One of the most frustrating symptoms of Candida overgrowth is a weakened immune system. The regular headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with Candida Related Complex are bad enough, but adding regular colds and viruses to the mix can really make life difficult.
Flu season is particularly bad, but this can happen throughout the year. A chronically weakened immune system leaves you vulnerable to every virus that comes along. Sometimes the cold viruses can arrive so frequently that it’s tough to know where one cold ends and the next begins.
Why are Candida sufferers particularly likely to have a weakened immune system? It’s all to do with those beneficial bacteria in your gut. Besides completing their other tasks like digesting your food, they are also a very important part of your immune system. And when the balance in your gut is destroyed (for example by antibiotics), your immune system is weakened too.
One of the goals of any good Candida treatment program is to rebuild your immune system, and probiotics are a really important part of that. Not only do they crowd out the Candida yeast and regulate the acidity in your gut, they also support your immune system.
The Role That ‘Good Bacteria’ Have To Play In Your Immune System
Until recently, the exact role that your ‘good bacteria’ play in preventing illness has been something of a mystery to scientists. There has always been plenty of evidence that probiotic supplementation reduced susceptibility to common viruses. For example, this study in 2006 showed a significant reduction in fevers, coughs and runny noses among young children. But the exact mechanism by which the probiotics worked was never clear.
Then in 2009 a research team at the University of Pennsylvania made an important discovery. In simple terms, they found that all those beneficial bacteria in your gut keep your immune system ‘primed.’ And when those bacteria disappear (just like during a Candida overgrowth), your immune system starts to shuts down. This means that the colonies of bacteria in your gut keep your immune system ready and prepared to fight off any pathogens that enter your body.
This is why you need to be very careful about taking antibiotics. There are other causes of Candida (stress, sugary foods etc.), but nothing leads to a weakened immune system like a course of antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics are the worst, as they do not discriminate between the various types of bacteria at all. But any kind of antibiotic can cause serious damage to your immune system. Always discuss with your doctor if there are alternatives, and never take antibiotics that haven’t been prescribed.
Taking probiotic supplements can go a long way towards re-establishing a healthy balance of micro-organisms in your gut. And homemade probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir are great ways to supplement your probiotic intake. Choose a good probiotic supplement with a high CFU count and lots of individual strains.
Probiotics In Your Candida Treatment
Of course, you know by now that simply taking a probiotic supplement each day is not a magic bullet that is going to cure your Candida. A good anti-Candida program involves a low-sugar diet full of anti-inflammatory foods, some antifungals, a good probiotic or two, and much more. Each element needs to work together, and using the right timing is also very important to prevent a Herxheimer reaction, or Candida Die-Off.
In our Ultimate Candida Diet program, Dr. Wood and I go into much more detail on how probiotics can help you to beat Candida. We discuss exactly when in your treatment you should begin taking them, and provide a detailed timeline for you to follow during your treatment.