Fungal Infections (Yeast Infections, Candida albicans, Candidiasis)
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND


There are many positive benefits of yeast. Yeast helps bread to rise. Yeast creates the fermentation process that allows brewers to make beer and wine. Yeast microorganisms are a type of fungus, like mushrooms. They are present in the soil and part of the mix of microbes needed for soil health.
Yeasts are also included in the dozens of species of microorganisms that inhabit our intestines. This blend of microbes are known collectively as the intestinal microflora, and are critical to health. So, yeast can be very beneficial under the right conditions.

Under the wrong conditions, however, yeast can create problems with our health. Yeast or fungal infections have become a serious problem for most people living in modern western society. In particular, one species of yeast, Candida albicans, has been shown to be at the root of a wide variety of health problems including chronic sinus problems, vaginal yeast infections, frequent colds and flu, earaches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, reduced immunity, brain fog, leaky gut syndrome, athlete's foot, jock itch and more.

It is becoming widely recognized that antibiotics contribute to yeast overgrowth because they upset the balance of the intestinal microflora by killing the friendly bacteria, but antibiotics aren't the only reason yeast gets our of control. Many other chemicals in our environment also have negative effects on our intestinal flora. These include alcohol, chlorinated drinking water, MSG, nitrates, and sulfates. Since yeast feed on sugar, excess consumption of sugar also plays a role in yeast overgrowth.

Once the yeast is out of control, it secretes substances that weaken the integrity of the intestines (resulting in intestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome) and are absorbed into the blood stream, weakening the immune system and causing us to crave more sugar. It's almost like the yeast hijack the body and cause us to want to perpetuate the environment that sustains their existence.

Determining If You Have a Yeast Infection
Candida often becomes one of those "catch-all" diagnosis. Many people think they have yeast overgrowth even though they have done extensive yeast cleanses. Here is a little quiz to help you determine if yeast overgrowth may be contributing to your health problems.

If your answer "yes" to five or more questions you may have a problem with yeast overgrowth. However, many of these symptoms may also be signs of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

• Do you generally feel fatigued or have low energy?
• Do you experience food sensitivities or food allergies?
• Do you have nail fungus, athlete's foot or jock itch?
• Do you have recurrent vaginal yeast infections?
• Have you taken broad spectrum antibiotics?
• Do you crave sugar or sweets (candy, soda pop, etc.)?
• Do you often have gas, bloating or indigestion?
• Do you crave refined white flour (bread, pasta, baked goods)?
• Have you been on birth control pills for 6 months or more
• Do you experience brain fog, mental confusion or mental fatigue?

If you do appear to have a problem with yeast overgrowth, here are four steps to getting it under control.

1. Modify the Diet to Stop Feeding the Yeast

The first, and most important, step in eliminating yeast overgrowth is to stop feeding the yeast. Yeast love carbohydrates, especially simple sugars. So, you need to get all simple carbohydrates out of the diet for a period of time. For two to four weeks eliminate all simple sugars and refined grain products from your diet. Simple sugars include table sugar (or sucrose), glucose, fructose, corn syrup and even natural sugars like honey, brown sugar and fruit juices.
Refined grain products include white flour, white rice, corn chips and breakfast cereals. You're going to have to read labels carefully to do this because sugars and refined grains are added to most prepackaged foods.
It is also important to avoid alcohol because it is also converted to sugar in the body. In fact, if your problem is severe, you may wish to avoid even whole grains, most fruit and starchy foods like potatoes for at least the first two weeks.

It is also a good idea to avoid foods that contain yeast or mold, such as bread, beer, aged cheeses and so forth. Many experts also recommend avoiding pickled and fermented foods and vinegar. These foods don't cause yeast overgrowth, but eliminating them for a period of time seems to help get yeast under control.

Eat a Low glycemic diet and include some good fats in your diet. A particularly good fat for fighting candida is coconut oil because it contains a medium chain saturated fatty acid called caprylic acid that helps control yeast.

2. Improve General Digestive and Intestinal Health
Yeast get out of control when the environment becomes conducive to their growth. So, if we want to get them back under control, we need to change the environment of the digestive tract. Normally, the hydrochloric acid and enzymes found in our stomach help keep these microbes in check. These can be stimulated by taking Digestive Bitters 15-20 minutes before meals. It will also help to relieve the gas and bloating common in people with yeast overgrowth.
Also consider taking Proactazyme or Food Enzymes with meals. Taking High Potency Protease between meals will also help to regulate digestive microbes.

Yeast overgrowth is often accompanied by intestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. You may want to check out remedies to bring these problems under control.

3. Use Antifungal Agents to Reduce Yeast Overgrowth
After cutting off the yeast's food supply and altering the digestive environment to make it unfriendly for yeast growth, we can knock it down using antifungal herbs and supplements. A convenient way to do this is with the Candida Clear pack. This is a great prepackaged program for controlling yeast overgrowth. Other options include taking Pau d'Arco in capsules or tea form, taking Yeast/ Fungal Detox by itself and/or using Silver Shield.
Essential Oils are also powerful allies in dealing with yeast infections. Antifungal essential oils include tea tree, lavender, thyme, clove, and oregano. These can be used in baths, diffused into the room or taken internally in one drop doses per day for no more than one to two weeks.

4. Repopulate the Body with Friendly Bacteria (Probiotics)
The final Step in taming the yeast is to repopulate the intestines with friendly bacteria or probiotics. Naturally fermented foods such as yoghurt, raw sauerkraut and miso are good dietary sources of these friendly microbes to take after your cleanse, but you will probably want to also take probiotic supplements.

Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.



Therapies:
Aromatherapy and Cleansing Programs

Herbs: Garlic, Pau d'Arco and Yarrow

Herbal Extracts: Olive Leaf and Paw Paw cell-Reg

Nutrients: MSM, Probiotics, Silver Shield and Sunshine Heroes Probiotic Power

Nutraceuticals: Caprylic Acid Combination, THIM-J and Yeast/Fungal Detox

Packs: Candida Clear

Essential Oils: Clove Bud, Guardian, lavender, Neroli, Patchouli, Peppermint, Tea Tree Oil and Wild Oregano