Do you have a white coating on your tongue? Bad breath? Sugar cravings? Fatigue? Brain fog? If so, these are just a few of the many symptoms that can be caused by an overgrowth of yeast called Candida albicans.
Candida albicans is a type of yeast that normally exists on your skin, in your digestive tract and, for women, in your vagina. In your intestines, the good bacteria should keep the yeast population under control and in a healthy balance. This complex system is largely responsible for protecting your body from outside offenders. Using antibiotics, taking birth control pills, and eating too much sugar and grains can all disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, which allows Candida cells to rapidly develop, and overwhelm the good bacteria.
Candida aids with nutrient absorption and digestion when in proper levels in the body. When it overproduces, typical candida symptoms may appear. In the digestive tract, if left unchecked, it breaks down the walls of the intestinal lining and penetrates into the bloodstream. This releases byproducts and other toxins from your system, causing leaky gut syndrome.
When you have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria or yeast in the small intestine, there will be a decrease in the absorption of nutrients from your digested food. There are many common symptoms associated with a Candida problem. On the physical side, there can be fatigue, trouble concentrating, acid reflux, dark circles under the eyes, and chronic sinus problems and headaches. Psychologically you can have depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks and mood swings. Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, weight gain (and the inability to lose weight), asthma and migraines have also been linked to Candida overgrowth.
There is a simple test you can do at home to check your body for Candida. First thing in the morning, fill a clear glass with room temperature tap water. Before you put anything in your mouth (that means no drinking water, eating or brushing your teeth), spit into the glass. You need a good amount of spit. Next, watch what happens to your saliva. If you observe strings traveling down into the water or cloudy specks that suspend in the water, you likely have a Candida problem.
Recovery from candida overgrowth involves eating a diet that starves yeast, balancing the pH in your digestive tract and adding more of the good bacteria to your system. Because yeast overgrowth can be extremely complex, I generally recommend finding a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about the holistic treatment of yeast to help oversee your recovery.
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