Life has changed enormously in the last century. Traditionally we were born through the mother’s birth canal, picking up healthy bacteria as we went through.
We fed from her breast, picking up more healthy bacteria from her skin. When we had infections, we either fought them off or we died. Life is very different now. Babies are often born by Caesarean.
They are often fed from bottles. Antibiotics are given out casually, although we know that contributes to the spread of dangerous strains of bacteria.
We have traded death from vicious bacterial infections for a situation where many have chronic ill health. Either people did not receive the bacteria they needed at birth, or they have been killed off by antibiotics.
The population of the gut
There are said to be more organisms in the gut than cells in the body. They need to be the right ones. Without a healthy population of good bacteria in the gut, other less desirable bacteria or fungi can take over the accommodation and food available there.
One of these organisms is a fungus called Candida Albicans. Because we do not know enough about what harmful organisms there are in a particular gut, we call the situation gut dysbiosis, which simply means that the things living there are not the right ones.
There is no simple test to show what is wrong, and so the condition is commonly called Candida. However, don’t tell your doctor that you have Candida, as he or she will quite reasonably say that you have no evidence that that is what it is.
Good bacteria, called bifido, make an antifungal chemical. Good bacteria also make fats to heal the gut.
People on certain drugs and people with AIDS have serious immunodeficiency, and can have a marked overgrowth of Candida Albicans. It is normal to have some Candida in us, but not too much.
As so often in health issues, there are those who have enough Candida to wreck their quality of life, while not having the major infestation of someone with AIDS.
So what can you do if a Caesarean, bottle feeding, or antibiotics, or maybe two or three of these, has landed you with an unhealthy gut population?
Taking capsules of good bacteria is important, and they need to come from a reputable source. You need the right ones.
I use Lactobacillus Acidophilus and bifido bacteria. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG is considered safe, but other strains of Rhamnosus are thought to cause infection, and Bifido dentium is one of the Bifido bacteria that cause dental caries.
It is worth taking advice from someone knowledgeable about probiotics.
Sugars and Candida
If we eat the wrong foods, we encourage the wrong organisms to flourish in the gut.
Sugars are an issue, and that means the natural sugar in milk, called lactose, ordinary sugar which is sucrose, fruit and fruit juice, which contain sucrose and fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, maple syrup, glucose and treacle.
If your problem is severe, then avoid all of these. If it is a mild problem, then limit yourself to one portion of fruit a day, and nothing else from this list.
Also check out these Satisfying Candida Diet Dessert Recipes
The gut can be damaged by Candida, making it too leaky. Coconut and coconut oil, butter, fish and fish oil, and putting a cupful of Epsom salts in the bath, can repair the gut. Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate.
The sulphate has to be attached to the glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) of the gut, so it can repel Candida. We make sulphate using vitamins B2, B5 and B6, the mineral molybdenum and the omega three fats in fish and flax.
If you don’t have a bath in your home, then make sure you have enough of these. Molybdenum comes in buckwheat and red cabbage. However, do not have a lot of spinach, radish or orange, as these slow down your ability to use sulphate.
Don’t have too much phenol in the diet, from kale, red wine or olive oil, or too much amine, from mature cheese or chocolate, as these bond to sulphate, distracting it from repairing the gut.
Boron and vitamin B2
Boron is a toxic mineral that in acute doses causes severe digestive symptoms. In smaller regular doses it depletes vitamin B2, a vitamin that is needed for making energy, recycling our most important antioxidant, activating vitamin B6, and making sulphate.
There is a lot of boron in tomatoes, peppers, soya, hazelnuts, apples, pears and peaches, and these are not helpful foods. People often make the mistake of taking vitamin B6 without vitamin B2.
Then much of the B6 isn’t activated, and is wasted, and B2 is distracted from making energy, in order to deal with at least some of the B6.
Nutrients for immunity
Nearly all nutrients enhance immunity. So make sure you have a diet rich in all the vitamins and minerals, and with a healthy balance of omega six fats from nuts and seeds, and omega three from fish, or from flax if you are vegetarian.
There is rarely a need for antifungal drugs. Do eat garlic and parsley, for their antifungal properties. It appears that smelly garlic supplements are more effective than odourless ones.
People with bipolar disorder should avoid parsley however.
There are useful oregano products for killing off unwanted fungi, but try a dietary approach first, and you are unlikely to need more. Killing off too much too quickly can cause die-off symptoms, causing unnecessary misery.
Many people are afraid to eat mushrooms, but they are reported to enhance the immune system, and provide material for repairing the gut. Genetically, mushrooms are further from Candida Albicans than we are from the President of the United States. So most of us can tolerate them, and indeed benefit from them.
Alcohol converts to aldehyde, which is what causes a hangover. Candida makes aldehyde, giving people a foggy brain, and useful supplements to deal with this are vitamins B2 and B3, molybdenum, zinc and taurine.
Avoid drinking alcohol, as you don’t want any extra aldehyde. Avoid cinnamon, as it contains cinnamaldehyde. Many perfumes contain aldehydes.
Other problems that can be confused with Candida
A traveller with irritable bowel syndrome went on a boat on the River Nile. Like many travellers, she caught an infection and was treated with antibiotics. Not only did she recover from the new infection, but she also recovered from IBS. She had had a bacterial infection all along, not Candida.
Others recover because they cut sugars out of the diet, and what they had all along was fructose malabsorption. They were eating more fructose than could be transported from the gut into the blood, and the remaining fructose was feeding the wrong bacteria in the gut.
An effective Candida diet
A diet for Candida can contain lots of vegetables including red cabbage, garlic and parsley, mushrooms, fish, meat, white rice, peeled potato, buckwheat, eggs, red lentils, white almonds, macadamia nuts, and golden linseeds.
What it shouldn’t contain is milk, mature cheese, honey, sugar, alcohol, fruit juice, apples, oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kale, spinach and radish.