Yeast/Candida

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About Candida Albicans

Candida albicans is the most common type of fungus that lives in the mucous membranes of the human body, growing as both a yeast and as a filamentous cell. Candida albicans is normally found in the eyes, ears, respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract and the genitourinary tract. Candida is also found on our skin, and under finger nails and toe nails. In small numbers, candida are one of the friendly organisms who inhabit the human body and serve a useful purpose. Normally our immune systems regulate the growth of candida. However, if the immune system is already weakened or overwhelmed due to gut dysbiosis, digestive disorders, chronic stress, exhaustion, disease or other factors, then levels of candida can increase rapidly., releasing toxins that create a wide spectrum of physiological and emotional responses.   This is often referred to as a candida overgrowth, yeast infection or candidiasis. 

There is some controversy in the medical community regarding candida and the role it plays in health issues.  Doctors generally recognize a few conditions associated with a candida overgrowth: oral (thrush), genital (vaginal infection, jock itch).  Also recognized are the more severe forms, candidemia and/or fungemia,  found in those with severe immune deficiencies such as in AIDS or chemotherapy patients.

Standard tests to detect normal or abnormal levels of candida are often inconclusive due to individual variation, so there is much controversy and differing recommendations from the experts on how to deal with a candida overgrowth or yeast infection.


Causes Of Candida Overgrowth

Most experts agree that these are the common causes of a candida overgrowth:

  • Antibiotics (repeated or prolonged course of broad-spectrum antibiotics)
  • Poor digestion or digestive disorders
  • Poor nutrition
  • Steroid use
  • Birth control pills
  • Gut dysbiosis
  • Allergies, including food
  • Stress
  • Exhaustion
  • Diabetes
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Organ or bone marrow transplantation
  • Implantable medical devices
  • Hospital acquired infection


Common Symptoms Of Candida Overgrowth

There are many symptoms associated with a. candida overgrowth.  Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Asthma
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Bladder and kidney infections
  • Brain fog
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Colic, diaper rash and thrush in children
  • Constipation
  • Cravings for sweets, starches and alcohol
  • Cystitis, Interstitial Cystitis
  • Dandruff
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, lethargy
  • Food sensitivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Jock itch
  • Mood swings
  • Mouth sores, bad breath, canker sores
  • Nasal congestion
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Rectal itching
  • Skin infections, or dry, flaky skin
  • Sore throat, chronic
  • Stiffness and joint pain
  • Thrush
  • Urinary infections
  • Vaginal infections
  • Weight gain


Eliminating The Candida Overgrowth

Fortunately, those of us on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) because of gastrointestinal disorders or an autism-spectrum disorder have already made many of the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to eliminate the candida overgrowth and to keep the levels in check.  The most troublesome "candida trigger food" are grains and starchy vegetables (potatoes), which are eliminated while on SCD.  Remaining on SCD over the long-term should reduce the levels of candida, as it rebalances and repairs the gut ecology. 

However, it takes time to rebuild the gut ecology, and some individuals may be using immunosuppressant medications to help resolve their digestive disorders, so dealing with the symptoms of a candida overgrowth can be a challenge.  To speed up the process of eliminating high levels of candida, some have found it necessary to limit or avoid, for a few weeks or a few months,  some of the SCD-legal foods that are known to feed candida.

Let your symptoms be your guide as to how long to follow a candida-elimination version of SCD.  You may not need to limit or eliminate all trigger foods, just those few that are particularly troublesome for your body.

Basically, a candida elimination diet (using SCD foods as examples)

  • limits or avoids starches (high carbohydrate foods such as winter squash, legumes)
  • limits or avoids sweets (sugars, fruits, dried fruits, honey)
  • limits or avoids molds (cheeses, mushrooms, nuts) or yeasts (fermented foods such as wine, pickles, vinegar)
  • adds probiotics or yogurt to help restore balance in the gut ecology
  • uses natural or prescription anti-fungal as desired (optional)
  • adds mineral and vitamin supplements to improve nutrition and support the recovery of the immune system and gut ecology

Most candida elimination dietary recommendations also include limiting or avoiding alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and colas.

The experts vary slightly in the details of the elimination diet, but the overall strategy is the same. You slowly eliminate all of the candida “trigger” foods until you reach the strict or drastic phase; remain at the drastic phase for four to six weeks; then slowly transition back to normal foods over the following months. 

How slowly you transition down to the drastic level and back up to normal eating depends entirely on your symptoms.  How strict you become at the drastic level is entirely up to you.

Because SCD eliminates the starches and processed sugars from our diet, we are left with only limiting (or perhaps avoiding for a while) high-carb vegetables, legumes, fruits, honey, cheese, mushrooms, nuts, and vinegars for a few weeks or a few months, until the candida overgrowth symptoms diminish.


Elaine Gottschall's View On Fruit And Candida

Elaine Gottschall (author of Breaking The Vicious Cycle) felt that fruit sugars should not be feeding the candida, especially if the fruit is cooked, the juice diluted. She felt that the nutrients obtained from fruit outweighs the risk of limiting them, even for a time, especially with children.

Suggested Phases for Candida Elimination

As always on SCD, experiment to determine what your own body will tolerate, what your own gut ecology needs to improve. If your candida-related symptoms aren’t severe, you may not need to follow these phases at all; additional time on SCD may be all that is required.

Do not eat any foods that cause severe allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock, regardless if they are recommended on SCD or in the suggested phases below.

Remember to check whether all of these foods and supplements are contraindicated for your own set of health issues.


STRICTEST PHASE

Slowly transition to this phase over a period of several months.  Cut back on some foods every week or two until you have reached this strictest phase, then maintain it for four to six weeks.

  • Proteins :     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game)  Avoid legumes.
  • Fruits, dried fruits, honey :     1 serving of diluted juice (other than lemon) or 1 serving of a cooked fruit every other day ;   1 or 2 servings of lemon or lime juice per day, 3 to 5 days per week, are acceptable (but not required if you are allergic) ;    use the nonsweet fruits as much as possible (see list below) ;  avoid dried fruits and honey.
  • Vegetables (see list below) :      eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired ;  1 serving of a high-carbohydrate vegetable such as winter squash only 1 or 2 times a week or avoid if symptoms are severe. Avoid legumes.
  • Molds :  limit hard cheeses to 1 serving per week or avoid if symptoms are severe ;  avoid mushrooms ;avoid vinegars,  use lemon juice instead ; avoid nuts, although nut flours may be appropriate if used in less sweet recipes, and not eaten every day.
  • Probiotics :   as your body tolerates, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.
  • Anti-Fungals (see list below; optional) :    if your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks. Remember that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.
  • Additional Recommendations :     Drink plenty of water to flush toxins out of your body.   Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD

   

INTERMEDIATE PHASE

This phase can last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on your symptoms

  • Proteins.:     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game)
  • Fruits, dried fruits, honey :    1 serving of diluted juice (other than lemon) every day.   1 serving of a cooked fruit every other day.   1 or 2 servings of lemon or lime juice per day, 3 to 5 days per week, are acceptable (but not required).     Use the nonsweet fruits as much as possible (see list).     Limit dried fruits, to a serving 1 or 2 times a week.     Limit honey to small amounts (perhaps 1/4 to ½ of what recipe calls for).  Adjust if symptoms return.
  • Vegetables (see list):    1 serving of a high-carbohydrate vegetable such as winter squash only 2 times a week.    Eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired.
  • Molds:     Limit hard cheeses to 2 servings per week.    Avoid mushrooms.     Avoid vinegars. Use lemon juice instead.     Avoid nuts; however nut flours are acceptable, if used in less sweet recipes.
  • Probiotics:    As tolerated, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.
  • Anti-Fungals (see list) :     If your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks. Remember that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.
  • Additional Recommendations :    Drink plenty of water.     Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD

 

TRANSITION TO REGULAR SCD

For a few weeks or a few months, depending on your symptoms

  • Proteins :     Eat as desired. Eggs, fish, seafood, meat (beef, poultry, pork, bison, game).
  • Fruits, dried fruits, honey :      Limit dried fruits and honey to 3 or 4 servings per week.   Eat cooked fruit as desired, but may need to limit to 1 serving per day.      Diluted fruit juices should be limited to 2 servings per day, depending on symptoms.
  • Vegetables (see list) :     Eat as much of the low and medium carbohydrate vegetables as desired.     Limit the high-carbohydrate vegetables to 1 serving per day.
  • Molds :     Eat cheese as desired.     Limit mushrooms to 1 or 2 servings per week.     Limit vinegars to 1 or 2 servings per week.     Limit nuts to 1 or 2 servings per week; nut flours are acceptable in any quantity as desired.
  • Probiotics :    As your body allows, use 24-hour fermented yogurt or a SCD-legal form of L. Acidophilus supplement or a SCD-legal form of S. Boulardii.
  • Anti-fungals :   If your body will tolerate them, try to use 1 or 2 times a week, or if necessary, once every 3 or 4 weeks. Remember that die-off can be stressful. Change the type of anti-fungal every week or two in order to maintain the effectiveness.
  • Additional Recommendations :    Drink plenty of water.    Use plenty of “good” fats – olive oil, butter, coconut oil, and others permitted on SCD


Food Rankings : Sugar Content of Common SCD Fruits

 Published lists of the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables are based on the “average” serving size.  Each list varies slightly in serving size and resulting nutritional result.  Serving size makes a difference when it comes to ranking fruits and vegetables by nutritional content, and determining how much you are consuming in a meal.

 The type or species of the fruit or vegetable, time of season it is harvested, where the produce was picked and/or shipped, other environmental conditions, also make a difference to the nutritional content.  These figures are only a guideline.

 Lists of the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables are based on raw foods, not cooked.  Most nutritional experts feel, based on studies, that cooking fruits and vegetables may lose 10% to 25% of vitamins, but 0% of minerals.  There is no consensus among experts on how sugar or carbohydrate content is altered during cooking.  It is a complicated issue, with many variables.  The important point to remember is that cooking significantly improves digestion, so that in the end our bodies can obtain nutritional value from fruits and vegetables whether they are cooked or raw.

 Average serving size = 100g or approximately 1 cup

 

Least-sweet fruits :     0 to 10 g sugar per 100g serving                  Best for phase 1 elimination diet.

apricot

grapefruit

orange

strawberry

blackberry

kiwi

plum

tangerine

cranberry

lemon

raspberry

 

gooseberry

lime

 

 

 

 

Medium-sweet fruits :   11 to 19 g sugar per 100g serving              Limit until phase 3 elimination diet.

apple

grapes

papaya

blueberry

kumquats

peach

cherry

mango

pear

coconut meat, raw

melons

persimmon

fig

nectarine

pineapple

 

Sweet fruits :    20 g or more sugar per 100g serving                       Best to avoid until phase 3 elimination diet, then limit.

bananas

dates

dried fruits of other varieties

coconut, shredded, dried

prunes

 

 

 

Food Rankings: Carbohydrate Content Of Common SCD Vegetables & Legumes

 Published lists of the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables are based on the “average” serving size.  Each list varies slightly in serving size and resulting nutritional result.  Serving size makes a difference when it comes to ranking fruits and vegetables by nutritional content.

 The type or species of the fruit or vegetable, time of season it is harvested, where the produce was picked and/or shipped, other environmental conditions, also make a difference to the nutritional content.

 Lists of the nutrient values of fruits and vegetables are based on raw foods, not cooked.  Most nutritional experts feel, based on studies, that cooking fruits and vegetables may lose 10% to 25% of vitamins, but 0% of minerals.  There is no consensus among experts on how sugar or carbohydrate content is altered during cooking.  It is a complicated issue, with many variables.  The important point to remember is that cooking significantly improves digestion, so that in the end our bodies can obtain nutritional value from fruits and vegetables whether they are cooked or raw.

 Average serving size varies with each vegetable, but is approximately 100 g or 1 cup


Lowest Carb : 0 to 5g carbohydrate per “average” serving           Best for phase 1 elimination diet.

asparagus

chard

greens (mustard and beet)

radish

avocado

cucumber

lettuce

scallion

broccoli

endive

mushrooms (best to use in phase 3 and limit)

spinach

cabbage, Savoy

garlic

olives

tomato

celery

ginger

parsley

watercress

 

Medium Carb : 6 to 8g carbohydrate per “average” serving          Limit until phase 3 elimination diet.

beets

cauliflower

peppers (green, yellow, red, chili)

Bok choy

chives

snow peas

brussels sprouts

collard greens

summer squash (yellow, zucchini)

carrots

green beans, wax beans

 

 

High Carb : 9g or more carbohydrate per “average” serving        Best to avoid until phase 3 elimination diet, then limit.

artichoke, French

kale

water chestnuts

dried white (navy) beans

cabbage, red

leeks

winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin)

lentils

eggplant

lima beans (dried & fresh)

 

split peas

green peas

onions

 

 

 

Anti-Fungal Supplements

 Remember to check whether these supplements are contraindicated for your own set of health issues.

  • Remember that not everyone will tolerate one or more of these antifungals.
  • Remember that they will cause die-off.
  • Remember to check that the supplement you are considering purchasing doesn’t contain any illegal ingredients.

  NATURAL

  •  Most effective:     garlic, ginger
  • Also effective: onions, coconut oil, teatree oil, caprylic acid, boric acid, hot peppers, oil of oregano, gentian violet, horseradish, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract

 PRESCRIPTION

 

Additional Resources

Online Resources

A sampling of websites discussing C.albicans and recommending a variety of solutions.  Remember to assess all recommendations for their legality or illegality with SCD principles, and with your own set of health issues.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_albicans 

http://www.westonaprice.org/

http://www.yeastconnection.com/

http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/bee.php

http://www.wildfermentation.com/ 

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/candidasupport/


Selective Bibliography

 Brostoff, Jonathan. Food allergies and food intolerance. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press, 2000. 0892818751

 Connolly, Pat. The candida albicans yeast-free cookbook. Los Angeles: Keats Publishing, 2000. 0658002929

 Crook, William G. The yeast connection handbook. Jackson, Tenn.: Professional Books, 2000. 0933478240 (continually revised and updated)

 Crook, William G. The yeast connection and the woman. Jackson, Tenn.: Professional Books, 1998. 0933478224 (continually revised and updated)

 Martin, Jeanne. Complete candida yeast guidebook. Rev., 2nd ed. Roseville, Calif.: Pirma Health, 2000. 0761527400

 Murray, Michael T. Chronic candidiasis. Three Rivers Press, 1997. 076150821x

 Trowbridge, John P. The yeast syndrome. New York: Bantam, 1986. 0553277510

 Williams, Xandria. Overcoming candida. New York : Element Books, 1998. 1862041725

 Winderlin, Christine. Candida-related complex. Dallas : Taylor Publishing, 1996. 0878339353

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