodies. Candida spores (and some other interesting pathogens) can lie in wait, completely dormant, for many months, just waiting for an opportunity to flourish. Some pathogens have other tricks that allow them to hang out undetected by the immune system for very long periods of time, while their lifecycle produces toxins that damage the body. Once the gut allows infection into the body, Candida may or may not still play a factor in disease, but it’s almost always an underlining cause. And it’s easy to see, when you can picture what happens, why a holistic approach is imperative to getting well.

How Does One Know if One has Candida?

If you’re sick, it doesn’t really matter. There’s testing, but it’s not reliable. One of the many problems with testing is that the same body may test differently a day later, depending on what’s going on in the body. Different pathogens may flourish at different times depending on many factors. Symptoms that indicate an abundance of Candida may actually be caused by another kind of fungus or any other pathogen, and in fact usually is caused by more than one pathogen effecting the body at once. A holistic approach rids the body of fungal infections, parasites, infectious bacteria, and any other pathogen that doesn’t belong while the gut heals and beneficial flora is restored. So while this is a list of “Candida Symptoms,” it’s really a list of symptoms that the gut is not well and the body is dealing with a heavy toxic load.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Seeing “floaters” in vision
  • Itchy ears
  • Itchy feet
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Allergies
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Flatulence
  • Digestive upset
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections or other symptoms of poor urinary health
  • Decreased libido
  • Acne
  • Dry skin and other skin issues including eczema
  • Joint pain
  • Slow healing
  • Chronic sinus, ear, mouth, and jaw infections (including gum disease)
  • Menstrual disturbances
  • Premenstrual tension
  • Any autoimmune disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Increased sensitivity to foods,

The Holistic Approach – Natural Gut Healing Protocol

Most people can heal their body of any and every ailment provided they have all of their body parts. Things get tricky when parts are missing, but most of us can get completely and totally well with just the right diet alone. Supplements can radically speed up the process of getting well, but if you have access to the right food, supplements aren’t usually a necessity. With the wrong diet, supplements aren’t going to be nearly as effective. Here’s a protocol to rid the body of infectious microbes, heal the gut, and balance the flora. Try it for two weeks and it will change your life. But there’s a catch. You can’t go back to old habits that got you here. This is only step one. Step two is eating right and taking care from now on.

Drink Lots of Cranberry Lemonade

Drink between a half a gallon and a gallon of cranberry lemonade a day to flush the liver and kidneys of toxins, and help rejuvenate the endocrine system, which will help keep the blood clean and reduce “die-off symptoms” commonly associated with killing Candida.

Cranberry Lemonade Recipe

  • Glass gallon jar
  • Safe, clean, spring water or distilled water
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, organic cranberry juice, not from concentrate
  • 3 organic fresh lemons
  • A citrus juicer
  • Liquid stevia
  • Liquid cayenne

Fill the jar to about 85% capacity with spring water (or distilled water). Squeeze the lemons and pour the juice into the water. Add cranberry juice. Add stevia to taste and then add cayenne to taste. The amount of cayenne used is up to you, but the more the better.

If you don’t have access to a good source for spring water, use other clean drinking water that does not contain fluoride. If you don’t have access to organic lemons, use conventional. Fresh is almost always best. If there are no fresh lemons, use organic bottled lemon juice. If you can’t get cranberry juice that is not from concentrate, get the reconstituted kind (just don’t get any kind of cranberry juice that has any other ingredients like sweeteners or other juices). If you can’t stand cayenne, don’t use it. No glass jar? Use plastic.

Eat Right

Produce detoxifies. Fresh, whole, organic, raw vegetables, herbs, and fruits pull toxins from the body as they repopulate healthy, beneficial gut bacteria and give the body the nutrients it needs including enzymes and other phytonutrients that are almost non-existent in most modern diets.

Try to eat a huge salad every day with lots of greens, plenty of other colors, garlic, cilantro, ginger, and more. Check out this salad recipe.

saladThe Salad Base

  • Spinach
  • Arugula (I prefer baby arugula, mature arugula tastes funky)
  • Collard greens (they’re very bitter; use sparingly)
  • Lettuce (mix it up, try an organic spring mix)
  • Kale
  • Beet greens (the tops of beets)
  • Red cabbage (thinly shred like a slaw or a little thicker, depending on the texture you prefer)
  • Rainbow chard

Shredded, Grated

  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Beetroot
  • Daikon (or other radish)

Chopped or Diced

  • Leeks
  • Red onions
  • Red and yellow bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Cilantro
  • Asparagus (try cooking in a balsamic vinegar first)

Extras

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Olives
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Sesame seeds
  • Ground papaya seeds and/or ground pepper
  • Avocado
  • Eggs (try soft boiled)
  • Beans (black, pinto, kidney, green, garbanzo, etc.)
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Chia seeds

It’s not an exact recipe, and it doesn’t have to be. Mix it up. Try new things. My salads generally have about 15 ingredients. Make them big; make them diverse. Just imagine you’re in nature, not modern society, and all you have to eat is nothing but a wide variety of the best, whole, fresh, healthy vegetables and herbs. This is what a big salad a day can do for you: it’s life changing.

I throw in chickpeas or a three-bean salad combination. If you’re not vegan, try a sheep feta cheese with this salad, and throw on some eggs. It’s good with meat, too, like chicken or steak.

Don’t ruin it with a crappy salad dressing! All this salad needs is a little balsamic vinegar (apple cider is better, but I don’t like the taste as much in my salads), or some fresh lemon juice. It doesn’t take much.

What Else to Eat and What Not to Eat

Eat whole foods; avoid refined foods. Brown rice is good; white rice is out. Avoid any wheat; artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners; trans fats; and MSG. Avoid carbonated beverages. Avoid GMOs. Limit fruits, and besides stevia, avoid or limit anything else that’s sweet.

Our modern diet almost always includes too much refined sugar. We would not have access to agave nectar, brown rice syrup, fruit juices, and other sweeteners in nature. It’s just too much sugar. You may be thinking honey is a good alternative, but this is only true when the gut is healed, the body is relatively free of infection, and the immune system functions properly. Otherwise, even with its antimicrobial properties, honey can feed infection as it goes through the digestion process.

Supplements

Candida evolves to be resistant to much of what we do to try to kill it. This is much more of an issue with conventional treatments than it is with supplements, but it’s still a possibility. A multifaceted approach is the way to eliminate Candida quickly, they won’t have time to adapt. Lots of protocols recommend multiple supplements that essentially have the same active ingredients, leading the buyer to believe they are taking a multifaceted approach when they are not. This is one of the many reasons typical Candida protocols are not very effective, though poor diet is the number one reason for any natural protocol not working effectively. For those on a tight budget, or only wanting to add one or two supplements to your routine, I listed the following supplement links in order from most important to least in regards to killing Candida and balancing the gut.

  • Formula SF722 is one of the best products (perhaps the best) for killing any kind of fungal infection. It’s been shown in labs that Candida cannot adapt to undecenoic acid (the active ingredient in SF722) like it can with almost every other way we try to kill it.
  • Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse will kill parasites, Candida, and other bad guys while it heals the gut, improves regularity, and removes nasty biofilm (little known fact: there’s good biofilm, and there’s bad biofilm), all while setting up a hospitable environment for beneficial flora.
  • Undecyn has many different active components formulated specially to kill pathogens in the gut, urinary tract, and vaginal area, but it kills bad guys everywhere.
  • Abzorb is a probiotic and an enzyme that passes through the stomach acid and releases in the intestinal tract.
  • Olive Leaf Extract supports the immune system and promotes a healthy intestinal environment and provides natural protection and a healthy environment for cells, without suppressing immune system function or harming beneficial microflora.
  • Shillington’s Intestinal Detox is important for anyone who may have heavy metals in their system, and this formula heals the whole digestive tract. It’s not as necessary for more people, but if you experience digestive upset or heavy metal toxicity the intestinal detox is perfect for these issues.
  • MicroDefense – Pure Encapsulations is effective against all common parasites. With the Intestinal Cleanse and the Undecyn, this is overkill for most people, but if you’re very concerned with parasites it’s the formula designed for that.

The SF722, Undecyn, the MicroDefense, and to a lesser extent the Intestinal Cleanse, will damage beneficial bacteria so there are two options to get the most out of your supplements. One method is to take the Abzorb probiotic (and olive leaf) at bedtime and upon rising, while taking the other microbe-killing supplements during the day with meals. Another option is to wait a week or two for symptoms to subside and then stop taking the SF722 and Undecyn, and start taking the probiotic, but healing may take a little longer with this approach for those who are particularly ill. Taking beneficial bacteria and the supplements that help support it at night makes for better B vitamin production, mineral uptake, and hormonal balance. Note that one of the great things about the olive leaf extract and the Intestinal Detox supplements is that while they do kill pathogens, neither formula will kill the good bacteria.

There are certain vitamins and minerals that have been proven to curb Candida growth, and of course many of these nutrients are also nutrients that Candida depletes the body of. The right diet should suffice, but most people well do well with a nutrition formula, a mineral formula, fats and vitamin D, and a B vitamin Complex. This is especially true for anyone who doesn’t have access to high quality, nutrient dense food on a regular basis. Biotin, otherwise known as B7, helps prohibit Candida from converting to its Hyphal filamentous growth structure, which is when the tentacles drill through the gut. But there are at least a dozen other minerals and vitamins that we know are just as significant to gut balance, hence the holistic approach.

Conclusion

Candida is a hot topic of debate within both the naturopathic community and conventional medicine, with views ranging from Candida being the root of everything that’s wrong with the body to it being a very rare issue that is completely overblown. The reality is that a Candida infection in the gut is a process that happens when one is not well, and when left unchecked (it doesn’t take long) Candida will allow other pathogens to infiltrate the body through the gut. Once someone is sick, it may or may not be Candida causing their problems. Illness is never just one type of pathogen. If you feel ill there’s a safe bet that there’s more than just one type of virus or bacteria affecting your health.

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