Candida is an opportunistic yeast naturally found in the digestive tract and on the skin. Candida overgrowth in the digestive tract and systemic Candida overgrowth throughout the body can affect every level of health—from your immune system to your mood. In those with a compromised immune system, Candida overgrowth is the most common infection in intensive care units. Candida is also the fourth most common infection picked up at hospitals.
According to a report published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Candida is increasingly resistant to drug therapy—making it a “serious threat” to the American public, along with general antibiotic resistance.
Candida Attacks the Immune System When You Can’t Fight Back
The nature of Candida is that it grows when it has the opportunity. Candida overgrowth happens when we cannot fight back. The CDC considers often drug-resistant Candida a serious threat to the American public. Candida yeast is opportunistic and will attack your immune system when your body is most vulnerable. This occurs when:
- The gut is inflamed. An inflamed gut is a leaky gut. When a healthy intestinal wall is able to act as a natural barrier, it keeps opportunistic bugs like Candida at bay.
- The immune system is weak. The immune system can only protect us from invaders and outside toxins when it is not overworked and out of balance.
- The inner ecosystem is wounded. In a healthy inner ecosystem, good bacteria produce chemicals that keep bacterial and Candida overgrowth in check.
- As Candida takes over large portions of the digestive tract and spreads beyond the gut wall, it gains traction.
Candida pollutes the body with its waste, burdening the liver. Candida can also turn “off” the immune system as it invades organs, budding inside your body’s cells.
Candida Thrives Under Pressure
In 2011, scientists watched how Candida responded to stressors like high temperatures (similar to when the body mounts a fever) and an antifungal drug called fluconazole. Rather than die as expected, communities of Candida shuffled genes around and continued to grow!
Researchers found that the more stress Candida faced, the more it adapted to each stressor.
And if Candida cannot adapt to its environment, it changes the environment. For example, Candida can change the surrounding pH by releasing ammonia into its environment. This ability to change pH helps it transform into an invasive, elongated cell that can penetrate the gut wall.
4 Ways to Protect Your Immune System from Candida Overgrowth
It’s best to avoid using strong antifungal drugs to treat Candida overgrowth. As we mentioned earlier, a new strain of Candida is becoming more common. This new strain is resistant to antifungal drugs.
The more we rely on antifungal drugs, the more we contribute to the spread of drug-resistant strains.
Instead, you can protect your body from Candida overgrowth by following these steps:
- Remove sugar from the diet. While sour fruits, starchy vegetables, and grain-like seeds are allowed on The Body Ecology Diet, we do suggest that you remove all added sugars and sweet fruits. If you miss the taste of sweets, we have designed a stevia sweetener that leaves no bitter aftertaste and is 300 times sweeter than table sugar; very little is needed to achieve the sweet taste you crave.
- Avoid using antibiotics and oral contraceptives when possible. Both antibiotic medication and oral contraceptives can create the perfect environment for Candida overgrowth.
- Use antifungal herbs. Incorporate herbs like garlic, oregano, clove, and lemongrass into your dishes on a regular basis. Oil of oregano has been shown to remove the damp environment that Candida thrives in. Pau d’ arco tea soothes away inflammation and fights Candida overgrowth.
- Support your inner ecosystem. Fermented foods, like fermented vegetables and coconut water kefir, contain probiotics that keep Candida yeast in line. The probiotics in cultured foods also help to repair damage to the gut caused by Candida overgrowth.
The opportunistic yeast Candida can be naturally found in the digestive tract and on the skin. Candida overgrowth in the body is harmful and can affect every level of your health. Candida overgrowth is the fourth most common infection transmitted in hospitals. The CDC considers Candida a serious public threat as it is becoming increasingly drug-resistant.
Candida thrives under pressure. Candida adapts well to stress and can even change its environment. New strains of Candida are becoming more common and may be unaffected by antifungal drugs.