Everyone has Candida, a form of yeast (Candida albicans) normally found in the lower bowels, vagina and on the skin.  If you have a strong, healthy, functioning immune system, the Candida is harmless and usually kept in “check” by the “good” bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and acidophilus. However, if the balance of the intestinal environment is altered by a compromised immune system, or other factors, then the Candida proliferates and creates infections in the body tissues. It transforms from a simple yeast into an aggressive fungus that can severely compromise one’s health.  What it seems to do is permeate the gastrointestinal lining and allows allergenic substances to permeate into the blood stream. This causes terrible reactions to occur which often appear as allergic reactions to foods.

Candida produces a number of toxins that can suppress immune function and deplete the body of the white blood cells require to fight infections. The condition can cause a number of diseases, ranging from allergies, vaginitis, thrush (in the mouth or the vagina), bladder infection, urinary tract infection, and even infections in the eyes, liver, heart or central nervous system.  Some symptoms include digestive problems such as bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhoea, respiratory problems, coughing, wheezing, earaches, central nervous system imbalances, generalised fatigue and loss of libido. Other symptoms of Candidiasis may include: chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression, anxiety and irritability, hyperactivity, confusion and loss of memory, chronic diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn, food allergies, severe PMS, mood swings, memory loss, skin problems, sinus, hay-fever, migraines, headaches, sleep disturbances and heart palpitations.

Candidiasis often results from taking medicines such as antibiotics, birth control pills and oestrogen replacement therapy. Hormonal changes often encourage Candida overgrowth.  When men develop Candidiasis, antibiotics, high sugar intake or immune suppression (from illness, toxins and stress) are usually the root causes.

According to Dr Murray Susser from Santa Monica, California, antibiotics, although life-saving cures for many diseases, may be the single greatest cause of Candidiasis, because it kills off the bad infection causing bacteria as well as the “good” intestinal bacteria.  One of the activities of the good bacteria is to manufacture the B vitamin, Biotin which controls yeast production.  When Biotin is lacking the bacteria becomes opportunistic and evolves into a fungus. Candida then puts down little roots which burrow into the tissues on which the yeast is growing. When this happens to the inner walls of the intestines, it breaks down the barrier that exists between the bowel and the body, resulting in toxic debris moving into the bloodstream and thus causing allergic and toxic reactions.  Antibiotics alter the the balance of the intestinal flora and suppress the immune system. A person with a suppressed immune system is more susceptible to Candida as well as other bacterial infections.
Foods that stimulate the growth of Candida and should be avoided are:  all dairy products, sugar, breads, pastries, (All white flour products), cheeses, dried fruits, peanuts, potato chips, desserts, fizzy drinks, sweets, and all junk foods. High carbohydrate diets provide plenty of sugar in the body and support the growth of Candida.  Candidiasis patients should stay away from all alcohol as it is toxic and feeds the yeast.  Alcohol suppresses the immune system and disturbs the whole adrenal hormone axis.  Moulds are another aspect of Candida sensitivity.  Food moulds include cheeses, grapes, mushrooms and fermented foods.
Damp environments such as mouldy or musty basements or homes, may also encourage yeast growth. Exposure to environmental pollutants such as pesticide residues, car exhausts, industrial chemicals and heavy metals (including those from mercury amalgam fillings) may encourage the growth of Candida as well.
A conventional way of treating Candida is to prescribe anti fungal drugs such as nystatin, ketoconazol and Diflucan. However, a comprehensive approach is more effective in treating Candida. A reduction of factors that predispose a patient to Candida overgrowth is a good starting point and the patient’s immune function needs to be strengthened. Diet, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, oxygen therapy, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture are some of the choices alternative physicians use to treat Candida. Full recovery from Candida seldom takes less than three months and it is therefore wise to address the problem under the guidance of your health practitioner.
Nutritional supplements as a support are necessary to help build the immune system and strengthen the digestive system. Recommended supplements include B vitamins (to increase antibody response), Vitamin C (stimulates the adrenal glands and is essential to immune processes), Vitamin E, Vitamin A (builds resistance to infection and increases the immune response) and beta carotene (increases T cells).  Antioxidant immune boosters such as selenium, calcium, and zinc are also useful in combating Candidiasis. Additional adrenal gland stimulants include chromium and magnesium. A supplementation of HCI (hydrochloric acid) is helpful to replenish the lack in the stomach caused by ageing, alcohol abuse, food allergies and nutrient deficiencies.
Herbal remedies that help for Candidiasis are Goldenseal, Oregon grape and Barberry. Berberain fights Candida overgrowth, normalises intestinal flora, helps digestive problems, has antidiarrheal properties and stimulates the immune system by increasing blood supply to the spleen. Garlic, a well-known folk remedy, is a particularly effective anti fungal agent.  Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic and has been found to be more potent than many other anti-fungals, especially against Candida.
Pau d’arco bark has also long been used to treat infections, intestinal complaints and genitourinary ailments. It is said to be an analgesic, antiviral, diuretic and fungicide.
Grapefruit Seed extract works as  multipurpose natural antibiotic for bacterial and viral problems in the intestines and against Candida infections. Other anti-fungal and antibacterial herbs include German chamomile, Aloe Vera, Ginger, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Liquorice, Oil of Oregano, Thyme Oil, and Tea Tree Oil.
Excerpt from Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide
Trivieri & Anderson