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Alternative Healing

Healing Corner: Are Your Symptoms a Sign of Candida Overgrowth?

Layout 1Excessive yeast in the body can lead to a number of chronic conditions, but reversal is possible with dietary changes.

By Cathi Stack, ND

Candida, or yeast, is present in the body, and is kept in check against overgrowth thanks to the good bacteria found in our intestines. However, this balance can be interrupted by a number of factors, including taking antibiotics, birth control pills and excessive sugar in the diet, and yeast can grow and begin to cause many uncomfortable symptoms and inflammatory conditions.

Frequent illness; muscle weakness; muscle and joint pain; fatigue; a growing allergy list; depression; chronic headaches; insomnia; gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and gas, intestinal cramps, diarrhea or constipation; and the inability to pay attention are all very common symptoms of yeast. But because they are similar to other conditions — including fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome — many people don’t realize they have a problem.

Here is a very typical scenario I see at least once or twice a month in my practice: Patient X is a 20- to 40-year-old female (or male) who comes to me with complaints of headaches almost daily. She is achy, gaining weight and just does not feel good. She has been getting sick much more frequently and has been placed on antibiotics at least four times over the past year. Sometimes prednisone (steroids) is also prescribed because the sinus and lung infections are so persistent.

Patient X is very frustrated and even depressed. Sugar and carb cravings are making things worse, especially when it comes to weight. She has never been this sickly in her life and feels as if she is becoming a train wreck and no one seems to be able to help her. She now is becoming more sensitive to certain foods and her allergy list is growing. Medications are not working, and that is what sent her my way.

As I listen to Patient X’s story (and so many others), I am optimistic and excited. I know I can help her overcome this, but I am also a bit skeptical, as I know the majority of work is in her hands, not mine.

Patient X is one of the fortunate few who will find relief, but for so many more, the saga continues. More medications, more illness, more steroids. Digestive difficulties surface and now muscle weakness and joint pain are added to the list. For your doctor, you are now the project that is getting more difficult to treat. Most likely you will end up with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

Sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone and it can be fixed. The first fact you must face is you are a product of everything you eat. If you eat clean and healthy, you will resist or bounce back from illness very well. For those of you who consume processed and chemical-laden foods, use artificial sweeteners and eat lots of bread, restoring health and combating yeast will be a difficult goal. Forget low-fat foods and don’t eat fake foods (which are foods with an ingredient list).

The good news is there is no appointment necessary for those who want to get a handle on this. This is what I recommend:

Avoid sugar in all forms, including artificial sweeteners. Even avoiding fruits for the first month of healing would be of great benefit.

Avoid wheat, grains and bread products. This feeds the problem (yeast) and because you have been on antibiotics and steroids so many times, you are loaded with yeast. Yeast love bread and sugar, and yeast are the “bad guys,” so please don’t feed them. Candida (yeast overgrowth) makes you crave the sugar and bread — don’t give in!

Take a high-quality, multi-strain probiotic. Double up on the recommended dose for at least two weeks. This will help restore the good bacteria the antibiotics have destroyed, and you will see IBS symptoms disappear quickly.

Colloidal silver will expedite the healing process. A solution of 10ppm (parts per million) is best from a reputable company. Take 1 teaspoon three times per day for at least two weeks. Then decrease to once or twice per day depending on severity of symptoms. Colloidal silver is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial (not the good guys) and anti-viral.

Take vitamin C. 1000mg of vitamin C taken twice daily is offensive to yeast and helps those suffering from frequent urinary tract infections as well. There are many more supplements proven effective in eliminating yeast, but in my experience, the above recommendations work very well. There are many helpful resources on the Internet as well as books, and one of the best is “The Yeast Connection: A Medical Breakthrough,” by William Crook. It’s an oldie but goodie, and is probably one of the best books on the topic for those who want to learn more and heal fast.

NOTE: Please check with your doctor before trying any new treatments or supplements.

Catherine (Cathi) Stack is owner, facilitator and Doctor of Naturopathy at Journey II Health LLC, established in 2007 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Along with her naturopathic practice at Journey II Health, Stack continues to work at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She loves sharing her knowledge with her patients, co-workers, friends and readers. She currently writes for a variety of publications, which include her Sunday column in the Niagara Gazette. She can be reached via e-mail atjourneyiihealth@gmail.com or visit her Web site, www.journeyiihealth.com.