Are you feeling bloated, heavy, exhausted, craving sweets, or indigestion? Have you gained weight that you can’t seem to lose? According to some estimates at least 15 million women suffer from harmful intestinal infections that are linked to these symptoms. And while many people think that women are the only ones who are vulnerable to infections caused by the overgrowth of a common fungus called Candida albicans, the reality is that men are just as vulnerable to it. Some experts estimate that an intestinal candida overgrowth causes an average of 32.5 pounds weight gain. Candida infections are often referred to as yeast infections or yeast overgrowth.
What are some of the symptoms of a candida yeast overgrowth?
Common symptoms include:
- Bladder infections
- Chemical sensitivities
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Intestinal cramps
- Menstrual irregularities
- Vaginal yeast infections
Candida albicans is one of about 150 species of fungi collectively known as candida, any of which can cause a candida infection. The problem is not just the fungal overgrowth; it is the toxins they release in the body as well. Candida releases over eighty known toxins that can weaken the body’s defences and cause the delicate membranes of the intestines to become excessively permeable, allowing toxins and undigested proteins to pass through the intestinal walls directly into the bloodstream, where they can contribute to many health conditions. When the gut becomes excessively permeable this is often called “leaky gut syndrome.”
So what can contribute to candida overgrowth? Some contributing factors include: alcohol, antacids, antibiotics, birth control pills, blood sugar imbalances from skipping meals or eating too much sugar, chlorinated water, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, and stress.
Few people realize that candida produce hormone-like substances that can interfere with our body’s own natural hormonal balance. Studies in rats found that candida can also stimulate histamine production—the chemical linked to allergies, making candida a possible underlying factor for allergies and the increasing prevalence of allergic reactions.
By now you’re probably wondering “How do I get rid of a candida infection?”
If you suspect that you have a candida overgrowth, here are a few important ways to address it:
- Reduce sugary foods from your diet.
- Supplement with probiotics on a daily basis. Beneficial microbes help sway the balance in your intestines away from harmful infections in favor of a healthy gut microbial balance. Research even shows that many strains of probiotics can destroy unhealthy infectious microbes (check out my book The Probiotic Miracle (DaCapo, January 2015) for more information).
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, ROHP is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and doctor of natural medicine, whose books include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, The Ultimate pH Solution, and Healing Recipes. She is the publisher of the free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News. Subscribe to receive health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Learn more about her work on her website DrMichelleCook.com.