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The Candida Myth Busted

Assorted fruit

I wrote a little about why the words “I am doing the candida diet” annoy me so much on my Facebook page yesterday and, this morning, was still thinking about it and how I haven’t gone deep enough on this site about how this “blanket” diagnosis and the ensuing one-size-fits-all “quit sugar” prescription that is shouted from the rafters of internet hell.

“What on earth would make me more ‘all knowing and all seeing’ than the average Anti-Candida diet?” you may ask.  

The answer:: BASIC BIOCHEMISTRY!!! 

Let’s first address the pure definition of candida (or candida albicans) which is a fungal organism or yeast that lives within the GI tract.  It is a pathogen that lives in every body regardless of health.  It is balanced out by the good or “friendly” bacteria that also lives in the GI tract.  You can’t eradicate it and, frankly, even pathogens such as candida albicans and e.coli serve a purpose in the body.  For example, they make the intestines slightly acidic which retard the growth of illness causing bacteria.

Some of the symptoms of a candida overgrowth are as follows::

  1. Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
  2. Feeling fatigued or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  3. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  4. Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  5. Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  6. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  7. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  8. Vaginal infections or oral thrush, urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  9. Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  10. Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

How many of you raised your hands and said “I have a candida overgrowth!”?

Here’s the thing.  Every single one of those symptoms have a root cause and NONE of those symptoms have a root caused by candida.  Did I blow your mind yet?  Furthermore, NONE of those symptoms or disorders are mutually exclusive with candida.  They could be exacerbated by candida but aren’t necessarily caused by candida. Doctors make things worse by isolating symptoms and overprescribing antibiotics and/or steroids which can aggravate issues.

Let me be clear before we go any further.  Some of these symptoms can be caused by candida but, as we will discuss in the next sentence, digging a bit deeper and going to the root of the reason for candida is going to be crucial if, indeed, you have a candida overgrowth.

Candida overgrowth happens when immunity is reduced.  In fact, Candidemia, a potentially deadly form of candidiasis, that occurs when candida overgrowth is so prevalent that it crosses into the bloodstream is a common concern in those with compromised immunity such as those with HIV or AIDS.  Those with any kind of compromised immunity generally have a deficiency in IgA antibodies which exist in secretions and on surfaces at such levels that keep candida from the potential for overgrowth.

Those with hypothyroidism have an IgA deficiency which means their secretions are more susceptible to candida overgrowth. Diabetics also have a propensity to candidiasis as do those with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.  Even those with reactive hypoglycemia might find themselves with greater chances for candida symptoms.

Now the big shocker.  Those with estrogen dominance have one of the biggest risk factors for candida overgrowth due to the fact that excess estrogen feeds the yeast.  Estrogen does this normally in order to alkalize the vagina during ovulation to protect sperm from the acidic nature of an acidic vagina.  The problem is when estrogen “hangs around” unopposed in the body or by progesterone, as is what happens with estrogen dominance, for the rest of the cycle, candida keeps feeding on the sugars raised by the excess estrogen which leads to candida overgrowth which causes vaginal yeast infections or vaginal thrush.

Also, excess estrogen blocks the Thymic gland from functioning properly thus decreasing immune function since the maturation of T-cells, the body’s primary immunity, is the responsibility of the Thymic gland.

“What the heck is a T-cell??”  Let’s just say it’s the T-cells in the body that protect from candida, other illnesses, and even cancer.

Some estrogens such as 4-hydroxy and 16-hydroxy estrones are, by their very nature, carcinogens as studies have shown women with elevated of 16-hydroxy estrogen have a high rate of breast cancer.  This fact, coupled with the fact that they feed yeast and suppress immune function make correcting estrogen dominance imperative to balanced health.

What’s worse than these facts is that every single Anti-Candida diet recommends getting rid of every bit of sugar in the diet to eradicate candida.  But here’s the thing; well nourished yeasts (as yeasts do thrive on sugar) rarely pose a problem providing sugar isn’t pounds of excess sugars hidden in every day foods.  Fruits and small amounts of natural sugars like maple syrup, raw honey and, indeed, small amounts of cane sugar in the course of a largely unprocessed Real Foods way of eating help keep candida at bay because sugars are processed higher up in the intestine and trickle down into the lower intestine where they nourish bacteria (both good and those considered bad).

Side note:: Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) stimulate yeasts (as they stimulate excess estrogens) while healthy saturated fats suppress yeasts as they are, by nature, antibacterial.

When yeast isn’t nourished they project invasive filaments into the wall of the intestine in search of sugar.  These invasive filaments can cause perforations in the GI tract as they advance into the bloodstream and, if not quickly destroyed by white blood cells, grow exponentially and can overtake the system.

Remember, a no sugar diet raises cortisol and increases stress in the body and reduces immunity. No matter how good a very low or no carb may feel, it is only because of the surge of stress hormones enabling your “fight or flight” response. Long term use of this way of eating will impair the thyroid leading to a suppressed metabolism.  Eating natural sugars like ripe fruits and juices nourishes yeast and is pro-thyroid which not only combats stress in the body, lowering cortisol, but also stimulates IgA secretions.

Also, nutrition is not the only reason for cortisol surges.  Reducing stress factors in your life or employing tactics that help you deal with stress such as meditation, yoga or gentle exercises also keep cortisol under control.

What’s the bottom line? Treating the root causes of what would increase candida, estrogen dominance, leaky gut, thyroid dysfunction, immune deficiency, is a vastly superior method to merely treating candida as the treatment will most assuredly lead to more factors for the growth of candida.

 

 

 

24 replies
  1. Tahlia
    Tahlia says:

    I toast you, really I do. Cheers. I often read your posts and sometimes feel you give the most realistic advice on the internet. Like your information is genuine and not pitched as a platform for significance for just your own self. I sometimes feel that the new crazed topic of health & fitness is just disguised as another platform for people who are only looking for fame, but with yours I really do admire you for getting up on stage and sharing some really great and well researched advice. Thank you.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Thank you for that huge compliment. The craziness irritates me to no end. I do hope what I put out there IS significant but for readers and clients, not for the sake of being significant because there’s just too much trash, too many people out there spouting nutrition ideology! I’m glad to know someone is listening.

      Reply
  2. Mina
    Mina says:

    Such a wonderful post ,I was waiting for a long time for this and it all makes sense to me.
    Before getting to you ,I was on a NO_sugar diet based on my bloodtype and seprating carbs from protein …I was living DEAD…no joy ..the foods were like those for sick and without any joy (NO OIL OF ANY KIND NOT TO MENTION BUTTER N GHEE N COCONUT ONE WAS ENEMIES) Something in me was screaming this is not the life Im supposed to live..while they have assured my mind being it “healthy” but it has no life in it and above all I had lots of hypoglycemic reactions,horrible panick attacks and feeling devastated to reach some sugar ,while i had a horrible leaky gut.Im so happy i found you and have reconciled again with the bone broth n fish head and all real foods n also having sugar and above all ENJOY.
    living ur real food consultation is the biggest wish of me n i can see myself in it..its not here now but its mine ..SOON happens and its what makes me feel peace to heal n have a great bond with luxurious foods.
    God Bless you Jacqueline.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Mina, thanks for the kind words. I hope one day to get to “meet” you in a consultation and so thrilled that you are finding the advice helpful and you are eating REAL food again.

      Reply
  3. nell
    nell says:

    I had some coarse unwanted hair on both sides of my chins and in the recent 3 months they have SPREAD and INCREASED madly ..even above my lips ive grown one and im sure it will spread there too..They r so annoying ,I wax but they r so coarse and black and for being waxed the next time they should reach a certain length..pretty annoying.
    Do you know any kind of Essential oil in reducing the amount or thining the hairs?Any solution?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Start getting your estrogen under control and add some progesterone and perhaps even pregnenolone to your supplements. Can’t help with any essential oil recommendations, I am afraid. I would suggest laser over waxing!

      Reply
  4. nell
    nell says:

    How to get my estrogen under control?
    how many of pills should I be eating?will a progesterone cream do the treat?do they have any special timings in my cycle to be used?

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      That’s not a one sentence answer. You should not be thinking of eating pills and I recommend a progesterone oil and yes, progesterone must be used at specific times, not every single day of your cycle.

      Reply
  5. Donna
    Donna says:

    I, too would like to thank you for this. I manage support groups all over the internet for sleep disorders and a few yrs ago started watching a certain “doctor” who says magnesium cures everything, and her other “thing” was Candida. When her office was raided in Canada (bet you have heard of her) they took 46 random patient files, and each had the same diagnosis, plus had been charged, etc illegally for these tests, and so on. The blood tests were never even run, and she eventually lost her license from the university, plus was stripped of her license in New York and CA. I have the court papers to prove it. anyway, the craziness that pervades the internet and all the “magic cures” are enough to send me over the edge some days. They never end, and it amazes me every day that people are so anxious to throw their money away. shaking my head.

    Reply
  6. Deb
    Deb says:

    Hi and great reading.. It’s so difficult to know which information to trust and which not to..
    Can I ask where did you sourest yours from ? Is it backed up by any medical bodies etc ?
    I’m a suger addict and really do need to decrease the amounts I’m eating but don’t want to eliminate fruit from me diet so I’d like to know that was the way to go.. Also is taking coconut oil internally and topically okay ?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      You need to look at the TYPE of sugar you are eating…. Of course my sources are based on scientific publications, not just my opinion and yes, taking coconut oil internally and topically are fine.

      Reply
  7. Angela
    Angela says:

    While I agree with you personal experience tells me otherwise. I’ve been on a no sugar diet for 3 years now, my hormones and thyroid are balanced, I no longer have digestive issues but I ate one blueberry the other day and am suffering the consequences of vaginal yeast infection and every other yeast symptom.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      Angela, if you are getting candida from a blueberry, your thyroid, hormones, and more to the point, immune system is not functioning properly. Even I would put you on The Kaufman protocol and start to address what is making your immune system react this way. I can assure you though, it is not as simple as “candida”.

      Reply
  8. Clarissa
    Clarissa says:

    Completely agree. Posted something similar on my wall a while back. Crazy how extreme people can be in their thought process. You want to tell the entire world that foods that grow naturally from our earth, sources from the all knowing creator, are bad for you. So you now know better than He. The real problem is lack of balance. We’re too alkaline then we die because bacteria can take over. If we’re too acidic in certain areas then our cells and bodies start to die. Balance! Give the body living foods and it will give you life.

    Reply
  9. Warm
    Warm says:

    Thank you for the article. The title is a little misleading because there are people out there that believe candida isn’t an issue at all. For example this unhelpful article http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/12/10/we-all-have-candida-and-its-ok
    My seborrheic dermatitis and alopacia (both believed to be related to malassezia yeast) went away when I cut out drinking for a month and did a candida diet that included some fruit. Drinking reduces testosterone and increases estrogen and thanks to you I now am informed of its connection to candida. My symptoms seem to always increase after drinking alcohol and I assumed that it was just because yeast feeds on alcohol but now I know of the hormonal factors as well. I was wondering if you could touch on “Die~off” Herxheimer reaction? I’ve experienced it with the antifungal Fluconazole and more recently with apple cider vinegar mixed into water. Taking a binder such as black charcoal helped with this. The die~off was only bad for a couple days in each instance of consistently taking the Rx or drinking the ACV. The woman that wrote the usnews article probably does not even believe that Herxheimer reactions exist. Have a happy new year!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      You didn’t do a candida diet if you included fruit (but I don’t believe you NEEDED one because those diets don’t do much to really combat the ROOT causes of candida!!!) and the title is just a title. Herxheimer reactions do exist, definitely about 14 to 28 days after cutting out either incorrect probiotics (which do more to feed candida than sugar really does) or inflammatory microbiome disruptors. They can be severe symptoms but I don’t believe that active charcoal does much to help this reaction, rather, if symptoms are severe enough, this is when you introduce oxygen supplements and other carefully selected individualized herbs or nutrients. Candida issues are never really simply candida issues and are usually accompanied by virus and parasite action as well. Die-offs from extreme sugar eliminating diets (not like the one you were on which included fruit) are usually NOT die offs rather the metabolism crying for fuel. If you understand how candida really works from a biochemical standpoint then you will understand that it has to reach the small intestine (very rare and not to be confused with SIBO) before sugar feeding it really becomes an issue.

      Reply
  10. Warm
    Warm says:

    Thank you for the quick response. Can you give examples of incorrect probiotics or inflammatory microbiome disruptors? And also if you have a recommendation for a seborrheic dermatitis safe moisturizer, it’s really a challenge to find one and I would appreciate some guidance. Malassezia loves shea butter and all the good oils it seems and I think it probably is a fan of the alcohols that are used as preservatives in most lotions. Waiting for this product to arrive in the mail http://www.biom8.com/product/biom8-conditioning-oil/ the ingredients make sense.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      To give you lists of incorrect probiotics would be a very long drawn out answer (not every strain is good for every person or even certain strains at certain times of life). There are many strains that can interact with the microbiome negatively and many strains that would normally be healthy and people are just taking too many of them. Food sensitivities cause a disruption in microbiome along with NSAIDs and other pharmaceuticals, viruses, parasites and environmental factors. I would contact Wendy G at glow-skincare.com for a bespoke formula because there are many on the market that say they are specifically for sebhorrehic dermatitis and end up making them worse. I hope the one you ordered works for you. I looked at the ingredients and am not averse to a lot of the ingredients though I am not sure I would go so far as to say they make sense or would for everyone. It looks like it might be good for you but I wouldn’t have ever recommended shea butter for your condition.

      Reply
  11. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    My interactive medicine doctor is putting me on a anti-candida-like diet protocol which almost completely eliminates all forms of sugar. Low-sugar fruits like blueberries, lemons, and kiwis are permitted, but no alcohol or added forms of sugar with the exception of natural Stevia. He’s still troubleshooting the root causes of my health problems, but right now my health issues are similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/or Lyme Disease, with low cortisol and gluten sensitivity. I’ve tried a similar diet before on my own for several months with no benefit. He claims it’s because I did not rotate probiotics and antimicrobials. Do you agree? I don’t want to eliminate sugar if I’m only making matters worse.

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      If CFS/Lyme/EBV IS at the root then treating the candida with a low sugar diet (kiwis are NOT low sugar so this is laughable anyway to me) is not helpful. I don’t agree with your doctor but I don’t have all the pieces in front of me. I can’t really prescribe the diet that would work unless we have all those pieces spelled out an “on the wall” to put together what would really work…. I rarely say that terribly low sugar (especially one replaced by Stevia) is the way to go.

      Reply
  12. toongh
    toongh says:

    Ive been suffering with eczema my whole life , and now when i started becoming vegan and eating more healthy ( niot reall though) my eczema came back stronger, which i belive it is getting worse before getting better, i started with the no sugar no straches and only quinoa and buckwheat and veggies, what do you think I SHOULD DO?

    Reply
  13. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Hi! I was on high nexium disage past 8 yrs n developed all kinds 9f diseases n fell ill often. Once i went on vege juicing n then keto diet n felt so healthy n no more health problems but the minute i went bk to carbs n sugar, I fell ill often n was tested positive for candida igg test n then candida in stool test too n each time the candida found was what i took as probiotics or in my kefir so do i really have candida overgrowth esp since i experienced extreme die off weakness during my coloidal silver trearment of candida? Thanks!

    Reply
    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      The keto diet and veggie juicing alone are not enough to treat candida. You have to treat the root and that is the health of the gut. I don’t recommend colloidal silver treatments for very much, least of all, candida, FYI!

      Reply

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