candida and leaky gut

Candida and Leaky Gut
by healthybratt, administrator welltellme.com

Candida Albicans are organisms which live in and on the body of many creatures and cause no harm to the body when other microbial organisms are thriving to keep them "in check". When these other organisms are not present, Candida Albicans can become excessive and can severely compromise the immune system, causing many types of chronic illness. Parasites, recurrent antibiotic use, steroid drugs, use of acid blockers, oral and I.V. contraceptives, excess sugar and refined carbohydrate intake (sugar & white flour), and chlorinated water are all factors which can kill helpful bacteria in and on the body and allow Candida Albicans to overpopulate the body, resulting in a condition called Candidiasis.

Although much information is available, many traditional physicians are not giving any merit to this diagnosis. The most common symptoms of Candidiasis are vaginal yeast infection or an infection in the mouth most commonly known as thrush. These are usually treated symptomatically and the cause of the symptoms is not treated. This usually delays correct diagnosis in the patient and allows for the condition to worsen and cause more problems.

Symptoms of Candidiasis include:

* Internal problems including: liver dysfunction, chronic hepatitis, abdominal pain, accelerated aging, fluid retention, tissue swelling, numbness, tingling, dental enamel displaysia and eye disorders;

* Respiratory disorders including: nasal congestion, postnasal drip, nasal itching, chronic sinusitis, seasonal or other non-food related allergies, ear pain and congestion, recurrent ear infections, draining, itching ears, sore or dry throat or mouth, cough, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, and shortness of breath;

* Behavioral, Neurological and other Brain disorders including: autism, OCD, depression, ADHD, migraines, confusion, poor concentration, fogginess, dizziness (vertigo), poor memory, mood swings, nervousness, aggressive behavior, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia;

* Endocrine disorders including: urinary tract infections, incontinence, and bedwetting;

* Digestive and Bowel disorders including: food allergies, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, belching, gas, flatulence, indigestion, heartburn, esophagitis, acid reflux, malnutrition, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), bad breath, and mucous in the stools;

* Skin disorders (usually a result of food allergens) including: acne, rosacea, hives, dermatitis (atopic eczema), psoriasis, dandruff, scalp lesions and nail fungus;

* Female reproductive disorders including: PMS, recurring vaginal infections (itching, pain, burning or discolored/foul smelling or thick vaginal discharge), uterine fibroid, breast fibroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, decreased libido, and pain related to intercourse;

* Autoimmune disorders including: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, Raynaud's disease (numbness in toes and fingers), lupus, fibromyalgia, diabetes, cancer, pediatric immune deficiencies, HIV positive, Reiter's syndrome, celiac disease, Crohn's disease, endotoxaemia, alopecia areata, vitiligo, Addison's disease, Celiac disease, vasculitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and thyroid dysfunction.

Many of the above listed symptoms (such as mouth, skin or vaginal infections) can be caused primarily by Candida Albicans overgrowth; however, most of these disorders are a result of a secondary condition called Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky Gut Syndrome
Candidiasis left untreated will in most cases develop into a condition known as leaky gut syndrome (LGS). As Candida Albicans become dominant in the intestinal tract they begin to mutate. They grow small roots called rhizomes which penetrate the walls of the intestines and create small holes in the mucousal lining. The epithelium on the villi of the small intestine then also become inflamed and irritated. This allows undigested foods and microbial toxins from the small intestines to flood into the blood stream. When these particles enter the blood stream the immune system is alerted to invaders which causes them to attack. Depending on the location of the lesions in the intestines, this can cause damage to many different parts of the body and compromise the liver, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system, reproductive organs and the immune response.

What Can Be Done?
A person who has Leaky Gut in most cases (if not all), also suffers from Candidiasis, so the logic to treating this problem would be to first attack the cause and then heal the condition. The Candida Albicans need to be controlled and/or removed before healing of the intestines can occur.

1. Change the Diet

Candida eats sugar; therefore, diets need to be altered to exclude ALL sugars (especially refined grains and sugars) wherever possible for as long as possible. Eating sugar will not ensure failure to fight Candida; however, it will slow down the process considerably. As long as food (sugar) is provided to the existing organisms, they will continue to thrive, reproduce and mutate. Eliminating as many sugars from the diet as possible during treatment will speed up the healing process considerably.

2. Eliminate Food Allergens

Foods that cause intolerances in the body should be eliminated from the diet. In many cases of Leaky Gut and Candida infestation, food intolerances develop. Since they occur over a long period of time, the body may react differently than would be expected so these are more difficult to detect. Food elimination diets are recommended to find food intolerances. Once determined which foods cause reactions in the body, these foods should be avoided for the duration of treatment. They can later be reintroduced to determine if the food intolerance has been reversed as a result of healing the leaky gut.

3. Kill the Candida

Antifungal supplementation is highly recommended. Cleansing can be done without supplements, by drastically changing your diet, but if the symptoms are severe and the budget allows, more drastic measure are generally prudent. There are many anti-Candida formulas on the market some over-the-counter and some that can be prescribed by a physician like Nystatin or Lamisil. A more natural yet effective antifungal is Candida Clear which contains many ingredients found in nature which are known to be antifungal and antiparasitic.

NOTE: Candida Clear contains Black Walnut, which is reputed to dry up mother's milk. It is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers. Alternative treatments such as pure virgin coconut oil and/or pure aloe vera juice are recommended for yeast and figs or raw pumpkin seeds as natural treatments for parasites.

As sugars are eliminated and antifungals are added to the regimen, a worsening of symptoms may arise. Known as "die-off", this is common and should not be a cause for alarm. This is a reaction to toxins being released by the dying organisms and the body's inability to flush out these toxins at a fast enough rate to prevent symptoms. If these symptoms become debilitating, a piece of toast or bowl of oats for breakfast OR cutting back to a smaller dosage of antifungal treatment can slow this process. This is only recommended if symptoms severely interfere with daily routines. If the symptoms are minor, lots of water, fiber and rest are the best course for ridding the body of these toxins at a faster rate.

4. Recolonize the Gut

Taking antibiotics, drinking unfiltered chlorinated water and having Candida overgrowth severely depletes or kills of all the naturally occurring bacteria in the lining of the intestines. Helpful microbials including bifido and lacto bacteria and nutritional yeasts (not to be confused with Candida) are needed to recolonize the intestinal tract. GR8-dophilus, a probiotic supplement in capsule form, is a very effective tool for fighting Candida and repopulating the intestinal flora. Other brands are available at most local health food store and GNC carries a good brand of 5 strain probiotics.

Naturally cultured foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchee all contain many strains of lacto-bacteria and should be added to the diet. These foods can be bought commercially, but most contain extra sugars and preservatives. Sugar feeds Candida, so homemade is always best.

5. Heal the Gut

The holes left by the vacating Candida may heal on their own, but more often than not, American diets are deficient and do not provide adequate nutrition for reversing Leaky Gut Syndrome and it's related conditions. Supplementation of Essential Fatty Acids may be necessary either in diet or pill form.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to the immune system and most of the "wet" parts of the body. Without them, the immune system fails to respond properly and the brain and internal organs begin to starve. These are essential to healing the mucousal lining of the intestines.

Cod Liver Oil is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and is a good supplement choice for a myriad of reasons. It's good for the joints, reversal of autoimmunity, a good source of vitamins A and D and it will help repair the mucousal lining in the intestines.
Natural sources of omega 3 fats include:
Avocadoes, Walnuts, Walnut Oil, Fish Oil, Salmon, Scallops, Halibut, Shrimp, Snapper, Tofu, Squash, Herring, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Tuna, Chia, Perilla, Purslane, Lingonberry, Hemp, Krill, Krill Oil, Animal Fat (grass fed has higher fat content), Lamb (even commercial lamb is generally grass fed and is reputed to be one of the best meat sources), Dairy (grass fed has higher fat content), MicroAlgae(Crypthecodinium cohnii and Schizochytrium), Brown Algae and Acai(Palm Fruit)

Omega 6 fatty acids are also essential for a healthy immune system, and depending on the person (diet), may also need supplementation.

Natural sources of omega 6 fats include:
Cottonseed Oil, Peanut, Grapeseed Oil, Corn Oil, Cereals, Whole Grains, Whole Grain Bread, Corn, Safflower and Sunflower

Natural sources of both omega 3s and omega 6s include:
Eggs, Flax Seed and Flax Seed Oil

An amino acid supplement called l.Glutamine has been shown to help heal intestinal damage. It's available in pill form at most places that sell nutritional supplements. This amino acid is found naturally in most meats.

Aloe vera juice, in addition to having antifungal qualities also contains nutrients vital to intestinal health and can be very beneficial for healing the lining of the intestines.

6. Detox the Liver

Candida overgrowth, cleansing for Candida and any medications previously given by physicians for the resulting conditions can severely overload the liver with many toxins and slow down other immune functions in the body. Detoxifying the liver can not only help overall health, but speed the process of healing the leaky gut.

Milk thistle, dandelion, spirulina and chlorella are reputed to be liver detoxifiers and can be found at most pharmacies that sell vitamins and other dietary supplements.

AVOID: Refined sugars and grains, oral contraceptives, ibuprofen and other NSAIDS, excessive alcohol, prescription medications which affect the liver, chlorinated water and ESPECIALLY antibiotics whenever possible. If these things cannot be avoided, then daily supplementation of probiotics is a MUST.

I have been following an anti-candida/leaky gut diet & supplement plan since April. I've been using Candida Clear & Gr8-dophilus to fight the candida and cod liver oil and l.glutamine to heal my gut. I've a had a few setbacks and felt doubtful at times, that I was taking the right course of action. I had symptoms that were obviously related to candida/leaky gut and others that seemed unrelated.

I used to have recurrent vaginal yeast infections, skin infections, phantom itching, and bowel upsets. I used to have sensitive eyelashes. They constantly itched or were poking me. I was unable to wear eye makeup as a result. I used to get boils on my legs and cysts on my eyelids with some frequency. My cuticles on my nails used to crack and hurt. My toenails used to be thick and brittle. My lips and skin used to chap regularly. My hair used to fall out in wads. I used to be low on energy and had trouble with insomnia, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. I had PMS and intermittent (sometimes severe) mood swings and a decreased and unpredictable libido. I used to have high blood pressure. I used to have some sort of food allergy which I never diagnosed specifically and I used to be allergic to newspaper. I was susceptible to recurrent bronchitis and severe sinus infections. I had constant cravings for unhealthy carbohydrates and sugars. I had trouble losing weight even when dieting.

I'm happy to report that all of these and some others I probably forgot to mention have ALL DISAPPEARED COMPLETELY. I've not had any recurrence for several weeks. I've also lost 15 lbs (still working on the rest).

I have also stopped using all products which contain SLS and started using wild yam cream which I believe helped with the itching and the PMS symptoms. I believe the progesterone in the wild yam cream may have slowed my weight loss a bit. I also use a super multi-vitamin called SuperMom**. This in addition to healing my gut has given me enough energy to get through most days productively without a need for a daily nap.

I intend to finish the Candida Clear that I have and the Gr8-dophilus until it's gone and then quit. Then I intend to continue with all of my diet changes. I'm so thrilled with all of the results and hubby is happy too, because I'm healthier and more balanced and more available without hesitation. ;)

So, now it's not only a matter of research, but also experience that tells me that if you have any weird health problems that you just can't put your finger on, instead of going to the doc to get a magic pill to cure what ails you, treat for yeast and leaky gut and see what happens. I think you'll be amazed at the results - I know I AM! ;D

If you're interested in any of the products I've mentioned above, iherb.com carries them all. look at the bottom of the blog for a coupon code.

ADDED 03/15/2008 Be sure and catch my podcasts on the G.I.Tract at BacktoBasicsPodcast.com. Also come and find out experiences others have had with diagnosing and treating these conditions at welltellme.com.

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