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What is Candida?

August 27, 2020 by Val Shields
What is Candida?

Candida albicans is a natural organism (a species of yeast), that lives in the body - on our skin, in our mouth and in our gut. Candida can also live in warm, moist areas of the body, such as the rectum and vagina. 

Most of the time, Candida does not cause any problems with our health and the level of this yeast is usually kept in control by the colonies of ‘friendly’ bacteria and other microorganisms that live in our gut and on our body.

In small amounts, this natural yeast can aid in nutrient digestion and absorption, but an overgrowth can damage the intestinal lining and release toxic by-products directly into the circulatory system. If not addressed quickly, Candida overgrowth can become chronic and lead to fungal skin issues, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings and even seasonal allergies. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a direct correlation between vaginal yeast infections and simultaneous overgrowth of Candida in the digestive tract.(1)

Candida is an opportunistic organism, which means that in certain situations such as the overuse of antibiotics, high-sugar diets and certain micronutrient deficiencies, it will over-produce and rapidly multiply. The most damaging aspect of a Candida overgrowth is the fact that it can puncture holes through the intestinal lining.(2)    Due to the nature of this yeast, Candida grows roots like a tree as it spreads. These roots can tear through the intestinal wall looking for food which results in a permeable intestinal lining, otherwise known as leaky gut. Once the gut becomes leaky, toxins from the intestines like lipopolysaccharide (LPS) can enter directly into the blood circulation, triggering an immune response that often results in low-grade inflammation in the body.

Candida can affect men and women of all ages, showing up as distinct types of candida infections, including athletes’ foot, oral thrush, vaginal yeast infections, nail fungus and intestinal candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth is also a common cause of nappy rash in babies. Candida needs to be treated promptly, because it can affect your overall health and quality of life.

Symptoms can include:

  • Cravings for sweets
  • Exhaustion
  • White coating on tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Brain fog
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Chronic sinus and allergy issues
  • Digestive problems (wind and bloating)
  • Leaky gut
  • Weak immune system
  • Urinary tract infections

Cause of candida overgrowth?

Normally, the friendly bacteria in your gut, mouth and other parts of the body are able to keep Candida levels under control. Unfortunately, when these good bacteria are weakened in any way, they may fail to do their job properly.

The most common causes tend to be linked to our modern lifestyles and include:

Diet

Candida thrives on sugar and refined carbs such as white bread, biscuits, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice and many breakfast cereals. Alcohol also contains high quantities of sugar and will fuel an overgrowth.

Medication

Certain medications including antibiotics, indigestion / acid reflux medications (such as PPI’s) and oral contraceptives can be a problem, as these types of medications (even though they have beneficial aspects) can also upset the balance of good bacteria in the gut.  And, as we said earlier it is the good bacteria that is mainly responsible for keeping the natural colonies of candida yeast under control.

Chronic Stress

Prolonged exposure to stress may also influence the chance of developing candida. Stress can affect our stomach acid levels (which puts many people into the negative indigestion / acid reflux medication loop). If our stomach acid is out of balance it cannot properly regulate the pH of our stomach, which in turn, helps to regulate the secretion of gastric juices, and it is these gastric juices (and the environment that they help to create) that then influence our levels of good bacteria. 

A compromised immune system

Up to 70% of our immune system lies in the gut, so if we have an overgrowth of candida in the gut, it is our immune system’s responsibility to fight the overgrowth and keep the candida in check. If our immune system is compromised in any way, this does not happen effectively and the candida yeast can grow out of control.

Stop the problem from getting worse

Managing candida overgrowth is a multi-step process. Firstly, make sure that you have a correct diagnosis from your doctor or qualified health practitioner. 

3 key steps in the process include:

1. Reduce the candida levels in your body

Introducing a yeast-free candida diet is one of the best ways to reduce and eliminate candida symptoms. The top offenders include sugar, white flour, bread and alcohol. Also avoid any sugar substitutes. The candida yeast cells need sugar to build their cell walls and expand their colonies.  This is why a low-sugar diet is such a necessary part of reducing the candida levels in your body.

It’s definitely worth checking out yeast-free diet ideas from a qualified health practitioner to make sure that you are on the right track. They will give you support including a diet centred on vegetables, high-quality protein foods such as organic chicken and wild caught fish and gluten-free grains like brown rice and millet. Avoiding fruit at this time is also highly recommended because even though fruit is healthy, it gets turned into sugar in the body.

It is also helpful to avoid starchy vegetables initially, such as potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, peas and parsnips because these all have a high carbohydrate (sugar) content.

Other foods to avoid include fruit juices, alcohol, dried fruits, vinegar, peanuts, bread, pastry, dairy and any food that already causes you a digestive issue.

2. Increase your levels of healthy gut bacteria

Probiotic foods and supplements help to restore the natural balance of the digestive system and replenish healthy bacteria by crowding out harmful yeasts and ‘bad’ bacteria. They can also help to boost the immune system and support the body’s natural defences in overcoming opportunistic yeasts such as candida.

Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement that contains a variety of probiotic strains is essential in helping to reduce candida overgrowth. Check that the probiotic includes the strain Bacillus subtilis as this is one of the most studied probiotic strains in the world and has been clinically shown to normalise the balance of good bacteria in the intestines.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi, or unsweetened natural yoghurt also contain probiotics. If you don’t like the taste of these probiotic rich foods adding a  probiotic supplement is often a more convenient way of delivering a high dose of healthy bacteria directly to your gut.

Taking a probiotic supplement following a course of antibiotic treatment is important, as antibiotics tend to kill off healthy bacteria as well as the ‘bad’ bacteria.

3. Add in natural health supplements designed to help balance yeast levels in the body

As we said at the beginning, managing candida overgrowth is a multi-step process; so when a yeast elimination diet has been introduced and a high quality probiotic supplement added, it may be time to think about extra nutritional support for your body to help clear and re-balance the yeast levels.

Enzymedica has two natural health supplements that can be used at this point - CandiGold Extra Strength™ and Candidase™.

CandiGold Extra Strength™ was created for the initial advanced support - to be taken as a 14-day cleanse; by taking 1 capsule 15 minutes before each meal, three times daily for 14 days.

If you have a chronic re-occurrence of candida overgrowth you may want to try several 14-day cleanse periods with this supplement over a 3 – 4 month period of time, while supporting with the Candidase supplement in between.

Candidase™ was created to work in partnership with CandiGold Extra Strength™. It is the maintenance supplement, used after taking CandiGold Extra Strength™ for 14 days. As Candidase helps to maintain balanced yeast levels, it may need to be taken for a number of months to support the body fully. However, this will differ for each individual.

This is also a point in time where it can be helpful to work with an experienced health practitioner.

More about these products:

Candidase™ maintains balanced yeast levels

Candidase contains a high-potency blend of two enzymes perfectly designed for breaking down yeast: cellulase and protease. Cellulase is a cellulose-digesting enzyme that breaks down the yeast cell wall and protease, a protein-digesting enzyme, breaks down the interior proteins. This combination provides a gentle, cleansing effect without some of the common die-off symptoms that can be experienced with other supplements.

Candidase is made with Thera-blend™ enzymes. This unique process combines multiple enzyme strains of an enzyme, allowing the enzymes to be active throughout the body (all temperatures and pH levels) rather than in just a single area.

Benefits:

  • Breaks down yeast to promote balance
  • Combined enzyme blend works gently without common die-off symptoms
  • Supports gut and microbiome health
  • Contains high potency cellulase and protease enzymes
  • Vegan and Kosher

Suggested Use

 

For moderate symptoms

For acute symptoms

For maintenance

Take

2 capsules on an empty stomach

take 2 capsules on an empty stomach

take 2 capsules on an empty stomach

When

1 hour before, or 2 hours after a meal

1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal

 1 hour before or 2 hours after a meal

Frequency

3 times daily

3 times daily

 once daily

Duration

7 days

14 days

as required


    Bedtime is often a good time to take the maintenance dose, as this is usually a time away from any food.

    CandiGold Extra Strength™ - For Advanced Support


    CandiGold Extra Strength contains a scientifically formulated blend of natural ingredients designed to support vaginal and intestinal health and help the body maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria.

    Due to the gentle way that Enzymedica’s enzyme formula in this product works, it supports the body’s natural defence mechanisms for maintaining a normal yeast population in the intestinal environment.

    CandiGold Extra Strength helps to break down yeast overgrowth, whilst providing anti-fungal support.

    The ingredients contain a blend of 4 key enzymes; lysozyme, hemicellulose, protease and cellulase to help break down the yeast cells, a probiotic called Bacillus subtilis to support the gut microbiome, oregano oil, thyme oil and clove oil for their natural antifungal and antioxidant support.

     

     

     

    CandiGold Extra Strength has been formulated with a delayed-release capsule, ensuring safe passage through the acidity of the stomach and effectiveness in the small intestine. CandiGold Extra Strength is intended to be taken on a 14-day cleansing schedule.

    CandiGold Extra Strength is a lacto-ovo vegetarian supplement, suitable for vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs.

    Benefits

    • Advanced help for promoting a healthy intestinal balance
    • Supports vaginal and urinary health
    • Includes enzymes, probiotics, natural herbs and essential oils
    • Promotes gut and microbiome health
    • Lacto-ovo vegetarian supplement

    Recommended Use:

    CandiGold Extra Strength is intended to be taken on a 14-day cleansing schedule. Take 1 capsule 15 minutes before each meal, three times daily for 14 days.

    Enzymedica’s Enzyme Defense™ may be added to lessen any die-off discomfort you might experience when clearing a yeast overgrowth.

    Note:

    Candidase™ and CandiGold Extra Strength™ should not be taken with any timed-release medications that use cellulose as the time-release mechanism.

    The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider prior to use if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition.

    References:

    (1) Miles MR, Olsen L, Rogers A. Recurrent vaginal candidiasis. JAMA. 1977;238:1836- 1837.

    (2) Sudbery PE. Growth of Candida albicans hyphae. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011;9(10): 737-48.