Candida is a condition occurring when there is, initially, an excess growth of the yeast Candida albicans (or other species) in the digestive system, which then spreads to other systems and organs.
Candida tends to cause a variety of symptoms that can appear to be unrelated. Also, Candida can puzzle health practitioners.
A Nutritionist tries to link the symptoms causing suffering, and thereby understand the underlying cause. Hence, we often diagnose Candida after sufferers have been diagnosed with conditions like IBS, ME (chronic fatigue), skin problems, chronic headache, feeling unwell, lethargy etc: these are often present, but are usually secondary to the Candida infection.
Because the overgrowth of yeast compromises the integrity of the intestinal lining, it often causes symptoms like:
- Foggy brain
- Muscle and joint pains
- Allergies/food intolerances
- Itchy anus
By overworking the immune system, the person will often feel run down and suffer with:
- Coughs and colds
- Ear infections
- Opportunistic infections like fungal infections of the skin or nails.
Because it spreads to other systems, it will often cause:
- PMS/hormonal imbalances
- Weight gain (particularly around the waist)
- Hay fever
The combination of all these factors explains the most common symptoms:
What causes Candida?
Candida albicans is present in healthy individuals and carries out useful functions. However, it is kept to a limited quantity by other organisms (e.g. healthy bacteria) as well as our immune system. If the balance in the digestive is disturbed, the yeast being able to grow very rapidly, then takes over. Antibiotics are the main culprits in upsetting this healthy balance. The use of Steroids will affect the yeast growth and our immune system, as well as the contraceptive pill. Also, any major trauma or ongoing stress can affect our general health and immune system can lead to Candida.
It generally affects women more than men.
It is rarely recognized by the medical profession as a condition, except in severe cases.
Candida sufferers, because of the lack of diagnosis by the medical profession, will often self-diagnose eventually. However, when it comes to treating the condition, self-help and treatment is highly discouraged. It needs to be a multi-factorial approach with a combination of dietary changes, supplementation and treatment. Restricting the treatment to one of those only will often fail. This leads to further despair and will often aggravate the Candida condition.
My approach is:
Carrying out a food allergy and intolerance test so that those foods can be avoided as part of the treatment.
Treating the Candida, boosting the immune system, improving the digestion, helping the body eliminate toxins and treating any other system affected.
Supplementing with healthy bacteria which will help restore a healthy environment in the digestive tract.
Addressing factors like stress, emotional upset, environmental factors etc that may be at the root of the problem.
Prescribing an anti-candida diet but tailored to the individual’s needs, with a realistic plan, discussing alternative foods so that the diet can successfully be achieved.
With this approach, sufferers respond very well and often some symptoms improve within days of starting the treatment, some within weeks.
The treatment often transforms the life of the person.
Contact Eat To Live for more information or to book an appointment.
I had to admit to my patient that I had not treated these symptoms before, so I had to do my own research into this condition. What was very interesting was that it appeared that Achalasia was associated with spasms, nausea, dryness, acid reflux, uncontrolled vomitting, anxiety and IBS. Achalasia, whilst rare, was clearly a very severe and debilitating condition.
Also, if patients are not holding onto their food, they are likely to develop malnourishment, and that in itself will contribute to a heightening of their inability to control their symptoms.
Anxiety with achalasia also needs to be addressed, as this adrenal stimulation is also a trigger.
My own research and then implementation with patients has led to individual symptoms being either controlled and reduced or virtually eliminated altogether.
By treating the Achalasia patient as an individual, and finding the source triggers, results were much improved.
Also, I do feel there is too much emphasis on introducing fibre, to keep the bowels going, if a patient has spasms, the fibre with stimulate achalasia symptoms. So by reducing fibre and supporting the bowel motility through other means, one of the achalasia triggers was removed or at least greatly reduced.
Achalasia support is available at Eat To Live, with individual programmes designed for the individual.
It’s the time of year that we start to see the Elderberry trees overflowing with beautiful clusters of flowers, which then transform into the lovely dark globe shaped berries. We often walk past these trees, dripping in fruit, and don’t give a thought to their role. It has numerous names too; Aeldrum, Black Elder, Boor Tree, Bountry, Elder, Ellanwood, Ellhorn, European Elder, and German Elder.
And it has many uses:
Elderberry jam or jelly holds many minerals & vitamins; particularly vitamin B17. Its flower provides a good source of potassium plus viburnic acid (beneficial for asthma and bronchitis), vitamin A, vitamin C, and bio-flavonoids. Ripened elderberries can be used like some other berries in fruit pies, muffins, and jams. The dried flowers can also be steeped in water to prepare elderberry tea and the berries mashed to make elderberry juice. Elderberry helps to boost and maintain the immune & respiratory systems. Elderberry may be used to cure colds and flu.
The medicinal benefits of Elderberry are being researched. The bio-flavonoids in the juice are known to lower cholesterol, boost immunity and help prevent colds and coughs. It has also been purported to help fight bacterial and viral infections eg. Tonsillitis. An example of this is Elderberry Juice being used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in the mid 90s. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, so makes a lovely drink for arthritis sufferers.
Beneficial components in Elderberries
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitamin A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.
Noted Health Benefits of Elderberries
Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.
At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.
Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.
Resources: 1. J Alt Compl Mod 1995: 1:361-69 2. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000: 29:51 60
Victoria Shorland, Nutritionist and Allergy Consultant.