Candida Yeast Overgrowth - An Overview
What is candida yeast overgrowth?
Candida yeast naturally occurs in the human body in very low and generally indiscernible levels. A population of "friendly" or "good" bacteria and a healthy immune system work together to ensure that the yeast does not transform into an infectious fungus.
Should our immune systems be compromised, however, or if the internal body pH changes, the candida yeast can turn into the fungal form. Localized infections, such as oral thrush, skin infections, and vaginal yeast infections in women can result from the candida yeast manifesting in fungal form.
In addition, widespread systemic infection can occur in immuno-compromised people. When such candida yeast overgrowth occurs, the organism becomes parasitic, breaking down the boundary between the intestinal tract and the bodys circulation system by penetrating the gastrointestinal mucosa.
This process allows partially digested dietary proteins to leak into the bloodstream, where an antigenic (antibody stimulation) response results that wreaks havoc on the immune system (you may see this referred to as "leaky gut syndrome"). The immune system must complete the digestive process, which puts excess strain on it and diverts energy away from fighting infection.
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A note about Candida Yeast Overgrowth - An Overview
In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.
In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. No matter how remote or unrelated a health condition may seem, these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of specific natural health remedies.
The candida yeast overgrowth may also generally suppress the immune system response, especially once it begins to grow uncontrolled.
Some holistic health practitioners attribute the following as common symptoms of candida yeast overgrowth:
The system condition, popularized by William Crook, MD, in his 1983 book, The Yeast Connection, remains very controversial. Most conventional doctors believe that this systemic condition may be over-diagnosed and many disagree with the diagnosis.
However, it has been accepted that frequent use of prescription antibiotics can lead to candida yeast overgrowth, as the beneficial bacteria will be killed off along with whatever infection-causing bacteria for which the affected individual initially took the antibiotics.
Generally, a healthy immune system will be able to rebalance itself, but after repeated antibiotic use, the immune system can be hampered and the yeast can grow without competition. Other factors that weaken the immune system include sleep deprivation, or excess sugar intake (which also help yeast grow exponentially). Pregnancy (due to fluctuating hormones and weight gain) and diabetes may also leave an individual more prone to infection.
Candida yeast overgrowth can be treated through several dietary changes, including the elimination of sugar from the diet; addition of healthy bacteria (called probiotics) to fight the yeast, which can be obtained through certain yogurts and cultured milk like kefir; addition of certain antibacterial herbal remedies as supplements; or in the last resort scenario - anti fungal medications.
Alternative or holistic practitioners often recommend individualized programs that combine diet and supplements. Supplements should be introduced gradually so as to avoid a temporary worsening of symptoms called Herxheimer reaction, during which massive 'die-off' of the fungus releases protein fragments and toxins that can elicit a overactive antibody response from the immune system.
After treatment of candida yeast overgrowth, improvement should be seen in approximately two weeks to a month.
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