by Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed.
Candida is practically an epidemic in our society and yet many people are completely unaware of its existence and its profound impact on our mental and physical health. This lack of awareness is due mainly to the fact that mainstream medicine is not educated about Candida yeast and is resistant to learning, therefore knowledge of this condition is not readily accessible, unless you're turning to alternative medicine.
Candida is a yeast that occurs naturally and lives in our body along with many other microorganisms. It is sometimes referred to as Candidiasis or more commonly as a "yeast infection."
Most people are familiar with the terms "yeast infection," "oral thrush," or "athletes feet," however they are not informed that the same yeast responsible for these common conditions can also cause a host of other health problems.
One of the other most common areas it resides is the gastrointestinal tract. If it gets a good stranglehold in the GI tract, it can then travel through the bloodstream and infiltrate any system or organ in the body.
It is quite fond of environments that are warm and moist, which is why it tends to accumulate in places like the mouth, feet and genitals. Candidiasis usually lives in harmony in our body, because our healthy bacteria keeps it in balance, but many times something occurs in the body that upsets this natural balance and the healthy bacteria are not able to maintain homeostasis. This allows Candida yeast to grow out of control and take over territory.
When this occurs a variety of detrimental effects may occur in the body. It is often the instigator of many physical health problems that plague millions such as headaches, sore throat, irritable bowel, indigestion, heart burn, hormonal fluctuations, eczema, gas, migraines, chronic fatigue, bloating, weight gain, rashes, low sex drive, dizziness and nausea.
Common mental health conditions or cognitive dysfunctions that may be the result of yeast overgrowth may include, but are not limited to Depression, Anxiety, Mania, Paranoia, Schizophrenia, Mood Swings, Hyperactivity, Impaired Memory, Short Term Memory Loss, Problem Solving Abilities and Attention Deficit Disorder.
Candida that has grown out of control may be a contributing factor in disorders and maladies that are completely incapacitating such as Fibromyalgia, Crohn's, Prostatitis, MS and Autism. Actually, Candida may play a role in most any physical or mental health problem known to exist.
The brain and nervous system are the organs effected by Candida most often, but it also impacts the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, endocrine, urinary, musculoskeletal and lymphatic systems.
There are two main factors responsible for the overgrowth of Candidiasis. They are diet and overuse of antibiotics.
Diet is important because your choices of food either encourage or discourage yeast growth. Candida's primary source of food is sugar and the average persons diet is very high in sugar, refined foods, starches and simple carbohydrates. When you eat these foods, it provides the yeast a tasty banquet to nourish and flourish in abundance. The more sugars and refined carbohydrates that you eat, the more overgrowth you will have.
This problem is magnified even more because sugar and refined food have almost no nutritional value what-so-ever. Therefore the body is not receiving sufficient vitamins and minerals that nurture a healthy body that can resist overgrowth of yeast and other bacteria. Not only that, all these refined foods and sugar lacking in nutritional value also contribute to other serious health problems like Obesity and Type II Diabetes.
Prescription antibiotics are a problem because when they are consumed they not only kill off the bacteria that is making you sick, but it also destroys out all your healthy bacteria. This leaves the field wide open for Candida to take over and proliferate freely.
Antibiotic use should be reserved for times when it is absolutely essential and friendly bacteria should be replaced in a supplement form during usage, but unfortunately that is not the case. They are overused in our society for situations where they are not even called for. Antibiotics also make it into our bodies through our meat and dairy supply, as it is common practice for farm animals to be injected with large doses of antibiotics.
Yeast overgrowth can also be encouraged with the use of other prescription drugs such as estrogen, birth control pills, steroids and immune suppressants.
Candidiasis is exceptionally resilient and cunning. Once overgrowth occurs it is very difficult to eliminate. It takes a great deal of persistence, time and knowledge.
Your first line of defense in preventing and controlling yeast overgrowth is to eliminate the use of antibiotics unless required to save your life or you have a condition that won't respond to anything else and follow a Candida diet, which removes sugar and refined carbohydrates completely and encourages a healthy diet rich in vegetables, high quality protein and limited amounts of complex carbohydrates.
It's also extremely important to educate yourself as thoroughly as possible about all the aspects of this condition. Candida is very complex and multi-faceted. Even those treating the condition often don't have a complete understanding of it's depth.
About the Author:
Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is a holistic health counselor who has researched Candida and it's impact on our physical and mental health for almost two decades. Her knowledge is enriched with personal experience in combating the condition herself. Get the facts you need about Candida in her handy little Ebook, Candida Secrets.
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