Mushrooms are a form of fungus. The blue in blue cheese is a form of fungus. Fungus makes bread rise. Fungus turns grain into beer. Fungus can be a wonderful thing – and it can be devastating to health and wellbeing. Athlete’s foot and ringworm are external forms of fungus on the human body. The yeast Candida albicans is a form of internal fungus. Often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it can cause a wide range of potentially serious health problems.
Candida loves moist, warm places – which is why it often takes up residence in the intestinal tract. And once it moves in, it doesn’t like to leave – especially if the conditions inside the body actually support its growth.
In an ideal tummy, stomach acid and your immune system are able to overcome the Candida fungus. But particular medications and westernized diets and lifestyles often provide conditions in which Candida can not only survive, but thrive.
Almost everyone has some degree of Candida in their digestive tracts. Under normal circumstances, these yeast cells are single cell organisms which, in very low levels, may actually be beneficial by stopping some forms of pathogenic bacteria. But with favorable conditions, they can develop into multi-form cells – and that’s when the trouble starts.
So, what are the most common conditions which can lead to a Candida overgrowth?
As you are probably aware, antibiotics kill the good bacteria in our bodies, as well as the bad bacteria. Without the good bacteria in our intestinal tracts, it’s easier for yeasts like Candida albicans (and other nasties) to gain a foothold.
Antibiotics come not only in the form of prescription drugs. Non-organic meat and dairy products may also contain antibiotics.
Many folk suffering Candida report the onset of symptoms shortly after taking a course of antibiotics.
2. Stomach Acid Deficiency & Acid Blocking Drugs
The level of acid in your stomach affects the ability of yeasts like Candida to survive. Yeasts can live in a variety of pH conditions, but stomach acid helps keep them at controllable levels.
But of greater importance, the good bacteria in your intestinal tract- which also play a vital role in keeping Candida under control – rely on the correct level of acidity in the stomach.
An acid deficiency – which could be caused by acid-blocking drugs, illness, age, diet – make the body more susceptible to Candida and other infections. Acid blocking drugs can also diminish good bacteria in the stomach.
3. Compromised Immune System
The immune system plays its part in keeping Candida colonies under control. Compromised immunity – which may be caused by poor nutritional choices, smoking, alcohol, toxins, medications, stress – can allow yeast infections to gain the upper hand.
Yeasts love sugar. Candida likes nothing better than to sit down to a meal of highly processed, sugary foods – flours, cereals, breads, fruit juices, sugar, corn syrup, lactose (milk sugar). Excess sugar can also suppress the immune system.
Without realizing it, many folk are providing Candida with its favorite diet.