A candida lifestyle – that is, a lifestyle likely to lead to candida overgrowth in the body - is unfortunately accepted as a relatively normal lifestyle; at least it is in many Western countries. This does not make it any less dangerous. We readily accept illness as a standard part of living, but this should not be (and certainly does not need to be) the case. pH Health make it our business to educate on how these negative changes accumulate over time, and provide lasting solutions to our customers.
The causes of common diseases are overlooked, debated and shrouded in mystery. We accept dated theories about genetics, which puts us in a disempowered position, leaving us thinking that we have no control over our health and that it is a Russian roulette-style lottery. The answers are actually much more accessible, with a little research and self-analysis.
A typical Western lifestyle can consist of various aspects contributing to the overgrowth of candida in your body. Certain aspects are more easy to recognise than others. We will address some of the major causal factors below:
As with everything in life, balance is key. However, it is very easy to become unbalanced in a culture which promotes unhealthy convenience foods to fit around the often hectic working life we succumb to in order to make ends meet. This itself can encourage stress, another major contributor to candida overgrowth in the body.
If you have followed a standard western diet for any real length of time during your life, you’re a prime candidate. This diet, followed by the majority of the western population, is considered to be acceptable mainly because its ingredients are prolific on supermarket shelves (which are stacked high with additive-laden, refined sugar and salt saturated convenience foods and ‘treats’).
The dark truth is that this apparently ‘normal’ diet is actually a silent killer, wreaking havoc on the immune system and gradually weakening the body until it succumbs to candidiasis, otherwise known as candida (yeast) overgrowth.
Most people have been raised viewing refined sugar products as treats. This association alone is dangerous, and it can start at a young age; unhealthy food is so often used as a bribe for children. This leads to a lifetime assault on our bodies, paving the way for candida to take over at the point when we become too weak to stave it off any longer.
This frequently occurs from early adulthood onwards, by which point the candida has been a long time undiagnosed and has already got a grip on its victim. As mentioned, the toxic additives, preservatives, sweeteners and chemicals present in the food also have a very negative impact on the body.
However, we should not be fooled into thinking that because all sugars are not equal in terms of health benefits, or that if we don’t have a ‘sweet tooth’, we will be safe from candida. Candida is as happy to feast on fruit sugars as it is nasty processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup, found in a scarily high number of prepackaged foods on the market.
Other foods (like complex carbohydrates) convert to sugar in the body very quickly, having the same effect on candida. Other foods and drinks are mentioned below.
Acidity and Alkalinity
Foods that are high in sugar, drugs, caffeinated drinks such as coffee, soda, refined flours, wheat, processed foods, cooking oils, preservatives and artificial flavouring have one thing in common - they are all acidic and can change the acidity level in the body. Unfortunately candida loves acid, so the more acidic you are, the more candida will grow.
All foods break down into three forms: acid, alkaline or neutral. We are acid by function but alkaline by design; we create acid as we move, namely lactic acid made by our muscles. However, our digestive system runs at its best in a slightly alkaline state. We have three pounds of probiotics lining our digestive track which work to maintain the balance in our digestive system by keeping any bad bacteria at bay, including candida.
Those same probiotics also make any missing nutrients we need, such as B vitamins and non-essential amino acids. These are named non-essential because if the digestive system is in the correct state, your probiotics will make them for you.
There is a catch to this clever internal process. The helpful probiotics thrive in an alkaline environment but die in an acidic one. So all the tempting, addictive acidic food that we eat kills off our defense system in the gut. We understand how tempting these kind of foods can be, but we know first-hand the level of havoc they can wreak on us!
When this happens, the dreaded candida grows. In turn this can lead to what is known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’, which means that candida can break free from the gut and find its way into the blood stream, where it can travel around settling in the tissues of the body. This is the critical turning point, as our bodies were not designed to fight candida from this position. It leaves our immune system to do all of the hard work, but because our immune systems are often compromised - and also because yeast (which the candida turns into) has its own defense mechanism - it is much more difficult to fight off after this time.
It is much more commonly accepted that our state of mind affects every part of our life. Your internal dialogue - that is, what you think about and tell yourself - is capable of changing your mood instantly. This can happen all day long… it is said that we have approximately 70,000 thoughts every day! That provides a lot of opportunity for negative thoughts to creep in.
Really, we only have three variables. Thoughts originate from different states, such as love, peace, harmony, compassion, forgiveness, consideration, joy and happiness, etc. Some are just neutral. But some stem from a place of fear - for example, hate, control, envy, sadness, guilt, shame, frustration, jealousy, despair.
What happens to your physical self when your thoughts are being generated from fear? Your body releases the hormone adrenaline and if you stay in that negative state for long enough, large amounts of cortisol are released; this in large enough amounts can result in brain fog, bad digestion, increase of abdominal fat, reduction of bone density and many more.
Candida loves it when we are thinking negative thoughts. This is because when you feel fear, we either get a reduction in appetite due to the adrenalin (which sometimes acts as an appetite suppressant), or we can go the other way and get an increase in appetite, tucking into high-sugar, high-fat comfort foods. Whichever trap you fall into, the result is generally the same. Stress-induced Cortisol also increases the blood sugar level and weakens the immune system, essentially inviting candida to grow.
Comfort foods are usually acidic and if this habit is continued over a long period of time it can and generally does lead to acidosis. It is highly unlikely that a fit and healthy person with a great diet would have an overgrowth of candida - with the exception of such an individual who is very resentful and negative, of course!
So, does your state of mind cause candidiasis? The answer is not usually, without other factors. However, it does start with your mind, like everything in life - what you do, who you are. You are the only person who is responsible for your health - we should not be tricked into believing that disease is out of our control.
These widely prescribed drugs have hidden dangers. They are, like sugar, one of the biggest causes of candida overgrowth in the body. Anyone who has taken antibiotics (and some other pharmaceutical products such as birth control pills or steroids) is also at risk.
These products destroy the vital gut flora and upset the hormonal balance required to maintain a healthy immune system. Once consumed, the damage is such that the original balanced state is extremely difficult to achieve. Although it is possible to take powerful probiotics such as EM-PRO, this alone would not usually be enough to resolve a case of candidiasis.
Birth control pills are another major culprit in causing the overgrowth of candida. The pills, which contain oestrogen stimulate the production of glycogen in the vagina. In turn the glycogen feeds the candida, leading to overgrowth. When combined with antibiotics, the probability of developing candidiasis is hugely heightened. Antibiotics kill the good bacteria in the vagina, which would usually metabolise the glycogen. Instead, the glycogen is left for the candida to utilise, resulting in candida proliferation.
Mercury (amalgam) Fillings
There is a lot of debate over whether mercury fillings are dangerous; it is widely considered to be the case that they are toxic and that they can release toxins into the body. Although this is a controversial topic, there is significant evidence that ‘amalgam’ fillings containing mercury can release toxins into your body.
This mercury toxicity has been cited as being the cause of chronic fatigue, depression, weakened immunity and loss of memory. A 2006 study in New Zealand looked at 465 patients who were suffering from mercury toxicity. It found that the “removal of amalgam mercury fillings when combined with appropriate treatment resulted in a significant symptom reduction to levels reported by healthy subjects”.
With more evident becoming available the FDA changed its opinion on mercury fillings in 2008, altering the text on its website to read “Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and foetus.”
Sufferers of diabetes are more likely to experience repeated yeast infections for two reasons. The first reason is that diabetics have high blood sugar levels that feed the candida yeast cells. This is either due to a shortage of insulin in the body or because the body is not reacting to insulin as it should.
The second reason is the weakened immune system that is one of the symptoms of diabetes. According to a british study published in 2011, this is because the high levels of glucose effectively ‘blind’ the receptors in your immune system that identify pathogens. This allows the candida yeast cells to multiply and transform to their fungal, pathogenic form.
Chemicals in your drinking water
Most drinking water contains traces of chlorine, a disinfectant that is added to kill disease-causing microorganisms. This is similar to the chlorine that is used in swimming pools and it has many known side effects. However, public health officials in many countries have concluded that the reduced incidence of water-borne disease is more important, and outweighs the risk to public health of chlorine consumption.
There may be some truth to that, but it is also true that chlorine acts to weaken our immune systems and leave us more vulnerable to other infections. Chlorine is an effective disinfectant designed to kill microorganisms, so when it reaches your intestines, it destroys colonies of both bacteria and yeast indiscriminately.
With your gut flora reduced, this allows opportunistic microorganisms like candida Albicans to grow and flourish. Over long periods of chlorine consumption, this can be lead to a weakened immune system and a candida overgrowth.
Chlorine has also been linked to higher rates of cancer in the colon. A 1992 paper looked at chlorinated drinking water and the incidence of cancer in Norway. Although the study was not conclusive, it found that chlorination was “associated with a 20-40% increase in colorectal cancer rates”. Another study in lowa in 1997 found similar results.