Firstly, its important to realize that everyone has Candida already. It is a microorganism that is naturally present in your gut, part of the balanced system that helps you to digest food and stay fit and well.
When people talk about Candidiasis the illness, they are really talking about the excess growth of Candida. So if Candida is not something that you ‘catch’ like a virus, what are the causes of this excess growth of Candida?
Candida has only recently been recognized by the medical community, but there has been a surprising amount of research conducted into this illness. The consensus is leaning towards a handful of medical and lifestyle factors that seem to be triggers for a Candida overgrowth.
Candida and your diet
The modern diet is like a feast for Candida, since it is a yeast that needs sugar to thrive and multiply. That includes sugar itself, foods containing sugar and also anything that converts to sugar. Refined carbohydrates like processed food made with white flour, other refined grains and alcohol can all contribute to Candida growth.
A healthy immune system should be able to keep Candida at bay. However, a diet rich in sugar actually depresses your immune system, leaving it vulnerable and allowing the Candida yeast to proliferate. Moldy and yeast-containing foods must also be avoided, as they can aggravate symptoms of Candida too. This means some vegetables, condiments, sauces, coffee, tea, and packaged and processed foods.
Candida and antibiotics
The most common culprit in an outbreak of Candida is antibiotics. A full course of antibiotics kills the harmful bacteria for which it is prescribed, but it also destroys beneficial and friendly bacteria that live in your gut. This can leave your body defenseless to harmful bacteria and fungi, such as the fast-growing Candida yeast that quickly dominates the small intestine and causes problems.
Of course there are times when you do need that antibiotics prescription, but the truth is that doctors prescribe it for for many health issues unnecessarily, like the common cold or a sore throat. Make sure there is no alternative treatment to your condition and, if you must take them, be sure to take an good probiotic supplement during and after the treatment to replenish the healthy bacteria population.
Buying organic food can help to reduce your exposure to antibiotics. An astounding 55% of the antibiotics used in the US are in the livestock industry. Herds of cattle are fed antibiotics to keep mortality rates low and profit margins high. Some of these antibiotics make their way on to our plates in the form of beef and milk. This has become so widespread that the European Union has banned it completely, and won’t even import beef that has been raised in this way.
Candida and stress
Stress affects your body in two ways, both of which can lead to excess Candida. One of your body’s first reactions to a stressful situation is to release Cortisol, a hormone that depresses your immune system and raises your blood sugar level. The Candida yeast feeds on the extra sugar, while your weakened immune system is powerless to stop it. Quickly it overpowers the balanced mixture of microorganisms in your small intestine.
Prolonged stress can also weaken your adrenal glands, which are an important part of your immune system. These small organs release hormones that regulate several different systems within your body, and they are responsible for production of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone adrenaline. If your adrenals become drained you will feel constantly tired, and probably find yourself drinking cup after cup of coffee. Your immune system becomes similarly drained and unable to respond properly to pathogens like the Candida yeast.
Candida and the Pill
In other sufferers, an outbreak of Candida can be traced to the contraceptive pill. The stomach is a delicate organ, containing a precise mixture of microorganisms and yeasts that help process and digest food. They depend on the right balance of chemicals to support them, but this equilibrium can be thrown off by the hormonal imbalances caused by the Pill.
By disturbing this balance, the Pill opens the door for Candida to once again outgrow its competitors in the gut. Estrogen, the major ingredient in the Pill, is known to promote the growth of yeast. If you need evidence of how this can happen, see how many women get regular yeast infections while on the Pill, its exactly the same principle.
Another contraceptive device that may cause Candida is the copper IUD. It has been shown that copper can increase yeast growth in much the same way as Estrogen does. So be very aware of these problems when choosing your contraceptive technique!
Mercury in your Fillings
Silver amalgam fillings contain at least 50% mercury, and this is poisonous to the body. Mercury particles and vapor are continuously released in the body as you chew, grind and brush your teeth.
Mercury significantly weakens the immune system and can be the cause of many health problems. One of these is Candida. The mercury leaks from the dental fillings and kills the friendly bacteria in your gut, allowing Candida to take over.
There is no safe level of mercury to have in your system, so keeping it in your mouth is definitely a bad idea. If you can afford it, do take charge of your health and have them replaced.
Chlorine and Fluoride
Both chlorine and fluoride kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut. This weakens your immune system and allows the small number of Candida yeast cells in your gut to grow into a Candida infestation.
Chlorine in particular can be found almost everywhere you look. Most cities add chlorine to their drinking water. This mean that you are drinking chlorine every day, bathing in it, showering in it, and using it to wash the clothes that you and your family wear. As a powerful disinfectant, it ensures that the water supply stays free of pathogens. However the health benefits are outweighed by Chlorine’s effect on your gut flora and immune system. Luckily there are ways to reduce your chlorine exposure. One you add some filters in your house and switch to more natural laundry products, your body will take in much less of this poisonous chemical.
Candida and Diabetes
Candida is just one of many conditions that Diabetes can bring about, and diabetic women are particularly susceptible to any yeast infection. An elevated blood sugar level feeds the Candida yeast, allowing it grow quickly and dominate the other microorganisms in your gut.
If you need more detailed information on the 8 main causes of Candida, my Ultimate Candida Diet program contains a large chapter entirely to this subject.