Written By Eeka King B.H.Sc (Acup)
Candida is the short name used to describe yeast overgrowth in the body. The technical term is Candidiasis. Candida is a yeast that is a single cell fungi that belongs to the vegetable kingdom. One family “Candida Albicans” is a fungus that is normally present on the skin and in mucous membranes such as the vagina, mouth, or rectum. The fungus also can travel through the blood stream and affect the throat, intestines, and heart valves. It is one of the billions of other friendly organisms that serve a useful purpose in the body. One of its important functions is to recognize and destroy harmful bacteria.Candida is not intended to overgrow and get out of control while the body is alive. This is only intended to happen when the body dies, when its function and characteristics change in order to break down the body. When Candida Albicans is under control it poses no problem, but when it gets out of control (when there is some change in the body environment such as immune-suppression) it begins to overgrow causing numerous symptoms and health problems from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, from migraines to nail fungus. It can result in symptoms inside (pain and malfunction of organs, even brain lesions) and outside (eczema and hives). It can also cause problems with the mind and emotions.Common causes of Candida overgrowth includes:
- Poor Diet
- Depressed immune system
- Environmental Issues
- Drugs and vaccines
- Contraceptive pill
Some of the symptoms of Candida overgrowth include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Decreased libido
- Bloating/gas/intestinal cramping
- Rectal itching/altered bowel function
- Bladder infections
- Menstrual complaints
- Depression/irritability/inability to concentrate/mood disorders
- Allergies or food intolerances/chemical sensitivities/low immune function
The list goes on . . .
Successful treatment of chronic Candida overgrowth requires correct dietary choices over the long term and a strict dietary program over the short term. It also requires persistence on your behalf. Herbal medicine, nutritional supplementation and acupuncture can greatly aid treatment and prevent recurrence. At Bayside Acupuncture we have put together a program to support you to overcome candida overgrowth. Once you have eliminated the foods from your diet that feed candida, we can help you herbally and energetically build your immune system, accelerate the eradication and clearance of the yeast out of your body with specialty products and help to plant the good bacteria back in your digestive tract.
There is also a Print out sheet with all the foods you are able to enjoy on the Candida cleanse! Pop it on your fridge.
The Candida Control Program (adapted from Bee Wilder)
In order to get Candida overgrowth under control four things need to be done simultaneously:
- Eliminate foods that feed Candida
- Build up the immune system
- Kill off Candida overgrowth
- Plant good bacteria in the digestive tract
Step 1: Eliminate foods that feed Candida
- Sugar of all kinds, including fruit and dairy (except butter).
- Foods high in carbohydrates.
- All grains, nuts, seeds and legumes
Candida overgrowth is mainly fuelled by:
- refined carbohydrates
- gluten grains
Candida’s main food supply is sugar and all forms of it such as lactose contained in dairy products (except butter), honey, maple syrup, molasses, glucose, fructose, lactose, and sugar substitutes, i.e. NutraSweet, aspartame, saccharin, etc. – see list below. Eliminating sugar is the most important part of the Candida Program.
Names for Sugar and Sweeteners
Aspartame, carob powder, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanat, xylitol.
BEWARE: avoid all processed and packaged foods, sauces, condiments etc as sugar is in everything!
All fruits, except lemons and limes, are also very high in sugar (fructose) and should not be eaten until you have cured your candida. Some vegetables that are also high in sugar must also be eliminated, i.e. carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets and others. Even though lemons and limes are allowed on the candida diet, providing many health benefits, they should not be consumed in large amounts because they contain fructose, which will feed candida.
Eliminate foods high in carbohydrates
Candida also feeds on high carbohydrate foods such as starches and grains, i.e. breads, pasta, pizza, cereals, baked goods, and potatoes. Vegetables high in carbohydrates include beans, beets, squash, zucchini, corn, peas, parsnips and carrots. All carbohydrates eaten turn into glucose (blood sugar), but only 58% of the protein and about 10% of the fat eaten are converted to glucose. After being off all sugar and grains for a few days you will find your craving for both of them will decrease. A high-complex-carbohydrate diet is nothing more than a high-glucose diet or a high-sugar diet, albeit a little harder to digest.
These are all good reasons why Candida sufferers must eliminate starches and grains, and some high carb vegetables.
Eliminate all grains, seeds, nuts and legumes
Note: Legumes (French) are plants with seed pods, i.e. beans and peas, but not green, yellow or string beans.
All grains feed Candida because they have a high glycemic index just like sugar, and like sugar they feed Candida and create insulin resistance within the cells.
Also, some grains contain gluten, which is an elastic gluey protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut, triticale, and it is hidden in an endless variety of processed foods.
Grains that are safer to consume are more seed-like than grain-like, and they do not contain gluten. These grains include amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa. Brown rice is also a safe grain. However, these grains are high in carbs, like all other grains, which feeds candida. They should not be consumed until you’ve progressed far enough on the candida program so your body can handle them. Some people who are losing weight too rapidly might have to eat small amounts of safe grains to stop their weight loss, but even then they should only consume a maximum of 1/4 cup per day.
Even when it is safe for you to consume grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, they must all be properly prepared in order to make them fit to eat. This is because they all contain phytic acid which combines with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption. This is why a diet high in such foods may lead to serious mineral deficiencies, bone loss and other related diseases, including Parkinson’s, and erratic unstable heart beats. Also improperly processed grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, bran, etc. can cause irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, and many other adverse affects.
Proper preparing involves soaking which allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid and their protein blocking enzymes. Therefore all grains must be properly soaked, spouted or leavened (fermented) with sour dough, to make them fit for anyone to eat, and all nuts, seeds, and legumes must be soaked in an acidic medium or salt.
Step 2: Build up the immune system
Building up the immune system requires:
- Eating the right foods-What Can I eat?!?
- Taking essential supplements
- Avoiding yeast, mold and fungus
Some guidelines to the right food choices:
The “Candida Control Diet” is a high protein and high fat diet (good saturated fats and oils), and a diet low in carbohydrates, sugars, grains or processed foods. All foods must be as fresh and natural as possible, and free of additives, pesticides, heavy metals and irradiation.
Meats and fats should be from organic grass-fed free-range animals and from good oils such as coconut, palm and fish. Fish should be from non-farmed sources and as free of mercury and other pollutants as possible. Vegetables should be from reliable certified organic sources.
The best protein sources are meats that aren’t mass-produced, such as lamb, buffalo, bison, ostrich, venison or other wild game, or naturally-raised meat including poultry, eggs, beef, and pork.
Good Fats & Oils – Good fats and oils are equally important to protein in the diet and they are essential to getting Candida under control. They not only increase the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the foods eaten but also provide the most efficient source of energy. They also provide the building blocks for cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances.
The more appropriate kind of fat for health is saturated fat, in spite of what we’ve been led to believe, which plays many important roles in body chemistry. But saturated fats have been given a bad name by the oil and food manufacturing industry with the sole purpose of selling their products. This is also true for drug companies who perpetuate the cholesterol myth and low-fat diets in order to sell drugs.
The truth is, natural fats and oils have components found only in them, which are health-promoting, and the newfangled trans-fats are now known to be disease-causing. These health-giving saturated fats are stable and do not become rancid easily and they do not draw upon the body’s reserves of antioxidants nor do they initiate cancer or irritate the artery walls.
Healthy saturated fats are an important part of any healthy meal. It draws nutrients out of foods and slows digestion so that natural enzymes and the assimilation process can take place. Healthy saturated fats include butter, tallow, lard, and fish, palm and coconut oils.
Carbohydrates – Low carbohydrate consumption is an important aspect of the Candida Control Diet since high carbohydrate foods feed the Candida. Carbohydrate foods are any foods that are not protein or fat, including all vegetables, grains and fruits. Since grains and most fruit, except lemons, are eliminated on the Candida Control Diet this leaves a wide variety of vegetables that are healthy to consume. Vegetables with the lowest carbohydrate index are green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, spinach, asparagus, celery, peppers, kale, mustard greens, and Chinese cabbage. Some vegetables also inhibit the growth of Candida such as raw garlic, onions, horseradish, cabbage, broccoli, turnip, and kale.
The best way to eat plant foods is by lacto-fermenting them, i.e. sauerkraut, kimchi, etc. Lacto-fermentation means the friendly bacteria of the microscopic world do some digesting, but in a container. Lacto-fermented vegetables are pre-digested which makes them much easier for humans to digest than raw or cooked vegetables. Lacto-fermented vegetables also stabilize stomach acid in the stomach, meaning that if acid is too high they will lower it, and if acid is too low they will raise it. It is recommended that you eat at least one tablespoon of lacto-fermented vegetables with every meal. Buy unpasteurized organic sauerkraut from the health food store or make your own.
Taking essential supplements
Candida sufferers need to build up their immune system by supplementing with certain essential vitamins and minerals, which are yeast-free and sugar-free, including:
- Calcium/Magnesium, 800-1,200 mgs. of calcium with an equal ratio of magnesium.
- Organic Supergreens (Chlorella, Barley, Spirulina & Wheatgrass ) supplement
- Vitamin B Complex (non-yeast), 50 mgs. twice a day
- Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mgs. twice a day
- Vitamin D (with vitamin A) – take 1 teaspoon per 50 lbs. of body weight per day Or a high quality cod liver oil or fish oil
- Vitamin E, containing natural alpha tocopherol, (d-alpha tocopherol is synthetic), that is not from a soy source, 400 IU twice a day.
Avoiding yeast, mold and fungus
Elimination of yeast, mold and fungus in foods and the environment may be indicated for a number of Candida sufferers. Candida overgrowth can greatly increase the chances of an immune reaction to all types and forms of fungi. This results in an allergic response to yeast, mold and fungus, including mycotoxins. Many of our foods contain mycotoxins that are chemicals made by fungi.
Mycotoxins are found in grains and other processed foods that have been contaminated with fungi and mold, including processed meats. The most commonly contaminated crops are peanuts, corn, and wheat. Often, other foods such as barley, apples, sorghum and rye can also be contaminated. Antibiotics and alcohol are also mycotoxins.
Other yeasty foods and sources of fungi that must be avoided are:
- Leftover foods
- Vinegar and vinegar containing foods like mayonnaise, pickles, soy sauce, mustard and relishes
- Edible fungi: including all types of mushrooms and truffles
- Most commercial soups
- Processed and smoked meats: sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, pastrami, smoked fish, ham, bacon
- Fruit juices: all packaged fruit juices may potentially contain molds
- Dried fruits: raisins, apricots, prunes, figs, dates, etc.
- Pickled foods and most cheeses (moldy cheeses like Stilton are the worst), buttermilk, sour cream and sour milk products, including yogurt
- Dry roasted nuts
- Environmental molds can also adversely affect Candida sufferers and the only way to minimize exposure is to remove as much as possible from your home. Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, like Candida Albicans, whose purpose in the ecosystem is to break down dead materials, and they are everywhere.
Step 3: Kill off Candida overgrowth
There are many anti-fungal agents that kill off Candida overgrowth, including:
- foods such as garlic
- herbs such as olive leaf extract
- chinese herbal medicine (prescribed individually for your condition)
- Kandi-plex and Parex and/or anti-fungal medications
Garlic – Adding fresh garlic to food (raw and crushed), or crushing and swallowing raw clove is a cheap and powerful anti-fungal treatment. Garlic also stimulates the immune system, improves circulation, lowers high blood pressure, kills intestinal parasites, and is a powerful antioxidant and antibiotic, in addition to many other health benefits. To obtain the most benefit from garlic buy certified organic garlic and crush it. Crushing breaks the cell walls releasing garlic’s beneficial properties. To kill off Candida overgrowth take 4-5 average sized cloves per day mixed in foods or with meals. Another alternative is to drink 3-4 cups of garlic tea per day.
Olive Leaf Extract – Olive leaf extract can kill invading fungus rather than just inhibiting its growth. It contains a a phenolic compound called oleuropein, which has antiviral, anti-fungal, antiprotozoal, and antibacterial properties. Take as directed on the product label.
Nystatin – Nystatin is a broad spectrum fungicidal (kills fungus) drug available only by prescription in some countries. It is fast acting and well tolerated. It is easier to take than Caprylic Acid at the beginning of the Candida Control Program because it is not absorbed to any significant degree (Caprylic Acid penetrates the walls of the intestines), and therefore it is wonderful at attacking intestinal yeast. It is virtually free of side effects and drug interactions and is safe to take during pregnancy and while breast feeding. It comes as a cream for topical use, suspension (liquid) and tablets, but powder can be used both externally and internally. The suspension form is usually prescribed in amounts of 2 ml 2-4 times per day for infants and children. The tablets are prescribed in the amount of 2-3 tablets 2-4 times per day for older children and adults. Enemas with Nystatin are also beneficial.
Parex – prescribed to some individuals at Bayside Acupuncture, Parex is a herbal formula specifically designed to assist in managing dysbiosis and helping to rid the body of intestinal worms and parasites. Parex contains extracts from traditional bitter, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic and antihelmintic herbs such as black walnut, Chinese wormwood, barberry and gentian, as well as powerful antimicrobial essential oils. The potent herbs in this formulation help remove gastrointestinal organisms that may contribute to gut inflammation and increased intestinal permeability. They may also assist in the maintenance of healthy digestive function and reduce the risk of further infestation. Parex is the ideal supplement for the initial stage of a detoxification program.
Kandi-Plex – A herbal formula especially designed to kill Candida is available at the clinic.
Step 4: Plant good bacteria in the digestive tract
As the yeast overgrowth is being killed off by anti-fungal agents it is important to ingest a constant supply of probiotics. These are the ‘friendly’ or ‘beneficial’ bacteria, or micro organisms, that live in the digestive tract. As yeast colonies are reduced space becomes available for colonizing the other healthy bacteria. A ‘practitioner range only’ probiotic is recommended.
The Healing Crises
The Healing Crisis is an acute reaction that is the result of the activity of nature’s healing forces in overcoming chronic disease conditions. It is brought about when the body becomes overcrowded by wastes and toxins. Cells and tissues begin to throw off the waste and carry it from the bloodstream to various eliminating organs. When high numbers of candida are being killed off, any symptoms experienced while candida was out of control may intensify. This is different person to person, depending upon areas of their body that were most affected by candida overgrowth. Women who have had vaginal yeast infection will find these symptoms will become more intense and they may change as well. If someone has experienced a lot of digestive problems, their digestive upsets and disturbances will increase. If someone had a lot of head-related symptoms, their symptoms will become worse. And so on. Symptoms will get worse before they get better. Eventually your good days will increase and your bad days will decrease. Natural healing takes time, patience and persistence on your healing program.
Handling die-off symptoms
Die-off symptoms are caused by high numbers of yeast being killed off which releases a high number toxins into the system. In medical terms this is called the Herxheimer’s reaction, or yeast die-off phenomenon.
Die-off symptoms resemble the flu and can be very uncomfortable. They can be alleviated by:
- Taking 1,000 mgs of Vitamin C (preferably in powdered form in pure water) several times a day or whenever needed.
- Taking an Epsom salts bath also draws toxins out through the skin and helps minimized die-off symptoms (add two cups, or 500 grams, of Epsom salts to warm bath water).
- Often taking more Nystatin or Kandi-Plex, instead of less, will help alleviate symptoms.
Herring’s Law of cure and retracing
Knowing hering’s law of cure can help you to continue to overcome your candida; it is very important to understand the difference between a disease crises and those of a healing crises.
Hering’s law of cure states; “All cure starts from the head down, from within out, and in reverse order that the symptoms appeared throughout the person’s life”. This is nature’s way of righting some internal wrong; it is also known as retracing.
How long do I need to do the Candida control program for?
Most candida programs ask that you avoid sugar in all of its forms for at least 1 month to successfully kill off the yeast. It does vary from person to person and the rule of one month of healing for every year of the onset of symptoms can also apply. Hopefully after being on this diet for awhile some of these food choices and preparation practices will remain with you, as these are very good tips for achieving long term robust health. When your symptoms have disappeared you can add back natural sugars to your diet; Fruit, Honey, Maple syrup and properly prepared grains, nuts and legumes, yoghurt, kefir etc. Always be gentle with your body and slowly making changes to your diet is also important. If you have a big sugar addiction it may be beneficial to first remove this evil drug out of your diet for sometime before you go on to removing ‘natural’ sugars from fruits and grains.
Phone the clinic on 02 66851 088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment with Eeka.