The yeast that can cause fatigue
“All disease begins in the gut” - Hippocrates
Candida alblicans are symbiotic (diverse organisms that live together) microbes which has co-evolved with humans.
Candida albicans in particular, is a yeast that we all have living in our intestines, urinary tract and vagina (for you girls). It is the most common yeasts in the human body. It is usually kept under control with the friendly lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in our gut. When it gets out of control and overgrows, it can overpopulate the bowel and other parts of the digestive tract such as oesophagus, mouth and genito -urinary tract and also can become systemic, which is known as candidiasis.
“When allowed to proliferate, candida alblicans has the ability to change from its normal yeast- fungal form to a mycelial – fungal form. The mycelial fungal form of candida produces rhizoids, which are long, root like components that are able to pierce the walls of the digestive tract and break down the protective barriers between the intestines and the blood. Penetration of the intestinal wall by fungal candida contributes to increased intestinal permeability and systemic candida infection.” (1)
Candida produces alcohol and acetaldehyde, which are toxic by-products, and cause the ‘hung over’ feeling and fatigue that many people experience. This can cause an extra burden to the immune system and liver.
Symptoms will vary from person to person and depend on how long the person has been suffering and where their inherent weaknesses are. They can include;
Gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence, constipation, nausea
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome
Joint aches and pains
Anal and/or vaginal itching
Carbohydrate and/or sugar cravings
Sensivity to mould can be related to candidiasis
How does candida overgrow?
There are many factors that let candida overgrow. Common causes of candida overgrowth are;
Oral contraceptive pill use and changes in hormones
Poor diet, high in sugar processed foods and carbohydrates
Decreased or poor immune function
Low stomach acid
Decreased gut motility and poor digestive function
Altered intestinal pH
It is also seen in some disease states such as;
Grave’s disease (auto immune hyperthyroidism)
Diverticular disease/ diverticulitis
Chronic skin disorders
Leaky gut or intestinal permeability.
Candida can lead to intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’. We have a protective intestinal barrier and when it becomes damaged, it becomes leaky, where the mucosal surface lets pathogens, toxins, proteins and antigens through the intestinal wall into the blood stream with detrimental effects.
Leaky Gut could be implicated as a primary contributor to asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, hives, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fungal disorders, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory joint disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. It also contributes to PMS, uterine fibroid, breast fibroids, chronic fatigue syndrome and pediatric immune deficiencies.
Candida can be difficult to treat as it can become resistant to treatment, either conventional medical or naturopathic. This is because its produces a ‘biofilm’ to protect itself against invasion, like antibiotic resistant bacteria does.
To Diet or not to diet…
The “anti candida diet” should not be used alone. This is because candida needs to be killed, and cannot be starved just by simply changing your diet.
An anti candida diet along with the suitable treatment plan for the individual is very important.
The most important foods to avoid are sugar (including honey, and other natural sugars), wheat, processed foods and dairy products. Alcohol contains sugar and needs to be avoided and so does coffee. Some people with Candida infections can also develop an intolerance to yeasts, and find avoiding yeasts and fermented foods helpful. These include bread, vinegar, pickles, alcohol, vegemite, mushrooms, cheese, processed meats, peanuts, and old nuts which can be rancid and mouldy.
Kill off that nasty yeast…
Natural anti fungal agents include herbs such as, garlic, andrographis, olive leaf, golden seal, phellodendron, and Pau D’arco . For resistant biofilms oregano, thyme and rosemary oils are effective. Caprylic acid and lauric acid found in organic coconut oil can help kill candida. Adding liberal amounts to your diet and if needed, using coconut oil vaginal pessaries can give great welcome relief.
Healing the leaky gut and restoring a good balance of bowel flora is imperative. Healing a leaky gut can take time and a change in lifestyle and diet. There are many substances to use such as cucurmin and L- glutamine.
Correcting the terrain
To inhibit candida overgrowing, your ‘internal terrain’ needs to be improved as candida can only overgrow in an unhealthy one. Normalising your bowel habit is a great start. You should have at least one complete bowel movement a day.
Probiotics (the beneficial bacteria) come in many strains and some are more beneficial for people with candida overgrowth than others. Prebiotics such as arabinogalactans and slippery elm (these are both barks) help us produce good bowel flora and eating a high fibre diet (from vegetables) will help promote beneficial bowel bacteria. If leaky gut is a known, then there are certain D-lactate producing probiotics and fermented foods that should be avoided as they can further enhance the leaky gut. Green tea and grapeseed extracts inhibit the growth of organisms in the gut.
Low stomach acid or hypochlorydia can contribute to candida overgrowth. A good digestive enzyme complex with betaine hydrochloride will ensure you are digesting foods properly. Correcting the pH in the stomach, intestines and blood is important. A good diet and a good probiotic will influence this pH. Avoiding antacids (for example Quik–eze) and stomach acid blockers (such as Nexium or Losac) is imperative also as these will inhibit proper digestion of foods and alter the digestive pH.
The immune system needs to be supported to help fight candida. This may include taking vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and herbs such as Astragalus and Echinacea and maybe bovine colostrum, if tolerated. Reducing or avoiding stress and getting plenty of rest help your body fight the infection further.
As fighting candida needs a holistic and aggressive approach to be successful, I would recommend the help of a knowledgeable naturopath. I can be of such help. This also means you can monitor your progress and know how long to continue your treatment plan for. I have helped my patients with candida of over 15 years now with great success.
If you would like help, please book a phone or Skype consultations or if you are in South Australia you can visit me at my clinic in Glenelg South.
(1) The digestive and renal systems , Henry Osieki and Fiona Meeke, P134
HealthWorld Ltd/ Metagenics Protocols for candida
pH and our Microbial terrain part One Vanessa Hitch
You must have a healthy THYROID to have healthy hormones and metabolism, and for your cardiovascular system to be healthy. If you are over 40 or nearing menopause then be aware you need to have a healthy thyroid and adrenals to have a symptom free and healthy perimenopause and menopause. Women are more prone to thyroid conditions as they age. If your hormones are out of balance and/or if you have a difficult menstrual cycle, or are starting to put on weight , feel tired as you age, or are struggling with your hormonal issues through yours 30’s 40’s and 50’s…. then please consider looking after your thyroid…..it is such an important gland to be aware of and nourish for your hormones to be in balance ( along with your very important adrenal glands ) and for your overall health.
If you want a healthy thyroid …. You need to
· Have a healthy gut
· Have a healthy liver
· Have healthy adrenals
· Have a good nights sleep
· Eat healthy food
· Drink clean alkaline water with no fluoride or chlorine
And just as importantly you need to look at what can be causing the thyroid to not be functioning properly.
TOP 10 THING YOU MUST AVOID FOR A HEALTHY THYROID
1. HORMONES- in food such as dairy products, eggs and meats containing hormones
2. BAD FATS- Foods high in inflammatory fats (ie- fried, processed fats, margarines )
3. UFILTERED TAP WATER – fluoride and chlorine in water and traces of heavy metals
4. MEDICATIONS – antidepressants and hormone replacement therapy including the oral contraceptive pill
5. CHEMICALS AND TOXINS -Parabens and Phthalates in skin care, Chemicals in cleaning products and household products, fly sprays , pesticides, preservatives in foods
6. ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS – BPA, Phthalates and other endocrine disruptors in plastics, parabens and phthalates in skincare
7. GOITRAGENIC FOODS - Too many foods high in goitrogens IE;-unfermented soy, uncooked kale, cabbage and Brussel sprouts.
8. STRESS and negative emotions
9. HEAVY METALS - from pesticides, insecticides, light globes amalgam fillings, car fumes and industrial fumes.
10 . POOR GUT AND LIVER HEALTH - function both affect thyroid function
If you would like to know more, please check out my video here
Did you know we spend a third of our lives sleeping? And that if you don’t get enough of it, it will have detrimental effects to your health? Many people underestimate the importance of sleep. Some people sleep more than others. Some people claim they need lots of it and others don’t need much at all. Margaret Thatcher and Napoleon only had 4 hours sleep a night. That explains why they were a bit mad! Recent studies show that adults need approximately 8 hours sleep a night to stay healthy.
“Sleep is the great cycle of involutional restoration that heals the foundation of our mind, body and Soul” (2)
Many people come to me with fatigue and a large contributing factor is their lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep.
Sleep is a recuperative process. Sleep supports some of the following processes;
- Regulates metabolic processes which are chemical processes that maintain life
- Supports neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that carry signals to other cells in the body).
- Contributes to growth and development
- Temperature regulation
- Immune system responses
- learning and memory
Insomnia is loss of sleep from a difficulty in getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sleep loss is a very common complaint which many people do not take seriously.
The two types of insomnia are Sleep onset insomnia and Maintenance insomnia. Sleep onset insomnia is when there is a considerable delay in falling asleep. The average time for falling asleep is 25 minutes. Maintenance insomnia is when there are periods of waking up during the night or waking up too early.
Causes of insomnia.
Some causes of insomnia include;
- Noise and /or light pollution
- Allergies or food intolerances
- Alcohol excess
- Medications (ie; oral contraceptives, thyroxine, aspirin)
- High or low blood sugar levels
- Sleep apnoea (pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep)
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Over hydration at night
Over hydration at night
- Low iron levels
- Low brain levels of serotonin and melatonin.
- Stress and anxiety
- Hot flushes / night sweats
What happens with lack of sleep??
And acute or short term lack of sleep for 6 days can lead to increased production of the flight and fight hormones. This can lead to symptoms such as feeling anxious, tired, unhappy, nervous, difficultly in concentrating and not feeling confident.
Long term sleep loss contributes to development of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity and memory loss.
Long term lack of sleep affects the brains ability to function. This is part of the brain that controls the memory, planning and sense of time.
“With continued lack of sufficient sleep, the part of the brain that controls language, memory, planning and sense of time is severely affected, practically shutting down. In fact, 17 hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05% (two glasses of wine). This is the legal drink driving limit in the UK.” (1)
Stages of Sleep
There are 5 stages of sleep;
Stage 1 is the interim between wakefulness and sleep
Stage 2 is 50 % of our total sleep time. This is the real sleep stage and is a lighter stage of sleep, where if the person is woken, they feel they were not asleep.
Stage 3 Is slow wave sleep. This is when the body makes repairs.
Stage 4 is slow wave sleep and is a deep slow wave sleep where our Body temperature and blood pressure decreases. Stages 3 and 4 cover about 20% of our total sleeping time.
Stage 5 is REM or rapid eye movement sleep. There is an increase in eye movement, heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and temperature. This is when most of your dreams occur.
Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is released in a rhythmic manner throughout the night. The peak level of melatonin is around 3 am. Apart from facilitating sleep is also acts as an antioxidant and regulates the core body temperature.
The average sleep duration amongst adults is 7.5 hours a night, give or take and hour either side. There are people who are outside this who are considered long sleepers if they sleep for more than 9 hours and short sleepers who sleep less than 6 hours.
Women and Sleep
The menstrual cycle has an effect on sleep. Oestrogens increase REM sleep, increase the time it can take you to go to sleep, causes more wakefulness and Increase total sleep time. Progesterone has a sedative effect and increases deep sleep. Low progesterone (and therefore oestrogen dominance can causes poor sleep in women.
During menopause hot flushes/night sweats can interrupt sleeping.
Long term lack of sleep in women can cause infertility, miscarriage, menstrual problems, low birth weight babies and premature labor.
Solutions for insomnia
Some rules for getting a good night’s sleep include;
- Maintain regular hours for sleep
- Exercise at least 6 hours prior to sleep
- In the mornings, expose yourself to bright light
- Treat stress and anxiety
- Avoid bright lights, computers and TV’s an hour prior to sleep
- Avoid mental or emotional stimulation before going to bed
- Engage in calming or relaxing activities prior to bed such as mediation
- Avoid caffeine
- Eating at the same time each day helps set the circadian clock
- Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, coffee and chocolate
- Avoid drinking excess fluids at night.
- Avoid napping during the day
- Avoid spicy, sugary, heavy foods 4-6 hours before bed.
Supplementation for insomnia and a better sleep
There are many herbal formulations which help with sleep onset and duration. These include passion flower, Zizyphus, magnolia, and valerian. Valerian is particularly effective when your brain won’t shut up! Just be aware that a small percentage of individuals become more aroused with this herb and it has the opposite effect.
Adenosine , which is a brain sleep molecule, increases deep sleep and may increase REM sleep. It is effective for stress related insomnia.
5-HTP or 5-hyrdoxytryptophan, is the precursor to serotonin and from serotonin we can produce melatonin.
Melatonin, is available in homeopathic and crude form . It can also be used for jet lag.
Magnesium, relaxes muscles and the nervous system and is affective if insomnia is due to stress, anxiety or restless legs.
GABA, (gamma aminobutyric acid) due to its relaxing effects it has been shown to reduce the time to get to sleep and increase length of quality deep sleep.
Treating the underlying cause of insomnia is an important factor. It is too important to ignore.
** Some of these are practitioner only supplements and need to be prescribed.
If you are having problems with sleep please contact me for a consultation!
Here is to your perfect slumber!
Science: Human Body and mind “what would happen if we didn’t sleep’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sleep/articles/whatissleep.shtml
1.P 53 ‘So what is sleep’ Sleep, health and consciousness a physician’s guide. Reza Samvat and Henry Osieki.
Encyclopedia of natural medicine – Michael Murray pp 602-608
The Nervous system, Henry Osieki, Fiona Meeke, Jennifer Smith, pp 83-90
The liver is an amazing gland. It is constantly detoxifying and metabolising hormones, chemicals and toxins we get exposed to on a daily basis. The liver helps manage your blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It produces bile which helps us break down and digest fats. The majority for the thyroid hormones are converted to the active form in the liver.
Insulin resistance, fatty liver, estrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency and thyroid issues are all associated with the function of the liver
Sign and symptoms associated with poor liver function
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance and /or progesterone deficiency
- High cholesterol
- Intolerance to fatty foods
- Weight problems
- Multiple chemical sensitivities
- Headaches and migraines
- Loss of appetite or no appetite in the mornings
- Waking up between 2 and 3 am
- Digestive issues or bloating
- Insulin resistance and diabetes
- Skin issues such as itchiness, eczema or acne
What you must do to look after your liver
- Drink water! Your liver cannot function properly if you don’t drink adequate water.
- If you drink alcohol is a good idea to protect your liver. St. Mary’s thistle is a great herb which protects the liver and helps the cells of your liver regenerate.
- And have at least 2 days a week that are alcohol free
- Drink green tea which protects the liver and the gut bacteria
- Avoid toxins and chemicals in your environment and foods
- Avoid non- prescription medications as much as you can (there is always a natural alternative!)
- Take a probiotic and resolve any gut issues. You need to have a healthy gut for a healthy liver
- Make sure you are having at least one complete bowel motion a day
- Eat cleanly – avoid processed foods where possible and eat at least 3 cups of veggies per day and some fruit. Fibre helps bind to toxins to eliminate them more efficiently
- Eat regularly to balance your blood sugar levels.
- Drink dandelion root tea to increase your bile production. Bile breaks down fats but also helps with elimination of toxins from the body.
- Add beetroot to your diet regularly, apart from being high in the phytonutrient ‘anthocynanins’, they help the liver detoxify.
- Sulphur containing veggies such as onions, broccoli and garlic also support liver function.
- Get your thyroid checked, if its underactive then it will affect the liver function
- Resolve anger. Anger issues affect the liver!
Many of my clients who can’t budge their weight or are ‘stuck’ with their symptoms, often need to work on their liver or need a detox. If you decide to do a detox don’t jump into it alone- consult your naturopath and do it properly! You need to have a healthy gut and adrenals to be able to detox without unwanted symptoms. And there are ways to do it properly with plenty of nutrient and herbal support so the toxins don’t get stuck you don’t and up feeling worse!