|You are here: Column Archives: Candida Albicans, pt. 1|
The human body is a zoo, a playground and world for hundreds if not thousands of species. It's a fact of biology, so deal with it. Plants and animals grow within us and upon us. Most of the time it's a symbiotic relationship in which everybody wins. In fact, our bodies need certain biological entities to survive. Bacteria in our digestive system help us metabolize the food we eat. Without a healthy crop of e. coli we would have continual indigestion. But our personal petting zoo is not limited to our gut. Pick up that eyelash that just fell off your face and give it a close look. Armored monsters appear under the microscope; little mites that live, eat and breed in the follicle roots of your body hair. And that's if you're healthy!
When in balance, our little live-ins survive just fine on the leftovers and unused portions of nutrients our bodies provide. Like the birds we see picking lice off rhinos or the pilot fish that groom larger sea animals, these freeloaders often play an important role in good housekeeping.
But what happens when the inmates take over the asylum? What happens if our on-site management system (otherwise known as an immune system) slacks off on the job? These sometimes helpful, often benign populations become a problem. When our immune system can no longer keep up with the growth of our alien beasties, we begin to see and feel the foreign presence of the unchecked relative of our Washington monster fungus. We use yeast in baking to make things light. But it isn't really fair to make light of yeast in our body. It can be a very serious thing.
THE FUNGUS RISES IN THE YEAST
Candida albicans is the most common family of yeast living in our bodies. It lends its name to what we call candida or candidiasis, the disease and symptoms that an overpopulation causes.
Usually yeast exists in a controlled, minor population in our bodies. It lives mostly in mucosal tissues like the gut. When things run amok, however, yeast proliferate and transform. An overgrowth of yeast is commonly called a "yeast infection." Yeast infections in the most obvious cases are incorrectly considered a "female problem", when the vaginal mucosae host large populations of the plant life and discomfort such as itching and discharge are sometimes more than just an inconvenience. But men can also harbor yeast infections genitally, especially if uncircumcised. Our immediate attention is drawn to the obvious and millions of dollars are spent each year on prescription and non-prescription ways to try to control vaginal yeast infections. Trying to simply kill off the yeast by using anti-fungal poisons is pointless unless the underlying conditions that allowed the yeast to proliferate are addressed. In fact, using a fungicide will simply kill the weak yeast and leave the resistant strains to proliferate. Super yeast end up being super infections. Recurrence is guaranteed if the underlying conditions are not remedied.
But there is an even more serious side to yeast infections. That is when the population becomes so entrenched that it lives throughout the body and begins to transform into the other mutation known as fungus.
When a yeast infection has taken over the body, it's a sometimes very subtle thing. After all, any good parasite wants to live just below the level of our attention. If it can nourish itself without raising alarm, then it gets by just fine because the host does nothing and never suspects the actual cause of the growing symptomology.
But yeast and fungus have to live. The colony has to feed. And their favorite food? Sugar - America's number one addiction. How convenient.
Have you ever had an irresistible craving for sugar or candy? A sweet-tooth, if you will? Have you ever just chowed down on a handful of Jelly Bellies or wolfed on half a box of Girl Scout Cookies? Ever just have to eat two bowls of Hagen Daz? And then when you finish you ask yourself - "Yuk, why did I eat that? I feel miserable." Was it really you who was hungry? Was it a need for your body's nutrition that drove you? Hardly. If it were your nutritional needs, something good for you, don't you think it would have been something healthy that you craved? Guess who was directing your craving? Mr. Fungus, that's who.
LEAKY GUY SYNDROME
When candida has grown out of control, when our natural checks and balances no longer check it and balance us, we feel some pretty noticeable effect. On the lighter side of the scale, we may feel run-down and sluggish. We may get irregular or constipated. Maybe we have mood swings or get irritable.
A whole host of symptoms crops up in the bargain our diet has struck with candida. Chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, depression, bloating, insomnia, muscular aches and pains, cystitis, vaginal yeast infections are just a few of the results from systemic candida infection. Of course, there can be other causes too, but candida is highly suspect, especially in recurrent, non-acute symptoms. Even alcoholism may be influenced by the desire for sugar that yeast thrive on. An entire list of physical and mental diseases have been linked to leaky gut syndrome.
Fungal rhizomes are not the only thing that can threaten the integrity of the intestinal wall. Certain drugs, bacterial and viral infections and increased irritations can also be considered.
THE YEAST OF YOUR WORRIES
Cut out sugar, stay away from processed flour and the gluten that is part of it, avoid wheat products and dairy foods, lower protein intake, lower stress and eat foods that yeast doesn't enjoy. Next column, we will look into some of the ways experts help people regain control of the asylum known as your body.
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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.
Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.