Candida, fatigue, depression and other mental symptoms.
What is candida albicans?
Inside our digestive tracts live 10 times more microscopic organisms that cells in our body. These organisms perform several important functions such as aiding in digesting and absorption of nutrients and regulating the immune response.
Candida is just one species of yeast that normally lives in the digestive tract. Some candida is normal and not a problem.
However, an overgrowth of candida can throw the entire system out of balance and cause many symptoms. Symptoms are not just limited to digestion, the whole body may be affected.
Mental symptoms of Candida overgrowth
- Chronic fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
There are various theories on how candida causes these symptoms, such as interfering with the immune system, triggering an immune response, or releasing toxins that interfere with brain function.
Other candida symptoms include:
- Thrush (fungus in mouth)
- Bloating, gas
- Intestinal cramps
- Rectal itching
- Vaginal yeast infection
- Frequent bladder infections
- Chemical sensitivities
- Low immune function
- Hormonal imbalance
Tests for Candida
1. Candida Questionnaires
Since many symptoms associated with candida have other possible causes, I don't think any questionnaire can give a definitive diagnose candida. However they can be helpful in leading to a diagnosis.
2. Candida Spit Test
Like a questionnaire this may aid in diagnosis, but is not a way to definitely diagnose candida. In the morning fill a glass with water and spit into it. After a few minutes (up to an hour later) if the spit turns stringy, that indicates candida.
3. Stool Culture
Candida can be cultured out in stool. This is typically done by specialty labs used by more integrative practitioners. This is usually an excellent test as it shows what type of yeast there is (it is not always Candida albicans), and how bad is it. However, with some people (often those with worse symptoms) candida may be present but is not cultured out. So while this is a good test, often questionnaires and spit test can be used for diagosis.
Common causes of candida overgrowth
- Poor digestive function
- Poor immune function
- Nutrient deficiency
- Poor liver function
- Birth control pills
- Heavy metal toxicity
Treatment for Candida
Heavy metal detox for candida
Studies show that candida is actually very good at binding up heavy metals. One theory is that in the case of metal toxicity, the body allows candida to growth, as a best attempt to bind up the metals.
The Candida Diet
Much has been made over the "Candida Diet." This is simply abstaining form sugar, milk, dairy and other foods that contain high amounts of yeast such as alcoholic beverages, cheese, dried fruits and peanuts. Some people are very sensitive to fruit in general.
This diet has helped many people, although that does not mean they all have had candida. This is a very good, low sugar diet, which eliminates many very allergenic foods and will balance people's blood sugar.
Other strategies for Candida
Candida can be killed off with antibiotics, or herbs such as garlic, Oregon grape and grapefruit seed.
If the candida diet and herbs don't work, then either there is no candida (I suggest lab tests them instead of relying on a questionnaire for diagnosis), or deeper work needs to be done to resolve the problem.
Sometimes candida is due to metal toxicity. The fungus is actually very good at binding up metals, so this could be considered the body's final attempt to deal with metals, even at the expense of candida overgrowth.
It's important to keep in mind that candida can only grow in an environment that allows it to grow. To truly resolved Canidida overgrowth it's therefore important to look at the whole person. When individual factors are taken into account (emotional triggers, nutrition, toxicity) and treated, there is a more likely chance at overcoming candida, rather than just trying to kill candida itself.