Leaky Gut Syndrome is a condition that has been identified fairly recently, but it has a strong association with Candida overgrowth. Leaky Gut Syndrome has been identified as the cause of many different digestive complaints including Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease. It is also closely linked to food sensitivities and allergies, so you may find that your gluten or dairy allergies improve after a successful treatment for Candida.
What is Leaky Gut Syndrome? Very simply, it is the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal walls. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it is very often the result of a Candida overgrowth or some other form of gut dysbiosis. The Candida cells, which are relatively benign in their yeast form, adopt their fungal form and begin to grow hyphae – the long branches that grow out of the fungus. These branches invade the cells in your intestinal lining, creating inflammation and permeating the membrane that prevents substances from leaking out.
If these openings become sufficiently large, they allow all kinds of toxins and food particles to spill out from your gut and into your bloodstream. The immune cells in your blood quickly identify these particles as foreign substances, even though your intestines were happily digesting them a few moments before. Next comes the response from your immune system. Even though these are only food particles, the immune system acts quickly to neutralize what it perceives to be a threat to your health.
One of the most amazing capabilities of your immune system is the way that it remembers infections. That’s why you only get chicken pox once, and why you will never catch the same cold virus that you caught ten years ago! However, in this example your immune system’s incredible memory is not so helpful. Once it has neutralized and eliminated those food particles in your blood, it remembers exactly what they were. This means that the next time you eat that food, you might find that your body (specifically your immune system) has a reaction to it. This is the underlying cause behind many food allergies.
You can see why the health of your intestinal lining is so important. Among other things, it prevents food particles from escaping into your bloodstream. Maintaining the health of this barrier is one of the goals of any good Candida treatment plan. In our Candida program we have included lists of foods and supplements that are designed to promote a healthy intestinal wall – both to prevent damage and repair any damage or inflammation that has already happened.
How To Avoid Triggers For Leaky Gut Syndrome
If you’re on the Candida diet then you are already avoiding many of the inflammatory, gut-weakening foods that can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Alcohol and coffee are two of the most common triggers; cutting them out of your diet should have an immediate impact.
Another cause is processed foods that are full of additives, preservatives, and other man-made ingredients. Again, if you are following the Candida diet then you have already cut out most or all of these processed foods.
You should try to avoid anything that will further irritate the intestinal lining. For that reason, Candida sufferers who are taking fiber supplements should make sure that their chosen fiber is not a potential irritant. Psyllium husk has been found in some cases to irritate the gut, so alternatives like acacia, flax, or apple fiber might be a better choice. See our updated list of recommended detox and fiber supplements here.
Lastly, you should also try to avoid glutinous grains. These contain a protein named gliadin that opens up gaps between your intestinal cells. Switch to grains like buckwheat, millet or quinoa, or consider dropping grains from your diet entirely. As fans of the ‘Paleo’ diet will already know, we’re not really designed to eat large amounts of grains anyway!
So what’s the best way to heal your intestines and beat your Leaky Gut Syndrome? The Candida diet is already an excellent diet for sufferers of Leaky Gut, but with a few modifications it can be made even more effective. Cut out the foods I mentioned above, add in some of the gut-repairing supplements/foods that we recommend in our program, try to reduce your stress levels, and switch to a more gentle type of fiber. As your Candida clears up, you should find that your Leaky Gut Syndrome repairs itself too. The Ultimate Candida Diet program contains lots of advice on repairing your gut and avoiding inflammatory foods.