Candida: Are You Experiencing Yeast Overgrowth?

White coating on your tongue, mysterious skin rashes, bloating, constipation and you’re always ready to eat something sweet? You could be suffering from Candida overgrowth.

What is Candida Albicans?

Candida albicans is the most common kind of yeast that co-exists with humans. Under optimal conditions, candida plays a valuable role in our digestive systems, since we need small amounts of candida in our mouths and throughout our digestive system in order to fully digest our food.

However, as anyone who’s ever baked bread knows, yeast likes to grow. (It is a fungus, after all.) When circumstances are ideal, our gut bacteria keeps intestinal yeast growth in check, creating a harmonious balance between bacteria and yeast.

The delicate balance between gut bacteria and yeast

This delicate balance is, however, easily disturbed. For example, we can lose beneficial bacteria after taking a round of antibiotics, or power candida’s growth by binging on sugar or alcohol. Estrogen dominance, birth control pills and stress can all multiply the amount of yeast in our systems. The result? Candida overgrowth.

Is systemic candida the same as a yeast infection?

Most people are familiar with the different kinds of yeast infections. A candida infection in the mouth is called oral thrush, and is marked by white, bumpy patches in the mouth and on the tongue, as well as difficulty swallowing. A vaginal yeast infection causes redness, swelling, and itchiness, and produces an unpleasant white discharge. These reactions are typically immediately noticeable – and very irritating.

In contrast, a systemic candida overgrowth can be much more subtle – although it’s impact may be more troublesome. When beneficial gut bacteria decrease and yeast multiplies, the overall effect on our bodies can be far-reaching.

How does systemic candida overgrowth work?

When candida grows unchecked, it can permeate into the lining of your intestine leading to “leaky gut” syndrome. As the name suggests, leaky gut syndrome causes undigested food, bacteria, and toxins to “leak” from your intestine into your bloodstream.

When the immune system is faced with these unknown invaders, it kicks into overdrive trying to neutralize the threat in any way it can. This can lead to a number of symptoms ranging from inflammation to autoimmune diseases.

Candida overgrowth is often overlooked or misdiagnosed because the symptoms vary so greatly. If you’re experiencing autoimmune symptoms, wondering why your thinking has been foggy recently, or trying to figure out troublesome digestive issues, it’s possible that a systemic candida overgrowth could be the underlying problem.

What are the symptoms of systemic candida?

1. Despite your best intentions, you have strong cravings for sugar and carbohydrates. (Candida wants to keep multiplying, so a taste of sugar will leave you wanting more!)

2. You feel itchy all over, especially, and sometimes embarrassingly, in the anal or vaginal area

3. Speaking of embarrassment, you suffer from toenail fungal infections or unexplained itchy foot rashes.

4. Your digestion feels out of whack, with a lot of gassiness and bloating.

5. You experience mood swings and frustration for no obvious reason – or you frequently feel anxious or depressed, even though you are doing your best to look after your emotional well-being.

6. Unexplained joint pain makes it hard to keep up with your exercise routine, and that lack of exercise is only worsening your other symptoms. You want to work out, but it’s not easy!

Diagnostic testing for gut bacteria and yeast

Boxed candida “kits” may be popular, but in reality overcoming candida overgrowth and restoring a healthy balance of yeast and gut bacteria can be very challenging. Our office can work with you to develop a program that’s tailored specifically for you – starting with a complete analysis and treatment plan.

Once we have a good picture of what’s really going on in your system, we can work on a plan to restore balance.

A Naturopathic approach to managing candida

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, as our naturoapthic approach means taking an in depth look at various aspects of your lifestyle.

Specialized candida diet

In general, the first step of treatment consists of dietary changes. (You knew that was coming, right?) Together we can work on a diet plan that works for you to starve out the candida.

Dietary changes should be realistic and manageable over the long term. After all, we want to create a sustainable solution, not a quick fix that may be too difficult to stick with.

Say goodbye to sugary sweets

To get candida under control, patients have greatest success by limiting all processed sweets from their diet. We also recommend cutting back on starchy carbohydrates. Low-sugar fruits such as berries are the best options for a sweet treat.

and alcohol

Eliminating all fermented or moldy foods and drinks, including alcohol, will help control candida growth. This includes well known fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha, and also the less-obvious ones, like soy sauce or peanuts.

Add extra fibre

Adding more fibre to your diet and drinking lots of water (2-3 litres a day is a good goal) can help improve your intestinal “transit time” so nothing lingers too long in your system.

Carbs are allowed, in moderation

It’s important to note that carbohydrates aren’t necessarily completely forbidden on a candida diet. Although processed flour can contribute to a candida overgrowth and slower transit time, whole food carbohydrates such as rye or quinoa can add good fiber and minerals to your system. We can work together to look at your carb consumption and make any necessary adjustments.

The steps above can slow the growth of candida which may improve some of your symptoms, but as always tackling one side of the issue isn’t enough. You also want to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. An effective way to do this is by consuming more probiotics or “healthy bacteria”. A high quality supplement of the right kind of probiotic for you is usually recommended, as they are able to rapidly populate the gut and restore balance.

Foods that kill candida

Research has found that many substances aid in the killing off of stubborn overgrowth. Studies have found turmeric to be effective as well as coconut oil, some essential oils and much more. In order to determine the right solution for your body, help by your naturopathic doctor is recommended. We can talk about the best treatment plan to eradicate this overgrowth and eliminate the problems candida overgrowth can cause in your system.

The effect of stress on candida

In addition to dietary changes, reducing your stress levels can help. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which over time will increase blood sugar.

Since candida feeds off sugar, stress can make us more vulnerable to candida overgrowth. It’s not always easy to lower stress levels – life often gets in the way. However, we can change the way we react to stress through science-backed stress reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga.

Candida overgrowth is one of the more common reasons people seek holistic care. The good news is that we are experts in treating digestive issues.

If you suspect that you may be experiencing an overgrowth of candida, give us a call at 416-234-1888. Together we can make an effective plan to get you back on track.

https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26709650
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17083732
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26723514
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17651080

Why Is Adult Acne on the Rise?

Growing numbers of women are dismayed to discover they didn’t leave acne behind when they finished high school. Yes, it might seem like a cruel joke, but it’s possible to have pimples and wrinkles at the same time. In fact, 54 percent of women over 25 experience some acne. And the numbers are expected to increase, with some skin care experts calling the increase in outbreaks in adult women “an epidemic.”

What’s behind the rise in problem pimples?

Although we tend to associate acne with the angst-ridden adolescent years, in actuality many of the factors that contribute to teenage acne are still at play in older women’s lives. In particular, stress and hormonal fluctuations can wreak havoc on our skin – and many women these days do experience that magical combination of hormonal changes and lifestyle stress.

Stress and acne: a vicious cycle

The relationship between stress and breakouts can quickly become a vicious cycle. When our bodies feel stress, our adrenal glands respond by producing more of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as small amounts of testosterone. These cause the oil glands in the skin to produce more sebum, which can raise the risk of skin infections and pimples. Of course, when we notice pimples appearing, we feel more stress. Add to that the fact that many of us can’t resist the temptation to pick and spread any bacteria present, and you have the formula for ongoing acne outbreaks.

The emotional and financial burden of adult acne

Finding a solution for adult acne can feel like a quest for the impossible. Consider this: Acne costs Americans an astounding $15 billion a year in related products and services. Perhaps ironically, we seem to be surrounded by skin care marketing that promises to clear up all skin issues and restore a flawless, youthful glow. But many of these products can actually worsen inflammation.

It all adds up to frustration. It’s no wonder that 95 percent of people with acne say the skin condition has affected their lives, with 63 percent citing lower self-confidence.

How can you treat adult acne?

The simple truth is that treatment has to start from within. Instead of seeking a “magic bullet” skin cream, it’s often best to start with a bit of self-reflection. For example, try tracking outbreaks to see if they coincide with your hormonal cycle, with other symptoms, with specific foods, or with stressful periods in your life.

Reduce stress to tackle breakouts

Think of ways you can reduce the stressors around you. Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce stress, and ayurvedic tradition holds that many yoga poses can help with acne.

In addition, don’t forget one of the most essential parts of stress management: adequate sleep! (To keep your skin extra fresh while you sleep, make sure your pillow cases are always clean).

The food you eat affects your skin

Much research remains to be done on the impact of diet on acne, but it’s been confirmed that the quality of the food we eat is reflected in our skin. Ultimately, you’re the best test study for which foods affect your complexion, since people can react differently to various foods. Keeping a food diary and reviewing it with your healthcare practitioner is a good starting point.

A sensible approach is to eat a healthy, whole-foods based diet, opting for antioxidant-rich foods whenever possible. (Yes, that can include dark chocolate!) Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and destroy harmful free radicals.

In addition, studies have shown the following nutrients may have a positive effect on the health of your skin:

  • Zinc. The anti-inflammatory properties of zinc can help relieve the irritation of acne. Some research shows that taking a zinc supplement can even reduce acne scars. Zinc can also be applied topically, but it usually won’t be as effective. When it comes to your diet, zinc rich foods include beef and shellfish, especially oysters, and vegetarian sources like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, beans, nuts, and whole grains.
  • Omega-3 Fats. Not only do omega-3 fats soothe inflamed skin thanks to their antioxidant properties, they can also help regulate hormones. Omega-3 fats can be found in nuts, flax, hemp seeds, and many types of fish. Supplements containing fish oil or a vegan blend are also an excellent way to benefit from the acne-fighting powers of Omega-3. (It might seem as if oil will make acne worse, but remember that the goal is to tackle hormonal imbalance, and healthy fats are vital building blocks for hormones.)
  • High fiber foods. Eating food with a lot of fiber can help control your blood sugar by slowing down sugar absorption and keeping you fuller longer. This helps to curb acne breakouts since healthy blood sugar levels can influence cortisol production. Aim for plenty of green veggies with each meal!
  • Stay Hydrated. You may have noticed that your skin loses some luster when you’re dehydrated – It’s important to drink plenty of water to keep your skin cells healthy and nourished.
  • Green Tea. In addition to water, don’t hesitate to pour yourself a cup of green tea. Studies show green tea can decrease sebum production. Plus, this delicious beverage is high in antioxidants!

Acne creams that work

A more natural approach to moisturizing and nourishing your skin may be helpful, as many people react to the chemicals, perfumes and preservatives in skin creams. Natural oils such as Jojoba, which has similar properties to the sebum produced by your skin, may work better to keep your oiliness in check than the drying benzoate creams of your youth. However be cautious when adding essential oils to your regimen as some can be a little harsh on sensitive skin.

Talk to your healthcare provider for guidance if you are having difficulty finding the right skincare solution. A number of effective remedies are available, but you want to make sure to pick a treatment that works for your particular skin.

Hormonal Adult Acne

Treating adult acne at the root cause can help you deal with this often-frustrating issue in a more permanent way, and often the more stubborn cases come down to a hormonal imbalance. Whether you’re in your 20’s or firmly in perimenopause, working with a Naturopathic Doctor can help you look at your full hormonal picture, and find the right plan to bring your hormones, and your skin, back in balance.

What worked in high school for clearing up your pimples might not be as effective as an adult, because as we get older the reasons for breakouts change. So if you see pimples developing, remain calm and take a focused look at the lifestyle factors that could be contributing.

If you have done what you can and are ready for professional analysis and guidance on skin-friendly treatments, come into the office! Together we can look at your diet, coping mechanisms, and other possible contributors. We can discuss various treatment options such as acupuncture, homeopathic remedies or perhaps detoxify your body with the use of herbs or colon hydrotherapy. Adult acne doesn’t have to be frustrating.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384166/
http://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961614P0692X#close
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308187676_The_Psychosocial_Impact_of_Acne_Vulgaris
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884775/
http://time.com/5014072/stress-pimples-acne/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5029236/