Candida: The Hidden Disease


Researchers and physicians have found that persistent fatigue affects women more often than men. Candida albicans may provide part of the answer.

This common yeast organism has long been recognized as a cause of mouth and vaginal infections and diaper rash. What many people don't realize is that the medical literature abounds with reports that show yeast overgrowth to be one of the most allergenic microbes we face--one often associated with other illnesses.

Repeated antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and nutritionally unbalanced and deficient diets encourage candida overgrowth. Once this occurs, the candida organism emits toxins which further weaken the immune system, causing health problems of many types. Since your immune system is connected to your hormones and nervous system, candida can be a major factor in premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sexual dysfunction, endometriosis, sugar cravings, fatigue, headache, depression, poor memory and low body temperature. Candida cause many digestive and skin problems. In 1999, the Mayo Clinic reported that 96 per cent of people with chronic respiratory symptoms showed fungi (related to yeast) in their sinuses.

Yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract also weakens the lining membranes. As a result you develop a "leaky gut" and absorb food allergens and toxins which play a part in both making you tired and developing other symptoms.

Symptoms, Not Tests

To find out if your problems are candida-related, practitioners check whether you've had one or more of the following symptoms:

Frequent or repeated courses of antibiotic drugs (often given for acne, respiratory or urinary infections);

Fatigue, weakness, feeling drained;

Depression, even suicidal depression;

Bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain;

PMS and other menstrual disturbances;

Sexual dysfunction (especially common in women);

Nervousness and irritability;

Food and chemical sensitivities;

Feeling sick all over, yet the cause hasn't been found.

Many individuals with fatigue, headache, depression, digestive problems and muscle and joint pains have taken numerous tests and been misdiagnosed or find nothing wrong. This is not uncommon in cases of candida over-growth. Although tests are needed to rule out other causes of health problems, they do not "make" the diagnosis of candida, a disease still in search of a laboratory test.

The best test remains a symptomatic personal history and positive results from a one-month antifungal treatment and a sugar-free special diet. Such a diet should feature a wide variety of nutritious foods, including low-carbohydrate vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and fish.

Diet Crucial

The role of simple sugars in promoting candida overgrowth was documented by researchers. They found that mice with weakened immune systems who received dextrose in their feeding showed a 200-times greater growth of candida in the digestive tract than in a control group. Processed and concentrated sources of sugar and carbohydrates must be eliminated in order to starve and kill off the yeast.

Agents which control yeast in the digestive tract include caprylic acid products, bentonite, psyllium, olive leaf extract, aged garlic extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus (and other probiotics), kolorex (a New Zealand herb), undecylenic acid, oregano and citrus seed extracts.

Persons with yeast-related problems need dietary supplements even more than a healthy person. Disturbances in the intestinal tract lessen your ability to absorb the vital nutrients found in many foods. To increase absorption you'll need to take supplemental vitamins, minerals and the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in flax seed oil, fish oils and evening primrose oil.

Treating candida alone may not help. I cannot overemphasize the importance of the other irritants or "total load" with my patients. Track down and identify all hidden food allergens, including dairy products, wheat, corn and egg. Such sensitivities can often be determined by a carefully designed and properly carried out elimination/challenge diet.

You'll also need love, touch, clean air and exercise to regain your health and get your life back on track. But you can do it!

Power of Grapefruit Seed Extract

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a natural broad-spectrum anti-infective. It works against streptococcus, staphylococcus, salmonella, E. coli, candida, herpes, influenza, cholera, parasites, fungi and traveller's diarrhea. It's an effective amoebacide, according to the US Food and Drug Administration investigator Dr Louis Parish, who tested it successfully on 200 Entemoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia patients.

GSE contains bioflavonoids, amino acids, fatty acids, saccharides, phenolic compounds, tocopherols and ascorbic acid and appears safe to friendly intestinal bacteria. It's used in cosmetics and food as a natural preservative and mould inhibitor. Some hospitals use it to sanitize bedding. It may be obtained in ear drops, topical sprays, cleansers, foot powders, capsules, tablets and liquids for oral use.

Dr Crook is an author and general practitioner living in Jackson, Tennessee.


By William G. Crook

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