Candida has become a buzz word, but what is it all about?
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. There are over 20 species of Candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is Candida Albicans. Candida yeast normally lives on the skin and mucous membranes without causing infection. However, overgrowth of these organisms can cause symptoms to develop, depending on the area of the body that is infected.
When the immune system becomes compromised through – for instance – the use of antibiotics, stress, hormonal changes, unbalanced diet, over exercising or lack of sleep, it can lead to an uncontrolled overgrowth of Candida which can migrate to other parts of the body. In the digestive tract, when left unchecked, it can break down the walls of the intestinal lining and penetrate the bloodstream. This releases by-product toxins and other toxins from your system, causing a leaky gut.
Candida feeds on sugars – the more sugar available to the cells, the easier and faster they grow and expand their colonies. In diets containing too many sugars and refined carbohydrates, Candida will start to grow out of control, creating a problem in the system.
Probable symptoms of Candida include exhaustion, cravings for sweet foods, halitosis, a white coating on the tongue, foggy brain, hormone imbalance, joint pain, low libido, allergies, digestive issues such as excessive gas and bloating, weakened immune system, urinary tract infections and new sensitivities, allergies and intolerance to a number of food groups such as gluten, eggs, corn and dairy products.
- ANTIBIOTICS: Problems arise when antibiotics kill off both the good and bad bacteria in one’s body. The good bacteria in your system are important for digestion and to keep things like Candida under control, so once they are reduced or killed off with antibiotics, this allows for overgrowth.
- CANCER TREATMENT: Candidiasis (thrush) can become invasive in cancer patients, which often is very visible by the white appearance of the tongue and mucus membranes inside the mouth. Chemo and radiation both work to kill cancerous cells and tumours, but they also kill off healthy gut bacteria which naturally keep Candida in check.
- ORAL CORTICOSTEROIDS: Asthma sufferers using corticosteroid inhalants are at risk of developing Candidiasis (thrush) of the mouth, which in turn could lead to systemic Candida overgrowth. That is why it is so important to rinse the mouth after each use. For those that succumb to Candidiasis, gargling and rinsing the mouth with coconut oil and a couple of drops of clove oil should help the problem.
- DIABETES: Sugar levels are higher in those suffering from Type 1 and 2 Diabetes. Because Candida feeds on sugar, it is quite common for diabetics to be at a greater risk of developing Candidiasis.
- COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM: Those individuals that have weakened immune systems are obviously more prone than others to developing Candidiasis. This group will include infants, small children, the elderly, as well as those suffering from HIV/Aids and other autoimmune conditions.
The secret is restoring your balance and healing your gut, by eliminating inflammatory foods that can harm your intestinal tract and introducing foods that will assist to prevent Candida overgrowth. It is advisable to follow a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates and excludes sugars as far as possible, whilst including plenty of fresh organic greens.
Good, healthy bacteria and a proper functioning immune system are essential for fighting off Candida Albicans. Full-spectrum probiotics will restore the balance of the good bacteria in the gut. These are especially important and should be taken when taking antibiotics to prevent yeast infections.
The essential oil of oregano may be used in two ways for treating Candidiasis, either by applying it topically to the affected skin area or by taking it orally. The potent substances contained in this essential oil can be irritating to the skin if applied directly, especially to the genitals and other sensitive areas. Mix two to three drops of oregano oil with one tablespoon of olive oil before applying it to the skin. If your skin still reacts uncomfortably with this mixture, add some more olive oil to the mix. Oregano capsules or tincture can also be taken twice daily to facilitate healing and should be continued until the Candida infection is gone.