Candida overgrowth is an unusual condition in the way that it causes such a wide range of symptoms. That’s why it is often known as a syndrome, or Candida Related Complex. This is also the main reason why it is so difficult to diagnose correctly. Symptoms can include headaches, digestive problems and more. But there is also a link between Candida and intolerances to foods like dairy and gluten.
In today’s post I’m going to take a closer look at food sensitivities and intolerances, and examine just how they can be caused by a yeast overgrowth. I’ll also share a research report that tells us exactly how fast Candida albicans can penetrate your intestinal walls, and explain how you can prevent this from happening. But first I want to go over some basic information on how a condition named Leaky Gut Syndrome can lead to food sensitivities.
Leaky Gut Syndrome And Candida
Some of the most common symptoms of a Candida overgrowth are food sensitivities. These are a result of Leaky Gut Syndrome, a condition that often accompanies Candida. For some more detailed information, I have written a post explaining the connection between these two conditions.
Leaky Gut Syndrome is usually defined as the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal walls. This might be as a result of a number of different factors, but in the case of Candida sufferers it is usually caused by the pathogenic, fungal form of Candida albicans.
In its yeast form, Candida actually poses little threat to our general health. But when those yeast cells convert to a fungal form and grow long tubes named hyphae, the Candida colonies in your gut can spread and grow much more quickly. The Candida fungus can ‘burrow’ into your intestinal lining and widen the spacing between the cells in that lining. This allows undigested food particles to escape into your bloodstream, triggering an immediate immune response which leads to a longer term allergy or sensitivity.
Candida And Your Intestinal Walls
Sometimes it can be difficult to realize just how potent an organism Candida really is. After all, it usually resides in our guts and most of us never actually see it. Well, there is some clear evidence showing how aggressive Candida can be, particularly when it comes to attacking your intestinal membrane.
How exactly does Candida albicans manage to pull off this trick? A research study published in Mycoses magazine looked at the speed with which Candida albicans can penetrate host tissues. Researchers took human epithelial tissues from the vaginal and esophagus, then infected them with Candida albicans. They then measured exactly how long it would take for the Candida albicans hyphae to penetrate the tissue.
According to the study, “The duration of Candida penetration of human epithelium varied between 22 and 59 hours.” In simple terms, this means that it took 22-59 hours for the Candida fungus to completely penetrate through the human tissue. They went on to state that, “If Candida cells are able to invade host tissues without being restrained by natural defense mechanisms they may create a realistic threat of invasion of blood vessels .. within approximately 1.5 days.”
We should of course remember that these experiments were conducted in a laboratory. In our bodies, Candida albicans has to contend with the various elements of our immune system. However, this study does suggest that when our immune systems are weakened, penetration of the intestinal membrane can happen very quickly indeed.
This is particularly relevant to Candida sufferers. When a Candida overgrowth disturbs the balance in your gut flora, it weakens a crucial part of your immune system. And when this happens, it leaves you particularly vulnerable to developing conditions like Leaky Gut Syndrome.
How Can You Prevent Candida From Weakening Your Intestinal Walls?
We might know the way in which Candida leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome, and the food intolerances that accompany it, but can we actually do anything about it? Actually, there are a few different things you can do to prevent this from happening.
- Prevent the Candida from switching to its fungal form
Candida Albicans can only cause Leaky Gut Syndrome if it is allowed to switch to its fungal form, and it needs the right pH level in your gut to do this. Two ways to maintain the correct pH level are by taking some good probiotics and cutting out sugary foods from your diet. Any good Candida treatment plan will use a combination of diet and supplements to keep your Candida under control.
- Support your immune system
Your own immune system will always be the best defense against Candida. Supplements like probiotics can help, but you should also consider a detox plan and make some appropriate lifestyle changes. Food intolerances and allergies are often the result of Leaky Gut Syndrome and a weakened immune system, so give your body all the support it needs to defend itself.
- Avoid inflammatory foods
If you are following a Candida diet then you are avoiding most inflammatory foods already. Many of the items on my foods to avoid list are inflammatory (like sugars, alcohol, trans fats and processed meats). These foods can worsen the inflammation in your intestinal walls and weaken them even further.
For lots more information on preventing Leaky Gut Syndrome and beating Candida, check out our Ultimate Candida Diet program. It includes a clear timeline for beating your Candida, more detailed lists of foods to eat and avoid, and lots of tips on how to make your Candida treatment more effective.