The Yeast Connection And Our Health

I continually receive questions from my clients about the connection between Candida overgrowth or the ”yeast beast” and how it relates to their health or lack of it. My clients often ask me why I always pay a lot of attention to this subject in my consultations. I think that Candida overgrowth is a silent epidemic that is creating havoc in the American population, and I want everyone to be aware of it and how they may combat the negative effects it could be posing to their health.

The following questionnaire is excerpted from The Yeast Connection, by William G. Crook, MD., which will help you to identify symptoms that are potentially yeast related.

  • Are you bothered by chronic skin conditions (acne, rosacea, psoriasis, hives, etc.) that are not responsive to standard medical treatments?”
  • Have you taken repeated “rounds” of antibiotic drugs?
  • Do you have allergies that do not respond to conventional treatments?
  • Have you been troubled by premenstrual tension, abdominal pain, menstrual problems, prostate problems, or loss of sexual interest?
  • Does exposure to tobacco, perfume and other chemical odor provoke moderate to severe symptoms?
  • Do you crave sugar, breads or alcoholic beverages?
  • Are you bothered by fatigue, depression, poor memory or “nerves”?
  • Have you ever taken birth control pills?
  • Are you bothered by headaches, muscle and joint pains or lack of coordination?
  • Do you feel bad all over, yet the cause hasn’t been found?

Scoring:

If you have 3 or 4 “yes” answers, yeasts possibly play a role in causing your symptoms
If you have 5 or 6 “yes” answers, yeasts most likely play a role in causing your symptoms.
If you have 7 or more “yes” answers, your symptoms are almost certainly yeast-connected.

Some experts estimate that as much as 50 to 80 percent of the American population is suffering from a mild to severe Candida-related illness. The Candida-Related Complex: What Your Doctor Might Be Missing, authored by Christine Winderlin and the late Keith Sehnert, M.D., claims that 80 to 90 percent of Candida-related-illness sufferers are women of childbearing age.

How does such a common organism make so many of us ill? According to Dr. Michael McNett, the owner and medical director of Paragon Clinic, a Chicago-based clinic that specializes in treating fibromyalgia, states that when Candida multiplies to high levels it enters the bloodstream. “Once that happens, your immune system has to develop an immunity to yeast in order to wipe it out of the bloodstream”, he says. Once the immune system has been sensitized to yeast, it can tell when it is in the gut and will attack it in the intestines. When that happens, Candida releases chemicals that are absorbed by the body and make you sick”. When a body is healthy, the immune system regulates Candida growth. But if our immune system is compromised, Candida can multiply unchecked, triggering a vicious cycle of symptoms and serious health problems. In the Yeast Connection, Dr.Crook insists that an overgrowth of Candida is at the root of many childhood ear infections, attention and hyperactivity disorders, and even autism.

Mary Shomon, a Washington, D.C.based patient advocate and author of Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You…That You Need To Know (Harper Resource), suggests that Candida proliferation may be a factor in many thyroid-related and autoimmune disorders. “What I’ve found is that Candida weakens the immune system so that it isn’t able to fight off pathogens,” states Ms.Shomon.

In her research, Shomon has interviewed many doctors who report that when a person suffering from hypothyroidism or fibromyalgia is treated for Candida, it is not unusual for many, if not all, of their symptoms to lessen or disappear.

According to physicians who treat Candida-related illnesses, the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics and steroid drugs in both medicine and agriculture is at least partially to blame for the modern proliferation of Candida. Antibiotics are powerless against yeast but wipe out the “friendly” bacteria that tend to keep yeast growth in check. Because antibiotics disrupt the body’s delicate balance of microorganisms, they also pave the way for opportunistic Candida and other yeasts to multiply and circulate toxins throughout your body.

Oral contraceptives and pregnancy have also been identified as having a probable role in promoting Candida overgrowth as a result of hormonal changes. Many doctors also suspect overuse of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen can contribute to creating a Candida-friendly environment.

Other Candida specialists blame Candida overgrowth on diet- specifically, our society’s addiction to sugar and other simple carbohydrates at the expense of a diet rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars are rapidly metabolized by yeasts, they also inhibit the growth of friendly bacteria, which further compromises the immune system. According to Crook, stress, diabetes and allergies can all increase a person’s susceptibility to a Candida-related illness.

Dr, Kroker states that people with mold allergies frequently have a cross –sensitivity to Candida. Exposure to environmental toxins in food, air and water may also lower immunity and promote susceptibility to yeasts in general.

Difficult Diagnosis

Diagnosing a Candida-related illness can be tricky and difficult. “If a person has a family history of allergies and they are taking antibiotics, I want to look further”, comments Dr.Kroker.

Common Yeast/Fungus Overgrowth Symptoms

  • Skin problems: hives, rosacea, scaling, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, fungus infection of the skin and nails
  • Extreme fatigue or lethargy
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Problems involving reproductive organs: PMS, impotence
  • Oral thrush
  • Muscular and nervous problems: aches or swelling in muscles or joints, numbness, tingling, burning, weakness, paralysis
  • Respiratory problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Recurring ear infection

Treatment

Most specialists agree that a phased approach is required in order to 1) starve and kill the yeast, 2) promote the growth of good bacteria and 3) maintain an anti- Candida lifestyle.  Prescription antifungals act quickly and effectively, but also provide no protection against recurrence.

“Sticking with the Candida treatment was tough at first, but it paid off quickly, and on so many levels. It helped me reclaim my physical health, but more importantly, it also helped me redefine myself as a healthy person-for the first time in my adult life, really. Getting free of all that physical misery changed my entire outlook, not just about health, but also my choices, my freedom and my opportunities for happiness,” says Sara, recovered Candida sufferer.

For all the details on how you can help your body to prevent or overcome Candida overgrowth or any other information on this subject, you can call my office for a free consultation 801-755-7679.

For further information on the Yeast Connection, check out the following books:

The Yeast Connection Handbook, reissue edition, by Williams G.Crook (Professional Books, 1999)

Complete Candida Yeast Guidebook: Everything You Need To Know About Prevention, Treatment & Diet, 2nd edition, by Jeanne Marie Martin (Prima Lifestyles, 1996)

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Click here to hear Nataliya on the Wake Up to the Real You Radio Show, hosted by Karey Williams, Stephanie Birrer, and Johnna Tuttle.  Nataliya discusses the secrets to beautiful skin during the program "The Skin You are In," recorded on July 10, 2007.

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