WHAT IS YEAST?
In brief, Candida albicans is a fungus living in our intestines
that produces 180 chemical toxins capable of making you feel dizzy
and fatigued, shutting down your thyroid, throwing your hormones
off balance, and causing you to crave sugar and alcohol, and gain
weight. It’s associated with PMS, loss of libido, painful
intercourse, infertility, numbness, tingling, MS, Crohn’s,
colitis, IBS, acne, Lupus, insomnia, drowsiness, white tongue, breath
bad, body odor, sinusitis, bruising, sore throat, bronchitis, shortness
of breath, heart palpitations, spots in front of eyes, and dozens
To the great detriment of the health of our society, this fungus
is growing rampant in a large proportion of the population –mostly
women. It’s one of the many diseases of civilization –
the culmination of the side effects of drug and food technology
and the disservices of our stressful way of life. The miracle of
antibiotics has its downside as an underlying cause of yeast overgrowth.
The refining of sugar and wheat has its downside by creating a simple
food source for yeast. The tremendous levels of stress hormones
that flood our bodies daily, hourly, and every minute in our sped
up world also make us prey to yeast.
Candidiasis (yeast overgrowth) has been around for decades, ever
since we began to use antibiotics but neglected to replace the good
bacteria that are destroyed along with the bad. Yeast itself, a
cousin to molds, has grown in human bodies since Adam and Eve. Candida
albicans is the main yeast in the human body; it lives there happily
enough, kept in check by beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
These bacteria make small amounts of vitamin K and B12 and help
digest excess sugar that gets past the small intestine. A very special
group of bacteria also make lactic acid, which protects the gut
and vagina against yeast.
Candida is one of the 400 organisms that make their home in our
mouth, digestive tract, vagina and on our skin. For the most part,
yeast get along with their neighbors. When you begin taking antibiotics,
however, the whole delicate balance is lost. Antibiotics don’t
discriminate, they wipe out most of the good along with the bad
bacteria leaving yeast unharmed.
Leaky Gut: An Open Door To Our Tissues
In the absence of competition, yeast colonies grow into all the
empty nooks and crannies of the large intestine and even the small
intestine. It is a scientific fact that when yeast cells reach a
certain critical mass they change from a round budding stage to
a thread-like tissue invasive stage. They are running out of food
and looking for more, so they pack their bags and emigrate to the
small intestine from their main home in the large intestine.
In the small intestine, the yeast threads poke microscopic holes
in the intestinal lining. Such a phenomenon is called “leaky
gut” – a superhighway to the blood stream with nothing
to block toxins trickling across the gut lining. Instead of absorbing
life-giving nutrients through an intact intestinal wall, yeast’s
chemical by-products (all 180 of them), the inflammatory products
they produce, undigested food molecules, bacterial toxins, and other
chemicals take a one-way ride. The holes are not necessarily big
enough to allow yeast to get into the blood stream, so the blood
is not infected with yeast, but it carries hundreds of waste products
that cause inflammation from head to toe.
Yeast and Inflammation
When yeast, bacterial, and food toxins hit the blood stream they
trigger widespread inflammatory reactions by either directly attacking
tissues or creating allergic reactions along with the production
of histamine. Some of the yeast toxins like acetaldehyde,
alcohol, zymosan, arabinitol, and gliotoxin have been named
by mycologists –people that study fungi but rarely do they
extend their discussion to the human suffering caused by these toxins.
A similar lack of attention is being paid to toxic mold that threatens
the Gulf states after the Katrina devastation. Any home still standing
that was flooded will be covered in mold, and that mold and its
toxins could be deadly.
Acetaldehyde is produced when yeast digests sugar. It is a particularly
potent toxin that can damage all the tissues in the body including
the brain. It is also produced when you drink alcohol, breathe the
exhaust from cars, and smoke cigarettes. What most people don’t
know is that yeast also produces alcohol in the body—enough
to make some people feel drunk and give a positive reading on a
breathalyzer test. When alcohol breaks down in the body, it produces
acetaldehyde. If you have yeast overgrowth and also drink alcohol
you are hit with a double dose of acetaldehyde hangover or brain
fog. In actual fact, most people with yeast overgrowth can’t
touch alcohol because it makes them feel so rotten.
Acetaldehyde readily combines with red blood cells, proteins, and
enzymes; travels to all parts of the body; and even passes through
the blood brain barrier. It damages the structure of red blood cells
making them unable to squeeze through tiny capillaries to convey
oxygen to needy tissues. Acetaldehyde also blocks the attachment
of oxygen to red blood cells. Your brain uses 20 percent of all
the oxygen that you inhale but stiff red blood cells cut down that
amount considerably leaving you gasping for air and feeling whoozy.
Acetaldehyde damages nerve cells, induces deficiencies of an important
nerve vitamin, B1 (thiamine), the energy and neurotransmitter vitamin,
B 3 (niacin), and vitamin B5, which is crucial for normal brain
Zymosan causes inflammation and has been directly associated with
psoriasis. Arabinitol attacks the immune system, nervous system,
and the brain. And gliotoxin disrupts the DNA in white blood cells
killing them outright. Other toxins account for the long list of
symptoms attributed to yeast overgrowth and that are eliminated
when yeast is brought under control. Researchers have also proven
that Candida antibodies cross react with all tissues in the body
that have been tested. That type of cross reactivity sets the stage
for autoimmune disease.
Weight gain is very common in yeast overgrowth. Our bodies create
pounds of fluid retention in an attempt to dilute the inflammatory
toxins that yeast produces. Over time, tissue toxins and fluid build
up lead to cellulite and weight gain. The gas produced by yeast
can cause abdominal bloating that can increase your waist size up
to 6 inches from one meal to the next.
The Yeast Questions
The following questions can help you decide whether you should
look further into yeast overgrowth as a cause of your inflammation
and chronic symptoms.
1. Have you taken several courses of antibiotics in the past?
2. Have you been on the birth control pill?
3. Do you react to the smell of damp moldy places?
4. Do you crave sugar and bread?
5. Do you feel drained to the point of exhaustion?
6. Do you have symptoms of intestinal gas, bloating, and cramping
7. Are you troubled by constant vaginal infections?
8. Are you bothered by itchy burning eyes?
Where’s the Cure?
Unfortunately, the treatment for yeast does not lie
in a pill as many women have learned. Even if your doctor is one
of the few that does recognize yeast overgrowth, the most common
treatment recommended is a week or two of antifungal medications.
Most doctors don’t understand that yeast overgrowth requires
a 6-Point Yeast Fighting Program. Information on this approach is
freely available at www.yeastconnection.com
and follows in a very abbreviated form.
- Diet: avoid sugar,
wheat and dairy as well as fermented foods, and alcohol.
- Probiotics (good bacteria):
the best ones are acidophilus and bifidus. Obtain products that
guarantee 2-10 billion organisms per capsule.
- Antifungal supplements:
garlic (eat one or two cloves a day), oil of oregano (take 2-3
capsules per day) and grapefruit seed extract (take two to three
capsules per day) or take a formula that also includes caprylic
acid, pau D’Arco, black walnut, beta carotene, and biotin.
- Exercise every day,
at least 30 minutes, to move the lymph circulation that clears
toxins from the body.
- De-stress with prayer,
meditation, breathing exercises, and/or yoga to reduce the amount
of natural cortisol that stimulates yeast overgrowth.
- Work with a caring
physician. Download a comprehensive physician’s packet to
take to your doctor from yeastconnection.com. The last step of
the 6-Point Program is prescription antifungals from your doctor,
but only if you also continue steps 1-5.
It is mainly through diet and lifestyle change that you can overcome
yeast overgrowth—but you can overcome it and reduce the amount
of inflammation in your life with some effort and support.
Dr. Carolyn Dean MD ND
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