by Dr. Isabel Sharkar
The overgrowth of Candida albicans is the silent epidemic in the United States. This rampant yeast affecting 70 percent of Americans runs havoc on the immune system. Naturally, a very small amount of candida lives in our mouth and small intestines, aiding digestion and nutrient absorption.
However, a diet full of sugar, highly refined carbohydrates and gluten, alcohol consumption, repetitive antibiotic use and a highly stressful lifestyle, all contribute to the overgrowth of candida. The candida yeast needs sugar in order to build their cell walls and as they expand their colonies, they switch into their more virulent fungal form. An influx of candida impairs the metabolic health and function of every cell of the body.
Uncontrolled, candida produces very long root-like structures that penetrate intestinal walls leaving microscopic holes that allow toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and yeast to enter the bloodstream. This causes leaky gut syndrome, which leads to food allergies and many health problems.
Common symptoms from candida overgrowth include digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas and mucus in stool. As well as poor memory, brain fog, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, skin and nail fungal infections, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, acne, chronic urinary tract infections, severe seasonal allergies, low body temperature and strong cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates.
A comprehensive stool analysis is the most accurate test for candida in the colon and the lower intestines, determining the species of yeast as well as which treatment is most affective. The key factors to any candida treatment is to undergo an elimination diet, restore the immune system and use natural antifungals and good bacteria to replenish the gut. Eliminating all sugar from the diet including fruit, vegetables with high sugar and starch content, dairy and gluten grains is essential. If you are experiencing candida symptoms, visit your naturopathic doctor to put an end to this silent epidemic.
Dr. Isabel Sharkar, ND is a licensed naturopathic physician and co-owner of Indigo Integrative Health Clinic, in Georgetown. For more information, call 202-298-9131 or visit IndigoHealthClinic.com.