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Candida Article #1: What Is Candida?

Disclaimer:

Please note, most conventional doctors do not recognise the concept of systemic candida infection. This article should not be used as a replacement for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Always discuss any health problem you have with your doctor.

Once you have read this article, for more detailed information, we suggest you read Candida Treatment by and " Conquering Candida", originally published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine.

Candida albicans is a yeast like organism that lives naturally in small amounts in your mouth, gastrointestinal tract and skin. The body's natural defense against fungal and yeast infections is the production of friendly bacterial flora that keeps it in check. It is controlled by a properly functioning immune system and "friendly" bacteria. However, if the number of friendly bacteria is decreased, the immune system is weakened or other conditions for yeast proliferation occur (we will come to the causes later) candida albicans may shift from a yeast to a fungal form and start to invade the body and cause a multitude of health problems.

In the yeast state candida is a non-invasive, sugar-fermenting organism, while in fungal state it is invasive and can produce rhizoids, very long root-like structures. Rhizoids can penetrate mucosa or intestinal walls, leaving microscopic holes and allowing toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This condition is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome and that is one of the causes of food and environmental allergies.

Although most people associate the word "candida", with the most common type of candida infection, namely candida albicans, it should be mentioned that there are in fact numerous types of candida.

There are over 150 species of candida. Common strains include : -

  • Candida albicans
  • Candida dubliniensis
  • Candida famata
  • Candida glabrata
  • Candida guilliermondii
  • Candida humicola
  • Candida krusei
  • Candida lambica
  • Candida lipolytica
  • Candida lusitaniae
  • Candida parapsilosis
  • Candida pseudotropicalis
  • Candida rugosa
  • Candida stellatoidea
  • Candida tropicalis
  • Candida zeylanoides

However, when talking about "candida", most people mean candida albicans overgrowth. This refers to a syndrome first identified by Dr Orion Truss and Dr William Crook who both wrote books about the subject in the late 1970's. It is closely related to the subject of dysbiosis ("bad bacteria"), which refers to any imbalance of healthy vs / unhealthy gut bacteria, and not just candida overgrowth.

What causes Candida?

Amongst holistic practitioners and those doctors who recognise the prevalance of the syndrome, it is generally thought that the following factors are the primary ones which can cause candida overgrowth.

1) Poor immunity is undoubtedly a major factor in allowing Candida to overgrow. A weak immune system appears to be the norm these days, the main reason for which in our opinion is nutrient deficiency. Almost every nutrient known has a role to play in creating immunity, and since most individuals exhibit multiple nutrient deficiencies, they inevitably have chronically impaired immune systems. Causes of lowered immunity include:

i) Heavy metal toxicity, particularly lead (from petrol and lead plumbing) and mercury (from amalgam fillings) is immunosuppressant, as is chemical overload from our highly polluted and unnatural environment.

ii) Psychological stress appears to be a much overlooked cause of immune weakness, and the same is true of...

iii) Electromagnetic and geopathic stress. Since the sustained presence of Candida burdens the immune system, and its toxins are immunosuppressant, a vicious cycle exists.

iv) Food and inhalant allergies, which Candida commonly causes, similarly burden the immune system, fuelling the vicious cycle. Additionally, nutrient deficiencies induced by Candida may impair immunity, and thus also contribute to the vicious cycle.

v) Excess sugar consumption, of which most people are guilty, suppresses immunity (by depressing neutrophil and lymphocyte activity), and alcohol has a similar effect. (Sugar, of course, also feeds Candida.)

vi) Caffeine (from coffee and to a lesser degree in cocoa and tea) is an adrenal stressor, and depleted adrenal glands predispose to the development of candidiasis by lowering the immune system. We have also seen claims that caffeine also destroys friendly bacteria. We have not found any evidence as to whether this is true or untrue but if it is is true, this is a second mechanism by which caffeine may contribute to candida overgrowth.

2) A deficiency of dietary fibre encourages intestinal candidiasis because dietary fibre gives rise to short-chain fatty acids, which inhibit the growth of Candida. A deficiency of dietary fibre also tends to cause constipation, which is another factor making candida overgrowth more likely to occur (see below).

3) Clinical over usage of antibiotics is widely recognized to precipitate Candida overgrowth. Antibiotics kill the healthy gut bacteria that normally compete with Candida for food and space, and also secrete anti-candidal substances.

4) The popularity of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy is thought provoke candida overgrowth.  Steroids used are thought to exert a similar effect, and additionally are immunosuppressive.

5) Pregnancy or multiple pregnancies which can upset the body's hormonal balance

6) Yeast and yeast products as well as molds and fermented foods.

7) Prolonged exposure to environmental molds.

8) A sluggish thyroid gland predisposes one to candida overgrowth. Moreover candida may also also affect the effectiveness of the thyroid hormones that the body is producing.

9) Chronic constipation (possibly caused by some of the above factors, such as psychological stress, lack of dietary fibre or lowered thyroid activity) allows a environment in which candida and other unhealthy micro-organisms can more easily flourish

Why is candida a problem?

Candida releases poisons in blood causing all kinds of symptoms. The toxins that are released include : -

  • Ethanol : Produced when yeast has lots of food. Excess ethanol can cause symptoms of alcohol intoxication
  • Acetaldehyde : The primary candida toxin, which can damage organs, disrupt fatty acid oxidation and production of collagen, cause abnormal behavior, memory loss, distorted thinking, mood swings, depression, impaired intellectual functioning and emotional disturbances.
  • Formaldehyde : A highly reactive compound that has a toxic effect on all organisms" (source: Microbiology (2002), 148, 2697-2704.

(Our dedicated products Bayberry Formula, Bayberry Formula A and Molybdenum may be helpful for breaking down candida toxins).

Typical symptoms of Candida are thought to include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Food allergies
  • Low blood sugar causing various symptoms including...
  • Sugar and carbohydrate craving
  • Vaginal or Oral Thrush (a white film in the mouth or on the tongue)
  • Abdominal pain and / or bloating, excessive intestinal gas and indigestion
  • Joint pain with arthritis-like symptoms
  • Chronic sinus drainage - which antibiotics don't help!
  • Weight loss OR gain and the inability to change it.
  • Brain "fog" or Poor concentration
  • Fungus on the finger or toe-nails
  • Urinary infections
  • Itching, red eyes
  • Rashes anywhere on the skin
  • Rashes inside the ears or around the genital area
  • Anxiety / Depression
  • Cystitis/urethritis
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Loss of libido
  • Bad breath

Treatment:-

Our main articles on Candida treatment are " Candida Treatment " and " Conquering Candida", so please bear in mind the following information is only a quick introduction.

Candida is stubborn but it can usually be eliminated in 2-6 months, although it needs to be combined with a low sugar and no alcohol diet. We use the following products and treatments to heal candida. Please note the products we regard as "essential" is our opinion - not a stated fact. Our full range of candida control products is much larger than the list below, but we regard these as the most reliable ones generally speaking.

1) Threelac or Fivelac - Essential

2) One of our Liquid Oxygen Products Oxygen Elements Plus , Oxylift,  Aerobic Oxygen, Aerobic KO7,  or Mycocurb - Essential

3) Active Digestive Enzymes - May help with bloating, gas, poor food absorbtion etc.

4) Golden Seal Formula E or F- We believe these are the most aggressive systemic anti candida remedies we provide.

5) Bayberry Formula - Can help reduce candida toxins. May be especially beneficial in severe cases for the first few months.

6) Colosan - Most famously used for constipation and bowel cleansing, though Colosan can be very useful for candida itself..

7) Bio-Kult - Helps replenish the gut with friendly bacteria. Contains 14 strains of viable friendly bacteria.

8) Colostrum Plus - May boost the immune system, soothe a leaky gut, reduce food allergies, and help gas and wind problems.

9) Marshmallow Formula - May help Leaky Gut and food allergies.

Further Information:

Once you have read this introductory article, for more detailed information, we suggest you read " Candida Treatment" by Mark G. Lester, Director of The Finchley Clinic and " Conquering Candida " written by our colleague Sherridan Stock.

© The Finchley Clinic 2007, Updated 2009, Updated again 2012

If you want to use the material in this article, please have the courtesy to email us to ask our permission first!

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        Tuesday 30th December 2003  
The products we provide are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Information and statements made are for educational purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.
The Finchley Clinic Ltd does not dispense medical advice, prescribe or diagnose illness.
We provide nutritional products that may assist the body in its efforts to nutritionally rebuild and heal itself.
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Candida Article #1: What Is Candida?