What is Candida?
Candida is the short name used to describe yeast overgrowth in the body. The technical term for yeast overgrowth is candidiasis caused by the overgrowth of candida albicans. Candida albicans is a single-celled fungus that belongs to the vegetable kingdom. Candida albicans lives in all our mucus membranes, i.e. intestines, eyes, ears, bladder, stomach, lungs, vagina, etc. It is one of the billions of other friendly organisms that serve a useful purpose in the body. One of candida albicans’ important functions is to recognize and destroy harmful bacteria and toxins.
However, candida is not intended to overgrow and get out of control while the body is still living. That change is only intended to happen when the body dies, when candida’s functions and characteristics change for the purpose of breaking the body down. Candida releases substances, most of which are alcohols, which break down the bodies tissues. When candida overgrowth happens while the body is still alive it causes innumerable symptoms, diseases and malfunctions.
How Candida affects us.
When candida albicans is under control it poses no problem, but when it gets out of control 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.
Symptoms, diseases and infections caused by Candida
Allergies, Sensitivities and Intolerances:
- Symptoms that worsen in damp, muggy or moldy places or weather that is damp, muggy, humid or rainy.
- Food sensitivities or reactions.
- Hay fever and asthma.
- Intolerances or allergies to perfumes, odors, fumes, fabric shop odors, grass, cats, dogs or other animals, tobacco smoke, chemicals, smog, molds, dust mites, dust, pollen, and other airborne substances.
- Athletes’ foot.
- Babies – colic, diaper rash, thrush (coated white tongue), and cradle cap.
- Bruising easily.
- Cheekbone or forehead tenderness, pain.
- Cold hands or feet, low body temperature.
- Cold-like symptoms – excessive mucus in the sinuses, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs.
- Cravings or addictions for sugar, bread, pasta and other high carb foods, and also alcohol.
- Cysts, abnormal formation of, in different parts of the body, especially around the neck, throat, and ovaries, and in the bladder or scrotum.
- Digestive problems – diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal distention, bloating or pain, gas, mucus in the stools, hiatal hernia, ulcers, suffering from bacteria, i.e. salmonella, E. coli, h. pylori, etc.
- Ears – ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sounds in the ears, ear infections, dryness, itchiness, ear pain, ear aches, ear discharges, fluid in ears, deafness, abnormal wax build-up.
- Eyes – erratic vision, spots in front of eyes (eye floaters) and flashing lights; redness, dryness, itching, excessive tearing, inability to tear, etc.
- Fatigue chronic fatigue syndrome or Epstein Barr) or a feeling of being drained of energy, lethargy, drowsiness.
- Flu-like symptoms.
- Glands – swollen, too little saliva (dryness in the mouth), blocked salivary glands, swollen lymph nodes.
- Hair loss, scum on the scalp, dandruff, itchy scalp, scalp sores and dryness.
- Heart palpitations and irregular heart beat.
- Headaches, migraines, brain fog, dizziness, etc.
- Hemorrhoids, and rectal itching, rash, irritation and redness.
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and diabetes
- Hypothyroidism, Wilson’s Thyroid Syndrome, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, erratic thyroid function, etc.
- Irritability, nervousness, jitteriness and panic attacks.
- Lesions on the skin, and inside the body, i.e. the brain.
- Male associated problems – jock itch, loss of sex drive, impotence, prostitis, penis infections, difficulty urinating, urinary frequency or urgency, painful intercourse, swollen scrotum, etc.
- Feeling of swelling and tingling in the head.
- Female health problems – infertility, vaginitis, unusual odors, endometriosis (irregular or painful menstruation), cramps, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), discharge, painful intercourse, loss of sexual drive, redness or swelling of the vulva and surrounding area, vaginal itching or thrush, burning or redness, or persistent infections.
- Fungal infections of the skin or nails, i.e. ringworm, saborrheic dermatitis, dark and light patches on the skin (tinea versicolor), etc.
- Joint pain, stiffness or swelling (arthritis).
- Kidney & bladder – infections, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder with possible infection), urinary frequency or urgency, low urine output, smelly urine, difficulty urinating, burning pain when urinating.
- Lack of appetite.
- Mind & Mood – anxiety attacks, crying spells, memory loss, feeling spaced out, depression (including suicidal feelings), manic feelings, inability to concentrate, mood swings, irritability, etc.
- Mouth sores or blisters, canker sores, dryness, bad breath, a white coating on the tongue (thrush) and blocked salivary glands.
- Muscle aches and pain, numbness, burning or tingling, and lack of strength and coordination.
- Nasal congestion, postnasal drip, itching, dryness.
- Odor of the feet, hair or body not relieved by washing.
- Respiratory – cough, bronchitis or pneumonia, pain or tightness in the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma.
- Sick all over feeling.
- Sinus inflammation, swelling and infections.
- Skin – dryness, dry red patches, acne, pimples, hives, rashes, itching skin, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhoea, ringworm, contact dermatitis, rosacea, etc.
- Stomach – h. pylori bacteria (causes ulcers), heartburn, indigestion, hiatal hernia, acid reflux, belching, vomiting, burning, stomach pains, needle-like pains, food that seems to sit in the stomach like a lump, etc.
- Sleep – insomnia, waking up frequently, nightmares, restless sleep, etc.
- Sore throat, hoarse voice, constant tickle in the throat, laryngitis (loss of voice), etc.
Autoimmune Diseases, Cancer & the Candida Connection
Autoimmune diseases, in fact many diseases, such as cancer and autism, have a candida connection. When the immune system is severely depressed it can cause many viruses, bacteria, diseases and malfunctions, i.e. Adrenal malfunction, Arthritis, Cancer, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Celiac Disease Gluten Sensitivity, Crohn’s Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Fibromyalgia (muscle pain, stiffness and weakness), Thyroid Diseases, HIV/AIDS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Liver Disease, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Myasthenia Gravis (a neuromuscular disease), Sjogren’s (glands become blocked and inflamed, interfering with the production of tears and saliva), Rheumatoid Arthritis, and many others.
Candida is very opportunistic when the immune system malfunctions, with candida overgrowth found in most cases of disease, including cancer, AIDS, infection, etc. Diseases and malfunctions listed above, and all autoimmune diseases respond very well to a treatment program, particularly the diet, because it builds up and strengthens the immune system enabling the body to heal itself naturally.
What causes candida to get out of control?
A healthy immune system keeps Candida in balance with other micro-organisms in the mucous membranes. But under certain conditions Candida begins to overgrow and get out of control. Anything that causes the immune system to become depressed can cause Candida, but antibiotics are the biggest culprits because they wipe out friendly micro-organisms, particularly in the digestive system. Candida is resistant to antibiotics so this imbalance of micro-organisms allows it to take over. Other factors that depress the immune system include poor nutrition, environmental toxins, drugs, vaccines, and stress, to name a few.
Poor nutrition is one of the major contributors to Candida because it weakens the immune system which allows candida to overgrow. Today’s standard diet lacks the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system. It is loaded with sugar, high carbohydrates, man-made oils and fats (margarine, Canola oil and all oither vegetables oils except olive oil), white flour products, processed foods, food additives, preservatives, pesticides, and heavy metals.
Sugar is the biggest contributor to candida overgrowth.
The average person living in the western world consumes about 125 pounds of refined table sugar every year! Sugar is the main food supply of Candida.
The average person also consumes a diet very high in carbohydrates which also feeds Candida. Even the food pyramid published by our governments is turned totally upside down, with grains and other carbs at the bottom, and fats at the top, but the opposite is actually healthiest for human health.
Our high consumption of sugar, carbs and poor nutrition has been greatly influenced by the food industry. The formation of the food pyramid was greatly influenced by the food industry in order to sell their nutrient-devoid foods and chemicals. Their main motivation is money! The food industry would have us restrict our eating to only dead foods that have no nutritional value whatsoever!
Every year the food industry spends millions of dollars lobbying for laws that allow chemical preservatives, additives, coloring agents, foaming agents, binders, thickeners, stabilizers, emulsifiers, and many other chemicals so they can save time and money processing and storing foods. These laws benefit the food industry but leave our foods stripped of nutrients and damaged by chemicals, high heat, hydrogenation, and pasteurization which are very toxic and damaging to the human body.
Some laws allow the food industry to destroy foods by irradiation, which disrupts the DNA of bacteria so that it cannot reproduce, thus extending shelf life; this is the same as microwaving. But in certain cases they are not required to label such foods. The current permissible radiation dosage is about 200 million times greater than a chest x-ray.
When food is irradiated the radiation breaks up the molecular structure of the food and creates a whole new set of chemicals known as “unique radiolytic products” (URPs). These URPs include benzene, formaldehyde and a host of known mutagens (capable of inducing mutation) and carcinogens (capable of inducing cancer). Irradiation kills vitamins, friendly bacteriaand enzymes, and effectively renders the food “dead.” This makes these foods totally useless to your body.
There are hundred’s of tests that prove the damage irradiated foods cause to humans. Short term studies were done on children in India, and blood tests showed chromosomal damage to the children after 6 weeks. Short term tests were done on dogs using irradiated beef; the dogs ended up with enlarged spleens and swollen lymph nodes. Other studies, including those done under contract for the U.S. Government, indicate the possibility of immunotoxicity (destroys cells), kidney disease, cardiac thrombus (a fibrinous clot that forms in one of the chambers of the heart), testicular damage and fibroplasias (the formation of fibrous tissue). However, the food industry would rather irradiate instead of cleaning up their production system.
Since the early 1970s, hormones have been used extensively in the production of beef and milk in North America, with hormone development research starting as far back as the 1950s. Two-thirds of cattle raised in the U.S. are treated with these hormones. The hormones are implanted or injected into cattle at various stages of maturity in order to promote faster growth.
Hormones used in beef cattle include the male hormone testosterone and its synthetic equivalent trenbolone acetate, and the female hormone progesterone including three synthetic derivatives. This synthetic form of progesterone shares similar characteristics with a class of other molecules called endocrine disruptors that imitate other human hormones in the body and have been linked to diseases such as cancer.
Endocrine disruptors are exogenous (originating from outside the body) substances that cause adverse biological effects by interfering with the endocrine system and disrupting the production and function of hormones.
The foundations of the endocrine system are the hormones and glands. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, and they transfer information and instructions from one set of cells to another. Although many different hormones circulate throughout the bloodstream, each one affects only the cells that are genetically programmed to receive and respond to its message.
Meanwhile most of our food is grown on soil that is sadly depleted of life-giving nutrients, and many toxic chemicals are contained in our foods because of chemicals used to fight off predators, insects and disease. Again, these are done to save time and money, but they have absolutely no benefit for the consumer. In fact, the reverse is true.
None of us choose to have hazardous pesticides in our bodies yet the Center for Disease Control found pesticides in 100% of the people tested. The average person in this group carried a toxic cocktail of 13 of the 23 pesticides that were analyzed. Many of the pesticides found in test subjects have been linked to serious short- and long-term health effects including infertility, birth defects and childhood and adult cancers. The combined effects of multiple exposures are unknown, but a growing body of research suggests that even at very low levels the combination of these chemicals are very harmful to our health.
Environmental issues also adversely affect the immune system, i.e. molds, chemicals, smoke, pesticide spraying, smog, electro-magnetic and radiation exposure (computers, TVs, microwave ovens, electrical outlets and appliances, power lines, etc.)
The immune system is also depressed by many toxic substances including drugs, medicines, birth control pills, vaccines, fluoridated water, as well as toxic ingredients contained in household and personal care products, i.e. shampoo, body lotions, makeup, detergents, air fresheners, cleaning agents, synthetic carpets, etc.
Chemical compounds are found everywhere in our food, air, and water. The accumulation of these compounds in some individuals can cause a variety of dysfunctions, and in some cases outright disease. The systems most affected by these xenobiotic compounds (a chemical or substance that is foreign to an organism or biological system) include the immune, neurological, and endocrine systems. Toxicity in these systems can lead to immune dysfunction, autoimmunity, asthma, allergies, cancer, learning difficulties, mood changes, neurological illnesses, changes in sexual desire and functioning, reproductive dysfunction, and upsets in blood glucose levels, etc. with candida overgrowth the central factor in all of these health issues.
Emotional stress, losses, accidents, injuries, and financial worries and concerns also depress the immune system.
No one ever gets sick from a lack of drugs. Any and all diseases and illnesses are due to a lack of nutrients and an overload of toxins. One of the major sources of toxins are drugs, including over-the-counter medicines, birth control pills, hormone replacement treatment, blood pressure lowering drugs, pain killers, anti-depressants, which are extremely toxic and poisonous to the body.
Drugs “force” therapeutic actions to take place in the body that suppresses symptoms and has negative side-effects, while natural foods and substances nourish the body’s ability to decide needed actions as it sees fit.
How Candida overgrows, causing symptoms, diseases and dysfunction
When Candida is allowed to get out of control it changes its shape and starts branching out raising large families called colonies. These Candida colonies excrete over 79 different types of toxins (chemicals) which circulate throughout the body weakening the immune system and causing numerous symptoms and dysfunctions throughout the body. Two toxins that are particularly devastating are acetaldehyde and ethanol (a type of alcohol). Both act like poisons on the various tissues of the body and can cause lesions.
These chemicals cause all of the cells in the body to go rigid, even white and red blood cells. Flexibility is very important for the functioning of cells, allowing nutrients and hormones to go in, and waste materials to go out, as well as other important activities.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and must be flexible enough to squeeze down to about one-seventh their normal size in order to travel into the body’s tiny capillaries. When they become rigid the transport of life-giving oxygen to all the tissues and organs is impaired. This causes the tissues and organs to lose their ability to function. It is also why many candida sufferers have cold hands and feet.
White blood cells fight infection by wrapping part of themselves around a bacteria or other foreign invader, swallowing the invader, and eventually destroying it. White blood cells that have become brittle and rigid by yeast toxins can not do their job. The result – you can’t fight off infection as easily.
Defective cell membranes may interfere with the penetration of glucose (blood sugar) into the cells, a job normally accomplished with the help of insulin. When cell membranes are damaged insulin will have trouble doing its job – and insulin levels may have to be increased. This causes low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia; also called insulin reaction) resulting in low energy, light headedness, and sometimes even a coma. Over manufacture of insulin exhausts the pancreas, causing it to dysfunction as well.
Hormones regulate various body functions by traveling through the bloodstream to vital areas of the body, and Candida toxins interfere with this process. Rigid cells in organs responsible for producing hormones, make them less capable of producing hormones. When hormones do reach the bloodstream they have trouble getting to their intended destination. Once they arrive, they have difficulty getting into rigid cell membranes. Hormones can not do their intended job if they don’t achieve adequate levels in the body’s cells! Such hormones include thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and many others, even those that regulate digestion and the release of digestive juices.
Nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and other minerals also have trouble getting into rigid cell walls. This can result in fluid retention, electrolyte imbalances, and a number of other problems. In fact every nutrient required by the body will have difficulty getting into rigid cells throughout the body, including protein (amino acids), fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Rigid cells are also not as able to get rid of their waste and regulate water.
Candida also produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls. These roots cause considerable damage to the walls of the intestines resulting in poor digestion and mal-absorption of nutrients.
All of these factors contribute to a weakened immune system. A weakened immune system simply cannot keep Candida in check, allowing it to overgrow and get out of control. They cycle continues.
How do you know you have candida?
With such a wide variety of symptoms that mimic many other diseases, how do you know that your problem is candida overgrowth? Unfortunately most laboratory tests cannot confirm the presence of candida overgrowth because candida is a normal inhabitant of the body.
Checking your health history and your symptoms will be the determinating factor.