Candida albicans fungus on agar dishMany people pass through life with symptoms of illness that in the not too distant past were not considered illnesses at all – especially relating to our digestive systems.

Things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac disease and Candida infection are common examples of illnesses that could have easily been dismissed in the past as “just not feeling well” or having a “bad stomach”.

Recent studies have uncovered more information about these previous mystery illnesses and thanks to this new understanding of how our bodies work, these can be diagnosed and treated.

Candida albicans infection, or candidiasis as it can also be called may require a more holistic approach which can include what is known as a yeast diet or Candida Diet.

What is Candida?

Candida, or to give its full name, Candida albicans, is a type of yeast that lives symbiotically in the mouth, gut and vagina, but can also inhabit the skin and other mucous membranes. It is an invasive fungus but it usually remains controlled by the beneficial bacteria that exists in a normal healthy body. In fact one study has shown that around 70% of average adults have Candida in their digestive systems.

Under normal conditions this is not a problem, but because much of our modern diet involves high sugar and high carbohydrate containing foods, the ph of our digestive systems can become raised making it ideal territory for Candida to grow and thrive.  As that happens, the Candida yeast can overcome the delicate bacterial balance in the gut and cause the symptoms of candidiasis.

What are the Symptoms of a Candida Infection?

The symptoms of candidiasis can vary depending on the individual and of course on the severity of infection, but the changes to your gut bacteria caused by the overgrowth of Candida will affect your ability to digest food in an optimum way. This can lead to intestinal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and food intolerances. Because there are many other conditions that have similar effects some of its early symptoms are often mistaken for intestinal or premenstrual cramps.

If it wasn’t bad enough already, Candida albicans produces more than 79 toxic byproducts, which can weaken the immune system. One of the main toxins produced from Candida is acetaldehyde, which is transformed into ethanol (alcohol) in the liver, and leading to what is known as ‘brain fog’ a state of confusion, forgetfulness, lack of focus and a general lack of mental clarity.

It has also been found that Candida albicans can in some cases pass the intestinal mucosal wall, generating ulcerations and cracks to precipitate what is known as Crohns disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Once the immune system is unable to control the effects of the mycotoxins in the blood, symptoms and side effects may appear such as allergies, headaches and cramps and sporadic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

What Causes a Candida Infection?

A poor diet heavy on high carbohydrate and high sugar containing foods allow Candida to thrive, but there are other factors too.  Antibiotics, using steroids like cortisone and prednisone, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, overeating processed foods that contain preservatives and prolonged periods of stress which can cause chemical imbalances that raise the ph of the gut can all be contributing factors to Candida yeast overgrowth.

Treatment for a Candida Infection – The Candida Diet

If your doctor suspects Candida infection he will likely put you on a course of antifungal treatment, usually drugs such as nystatin or fluconazole. This though can be complemented, or in mild cases even replaced, by following a good anti Candida diet.

As most people with Candida overgrowth go undiagnosed, if you feel you have any of the symptoms listed above then it may be worth a try to spend a few weeks or months changing your diet accordingly to see if yeast overgrowth is an issue for you.

In some cases an anti fungal just won’t be enough to truly eradicate the disease, and if the ph of the gut is not lowered through following an anti Candida diet, the same patient might possibly relapse.

Probiotics are a useful tool for fighting a Candida infection from the inside, and can play an important part in a Candida Diet treatment. They come in the form of yogurt or in capsules, an example being acidophilus.  Since probiotics are ‘friendly bacteria’ they help to repopulate your gut with good bacteria and help your digestive system to absorb nutrients needed to combat yeast overgrowth.  Dairy should be avoided on the yeast free Candida cleanse so probiotics in capsule form are recommended.

Avoiding high sugar and high carbohydrate containing produce as well as much of the processed foods that are abundant today is vital to the elimination of yeast overgrowth.

The addition of natural antifungals have been known to help kill off excess Candida and saturated fatty acids like caprylic acid found in palm oil or coconut oil are powerful yeast fighters.  Herbs like oregano and especially garlic, already well known for its health benefits and immune boosting properties are powerful combatants of Candida.

Do you think you may have a problem with Candida overgrowth?  Check out the free online Candida Test to see if your symptoms line up with the most common side effects of a Candida yeast infection.