I know that I have posted on the topic of Candida Albicans before but in the need for continuity I am including this chapter. There are some other issues that are included that I have not mentioned before and also a recipe for Irish Soda Bread which is one of the few breads I can enjoy.
Candida Albicans and Obesity.
The more I work with clients who have weight problems the more convinced I am that Candida Albicans is the secret, hidden, enemy of us all. I believe that a very high percentage of people, some sources say in the region of 70 percent, suffer from Candida overgrowth in a chronic form. However, what most surprises me is the high incidence of Candida in sufferers of most common ailments.
When I was studying the condition in relation to my own weight 20 years ago; I noted that there were literally hundreds of symptoms. But, naturally enough, I was only really interested in my own. Now that I am helping others with their nutritional health, I am discovering that they nearly always have Candida related problems. The most common seem to be arthritis, asthma, eczema, menopausal problems, and frequent throat and ear infections.
Candida Albicans is yeast, which inhabits all humans, but usually only in small amounts. An excess of this substance is also known as Monilia, Thrush, Candidiasis and Yeast Infection. It is believed that health problems caused by an excess of Candida effect over 70 percent of people in the western world and that the symptoms are so wide-ranging that doctors rarely diagnose the problem correctly. This means that treatment of the symptoms often ignores the root of the problem.
Overuse of Antibiotics and other prescribed medication.
The main precondition for a fungal disease to get a foothold is an impaired immune system. This can be the result of an illness, the overuse of antibiotics, intensive dieting over a long period of time or recurring infections.
In most cases, antibiotics are broad-spectrum which means they are aimed at a broad range of bacteria and not one specific identified bacterium. Without a laboratory test, it is difficult to identify which specific strain of bacteria is responsible for a particular infection, so the use of broad-spectrum drugs usually guarantees that the bacteria in question will be killed off. Unfortunately, it is not only the bad bacteria that are killed off, but beneficial bacteria too.
A healthy intestine contains a balance of good and bad bacteria, two of the friendly flora, Bifidobacteria bifidum and Lactobaccillus acidophilus, normally keep the Candida in balance. However, where this fragile balance is disrupted, the gut becomes vulnerable to an overgrowth of Candida Albicans.
What happens when normal Candida levels increase.
If Candida yeast is allowed to grow unchecked, it changes from its normal yeast fungal form to a mycelial-fungal form that produces rhizoids. These long, root-like, structures are capable of piercing the walls of the digestive tract and breaking down the protective barriers between the intestine and the blood. This breakthrough allows many allergens and toxins to enter the bloodstream, causing allergic reactions. Mucus also forms around the major organs and in the lining of the stomach. This can prevent the digestive system from functioning efficiently and if food is not properly digested the nutrients are not absorbed and the body begins to suffer deficiencies, leading to chronic fatigue.
The most common of the allergic reactions seen when Candida is present are; watering or dry, itchy eyes, itchy inner ears and dry throats that clear up after a few hours without developing into a full-scale infection. These symptoms are almost always accompanied by a craving for bread, savoury snacks such as crisps or for sweets (chocolate in particular). Sometimes clients tell me that they don’t have a sweet tooth and do not eat chocolate. However, when I read their food diary, it is easy to spot the biscuits, cakes and alcohol that are eaten or drunk every day.
Other common symptoms associated with Candida are: digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Flatulence, Diarrhoea, Colitis and Ulcers; disorders such as Sterility, Fibrosis, Hormonal Imbalance and PMT; Allergies, Hyperactivity, Asthma, Sinusitis, Migraines, poor memory and fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
One of the most significant problems is the strain which all the toxins place on the liver, often resulting in chronic fatigue, discomfort and depression. The list is practically endless, which generally adds to the confusion at the time of diagnosis.
It is believed that long term use of other medications including the contraceptive pill and HRT which might explain the higher incidence of Candida overgrowth in women. It should be noted that if a woman does have an overgrowth of Candida and thrush that this can be transmitted to a partner.
I have included a questionnaire, later, that I recommend everyone should complete.
I still have Candida Albicans. If I do not pay attention to my diet, it can flare up again. Itchy inner ears are the first indication that I have a problem.
The treatment is straightforward and is certainly effective. You should follow a dietary program for several weeks to eliminate as many unnecessary sugars as possible from your diet. In addition, you will find that decreasing yeast intake can help. I certainly have found that eating yeast free Irish Soda Bread rather than yeast breads has made a difference. This, combined with a simple herbal remedy, is helpful in reducing the Candida to manageable levels.
Candida loves sugar, yeast, starches, and foods containing moulds or fungus. The latest research is indicating that it is sugars that Candida craves. However, I do react if I eat blue cheese for example and also Marmite .It is common for the sufferer to crave chocolate and yeast extract but not necessarily together!
It used to be the practice to come off all yeast and sugars, natural or otherwise and for six weeks or so follow a very rigid diet. I do think that it is a good idea to reduce the levels of your yeast in the diet simply because it comes in combination in so many processed foods with sugar, something I consider to be the real cause behind so much of our ill health today.
Things have moved on – the fact is that most natural produce is absolutely fine to eat. This includes mushrooms which as a fungus are one of the first foods to be banned on a Candida Diet. Evidence suggests that just because Candida is a fungus it does not enjoy eating a similar organism.
The other important issue is that anyone with a strong immune system can manage an overgrowth of candida provided their diet is mainly unprocessed and sugar free.
In the last 18 years I have experimented with natural ingredients in and out of my diet and I have found no reaction to mushrooms or any other natural food on my Candida levels. I have however, reacted quickly to drinking too much alcohol, eating cakes, sweets, biscuits, fizzy drinks, processed sauces, ketchup, soy sauce, milk chocolate with low cocoa content, processed cheap fruit juices etc. In the case of alcohol it is possibly the combination of yeast and sugar (or too many glasses) – and if you look at the ingredients of a great many processed foods it is the sugar content that is likely to be the main culprit.
I have some key indicators for a rise in levels of Candida overgrowth in my system. The inside of my ears begins to itch irritatingly and my eyes start watering. If I continue to consume sugars in excess I can develop thrush symptoms.
It is difficult in this day and age to eliminate all yeast and sugar from the diet, but significant changes can be put in place overnight. There are some yeast and sugar-free breads available, such as soda bread. Use sugar-free jams and marmalades, which are now readily available from health food shops and supermarkets. Breakfast cereals are major culprits, so I suggest that, for the first eight weeks, you have porridge or yeast free toast (Irish Soda Bread) for breakfast. After that, you can reintroduce other breakfast cereals into your diet, but opt for the low-sugar variety. (You will find a recipe for Irish Soda Bread below which is really easy to make and very tasty).
It is however essential that you avoid sweet foods such as cakes, chocolate and biscuits. This is where taking Grapefruit Seed Extract helped me out.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
It is not allowed to recommend and guarantee that any natural product can cure a condition. That being said I can say that it ‘may’ help get a Candida overgrowth under control. I have used for the last 20 years for a number of applications both internally and externally particularly for its antibiotic application.
In the late 1970s a gardener noticed that the grapefruit seeds in his compost didn’t rot. This particularly observant gardener was Dr. Jacob Harich, an immunologist (and a physicist) with a particular interest in natural remedies.
When he investigated what was happening he discovered that something in the seeds appeared to be more effective, and at the same time less harmful, than any known antibiotic. It was found that the shell of the seed was anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, which makes it an excellent natural antibiotic.
Today you can buy Grapefruit Seed Extract which carries all these properties in a naturally occurring form.
Obviously, there are times when antibiotics are essential, but a healthy person with a strong immune system should rarely need to take them. Antibiotics do not cure viral infections, such as colds. However, Grapefruit Seed Extract is not only anti-bacterial but also anti-viral. In our household we put about 40 drops of this oil into our liquid soap and this helps prevent colds being passed on by touching, the most common way of catching a cold.
Always start on a small dosage of Grapefruit Seed Extract. If the Candida is killed off too quickly, a mild toxic reaction, with symptoms similar to flu, may be experienced. Start with four drops in a little water or juice, three times a day before meals for four days. Then, increase the dose to ten drops three times a day and after a further seven days increase to fifteen drops three times a day. As a maintenance dosage and to prevent the Candida from increasing again, I take a capsule a day, which contains a measured 15-drop dose. Grapefruit Seed Extract is available from most health food shops, but I tend to buy online at Higher Nature who I find carry most of the quality supplements I take.
Other natural remedies
Garlic is also an excellent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. It is also a good idea to take acidophilus after a course of antibiotics. Each capsule contains billions of good bacteria, which help to re-populate the intestine. I usually take a pro-biotic every six weeks or so to help maintain healthy intestinal flora and the strength I use is 3 billion.
Aloe Vera gel is helpful to counteract the deficiencies resulting from Candida. It also helps keep body in an optimum alkaline state which is not great for the fungus.
Candida sufferers will always have to follow a sensible diet, with plenty of fresh foods, including fruit. Some people say you should not eat fruit if you suffer from Candida. My theory is that fruit provides natural sugars that our bodies are well able to process. It is the refined sugars that the body has difficulty processing. Fruit is so good for us that it would be very wrong to exclude it from the diet. Recent research on the effect of natural sugars in fruit on an overgrowth has also found little connection. I have also found that a little honey now and then on my porridge does me no harm at all. Again, it is a natural sugar that all mammals have enjoyed for millions of years.
After two or three weeks following these recommendations, you will begin to notice significant improvements in your general well-being. Your energy levels will have returned to normal, any allergy symptoms will have improved dramatically and lots of niggling aches and pains that you probably put down to age will have eased. As these improvements occur, make a note of them. They will be your barometer. For example, when my ears begin to itch inside, I know that I have overdone the sugars and I go back to a sugar-free program and the Grapefruit Seed Extract for a few days. This is a condition that you have to manage by diet, so it is important to get to know the signals your body is sending you.
Recipe for Irish Soda Bread.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees – put the rack mid oven. Prepare two 14inch bread tins – I use greaseproof paper cut to size and a little olive oil around the tin so that the paper sticks.
Ingredients – for two loaves.
- 600gm strong whole wheat plain flour (or 500gm flour and 100gm porridge oats)
- two teaspoons of baking powder
- Two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
- Two teaspoons of salt
- Two teaspoons of sugar
- Two eggs
- 600ml milk (I use full fat) or buttermilk/Kefir
Juice of two lemons (to sour the milk if not using Buttermilk or yoghurt)
- Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir – leave for about 15 minutes until it thickens.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl (add porridge oats)
- Add in the bicarbonate, baking powder, sugar and salt
mix in gently.
- Pour in the soured milk and using a fork gently stir together.
- Add in two eggs and mix in.
- Pour the mixture into the tins and place in the hot oven for approximately 60 minutes. Check after 50 and the loaves should have risen and be brown on top.
- When baked take the loaves out of the oven and remove from tins. (peel of the paper if you have used)
- You will know they are cooked if they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom of the loaf.
- Wrap in clean tea towels to stop the crust getting too crisp and leave on a rack until cool.
- I wrap one in Clingfilm and put in freezer and because there are no preservatives you need to eat over a couple of days. I keep one in the fridge.
©sallygeorginacronin 1998 – 2018