Clobber your Candida

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I am in tie health business, so I shouldn't get sick, right? Doctors, health practitioners and those of us who write about health or teach about it should know better and be models of perfect health! Truly, I have been blessed with good health and I work very hard at keeping it. Nevertheless, the candida bug got me! In fact, my health was so good, that I did not show any of the telltale signs of lethargy, brain fog or stiffness of joints, or allergies that go along with Candida albicans. I did, however, love sweets and suffered from gas and bloating. But judging from the amount of cookies, candy, chocolate and over-the-counter indigestion medicines sold in America, my symptoms were commonplace enough to be considered normal. Still, I wanted to know why, if I was eating the best organic foods, according to proper food combining principles, my stomach was not able to quietly go about its business without aches or noises. Over the years, I suspected candida on more than one occasion, but the tests were negative and the remedies produced no improvement. Thus, it appeared, candida was not the cause. Wrong! Now, I realize that mild cases of candida are hard to diagnose and also very common.

C. albicans is the name for a group of toxic yeast-like microorganisms that can inhabit the mouth, throat, intestines and genital/urinary tract. Yeast live in our intestinal tract all the time, but they are in balance with other bacteria. When the natural flora in the intestines fail to control the candida yeast population, your symptoms develop. After long-term residence in the intestines, yeast can develop into fungi that actually root themselves into the intestinal walls. The wall then becomes porous, creating a leaky-gut, a syndrome in which toxins from the yeast enter the bloodstream and weaken the immune system. Candida is also implicated in the bowel diseases, Crohn's and colitis.

Read the signs
The most common symptoms are in the gastrointestinal tract: constipation, diarrhea, colitis, abdominal pain, gas, distension, and heartburn. But candida can migrate from the rectal area into the vagina causing a yeast infection there (vaginitis). It can also travel through the bloodstream, generating a wide range of problems from athlete's foot to ringworm, jock itch, diaper rash, muscle and joint pain, canker sores, sore throat, tingling sensations, kidney and bladder infections, depression and even diabetes. These symptoms can co-exist with allergies or aggravate them. According to Dr. Stephen Cooter, author of Beating Chronic Disease (ProMotion Publishing, San Diego, California), "Candida is responsible for flooding the system with an accumulation of toxic acetaldehydes: Acetaldehydes are known to poison tissues accumulating in the brain, spinal cord, joints, muscles and tissues."

Candida creeps in
Bad diet, an out-of-balance intestinal terrain, and weakened immunity are the underlying causes of candida. Overuse of antibiotics destroys the natural flora in the intestines that keep the candida cells in check. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, AIDS patients, infants, diabetics and others with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to an infection of candida (candidiasis). Corucosteroids and oral contraceptives also upset the balance of intestinal flora. Because yeast mutate, doctors are often forced to prescribe higher and higher dosages of the anti-fungal drug, Nystatin. This makes the yeast stronger and further weakens the immune system.

Four steps to clobber candida
Because candida's toxic byproducts flood the system, cleansing is the crucial first order of business of any anti-candida program. Fasting, colon cleansing, wheatgrass, fresh vegetable juices, plenty of water, detox herbs, exercise, and anything else that furthers detoxification is a must.
Reduce the yeast population with anti-microbial herbs and phytochemicals. Formulas that include a combination of these powerful herbs are available at your natural food store. Stay on these herbs for only 15 days, then take 5 days off, repeating the 15/5 cycle as long as needed. If you don't take the 5 day sabbatical, the yeast will mutate and develop immunity to the herbs.
Innoculate yourself the best friendly bacteria (probiotics) you can find. Lactobacilli, especially bulgaricus and bifidobacterium, along with acidophilus (found in yogurt), fight back the yeast population and repair the intestinal wall. In cases of vaginal candida, make sure yeast is your problem, as symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to those of other, possibly more serious infections.
The most important factor in the battle against candida is diet. Yeast love sugar and simple carbohydrates. The best anti-microbial herbs will not be strong enough to fight your yeast if you keep feeding them. Stop the sugar, now! It doesn't matter if it is honey, maple syrup, dextrose, maltose, lactose, glucose, sucrose, fructose, (or any `ose'), fruit concentrate, fresh fruit -- it's all the same to yeast. Artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet should also be cut out of your diet. Read labels carefully. Sweeteners are pervasive, even in natural foods. Some rice crackers, for example, include rice syrup. While you're at it, eliminate commonly allergic foods such as dairy and wheat (flour products). This diet is strict but necessary. Candida can live inside you for decades as long as you continue to feed it. There are no short-cuts. Discipline yourself for a minimum of 3 months. When your symptoms disappear, you can expand your diet, but don't fall back into old habits. The yeast will quickly return. Candida will never be completely eradicated, but your success will be a matter of controlling a balanced intestinal landscape, dominated by friendly bacteria, and symptom-free health.
Foods to avoid
Aged cheeses, alcohol, chocolate, dried fruits, fresh fruits, fermented foods, vinegar, glutenous foods: wheat, rye, oats, barley, all sugars, honeys and syrups, and baker's yeast. Note: nutritional and brewer's yeasts are not harmful. They do not colonize in the intestines.

Foods to eat
Vegetables, protein foods, live yogurt cultures (both dairy and non-dairy,) FOS, whey, acidophilus, green algaes such as spirulina and chlorella, and non-glutenous grains like millet, rice, rice bran and oat bran.

Techniques for Conquering Candida
Fasting

Colon cleansing

Antimicrobial herbs

Friendly bacteria

Sugar-free diet

Symptoms of Candida
Gas & bloating

Brain fog

Fatigue

Allergies

Canker sores

Vaginal discharge

Athlete's foot

Ringworm

Jock itch/diaper rash

Kidney and bladder infections

Arthritis

Depression

Natural anti-candida warriors
Acidophilus
Arta mesia
Bentonite
Black walnut
Bifidobacterium
Caprylic acid
Cloves
Garlic
Goldeseal
Grapefruit seed extract
Oregano oil
Oregon grape
Pantethine
Pau d'Arco
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By Steve Meyerowitz

Steve Meyerowitz is the author of eight books on health and diet, including the recent A Power Juices Super Drinks You can visit with him at www.Sproutman.com

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