The importance of maintaining healthy gut flora is only just starting to be understood by modern medicine. With every new piece of research that is completed, we are finding out more and more about how imbalances in these tiny microorganisms can have extraordinary effects on other parts of our bodies.
By now, most people have read about the importance of a balanced gut flora to our immune systems. A fungal overgrowth can quickly weaken your immune system and leave you vulnerable to infection and disease. There is also an increasing amount of research into the gut-brain axis and how probiotics can affect things like mood and mental health. But did you know that there are also clear links between those microorganisms living in your gut and arthritis?
In today’s post I’m going to describe how Candida albicans is linked to autoimmune diseases like arthritis, and make some suggestions for how the right diet and supplements can lessen your arthritis symptoms.
Research On Candida And Arthritis
Here is a list of some of the most recent research on arthritis, along with a brief summary of the researchers’ findings. Taken together, these studies form a very compelling argument that Candida can contribute to (and perhaps even trigger) arthritis.
- A 2011 review looked at the current research into Candida and inflammation. The researchers found that “Candida colonization delays healing of inflammatory lesions”. They also noted that “These effects may create a vicious cycle in which low-level inflammation promotes fungal colonization and fungal colonization promotes further inflammation.”
- A recent Japanese study looked at the effect of Candida colonization on autoimmune diseases like arthritis. Researchers found that “C. Albicans in mice aggravates inflammation in allergic and autoimmune diseases, not only in the gut but also in the extra-gut tissues”. This is particularly important because it shows how Candida can cause an inflammatory response not just in your gut, but also in other tissues outside of it.
- A Dutch team in 2012 injected Candida albicans yeast cells into the knee joints of mice. They found that these mice exhibited not only “joint swelling and inflammation”, but also “enhanced destruction of cartilage and bone”. The study concluded that “minute amounts of fungal components, like C. albicans, are very potent in interfering with the local cytokine environment in an arthritic joint, thereby polarizing arthritis towards a more destructive phenotype.”
- Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that the presence of Candida caused an inflammatory response in the body, specifically the production of TH17 cells. These are thought to play a role in rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn’s disease.
- A Swiss study also examined the role of Candida-related TH17 cells and inflammation. In the words of the author of the study, Dr Christina Zielinski, “I am convinced that an imbalance in our microbial microflora has a decisive influence on the development of chronic inflammatory illnesses like rheumatism.”
Some Simple Techniques To Reduce Your Arthritis Symptoms
Reducing inflammation in your body is one of the keys to getting relief from arthritis, and your diet is the first thing you need to look at. There are certain foods that will help to relieve your symptoms, and other foods that will just make them worse.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods that you should be eating include flaxseed and fish oil. Why is this? They both contain healthy amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to significantly reduce inflammation. You should also focus on eating lots of vegetables and some lean protein. Spices that can help with inflammation include turmeric and ginger.
Now for the foods to avoid – sugar, trans fats, alcohol, and any kind of processed carbohydrate like white bread or white pasta. Sounds familiar? You should be avoiding these foods anyway as part of your Candida diet. In fact, a good Candida treatment plan is full of naturally anti-inflammatory foods, and largely avoids any foods that might lead to inflammation.
Beating Your Candida Overgrowth Can Improve Your Arthritis
The research studies listed above show a clear link between Candida and arthritis. If you believe that you suffer from both of these conditions, beating your Candida overgrowth can provide relief from your arthritis symptoms.
Attacking your Candida will help with your arthritis in two ways. Firstly, by destroying those Candida colonies in your gut, you prevent the need for an inflammatory response from your immune system. Secondly, by switching to a healthy, low-sugar eating plan, you will eliminate many of those pro-inflammatory foods from your diet too. In our Ultimate Candida Diet program we describe a healthy diet, free of inflammatory foods, that could help you get relief from your arthritis symptoms.