How to Control Yeast Infection
Let’s start by saying there are hundreds of species of yeast. Within that vast family, there are two distinct “types” that concern our health: the first is the Yeast we use as or in food which is called nutritional Yeast or Brewer’s Yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and the second is the Yeast that we find growing in the body. Let’s discuss the latter type of yeast that grows in our bodies. Although there are many groups of yeast that may be found in the body, the majority come from a group called Candida. When yeast overgrows in or on the body it is often referred to as Candidiasis.
What is Candidiasis?
Candida yeast is a natural substance typically found in the intestine. However, for people with an overgrowth of candida yeast, it can be found all over the body and cause a whole lot of problems. Candida species are a natural and normal type of flora typically found in the human intestine. However, for people with an overgrowth of candida, it can cause damage to the intestines and spread to most other parts of the body. It can cause many symptoms and a lot of suffering.
The overgrowth of candida is a hidden epidemic in the United States. 66-80% of the American public has an overgrowth of yeast, and at least 40% of people with an overgrowth will experience related symptoms. Candida yeast is a natural substance typically found in the intestine. However, for people with an overgrowth of candida yeast, it can be found all over the body and cause a whole lot of problems.
The overgrowth of candida yeast is a hidden epidemic in the US. 66-80% of the American public has an overgrowth of yeast, and at least 40% of people with an overgrowth will experience related symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
- Cravings for starchy or sugary foods
- Itching or scaling on the scalp, especially just above the neck
- Itchy ears or ringing in the ears
- White coated tongue or spots on the back of the throat (that don’t respond to antibiotics/may get worse with antibiotics)
- Digestion problems, bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, or both back and forth, irritable bowel state or having constant diarrhea
- Athletes food
- Fungal nail infections (hands or feet)
- Unexpected weight gain
- Related to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
- Related to autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis
What causes a candida overgrowth?
Inside our gut, we have two competing groups of flora. One group of flora digest simple carbohydrates like sugar, processed grain (flour), starchy foods such as corn, white potatoes and white rice, chips, or alcohol. Basically, anything processed, sweet or starchy.
The other group digests complex carbohydrates. The most complex carbohydrates are so long and complicated that the body cannot completely break them down during their transit through the body. These we call fiber such as that which comes from produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, or any other fibrous food. It is important to feed the fiber-loving flora to create a great balance in the body.
It’s important that these two groups remain in balance with one another. If one group of bacteria were to disappear, the gastro intestinal environment would drastically change!
Certain circumstances can cause total depletion of the bacteria that digests complex carbs; perhaps you have just taken a course of antibiotics, or you are suffering from chronic stress. Even worse is when we become addicted to sweets or bread.
When one group of flora weakens, the other group strengthens. So, with the reduced bacteria that digest complex carbs comes a huge increase in the flora that digests simple carbohydrates and a vast increase in candida yeast.
So all it takes is a course of antibiotics, binge eating, or chronic stress, and you will have a monstrous overgrowth of candida yeast.
What happens next?
Nutritional deficiencies are a direct result of candida overgrowth because the yeast is sticky and blocks the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from foods. People who have candidiasis will often suffer from certain B-vitamin deficiencies, pernicious anemia, as well as zinc, magnesium, calcium and trace mineral deficiencies.
Leaky gut syndrome is also closely associated with candida overgrowth. Toxins from waste products and even the yeast itself can escape into the bloodstream and cause tons of issues. Many species of yeast produce tartaric acid, which can crystallize in the bloodstream and cause intense pain and fatigue. For more information on the effects of tartaric acid, read our Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue blog post.
Cravings for simple carbs are also a result. Can you see the vicious circle forming?
What do we do about this?
It’s not a quick fix. Even in the best cases, it can take three months to normalize intestinal health. But don’t worry, I can advise you on the three stages of healing and help get you back to your best self.
Stage 1 – Get a foundation of health that will help strengthen your cells and give you proper nutritional support. I want you feeling better so that you are motivated to get well.
I recommend a variety of dense vegetable protein sources (seed, legume and nut proteins). Ideally, these are always organic and found in powdered form (make smoothies!) or in whole food form but sprouted or fermented. Clean, organic sources of animal proteins will work as well: organic eggs, poultry, bison, beef, lamb, goat, and wild-caught fish or game.
Take in at least 3-4 servings per day- 2-3 servings of vegetable protein (one serving of vegetable protein will be approximately twice the size and thickness of the palm of your hand) and 1-2 servings of animal protein (1 x the thickness of the palm of your hand) per day.
All of this protein will give you some much-needed energy, get you feeling more positive, and will get you geared up for the healing process.
Fatty acids will help decrease the intestinal inflammation that comes with candida overgrowth and assists in soothing any related pain that you might have.
A rule of thumb is that you should be taking in at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you are doing intense exercises, or are battling heat, such as the Arizona summer like me, then you need more.
Stage 2 – Regain intestinal health, develop a balance in the bacteria, and begin a detox program.
To achieve balance in the intestine, I recommend using a high dose, wide spectrum probiotic to deliver the proper diversity of bacteria that is required to recover from candida overgrowth.
Balancing the bacteria in the gut will kickstart detoxification by itself, but you need to make additional changes to your diet to normalize your yeast levels. The most important thing is to increase your fiber. Fiber is like a cleanser for your gut, so reach for seeds, nuts, legumes, and vegetables, especially leafy greens. If you are harboring bacteria or yeast who prefer a toxic environment, you may need to detox in order to create inner peace. For further advice and a more in-depth detox plan, then check out our detoxification blog post.
Stage 3 – Additional support for potential long term cases.
If you have been battling an imbalance in your gut for many years, you may need to engage in what is called a biofilm turnover program. This is a method where proteolytic and plant enzymes are used to remove the build-up of yeast and then it is replaced with a new mucous layer that will grow a diverse and healthy mixture of flora.
If you think this might be your situation, please contact our office.
Now you know:
- What candida yeast is (and it’s not the yeast used to make your food!)
- The symptoms of a yeast overgrowth
- The causes of yeast overgrowth and what is happening in your body
- What you can do to normalize and control your yeast levels
- The three stages of the healing process
For a more in-depth discussion of candida yeast overgrowth and more information on the recovery process, listen to my talk on controlling yeast infections.
- Book a free, fifteen-minute consultation to discuss your concerns and see how we might be able to help you achieve your health care goals.
- Check out the following Dr Sandy audio downloads: