Candida overgrowth is one of the most common conditions I would see in my clinic, especially among my autoimmune patients. I’ve seen thousands of patients suffer from digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more, all caused by Candida overgrowth.
I have also seen the incredible transformation that they experience by beating Candida overgrowth. I’ve witnessed the return of energy, vitality, and mental clarity, and chronic symptoms fade away.
You might be wondering, “What on earth is Candida?” Candida is a fungus, a form of yeast that lives in your mouth and intestines in small amounts. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption. However, when it is overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream. This releases toxic byproducts into your body and causes leaky gut. It can also lead to many different health problems ranging from digestive issues to depression.
How do you get Candida overgrowth?
The healthy or ‘good’ bacteria in your gut typically keep your Candida levels in check. However, the Candida population can get out of hand if a round of antibiotics kills too many of the friendly bacteria, you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the Candida), high alcohol intake, are taking oral contraceptives, or any number of other factors including a high-stress lifestyle. Even a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles, can feed Candida and cause an overgrowth.
10 Common Candida Symptoms
Candida has the unique ability to change shape in order to protect itself from harsh environments. It responds to a shift in temperature or acidity levels by transforming from a rounded yeast cell into an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated cells have the ability to permeate the gut lining, causing leaky gut. Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues. This means that Candida can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem. It can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere. For this reason, symptoms of Candida overgrowth can be experienced in many different forms.
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
- Skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Do you think you have Candida overgrowth? Take this simple quiz to find out!
The Candida & Autoimmune Connection
Once Candida has penetrated your intestinal lining and caused your gut to become leaky, it opens the floodgates for undigested food particles, toxins, viruses, and bacteria to pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system in an attempt to fight off these foreign “invaders.” As your gut remains leaky, your immune system continues sending out wave after wave of inflammation, and soon gets stressed, weakened, confused, and begins firing less accurately. When this happens, your own body’s tissues can end up in the crosshairs of your immune system. Over time this can lead to the development of a full-blown autoimmune disease.
How do you test for Candida overgrowth?
IgG, IgA and IgM Candida Antibodies
Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and they can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it.
Remember, Candida has the ability to suppress the immune system so it is important to ask your doctor to test your total IgG, IgA and IgM levels along with the Candida antibodies. Low levels of total IgG, IgA or IgM could cause a false negative response to the Candida antibodies, meaning you have Candida but since your immune system is lowered, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. I see so many patients with suppressed immune systems, so I find that blood tests can often be negative even when the stool or urine tests are positive.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Often, I will see clues on a CBC that let me know that Candida is present. A low white blood cell count (WBC) has been associated with Candida overgrowth. It has also been associated with a pattern of high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count. These are non-specific to Candida, yet I can tell you I see this pattern very frequently in patients with Candida overgrowth.
I personally find this to be the most accurate test available. This will check for Candida in your colon or lower intestines. However, you need to make sure that your doctor orders a comprehensive stool test rather than the standard stool test. With the stool test, your stool is directly analyzed for levels of Candida. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be effective.
Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test
This test detects D-Arabinitol a waste product of Candida overgrowth. An elevated test means an overgrowth of Candida. This test will determine if there is Candida in your upper gut or small intestines.
How do you treat Candida overgrowth?
Effectively treating Candida involves stopping the overgrowth, restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check, and repairing your gut so that Candida can no longer enter your bloodstream. I accomplish this with a simple three-wave attack in my 30-day Candida Breakthrough® Program. The steps are as follows:
- Step 1: First, you need to starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet. This means cutting all sugar and alcohol and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes.
- Step 2: Next, you’ll want to attack the Candida by taking supplements that destroy Candida’s cell walls. I use Candifense® as well as Caprylic Acid. Candifense® supports microbe balance in the GI tract and discourages the growth of yeast. Caprylic Acid creates an inhospitable environment for yeast, and it’s able to penetrate intestinal mucosal cells to exert its effects. Both Candifense® and Caprylic Acid are excellent at breaking down the walls of Candida cells.
- Step 3: Finally, you will repopulate your gut with good bacteria using a high-potency probiotic to keep Candida under control. While battling Candida, I recommend a probiotic supplement containing 100 billioncolony-forming units (CFUs) to restore your gut’s healthy microbial balance.