Candida: What causes an overgrowth?

There are many factors that can contribute to a gut microflora imbalance, but Candida overgrowth is the result of two major reasons:

  1. Death of good microbes: This can be due to stress, antibiotics, and Common triggers include a stress, antibiotics, the birth control pill, and . We will be going over 6 factors in depth What triggered your Candida? Was it your diet, a course of antibiotics, or a prolonged period of stress?
  2. Diet/conditions that favour candida overgrowth: This includes high sugar diets, too many inflammatory foods, excessive alcohol consumption and an overconsumption of fermented foods.

Death of good Microbes:

The death of good bacteria in the gut plays a large role in candida overgrowth. When we have a sufficient amount of good bacteria, Candida albicans have no room to colonize. Unfortunately the balance of good gut microflora can be compromised by things like stress, taking a round of antibiotics and the pill can compromise the good bacteria in the gut.

  1. Stress: Anyone who has been stressed out for a long period of time can agree that stress causes a bunch of physical symptoms. However, what we may not realize is what it does to our digestive system and how it contributes to candida overgrowth. When we are chronically stressed, out body enters into “fight or flight mode”. In the fight or flight mode, our blood sugar is raised and hydrochloric acid production (needed for digestion) comes to a halt. When we aren’t properly breaking down and eliminating our food, it sits in the gut, waiting to be fed on by harmful pathogens. Your immune system is also weakened from stress which takes away your body’s natural defences against stress.
  2. Antibiotics: When you're prescribed antibiotics, it's to fight some sort of bacterial infection. And as these prescriptions are designed to do, they kill off the bacteria – both bad and good. The good bacteria in our guts play a key role in digesting food, keeping our immune system healthy and serotonin production. With the good and bad bacteria out of the picture, fungus, like candida move in and multiply rapidly. Candida albicans no longer need to compete for space and nutrients in your gut and they hide from your immune system. As they grow out of control, they release more and more toxic byproducts causing headaches and fatigue.
  3. Oral Contraceptives: hormonal imbalances caused from birth control pills can greatly affect the hormonal balance in the body. When the hormonal balance is off it creates great conditions for candida to thrive. Estrogen, the major ingredient in the pill, is known to promote the growth of yeast. These studies outline research where women who are on the pill are more prone to yeast infections.

Diet/conditions that favour candida overgrowth:

This includes high sugar diets, too many inflammatory foods, excessive alcohol consumption and an overconsumption of fermented foods.

  1. A high sugar dietfull of inflammatory, anti-nutrient foods, is exactly what Candida albicans needs to thrive. It’s not hard to eat a high sugar diet with all the processed foods that are readily available. Refined sugars and carbohydrates are everywhere you look - even in the foods you’d least expects. Bread, vegetable juices, processed meats, pasta, alcohol, and cereals all contain added sugar and are creating the perfect recipe for candida overgrowth.

  2. Excessive amounts of gluten and grains: Grains do provide essential vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, magnesium and iron however those carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body, feeding the Candida. The gluten in grains like wheat, oats, barley and rye can also trigger inflammation in people who are sensitive and impair gut integrity. Especially if you’re actively working on healing your digestive system and treating a Candida infection, keep these off the menu. My love your guts program offers loads of grain-free recipes!

  3. Increased amounts of fermented foods: Kombucha is the biggest health trend right now and for a good reason. It can provide good amount if of probiotics and is generally a low cal drink. However, kombucha contains strains of yeast and little amounts of alcohol which can make candida worse. Other fermented foods such as store bought pickles or packaged kimchi are mass produced and filled with sugar, vinegar and other additives to give it that fermented taste. This can also feed candida if it is over-consumed. Clean, cultured fermented foods such as coconut water kefir, coconut yogurt, or a probiotic rich brine cultivated from a safe started culture can be beneficial after a candida cleanse. They provide a good amount of lacto-acid bacteria which will support your good bacteria when your gut is healed.

Overall, fermented foods are a controversial topic when it comes to the candida diet. My recommendation is to stay completely off of them during your cleanse unless you are willing to find a natural source of fermentation, or if you are willing to ferment your own using a clean organic starter culture.

The causes of Candida include a high sugar diet, antibiotics, chronic stress, the contraceptive pill, excess gluten/grains and increased consumption of processed fermented foods. Usually, two or more of these triggers are to blame. For example, a diet full of inflammatory foods and sugars is more likely to cause a Candida overgrowth when combined with a course of antibiotics.

In my Love Your guts 28 day program, I go over the three phases to beating candida using diet, a supplement schedule, and extra detox strategies.

 

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