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Yes, I have been there. I had a number of symptoms of a candida overgrowth for years before I even realised it. Eventually my body wouldn’t allow me to ignore the symptoms anymore. I researched my symptoms and was positive I had candida, which was confirmed when I had a live blood analysis.

What is it?

Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungus that everyone has at all times. In a healthy gut, this fungus is kept tightly under control to ensure it does not grow out of control.

A compromised gut flora, most commonly from the overuse of antibiotics and/or high sugar diets, causes candida albicans to grow out of control rapidly. It causes numerous problems, as it proliferates around and in your organs, most commonly your digestive system. 

Without the beneficial bacteria in our guts, candida turns from its harmless one cell state to extremely invasive long, stringy hyphae that penetrate through tissues in the body as roots. The most common place is the digestive system, though it can occur in other organs. This causes a host of problems as candida produces numerous toxic substances such as acetyl aldehyde and alcohol. Today’s ‘modern’ western diet supports their growth, through the consumption of a highly processed, carbohydrate rich diet, which literally feeds the candida.

Symptoms:

  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (refer to Bristol stools chart – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale#/media/File:BristolStoolChart.png)
  • Bloating, flatulence, pain
  • Frequent colds
  • Susceptible to catching the ‘flu that is going around’
  • Eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes or other skin problems
  • Irritability, mood swings, depression
  • Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease
  • Strong carbohydrate/sugar cravings
  • ‘Foggy’ mind, lack of clarity
  • Constant fatigue
  • Oral thrush
  • Reoccurring vaginal infections including thrush, urinary tract infection, rectal itching or vaginal itching.

Causes:

  • Various medications such as contraceptive pills, antibiotics, tetracyclines (most ‘cyclines’), penicillin.
  • High carbohydrate diet and highly processed diet
  • Children born via a cesarean birth (more susceptible)
  • Lack of gut flora of mother (more susceptible)
  • Living a highly stressful lifestyle
  • Regular consumption of high doses of alcohol.


What do I do now?

This all depends on the level of overgrowth and your symptoms, which can be determined by visiting a qualified practitioner or through a live blood analysis. Some individuals can make a few small changes for the candida to settle down and go back into balance. Clients with severe candida overgrowth require a very strict protocol with particular supplements to bring it back into balance. However, below are a few simple things you can start today:

  1. Remove all gluten from your diet.
  2. Remove other potentially inflammatory foods such as dairy, soy, corn, vegetable oils and vegetable fats and all grains.
  3. Decrease all sugars, including rapadura sugar, honey, dates, maple syrup and high sugar fruits and vegetables. Berries are your best choice whilst calming down the overgrowth.
  4. Introduce high quality probiotics into your diet. You may need a stool test to determine what is best for you. Some suggestions to consider are the Changing Habits Probiotics and the Kultured Wellness cultures.
  5. Consume plenty of foods with antifungal properties such as garlic, coconut oil, oregano, pau d’arco tea and ginger.
  6. Increase your consumption of green vegetables, aiming to have them with every meal. They will aid detoxification, as they don’t contain a high level of carbohydrates.
  7. Seek personalised advice from a professional practitioner.
  8. Book a health review with either Jordan or myself, Changing Habits consulting nutritionists.

I can happily say that it has been years since I have experienced any symptoms. Be strong, because you know your body more than anyone else does.

Happy changing habits.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Consulting Nutritionist

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