Candida & Fungus
There are millions of different types of fungi (plural of fungus) including yeasts, which are a member of the fungi family, yet only a few fungi affect people adversely. Fungi are microscopic plant-like organisms without chlorophyll and must obtain food from others. This is helpful in breaking down garbage to soil and using the wastes given off by fungi to raise bread and ferment wine and beer. However, when fungi sometimes start eating away at tissues that aren’t dead yet and give off toxic wastes, they can cause disease. Fungi can be responsible for diseases such as candida, athlete’s foot, and pneumonia along with many other issues. We can get fungus from our environment (including soil, decaying matter), in our homes (from insulation, air ducts), from food (such as fruit and bread), from other people (through skin to skin contact) and from burns and wounds. Fungi are normal inhabitants on our skin, in our blood and in our intestines.
Friendly bacteria in the intestines keep fungi under control
Fungi are everywhere in our environment. Most of the fungi we come in contact with are innocuous, however several can cause problems for our health. Fungi can cause allergic reactions from breathing their spores, or toxic reactions by ingesting fungal toxins from contaminated food or poisonous mushrooms, and can also cause fungal infections or mycoses in which a fungus invades living tissues. Fungal infections can affect the skin, hair, nails (superficial mycoses and cutaneous mycoses), muscles (subcutaneous mycoses), internal organs and blood (systemic mycoses). Some infectious fungi are considered primary pathogens in that they affect people regardless of their health condition; others that take advantage of a compromised immune system are called opportunistic mycoses. The opportunistic mycoses can be a big problem for those with AIDS, Chronic Fatigue and other immune weakening diseases. Many systemic fungal infections start in the lungs and spread through the blood to other parts of the body including the skin, lymph nodes, mucous membranes and other internal organs.
Candida albicans is a fungus, which is present in everybody. It is found on the skin and mucous membranes. In small amounts it is harmless but when its growth increases drastically it can be devastating. The imbalance of excessive candida is called candidaisis. It is considered one of the most prevalent yet unrecognized conditions of modern man.
The candida fungus releases wastes into the bloodstream that have a profound effect on the nervous system and immune system. This creates a variety of symptoms, including such common complaints as: food cravings (for sweets, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, etc.), excessive allergies, diaper rash, vaginal infections, depression, food sensitivities, exhaustion, headaches, irritability, memory loss, obesity or excessive weight loss, gas and bloating, diarrhea or constipation, PMS, earaches, numbness, MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), leaky gut and many others. Candida affects physical, mental and emotional well-being. Thinking becomes unclear and irrational and often is unnoticeable to the victim.
Candida may be one of the primary causes of ill health and obesity in the country today because it creates a downward health spiral. As it becomes prevalent in the body, a person craves carbohydrates and sweets, allowing it to thrive even further, thereby impeding the immune system and creating symptoms and excess weight. On and on it goes until the body’s immune system is weakened and symptoms are no longer tolerable. At this time, a physician is usually consulted and antibiotics might be prescribed which kill off more friendly intestinal bacteria that keeps fungi under control, allowing further candida proliferation. In this advanced stage, acute depression and suicidal tendencies may emerge.
Candida infection is difficult to diagnose since the fungus is present in every human tested and because it creates such a variety of symptoms. The best way to determine whether you are being adversely affected by this fungus is to look at your diet and your health. If you feel addicted to sugar, crave breads or other carbohydrates, are experiencing any other symptoms as listed above, or just don’t feel well, chances are you are being affected by candida and should consider a change in diet. Candida and Fungus thrive on simple foods like sugar, carbohydrates and fermented foods and cause cravings for these foods so it is best to eliminate them from the diet (see What to Avoid).
In a healthy body the friendly bacteria (flora) in the intestines compete against fungi to maintain a healthy balance by not allowing the fungus to grow out of control. Antibiotics from drugs, birth control pills, cortisone and foods containing antibiotics, such as meats, poultry and dairy, kill the bacteria population, upsetting this balance, allowing candida and fungus to grow unopposed. Fungi thrives in an acidic environment, bacteria, including intestinal flora, is comfortable in a weakly alkaline to neutral environment. Once the fungi population increases they produce wastes that create an acidic environment that bacteria cannot survive in.
Over the last twenty years people have become more aware of fungal infections and candida. The symptoms of candida are vast and misdiagnosis is common. The typical medical approach to alleviating these issues usually begins with more antibiotics by trying to treat another illness, which just makes matters worse, followed by an anti-fungal drug which the fungi mutates around and becomes more resistant, thus becoming more difficult to eliminate. Some medical doctors are modifying their methods to take a page out of the naturopathic approach. Unfortunately, candida can be very difficult to control and practitioners of all modalities have their own idea as to what works for candida, although candida correction can have a high failure rate.
What to avoid
Candida and fungi thrive on sugar and carbohydrates, and fermented foods such as beer, vinegar and pickles, also moldy foods like cheese. It is best to avoid carbohydrates, sugars, alcoholic beverages, fermented foods, mushrooms, cheese, bread, wine, beer, and even fruit and fruit juices since they contain concentrated fructose, a natural fruit sugar. Dairy products should be used in small amounts because they contain lactose, a milk sugar. This change in diet is not as simple as it may sound because the cravings for sugar and carbohydrates are extremely strong and may overpower any controlled approach to eating. Since fungi excel in an acidic environment it best not to consume acid forming foods including vinegar, coffee, tea, fried foods and spicy dishes.
What can I eat?
This change involves eating vegetables and proteins such as fish and other lean meats (seek a natural source without antibiotics). Foods to include are fresh steamed vegetables, sea vegetables, natural poultry without antibiotics or hormones, sea foods, unprocessed oils, eggs, tofu and almonds. Once you have been off sugar and carbohydrates for a few days, you begin to feel in control again, as though a fog has been lifted from your brain. After a week or so, you may slowly add fresh fruits. Fruits MUST be eaten alone and on an empty stomach. You can also add natural whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, rice cakes, flat breads (made without yeast) to your diet. Continue to avoid yeast containing foods for awhile (like breads, wine and beer) to maintain control of the fungus growth. Make salad dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar. Bake, poach, boil and steam your food instead of frying. There are a lot of culinary possibilities.
Hanna Kroeger, master herbalist and founder of Kroeger Herb Products had been working on candida since the early seventies, before anyone else acknowledged the issue. Her approach, as with all of her work stemmed from hands on experience with many thousands of people in addressing their health needs using natural methods. Hanna made a distinction between candida and other fungal issues and used a slightly different approach for each.
There are many herbs that are anti-fungal however a wider program is needed to control candida and fungus. Since fungi thrive in an acidic environment Hanna’s formulations also employ the use of bitter herbs to stimulate the production of bile and neutralize the acidity of the digestive system creating a less comfortable environment for the fungi and candida. Hanna liked to use blood purifying herbs to help clear the blood of toxins from fungi and candida. This may also help with the spread of fungi through the blood to other parts of the body. Resolving excessive mucous accumulations is also important in maintaining optimal digestion and assimilation, which counteracts the effects and growth of candida and fungi.
FNG Care™ is an herbal combination that is a general anti-fungal herbal formula for conditions such as Athlete’s foot, nail fungus and thrush. This formula uses alfalfa seed, blessed thistle and goldenseal root for thorough actions against various fungal infections and general detoxification. Alfalfa has anti-fungal properties as well as being a favorite nutritive. Blessed thistle and goldenseal add to this fungus-fighting action with their bitter properties to control acidity as well as toning mucus secretion and digestion, predisposing factors for fungal growth.
Candida Formula #1™ is an herbal combination that prevents and gently but thoroughly eliminates candida from the system. Candida Formula #1 is composed of condurango bark, yellow dock and red clover. Condurango is an often forgotten South American digestive herb, but its bitter principles and tannins, while neutralizing acidity, combined with its ability to increase the secretion of saliva and other digestive enzymes create an inhospitable chemical environment for candida growth while reducing mucus accumulations where it resides and reproduces. Red clover and yellow dock are powerful cleansers that eliminate toxins created by candida that can cause liver, blood and lymph toxicity as well as oxidation at the cellular level and the arthritis-like symptoms many people notice with candida problems. These herbs also provide nutritional support during compromised assimilation. (Best if used with Candida Formula #2 for one month, 2 bottles of each and followed up immediately with Taurin Dophilus™, or a good quality acidophilus and L Taurine).
Candida Formula #2™ is an energetically balanced herbal blend designed for use in candida conditions in conjunction with Candida Formula #1. This gentle yet effective formula fights fungus as well as the secondary parasite infections that often accompany it, while promoting digestion, assimilation, detoxification, immunity, and thorough but comfortable elimination. Additionally, this formula purifies the blood, liver, gall bladder, and intestinal tract, all of which may be suffering from candida overgrowth and toxicity. Candida Formula #2 is also effective in relieving the secondary symptoms of joint pain, intestinal spasms and poor immunity. Tansy contains thujone, a compound with antifungal activities as well as bitter principles and tannins to neutralize acidity and strengthen digestion. It also relaxes intestinal cramping and controls mucus accumulation. Clay binds mucus and toxins while countering mineral deficiencies. Milkweed is a favorite in Native American herbalism for parasites, digestive complaints, intestinal spasms, cleansing, poor assimilation, joint pain and mucus accumulations. Cramp bark is added here to control intestinal spasms that may arise during Candida die-off as well as contributing to the formula’s astringent actions on mucus. Traditional herbalists often use goldenseal leaf to provide many of the anti fungal properties found in the root but with a gentler action. Blessed thistle is an herb with strong bitter and astringent properties that create an inhospitable environment for Candida while toning the stomach, spleen and liver.
Rebuilding Friendly Bacteria
To have a successful candida cleanse it is important to cleanse first and then rebuild the flora. Trying to cleanse fungus and supplement flora at the same time is not as efficient because the bacteria do not stand a chance in the acidic environment the fungi create and the fungi just feed off the bacteria. It is best to do probiotics (acidophilus) IMMEDIATLY AFTER cleansing for four to six weeks. There should be NO GAP between cleansing and rebuilding, otherwise the candida will come back. This is an important reason why candida programs fail.
Taurin Dophilus™ is a combination of the amino acid l-Taurine and acidophilus. Acidophilus is a friendly bacteria that resides in the intestines which helps with assimilation and keeping candida under control. The amino acid L Taurine is found in breast milk and helps the body accept acidophilus.
The benefits of regaining a fungal free lifestyle are tremendous. Your thoughts become clear again, your body begins to feel healthy and you are able to proceed with a happy life. In the future, when you see your symptoms recurring, you will become more aware of your diet and lifestyle and make appropriate changes to foster your own health and well-being.
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