What is candida?
Candida is a fungus that lives in everyone’s gut, mouth and other mucous membranes and normally does no harm at all. However, under certain conditions, it can overgrow and cause symptoms such as thrush, digestive problems or fungal nail infections. More rarely it can become systemic, which means it gets into the bloodstream and affects the whole body.
Symptoms of candida
This list is not exhaustive, but includes some of the main symptoms (you don’t need to suffer from all of these).
- Recurrent headaches
- Leaky gut
- Skin issues (eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes)
- Strong sugar or carbohydrate cravings
- Digestive problems like IBS, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Recurrent kidney infection or cystitis
- Mood disorders
- Chronic aches and pains
- Dark rings under the eyes (although this can be other things too)
- Skin and nail fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus
- Jock itch
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus or brain fog
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Autoimmune conditions
- People suffering from systemic candida infections often have ‘feel ill all over’.
The problem is ‘some’ of these symptoms overlap with other issues. Many people think they have candida, but don’t. Instead symptoms may be caused by parasites, food sensitivities or liver dysfunction.
The link between candida and minerals
To really understand and treat candida, we need to look to copper and zinc. When copper is deficient or unavailable to us (which it is for many), yeast can thrive, as copper acts as a fungicide. Yeast also depletes zinc which leads to more biounavailable copper.
Balancing this copper and zinc is therefore key to treating candida.
To see what’s happening with your minerals, I recommend a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis.
How do you test for Candida overgrowth?
There are many tests out there depending on your symptoms and budget. Testing can be accurate for some, but isn’t always 100%. Certain tests are better than others. The best plan is to work with your nutritionist to determine what symptoms you have and whether testing is appropriate.
Comprehensive Stool Testing
This is a popular traditional option. This will check for Candida in your colon or lower intestines. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be effective.
Newer stool tests
There are newer ways to detect gut bugs. The ‘GI Effects test’ is an advanced stool test that uses new technologies. This is done via a new process (called PCR) which works by checking the DNA of the bacteria. The test measures bacteria, yeasts & pathogens, as well as markers for digestive function and gut inflammation.
This is an extensive test that tests for many things including yeasts. Please see here for more info. OAT tests.
How do you treat Candida?
My Candida plan varies according to different clients, but here’s a few of things I suggest:
- Ensuring a good diet, avoiding sugar where possible. I don’t suggest limiting carbohydrates ‘too’ much, as I believe we need ‘some’ in our diets.
- Treating any mineral deficiencies or imbalances (primarily balancing copper and zinc).
- Certain vitamins like vitamin B1 and biotin can help in the treatment of candida.
- Certain enzymes can be really helpful for some.
- Stopping the candida overgrowth with a rotating selection of antifungals and certain nutrients. (This is a really important step to get right, many people recommend certain antifungals that are too strong and wipe out your good bacteria too).
- Healing the gut, ensuring good digestion and restoring good bacteria.
- The liver, immune system and adrenals all need to be supported too. When you get rid of candida you can get detox symptoms, so this support is crucial in order the body doesn’t crash and recirculate the yeast.
Please feel free to contact me if you wish to look further into this at firstname.lastname@example.org.