The Candida Myth Busted

Assorted fruit

I wrote a little about why the words “I am doing the candida diet” annoy me so much on my Facebook page yesterday and, this morning, was still thinking about it and how I haven’t gone deep enough on this site about how this “blanket” diagnosis and the ensuing one-size-fits-all “quit sugar” prescription that is shouted from the rafters of internet hell.

“What on earth would make me more ‘all knowing and all seeing’ than the average Anti-Candida diet?” you may ask.  

The answer:: BASIC BIOCHEMISTRY!!! 

Let’s first address the pure definition of candida (or candida albicans) which is a fungal organism or yeast that lives within the GI tract.  It is a pathogen that lives in every body regardless of health.  It is balanced out by the good or “friendly” bacteria that also lives in the GI tract.  You can’t eradicate it and, frankly, even pathogens such as candida albicans and e.coli serve a purpose in the body.  For example, they make the intestines slightly acidic which retard the growth of illness causing bacteria.

Some of the symptoms of a candida overgrowth are as follows::

  1. Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
  2. Feeling fatigued or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  3. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  4. Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  5. Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  6. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  7. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  8. Vaginal infections or oral thrush, urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  9. Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  10. Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

How many of you raised your hands and said “I have a candida overgrowth!”?

Here’s the thing.  Every single one of those symptoms have a root cause and NONE of those symptoms have a root caused by candida.  Did I blow your mind yet?  Furthermore, NONE of those symptoms or disorders are mutually exclusive with candida.  They could be exacerbated by candida but aren’t necessarily caused by candida. Doctors make things worse by isolating symptoms and overprescribing antibiotics and/or steroids which can aggravate issues.

Let me be clear before we go any further.  Some of these symptoms can be caused by candida but, as we will discuss in the next sentence, digging a bit deeper and going to the root of the reason for candida is going to be crucial if, indeed, you have a candida overgrowth.

Candida overgrowth happens when immunity is reduced.  In fact, Candidemia, a potentially deadly form of candidiasis, that occurs when candida overgrowth is so prevalent that it crosses into the bloodstream is a common concern in those with compromised immunity such as those with HIV or AIDS.  Those with any kind of compromised immunity generally have a deficiency in IgA antibodies which exist in secretions and on surfaces at such levels that keep candida from the potential for overgrowth.

Those with hypothyroidism have an IgA deficiency which means their secretions are more susceptible to candida overgrowth. Diabetics also have a propensity to candidiasis as do those with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.  Even those with reactive hypoglycemia might find themselves with greater chances for candida symptoms.

Now the big shocker.  Those with estrogen dominance have one of the biggest risk factors for candida overgrowth due to the fact that excess estrogen feeds the yeast.  Estrogen does this normally in order to alkalize the vagina during ovulation to protect sperm from the acidic nature of an acidic vagina.  The problem is when estrogen “hangs around” unopposed in the body or by progesterone, as is what happens with estrogen dominance, for the rest of the cycle, candida keeps feeding on the sugars raised by the excess estrogen which leads to candida overgrowth which causes vaginal yeast infections or vaginal thrush.

Also, excess estrogen blocks the Thymic gland from functioning properly thus decreasing immune function since the maturation of T-cells, the body’s primary immunity, is the responsibility of the Thymic gland.

“What the heck is a T-cell??”  Let’s just say it’s the T-cells in the body that protect from candida, other illnesses, and even cancer.

Some estrogens such as 4-hydroxy and 16-hydroxy estrones are, by their very nature, carcinogens as studies have shown women with elevated of 16-hydroxy estrogen have a high rate of breast cancer.  This fact, coupled with the fact that they feed yeast and suppress immune function make correcting estrogen dominance imperative to balanced health.

What’s worse than these facts is that every single Anti-Candida diet recommends getting rid of every bit of sugar in the diet to eradicate candida.  But here’s the thing; well nourished yeasts (as yeasts do thrive on sugar) rarely pose a problem providing sugar isn’t pounds of excess sugars hidden in every day foods.  Fruits and small amounts of natural sugars like maple syrup, raw honey and, indeed, small amounts of cane sugar in the course of a largely unprocessed Real Foods way of eating help keep candida at bay because sugars are processed higher up in the intestine and trickle down into the lower intestine where they nourish bacteria (both good and those considered bad).

Side note:: Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) stimulate yeasts (as they stimulate excess estrogens) while healthy saturated fats suppress yeasts as they are, by nature, antibacterial.

When yeast isn’t nourished they project invasive filaments into the wall of the intestine in search of sugar.  These invasive filaments can cause perforations in the GI tract as they advance into the bloodstream and, if not quickly destroyed by white blood cells, grow exponentially and can overtake the system.

Remember, a no sugar diet raises cortisol and increases stress in the body and reduces immunity. No matter how good a very low or no carb may feel, it is only because of the surge of stress hormones enabling your “fight or flight” response. Long term use of this way of eating will impair the thyroid leading to a suppressed metabolism.  Eating natural sugars like ripe fruits and juices nourishes yeast and is pro-thyroid which not only combats stress in the body, lowering cortisol, but also stimulates IgA secretions.

Also, nutrition is not the only reason for cortisol surges.  Reducing stress factors in your life or employing tactics that help you deal with stress such as meditation, yoga or gentle exercises also keep cortisol under control.

What’s the bottom line? Treating the root causes of what would increase candida, estrogen dominance, leaky gut, thyroid dysfunction, immune deficiency, is a vastly superior method to merely treating candida as the treatment will most assuredly lead to more factors for the growth of candida.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Tahlia says

    I toast you, really I do. Cheers. I often read your posts and sometimes feel you give the most realistic advice on the internet. Like your information is genuine and not pitched as a platform for significance for just your own self. I sometimes feel that the new crazed topic of health & fitness is just disguised as another platform for people who are only looking for fame, but with yours I really do admire you for getting up on stage and sharing some really great and well researched advice. Thank you.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Thank you for that huge compliment. The craziness irritates me to no end. I do hope what I put out there IS significant but for readers and clients, not for the sake of being significant because there’s just too much trash, too many people out there spouting nutrition ideology! I’m glad to know someone is listening.

  2. Mina says

    Such a wonderful post ,I was waiting for a long time for this and it all makes sense to me.
    Before getting to you ,I was on a NO_sugar diet based on my bloodtype and seprating carbs from protein …I was living DEAD…no joy ..the foods were like those for sick and without any joy (NO OIL OF ANY KIND NOT TO MENTION BUTTER N GHEE N COCONUT ONE WAS ENEMIES) Something in me was screaming this is not the life Im supposed to live..while they have assured my mind being it “healthy” but it has no life in it and above all I had lots of hypoglycemic reactions,horrible panick attacks and feeling devastated to reach some sugar ,while i had a horrible leaky gut.Im so happy i found you and have reconciled again with the bone broth n fish head and all real foods n also having sugar and above all ENJOY.
    living ur real food consultation is the biggest wish of me n i can see myself in it..its not here now but its mine ..SOON happens and its what makes me feel peace to heal n have a great bond with luxurious foods.
    God Bless you Jacqueline.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Mina, thanks for the kind words. I hope one day to get to “meet” you in a consultation and so thrilled that you are finding the advice helpful and you are eating REAL food again.

  3. nell says

    I had some coarse unwanted hair on both sides of my chins and in the recent 3 months they have SPREAD and INCREASED madly ..even above my lips ive grown one and im sure it will spread there too..They r so annoying ,I wax but they r so coarse and black and for being waxed the next time they should reach a certain length..pretty annoying.
    Do you know any kind of Essential oil in reducing the amount or thining the hairs?Any solution?
    Thanks

    • thedetoxdiva says

      Start getting your estrogen under control and add some progesterone and perhaps even pregnenolone to your supplements. Can’t help with any essential oil recommendations, I am afraid. I would suggest laser over waxing!

  4. nell says

    How to get my estrogen under control?
    how many of pills should I be eating?will a progesterone cream do the treat?do they have any special timings in my cycle to be used?

    • thedetoxdiva says

      That’s not a one sentence answer. You should not be thinking of eating pills and I recommend a progesterone oil and yes, progesterone must be used at specific times, not every single day of your cycle.

  5. Donna says

    I, too would like to thank you for this. I manage support groups all over the internet for sleep disorders and a few yrs ago started watching a certain “doctor” who says magnesium cures everything, and her other “thing” was Candida. When her office was raided in Canada (bet you have heard of her) they took 46 random patient files, and each had the same diagnosis, plus had been charged, etc illegally for these tests, and so on. The blood tests were never even run, and she eventually lost her license from the university, plus was stripped of her license in New York and CA. I have the court papers to prove it. anyway, the craziness that pervades the internet and all the “magic cures” are enough to send me over the edge some days. They never end, and it amazes me every day that people are so anxious to throw their money away. shaking my head.

  6. Deb says

    Hi and great reading.. It’s so difficult to know which information to trust and which not to..
    Can I ask where did you sourest yours from ? Is it backed up by any medical bodies etc ?
    I’m a suger addict and really do need to decrease the amounts I’m eating but don’t want to eliminate fruit from me diet so I’d like to know that was the way to go.. Also is taking coconut oil internally and topically okay ?
    Thanks.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      You need to look at the TYPE of sugar you are eating…. Of course my sources are based on scientific publications, not just my opinion and yes, taking coconut oil internally and topically are fine.

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