Candida overgrowth is when Candida albicans, a yeast, colonizes in the gut and disrupts the microbiome of the body. Our gut flora plays a huge role in digestive health, mental health and immune system, but it can easily be lost after a course of antibiotics or periods of prolonged stress.
When we no longer have enough good bacteria in the gut, Candida albicans multiply rapidly and take over your gut causing a whole list of health issues. They release up to 78 different byproducts causing inflammation, toxicity, headaches, brain fog and more. While there are multiple causes of candida, they can usually fall into two categories:
- Death of good microbes due to: Stress, Antibiotics
- Diets/conditions that feed candida
Here are three of the biggest reasons for candida overgrowth:
Antibiotics are designed to kill a bacterial infection. However they are not smart enough to know what bacteria they need to kill, so they kill it all - good and bad. This is an issue for our gut, because the good bacteria plays a big role digestion, serotonin production and immune function.
When the good and bacteria get wiped out from antibiotics candida can move in and colonize. Candida no longer needs to compete for space and nutrients from the good bacteria, so they multiply rapidly, hiding from your immune system. As they grow out of control, they release more and more toxic byproducts causing headaches and fatigue.
High sugar diets:
Candida thrives off of sugar and inflammatory foods. Even if you think you eat clean, it’s not hard to find yourself eating excess sugar. Refined sugars are not only found in candy, pop and chocolate, but also in many quick carbohydrates. Bread, tortillas, pasta and crackers all contain added sugar. Even the less obvious foods such a pasta sauce, granola bars, protein powders and vegetable juices contain a ton of added sugar.
When we are chronically stressed, out body enters into “fight or flight mode”. During the fight or flight response 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 as cortisol rises which takes away your body’s natural defences against candida.
When it comes to beating candida there should be three key elements in your healing strategy. After reseting your gut, outlined in my love your guts program, you should first change your diet to eliminate as many sugars as possible. Second, you should kill off the bad bacteria with some natural antifungals. And third, you should get on a high quality probiotic to replenish your gut flora and prevent the Candida from coming back.
A low sugar diet:
Candida is dependent on sugars to feed, reproduce and protect itself from the immune system, so during a candida cleanse it has to be cut out. This includes all added sugars in the obvious foods such as candy, pop, cakes, and chocolate etc. It also includes glutenous grains and carbohydrates found in bread, tortillas, white rice, and alcohol. Finally, if you are serious about beating candida, a proper protocol involves cutting natural sugars found in fruit and starchy vegetables as well. Natural sugars are not the enemy in most cases, but Candida albicans see sugar for sugar and will feed off anything they can get.
So what does that leave? Lots of delicious foods! During the protocol you will find yourself moving towards a more nutritious diet and getting less cravings for sugar as candida begins to die off. Foods you can have include non-starchy vegetables, non-GMO soy, organic meats, fresh water fish, healthy fats, most nuts and seeds, and beans/legumes (in moderation)! By adopting a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet, you can reduce inflammation in your gut and deprive the Candida of what it needs to survive.
These guys are the good bacteria that live in the gut and do a great job at fighting off candida. You can take them in a supplement form or find them in fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and yogurt. During the cleanse, fermented foods are off the list as they are listed in the foods that feed candida, so probiotic supplementation is necessary.
When taking probiotics in a supplement form they compete with candida in the gut. They take up space and nutrients in the gut to ensure that candida doesn’t have room or the energy it needs to thrive. They also ensure that the gut is acidic. The acidity in the gut prevents candida from growing out of control. Finally, they boost your immune system so you are able to fight off candida effectively.
work against Candida by disrupting its cell walls. In combination with a low sugar diet, and probiotics you have the perfect recipe to overcome a candida overgrowth. There are many natural anti-fungals that will help with Candida. Herbal remedies like oregano oil and grapefruit seed extract are all potent natural anti-fungals.
You can add anti-fungals into your diet too. For example, coconut oil is a potent source of caprylic acid, and it also makes an excellent oil for cooking. Garlic is another food with some potent anti-fungal properties.
It is very important that you don’t start anti-fungals too early into your candida diet. In my Love Your Guts program, I recommend waiting a few weeks to ensure you don’t get too many “die off” symptoms. Die off symptoms occurs when too many candida cells are broken down too fast. The result is a bunch of toxins being released back into the body. In my multi-phase 28 day program I set you up with the perfect supplement regime that will ensure the best experience for your candida cleanse.
The last element to the candida protocol is binders. Activated charcoal is one key binding agent used in the Love Your Guts program. It is believed to decrease the toxic load on the body by greater than 60% when used daily. It binds to bacteria, viruses, yeast, toxic excretions and metabolic byproducts in the body and eliminates it through the digestive tract.
Treat Candida Fast
If you have been noticing digestive issues, brain fog, mood changes or any of the other common symptoms of candida, it is important you treat it right away. Candida overgrowth does not go away by itself, and it must be attacked from all angles.
The Love Your Guts program uses a combination of diet, supplements and extra detox strategies to help you have a fighting chance against candida.