Chronic Yeast Overgrowth

by Melissa Lynn Block, M.Ed., as seen in The Doctor's Prescription for Healthy Living Magazine March 2005, pp 48-49

Symptoms to look for and natural treatments that work.

Most doctors readily recognize localized yeast infections in the mouth or in the vagina. They also know how to diagnose systemic candidiasis, a potentially fatal overgrowth of yeast that strikes only individuals who have severe immune deficiency. It's the rare physician who will consider the role of yeast in patients who don't fit either of these diagnostic profiles. This is unfortunate, because millions of Americans with a wide variety of chronic symptoms are likely being misdiagnosed-or, possibly, being told that their symptoms have no identifiable cause, and that they are just going to have to learn to live with them-when they in fact are harboring an overgrowth of yeast in mucous membranes throughout their bodies.

A yeast organism called Candida albicans normally exists in a comfortable balance within our bodies. Under optimal circumstances, the friendly bacteria that also reside in the human body do a stellar job of keeping yeast populations in check. The average modern person, however, makes lifestyle choices that tend to squash the ranks of good bacteria and allow candida to grow unfettered. This overgrowth of yeast gives rise to an assortment of symptoms that tend to confound mainstream medical doctors, who usually try to treat those symptoms individually without going to the real root of the problem. A true cure can't be effected without a rebalancing of the internal ecosystem.

Known in the complementary/alternative medical world as candida related complex (CRC) or candida colonization/hypersensitivity syndrome, overgrowth of fungal yeast in the body is remarkably common.

Symptoms of Yeast Overgrowth

Dozens of symptoms can be attributed to CRC, and can affect virtually every body system. Yeasts grow on mucous membranes, which are found in the mouth and throughout the gastrointestinal tract, in the genitourinary system, in the eyes, sinuses and nasal passages, and in the respiratory system. Yeast overgrowth can also affect the skin.

Candida produces dozens of toxins, which are released into the body and induce inflammation, which then leads to other symptoms (see below). These toxins can also suppress immune function. In some susceptible individuals, candida overgrowth triggers systemic allergies, food allergies, and chemical hypersensitivity.

The Solution to the Fungus Problem

Although fungal yeast overgrowth can be a persistent foe, you can use targeted nutrients and dietary changes to eradicate the problem for good. There is no magical pill that will reestablish a healthy, balanced internal ecosystem, and treating the problem can take four to six months.

Adopting an appropriate diet for decreasing yeast populations is the first step. The most effective diet can be found in Doug Kaufmann's book The Fungus Link: An Introduction to Fungal Disease, including the Initial Phase Diet, which is available at BioActive Nutrients. It is important to get the diet just right; not doing so will undermine other aspects of your natural CRC therapy. Expect to eliminate all sources of flour and sugar, molasses, honey, corn syrup, fruit juices, dried fruit, melons, yeasts, blue cheese, alcohol, vinegar, soy sauce, and mushrooms, for starters.

If you think you have candidiasis but would like to confirm your suspicions with laboratory testing, talk with your doctor about having tests performed.

Antimicrobial/Antifungal Kit:

Your Toolkit for Fighting Candida Overgrowth

BioActive Nutrients has developed a comprehensive program to bring yeast overgrowth under control and restore balance in the body. It takes a multidimensional approach, fortifying the body's natural defenses against yeast overgrowth and employing nutrients with documented anti-candida activity to wipe out excess yeasts. Their plan includes:

BioPLUS, a comprehensive, antioxidant-rich multivitamin/mineral supplement. As your immune system fights off yeast overgrowth, it will produce bursts of free radicals, and ample antioxidant nutrition will help to reduce the adverse effects of increased free radical stress on your body.

Undecylenic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that has demonstrated antifungal properties. One recent study found that it inhibits the transformation of a benign form of yeast into a more toxic one;

Grapefruit seed extract, a natural antimicrobial with yeast-inhibiting action;

  • Neem, an ancient plant remedy that has long been used to treat fungal and parasitic infections in India and has been scientifically validated for the control of candida overgrowth in recent research;
  • Caprylic acid, a fatty acid that exhibits fungicidal activity against candida yeast. It is believed that this fatty acid dissolves the cell membranes of yeasts, causing them to simply disintegrate;
  • Olive leaf extract, a well-known natural antibiotic and antifungal agent that has been found to eradicate candida yeast in test tube studies where the two were incubated together for 24 hours. Olive leaf also eradicates E. coli, often a factor in urinary tract infections that may accompany yeast overgrowth;
  • Apple cider vinegar, which makes the gastrointestinal tract a less hospitable environment for the overgrowth of yeast.

Living probiotics, including acidophilus and bifidus strains, to fortify the body's natural defenses against yeast overgrowth.

Green Sweep, Psyllium, or Flaxium (flax seed), rich fiber sources that help to move toxins out of the body through the gastrointestinal tract. Adequate fiber helps to prevent "die-off" symptoms-usually the reason why patients undergoing a yeast elimination program can feel considerably worse before feeling better.

Of course, a total antifungal health program should also include thorough air treatment. That's why Bioactive Nutrients strongly recommends great air treatment products like PIONAIR as part of your health program....

Are you at risk for candida overgrowth?
If you:

  • Have used antibiotics recurrently
  • Take or have taken steroid drugs, such as Prednisone®
  • Use birth control pills
  • Eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour)
  • Drink alcohol in excess (more than one drink a day)
  • Have diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Are under consistent or severe stress
  • Have impaired immune function
  • Have family members with candida overgrowth symptoms
  • Have one or more of the symptoms listed

you could most likely benefit from yeast control measures.

Yeast Overgrowth Symptoms

  • General Symptoms-fatigue, drowsiness, achy muscles, swollen or tender joints, weakness, tension, dizziness, loss of coordination, water retention, burning, tingling, numbness
  • Respiratory Symptoms-wheezing, cough, tightness or pain in the chest, shortness of breath
  • Skin Symptoms-rashes, itching, ringworm, psoriasis, athlete's foot, toenail or fingernail fungal infections
  • Nasal/Sinus Symptoms-headache, post-nasal drip, congestion, itching in the nose, burning or itching eyes, tearing eyes, ear pain, ear congestion, recurrent ear infections, sore throat, chronic sinus infections, visual changes
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms-diarrhea, constipation, bloating, belching, flatulence, bad breath, esophagitis, mucus in stools, food allergies, "spastic colon"
  • Psychological Symptoms-mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability
  • Genitourinary Symptoms-genital irritation, itching, or burning, mucus-like or white discharge, pain during intercourse, menstrual cramps, burning during urination, urinary urgency, endometriosis, impotency, prostatitis
  • Other Symptoms-Craving for/intolerance of alcohol, craving for sugar and bread, sensitivity to tobacco smoke, perfumes, or other strong smells, worsening symptoms when in damp, muggy areas, mold allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia