Category Archives: yeast
“Metabolic Syndrome” refers to a group of symptoms that are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. and other developed countries. Metabolic Syndrome is often referred to as an “epidemic” because the number of people affected by it is increasing so rapidly. Why does this matter? Because Metabolic Syndrome is a set of conditions created by lifestyle and dietary habits. Metabolic Syndrome is known to increase the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, depression, stroke and more.
Although experts disagree on the specific causes of Metabolic Syndrome, they all agree that obesity, a high carbohydrate diet, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables are contributing factors. Other factors which may increase your risk include heredity, hormonal imbalances, lack of exercise, smoking and possibly toxic exposure from food, air and water.
The problem with Metabolic Syndrome is that no single definition of what it is and no specified set of diagnostic criteria have been defined. Many practitioners in the mainstream medical community do not believe Metabolic Syndrome exists and do not believe early identification can help improve health outcomes. There is also controversy about whether the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome truly represent a “syndrome” or are merely a group of related symptoms which each has its own risk factors. The concern is that we have created a “disease” which truly doesn’t exist.
The bottom line is that whether you group the symptoms together and label them or not, they each represent a very real risk to health and longevity. In my practice, I work with many people who have multiple symptoms associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Addressing the issues quickly restores health. It also often results in improved self esteem and a restored positive outlook. I find that people who address Metabolic Syndrome typically experience better overall health on a long term basis.
Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
The most common symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome include:
- Weight gain in the stomach and abdomen, often in spite of exercise and decreased food intake
- Increased triglycerides and cholesterol
- Elevated blood pressure
- Fasting blood glucose levels greater than 100 mg/dL
- Higher than normal blood levels of insulin (Please see The Top 3 Blood Tests Everyone Should Request for more info)
- Mild to moderate kidney damage resulting in excess protein in the urine
- Increased systemic inflammation which may cause joint pain, water retention and other symptoms
- Increased liver enzymes due to insufficient detoxification and/or a condition called “fatty liver”
- Excess growth of Candida (yeast) in the body
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women
- Low Testosterone in men
- Abnormal development in children
- Mental and psychological issues, ranging from mild to extreme
If you have three or more of those symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your practitioner. Ask him or her to order blood work including a complete metabolic panel, complete blood count, insulin level, A1C and complete thyroid panel. (If your doctor is unsure how to interpret these tests related to Metabolic Syndrome risk factors, please feel free to contact me to schedule a half-hour blood work interpretation consultation.)
Reversing Metabolic Syndrome
The good news is that Metabolic Syndrome can often be reversed using simple lifestyle changes. Supplements may also be used in some cases. The purpose of the recommended changes is to improve insulin sensitivity and restore balance to the endocrine system. Potential changes may include:
- Improving an exercise regimen and combining it with weight training
- Decreasing the type and quantity of carbohydrates eaten on a daily basis
- Increasing the amount of healthy fat consumed on a daily basis
- Identifying and addressing mineral deficiencies
- Improving digestion to ensure foods are adequately digested and absorbed
- Other recommendations based on the person’s specific health needs
Reversing Metabolic Syndrome is very possible, but requires the direction of a qualified practitioner. If you suspect you have Metabolic Syndrome and would like to start the process of reversing it, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
Photo courtesy of Keith Ramsey
Candida overgrowth has become an epidemic that is often unrecognized. I developed this Candida Self Assessment to help you identify whether or not Candida may be a factor that is negatively impacting your health. Please note that not all fungal overgrowths include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.
Unfortunately, Candida often gets ignored and few medical professionals recognize that Candida overgrowth can negatively impact every body system. Even fewer realize Candida overgrowth can be a contributing factor to many very common chronic conditions. This Candida Self Assessment is a very simple way of identifying habits, history and symptoms that may indicate your body has a yeast imbalance. This test is shared for educational purposes only and is not a diagnostic tool.
If you would like to learn more about Candida, please visit the following articles:
Please note that the Candida Self Assessment will not give you a diagnosis of Candida overgrowth and that Candida is not the sole cause of the factors mentioned in the assessment. The self assessment is simply a tool to use to evaluate whether or not Candida may play a role in your health challenges. The Candida Self Assessment can be used to help you determine if you should consider seeking assistance from a health professional to begin the process of balancing the yeasts in your body.
To take the Candida Self Assessment, score 1 point for every “YES” answer to each of the following questions. The scoring profile follows the assessment.
Candida Self Assessment
Do/did/were you now or during the past three years:
- Told you have a heavy metal toxicity?
- Belch frequently?
- Crave alcohol?
- Crave breads, pastas, crackers, etc.?
- Drink more than 16 ounces of beer or wine per week?
- Drink more than 6 ounces of distilled alcohol (vodka, rum, etc.) per week?
- Feel depressed?
- Feel fatigued frequently?
- Feel you have “brain fog?”
- Have a coated tongue?
- Have abdominal bloating or gas?
- Have acne?
- Have white, flaky patches on the skin?
- Have ADHD/ADD or lack of impulse control?
- Have amalgam fillings?
- Have an inability to concentrate?
- Have an inability to lose weight or an inability to gain weight?
- Have asthma or hay fever?
- Have athlete’s foot?
- Have dandruff?
- Have diabetes or hypoglycemia?
- Have discomfort during intercourse?
- Have dizziness?
- Have dry mouth?
- Have ear pain?
- Have elevated liver enzymes?
- Have endometriosis or infertility?
- Have fluid in the ear or frequent ear or sinus infections?
- Have food allergies?
- Have frequent bad breath?
- Have frequent boils?
- Have frequent colds or flus?
- Have frequent headaches?
- Have frequent heartburn?
- Have frequent hives?
- Have frequent hoarseness and/or postnasal drip?
- Have frequent insomnia?
- Have frequent irritability?
- Have frequent mood swings?
- Have frequent nasal congestion or stuffiness, especially on rainy days?
- Have frequent numbness or tingling?
- Have frequent rashes?
- Have frequent sore throat?
- Have frequent urinary tract infections?
- Have frequent vaginal yeast infections?
- Have frequent water retention?
- Have hemorrhoids?
- Have impotence?
- Have inflamed prostate?
- Have irritation in folds of skin or in areas where joints bend?
- Have irritation near areas rubbed by waistband, underwear elastic, bra, etc.?
- Have itchy skin?
- Have jock itch?
- Have loss of sexual desire?
- Have frequent mouth sores or blisters?
- Have mucous in stools?
- Have muscle aches?
- Have occasional or frequent constipation?
- Have occasional or frequent diarrhea?
- Have pain or swelling in your joints?
- Have persistent anal itching?
- Have persistent vaginal itching or burning?
- Have poor memory sometimes?
- Have premenstrual tension?
- Have psoriasis or eczema?
- Have rapid mood swings?
- Have ringworm or other fungal skin infections?
- Have thrush (oral yeast infection)?
- Have toe or fingernail fungus?
- Have urinary urge or frequency?
- Sometimes have abdominal pain?
- Take an antacid or prescription such as Nexxium, Prevavid, Protonix, Prilosec, etc.?
- Take antibiotics in the past five years? (Score 1 point for each time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Take Prednisone or other corticosteroids? (Score 1 point for every time one was prescribed or refilled)
- Taken oral birth control for more than two months in the past five years?
Candida Self Assessment Scoring:
- 0-10 Points: Congratulations! The likelihood of Candida affecting your health is very low. Keep up the great work!
- 11-25 Points: The likelihood of Candida being a factor that is affecting your health is likely, but the effects are probably minimal at this point.. You may benefit from making lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of Candida in your system.
- 26-55 Points: Candida is probably an issue that is negatively affecting your health. Taking action to reduce Candida will most likely benefit your health in multiple ways.
- 56-75 Points: It is highly likely that Candida is negatively affecting your health in multiple ways. Taking action now to reduce Candida will most likely improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally.
If your Candida Self Assessment score indicates Candida may be negatively impacting your health, please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Pamela. She uses a customized Candida protocol that not only helps kill Candida but also strengthens your body to help it naturally balance Candida. The 12-week program is comprehensive and very effective.
Are you familiar with Candida? Was your score a surprise? Please share!
Many people are currently trying to eat less sugar and fewer carbohydrates. The reasons for this are related to attempts to lose weight, eliminate Candida or pursue a new level of wellness. Most of these people look at smoothie recipes and sigh with frustration because they believe it’s impossible to create a delicious smoothie that is low in carbohydrates. (Even carbohydrates from natural fruit sugars can be challenging to anyone with Candida, insulin resistance or diabetes.) It is very possible to make delicious smoothies that are sugar-free, fruit-free and very low in carbohydrates. Fruitless smoothies can be delicious and can easily become a very addicting habit. Fruitless smoothies are the perfect solution for anyone trying to embrace a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, lose weight, reduce Candida overgrowth, etc. The smoothies I’ve shared below are also perfect fits for the Paleo lifestyle which is currently very popular, and make great options for anyone with insulin resistance or diabetes.
A wide variety of creamy, great tasting smoothies can be made without fruit. My breakfast many mornings is a delicious, all-vegetable, smoothie that is low in carbs, high in protein and which keeps me going strong for many hours. This type of smoothie not only provides huge amounts of energy, but also keeps me feeling full until lunch and beyond due to the tremendous nutrition provided. By using a low-carbohydrate, high-protein blend, my bloodsugars stay very stable. Fruit-laden smoothies that don’t contain protein can cause blood sugar spikes. These blood sugar spikes later fall because they don’t have protein to keep them stable. These falls may cause hunger and fatigue mid-morning as blood sugar levels plummet. A combination of carbohydrates with protein creates a slower, smaller rise in blood sugar and helps maintain blood sugar levels at a more stable level.
- Use sweet veggies such as yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, etc., to add natural sweetness to smoothies
- Add avocado to make smoothies creamy and thick without using sugar-laden yogurt
- Use Stevia as a sweetener if needed
- Use neutral tasting veggies such as cucumbers and zucchini to add bulk to smoothies without adding a lot of taste
- Add dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, etc., to increase the nutritional content of smoothies
- Use liquids such as coconut water, aloe vera juice, coconut water kefir, unsweetened nut or coconut milk, the leftover soak water from sundried tomatoes or nuts, or vegetable juices to add flavor, sweetness, and additional nutrition to smoothies
- Add a protein powder to balance blood sugars and extend the feeling of fullness
- Use organic spices to taste to add flavor. Don’t limit yourself to sweet spices … have fun with spicy spices to create soups and gazpachos!
- Strategically add ingredients such as protein powders, green powders, superfoods, seaweeds, powdered greens, maca, raw cacao powder and others to add unique flavor and increase the nutritional content of smoothies.
Vitamineralicious Smoothie Delight
A lack of minerals can wreak havoc on health. The smoothie that follows is rich in minerals from vegetables, but also adds an extra punch by including a liquid trace mineral. You can boost the mineral (electrolyte) content of this smoothie by using coconut water or coconut water kefir as the liquid.
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 scoop Hemp Protein Powder
1 tomato, diced
1 handful kale or spinach (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon organic lemon Juice
1 serving green powder
1 cup unsweetened milk alternative of choice OR 1 cup of coconut water kefir or coconut water
1/2 – 1 cup Purified Water (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
Stevia to taste (optional)
Red Light District Smoothie
This smoothie is rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C.
1 diced organic red pepper
1-2 cup(s) water from soaking sun-dried tomatoes, purified water or organic tomato juice (adjust amount to achieve desired thickness)
1 handful red lettuce
1 teaspoon organic Cinnamon
1 avocado (optional)
Stevia to taste (optional) or experiment with many flavored stevias
Diabetic Chocolate Shake
This smoothie is delicious! Add ice to make it more like a shake. If you really want to make it shake-like, add a scoop of So Delicious Dairy-Free Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream. (It’s to die for! That’s not an affiliate link … I just love their products!) Be aware that adding the coconut ice cream will increase the carbohydrate content of this shake.
1/2 cup organic cacao powder or organic cocoa
1/2 – 1 cups unsweetened milk alternative of choice
Stevia to taste (I use chocolate liquid stevia)
Before reading this post, please read my prior two posts related to Candida: Candida Basics-Important Information, Candida Self Assessment, and Dietary Options for Candida. Those posts provide a great foundation of information that will help provide perspective for this post.
One of the most common issues I see when people try to battle systemic yeast overgrowth is that they only attack it from one direction. Unfortunately, Candida requires a multifaceted approach that requires changes to dietary intake, lifestyle habits, and usually requires a supplement regimen. Carefully selected supplements are used to kill the biofilm Candida uses to protect itself, restore the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract, and kill Candida cells. I also find that many people benefit from including a liver-cleansing supplement to assist the body in eliminating the dead yeast cells; and many people require immune-boosting assistance and/or a program to restore gut health and address leaky gut. The Biofilm Protocol program I use has a 12-week regimen that addresses each of these factors. The regimen starts very slowly and gradually increases the intensity of the approach so that my clients don’t have to endure horrific die off symptoms.
A summary of the changes required to combat Candida follow. Please note that each person’s needs will be very unique, so the program must be tailored to fit the specific physiology and systemic needs of the person.
Temporary Changes in Eating Habits
I cannot stress enough that Candida cannot be effectively addressed without changing how the person eats. In other words, you can’t win the battle if you’re still feeding the enemy. You could take mountains of pills on a daily basis, but the supplements will be useless if your diet still contains high amounts of foods that feed the yeast. Please read Dietary Options for Candida for an overview of a typical Candida eating style. In addition to temporarily making changes to how someone eats, most people also need to follow a program to restore general gut health and restore normal gut permeability.
The primary lifestyle changes that are necessary to stop Candida overgrowth may include:
- Avoid antibiotics if at all possible. Work with a trained practitioner who can provide advice on alternatives. If an antibiotic is necessary during the 12-week program, the dosage of certain supplements may need to be increased and some may need to be taken at different times of day. Related to this, I strongly encourage my clients to only eat organic meat if possible so that they are not exposed to low levels of antibiotics contained in commercially farmed animals. (There are times that an antibiotic is absolutely necessary. Please never refuse an antibiotic if your doctor deems it necessary and/or if natural approaches have not reversed the issue.)
- Elimination of alcohol (It’s temporary … you can do it!)
- Avoid vinegars at all costs. Vinegars feed yeasts like crazy. Anyone who has ever watched vinegar be added to a petri dish filled with yeast cells can vouch that vinegars – even raw apple cider vinegar – should be avoided.
- In a perfect world, birth control should be discontinued, as most birth control pills used in the US create an environment that feeds Candida. If switching to a barrier method is not possible or desired (which I completely understand), some supplements may need to be taken in a higher dosage.
- Elimination of heavy metals in body – This may require removal of amalgam fillings or going through an internal heavy metal cleanse. Heavy metals have a tendency to create an environment that is acidic and devoid of oxygen, situations which Candida thrive on.
- Depending on the person’s health, I sometimes recommend an immunity-boosting regimen before starting the Candida protocol. I also often work to restore normal permeability of the digestive tract.
- Depending on the person’s symptoms, there are sometimes other lifestyle changes that may be necessary. These changes may include temporary changes in clothing worn, sexual habits or toilet habits.
Please note that I never use a “prescriptive” approach to helping people address their health challenges. I always select specific supplements to address specific issues, but I make sure the supplement(s) used are appropriate for other challenges the person is addressing. Having said that, the following types of supplements are typically needed during a Candida regimen. This is merely a starting point, as many people require additional systemic support during a cleanse. Please consult a trained practitioner to determine which options are best for your specific needs.
- Probiotics: I generally recommend taking a probiotic of at least 30 billion active cultures once daily on an empty stomach, but also recommend taking a probiotic of lesser strength with every meal. The importance of regulating the balance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract cannot be underestimated. My favorite probiotics include any of the following:
Doses will vary based on the person, the severity of the issues, and which day of the Biofilm Protocol the person is on.
I also like the products shown below. (Click to view):
- Anti-Candida Enzymes: Enzymes are an essential part of the Candida battle plan because they consume the protective layer Candida surrounds itself with and ultimately consume the yeast cells and the dead yeast cells. These enzymes MUST be taken on an empty stomach (at least 30 minutes before or two hours after eating) to be effective. The enzymes not only help kill the yeast cells, but can also help diminish the inevitable die-off symptoms. I like either of the following:
- Antimicrobials/Antifungals: There are a wide variety of options available for killing live yeast cells. The problem is that yeast are very adaptive and soon grow resistant if the same antimicrobial agent is used for too long. Some of the most commonly used antimicrobials, such as Oregano Oil and Garlic, are no longer as effective as they used to be. I like the following, although a wide array of other options exists:
- Agrisept-L: A powerful citrus seed extract that is antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial … pretty much anti-everything. This is a powerful remedy to keep on hand for a wide variety of uses. One word of warning: It tastes horrible. (Must be honest.) I recommend starting with 5-10 drops in two ounces of water with 1-2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil added to diminish the awful taste.
- Solaray Candida Cleanse: This is a simple-to-use antifungal combination supplement that combines a fantastic array of antifungal agents. Each bottle lasts two weeks. Starting with this cleanse and then graduating to 20-30 drops of Agrisept-L on a daily basis is usually a nice approach for many people.
As I stated previously, this is merely a starting point of options. Most people require other assistance during a Candida cleanse. Please note this information is shared for informational purposes only. None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please consult your physician or a trained practitioner before making major lifestyle changes or before taking new supplements.
My passion is helping people improve their health by identifying and correcting systemic imbalances. I have helped thousands of people eliminate the challenges caused by Candida overgrowth If you are ready to improve your health using a holistic approach, please contact me to schedule a consultation.
What are your thoughts? Have you battled Candida? What worked for you? Please share!
Before I dive into this post, I want to welcome you to my new website! I’m excited to offer a new site and am working hard to fill in the areas that are missing content. Was it backwards to launch the site before it was done? Maybe … but desperate times call for desperate measures. Please forgive me. I welcome your feedback!
Let’s get down to business. Before reading this post, please read my previous post, Candida 101, to familiarize yourself with what Candida is, how it becomes overgrown and which issues it can cause in the body.
- Any (organic) meats and eggs, excluding processed meats and sushi with rice
- Most organic nuts and seeds (I eliminate cashews and peanuts because they are typically high in fungal growth)
- All veggies other than the starchy ones, beets and carrots
- Unsweetened milk alternatives
Subsequent phases re-introduce some of the ancient grains, low glycemic-index fruits, and legumes. During this phase, all condiments containing sugar and vinegar are also eliminated. (Vinegar is one of yeast’s favorite foods. Yeast cells grow very quickly when exposed to vinegars.)
Most people can return to a fairly normal eating pattern following the 12-week program, although they still need to be careful to limit sugars and grains. Is it possible to go back to eating Snickers for lunch after completing the program? Unfortunately, most people need to be cautious on a long-term basis. This doesn’t mean they can never enjoy a dessert or a dinner roll, it simply means they need to limit their intake of these foods and to listen to their body to recognize when Candida starts to rear its ugly head again. Most people report that they feel so much better and have so many health issues disappear while following the protocol that continuing to eat well becomes much easier.
My next post will cover the types of supplements that can be used to kill Candida and its bio-film, restore balance, and reduce die-off symptoms. The final post in this series will discuss common symptoms of “die-off” which may occur as the body works to eliminate dead yeast cells. You can view the next post here: Candida Battle Plan.
What do you think?
I confess I’ve started this post multiple times and then rejected it because the topic of Candida is too large to tackle in a single post. I therefore chose to share multiple posts about Candida and its effects. Those posts include:
- Candida Self Assessment: Read to figure out if Candida is an issue affecting you
- Candida Battle Plan: Provides information on the three-stage approach I use to bring Candida levels back into balance
- Dietary Options for Candida: Shares the dietary changes necessary to stop providing “fuel” for Candida to thrive on
- Why Kombucha and Candida Don’t Mix: Shares info on how kombucha feeds candida in some people
Candida is, quite simply, yeast. We all need a tiny bit of it in our systems to maintain balance in our digestive tract. In a perfect world, our immune system keeps Candida in balance. Sometimes, however, Candida growth can reach a level where it overwhelms the immune system. Please note that systemic fungal overgrowth may or may not include strains of Candida. The natural health world has come to use the term “Candida overgrowth” to refer to any fungal overgrowth. It’s not accurate, but it’s a term people recognize and are becoming familiar with.
As with any yeast, Candida feeds on sugars. Because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is loaded with carbohydrates that our bodies metabolize into simple sugars, Candida overgrowth is a very common problem in today’s world. Other factors that can trigger Candida overgrowth include antibiotics, birth control pills, diabetes, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances (including imbalances in reproductive, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal and hypothalamic hormones), drinking tap water (chlorine kills beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can lead to Candida overgrowth), immune challenges, genetically modified foods, and alcohol consumption.
Candida overgrowth can affect the body in a wide variety of ways. The overgrowth tends to start in the digestive tract. In the early stages of Candida overgrowth, symptoms may include indigestion, GERD, diarrhea or constipation, cramping and more. As the Candida continues to grow, it gains strength and will begin to bore holes in the colon. This results in what is commonly known as Leaky Gut Syndrome. Although Leaky Gut can have a variety of causes, Candida is one of the most common.
Things tend to go downhill after Leaky Gut Syndrome develops. The holes in the gut allow undigested food particles to enter the blood stream. Since the body doesn’t recognize undigested food molecules, it may launch an attack against those molecules, causing an immune response. Food allergies are a common result of Candida overgrowth. There is also a hypothesis that Fibromyalgia is the result of undigested food molecules in the bloodstream which become lodged against muscles and in joints, causing pain.
Candida can also cause other immune issues. One of the most common immune issue I see resulting from Candida overgrowth is an allergy to mushrooms and to environmental molds. This makes sense logically, since each are other forms of fungus. If the body is already reacting to and trying to control an internal fungal overgrowth, it will logically negatively react to fungi in the environment or fungi that are consumed.
Effects of Candida Overgrowth
Candida overgrowth can have a multitude of symptoms. It would take multiple posts to cover them all, but many of them are not issues most people would associate with yeast. The belief that the only indicators of fungal overgrowth are vaginal yeast infections, jock itch and/or athlete’s foot are false. Many mainstream doctors don’t believe there is any such thing as Candida overgrowth, in spite of multiple studies proving they do indeed exist and do indeed cause serious health challenges. Following are just a few of the most common side effects of Candida overgrowth. Please note that each of these may also be an indicator of other health issues and may not solely be related to a fungal overgrowth:
- Digestive problems
- Tan-colored stools
- Fatigue (sometimes extreme due to the energy the body exerts to fight the Candida overgrowth)
- Food allergies
- Brain fog and problems concentrating
- Sugar cravings
- Alcohol cravings (a treatment facility in California starts treatment with a yeast cleanse to help diminish alcohol cravings)
- Skin rashes including eczema, psoriasis, ring worm, etc.
- Weight gain or an inability to lose weight
- Mood swings, depression, irritability
- Anal itching
- Itchy skin
- Dandruff and itchy scalp
- Chronic sinusitis, sore throat, post nasal drip, cough
- Fungal infections of finger and toe nails
- Heavy white coating on the tongue
- Itchy ears and nose
- Athlete’s foot, jock itch, vaginal yeast infections
- Thrush (oral yeast infection)
- Joint and muscular pain
- Impaired immunity resulting in frequent colds and flus
Unfortunately, that long list is just the tip of the iceberg related to the symptoms Candida overgrowth can cause. The toxicity of Candida is the primary cause of these symptoms. Unfortunately, Candida overgrowth puts quite a strain on the body’s immune system and immune system. The most common test used to identify fungal overgrowth are tests of the stools. Many practitioners don’t do the stool tests, since the symptoms of Candida overgrowth are often easily recognized. Medical history and lifestyle habits are also often a sufficient means of identifying a Candida issue.
Correcting the Problem
The biggest problem with treating Candida overgrowth is that yeast are incredibly adaptive. One of the first organisms to return after fires or nuclear attacks, yeast quickly adapt to changes in their environment. This means they quickly become resistant to the more commonly used herbal treatments. Oil of Oregano used to be very effective, but in the past few years yeast organisms have become very resistant to Oregano Oil. Yeast also have a tendency to protect themselves with what are called biofilms.
A biofilm is a wall of minerals and organisms yeast use to create a protective barrier to surround themselves with. The biofilm effectively prevents antimicrobials and antifungals from reaching the yeast cells and prevent them from being killed. Unfortunately, biofilms can even prevent prescription antifungals (such as Nystatin, Diflucan, Nizoral, etc.) from killing Candida cells.
So how can Candida be brought into control? It takes commitment and a multi-faceted effort including dietary changes and a variety of different supplements. It also requires the use of specific enzyme supplements to “eat through” the biofilm so that the antifungal and antimicrobial supplements (and pharmaceuticals in extreme cases) can reach the yeast cells. It is also necessary to take large doses of probiotics to help re-establish a positive balance of good bacteria in the digestive system.
The process of bringing Candida overgrowth into control can take several months. It can also cause uncomfortable symptoms as the yeast cells die and the body begins eliminating them, but there are many ways to reduce those symptoms.
This is my first post in a series of posts covering Candida. Please read the entire series to get a greater understanding of how yeast overgrowth can affect health and how the overgrowth can be brought back into balance.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your health issues and to begin my 12-week Biofilm Protocol and Gut Restoration Program.
Zits and acne used to be a malady of the teenage years. Unfortunately, more and more adults — male and female — now find themselves dealing with pimples on a daily basis. The truth is that the average age of patients who see dermatologists for acne ranges from 20-26 years, and the anti-zit business brings in over one billion dollars per year. Acne rates are much higher now than they were 20 years ago. There are specific reasons for the increase and there are very simple solutions.
The first step in addressing zits is to figure out the cause. Zits don’t “just happen.” There is always a reason. The most common causes of acne include:
- Hormonal imbalances: Most zits in the teenage years are caused by an excess of either testosterone or estrogen. The belief used to be that acne was only caused by excess testosterone, but more recent studies proved an excess of either hormone can cause acne. The fact our food system is now overloaded with foods containing growth hormones and other synthetic hormones has a lot to do with this, as does the excessive use of highly-estrogenic soy that is included in almost all processed foods. I’m often amazed that people who eliminate soy from their diet often report that their skin becomes clear as a result.
Women often get zits on their chin as a normal part of PMS. These zits are definitely caused by hormonal changes. Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome often frequently experience acne as a result of the hormone imbalances it creates. If you have consistent acne, it is wise to get a saliva hormone test to check the levels of your reproductive hormones and identify any imbalances. Frequent zits often disappear once hormonal imbalances are corrected.
- Food allergies and sensitivities: I know personally that eating a food that I’m allergic to will cause a fairly large zit (or zits) to form within three days. The skin is a huge detoxification organ, so when we expose ourselves to foods our body considers toxic, the body may use the skin to eliminate some of those toxins. I know many people with food allergies who report their only symptom is that they get zits. They have little or no digestive disturbance, but know they’ve been exposed to an allergen when they develop a zit. Even a mild sensitivity to a food will increase inflammation in the body and decrease immunity, making it more difficult for the body to naturally resist the factors that cause a pimple to form.On a related side note, there is a lot of conflicting evidence both pro and con about dairy products causing acne. The American Academy of Dermatology has now done three studies that conclusively proved there IS a link between acne and dairy. My clinical experience is that 9 out of 10 people’s acne greatly diminishes or disappears when they eliminate dairy. My own daughter had horrible acne and refused to believe this point for years. When she finally tried eliminating dairy, her skin completely, totally cleared within a week and a half. She doesn’t have a dairy allergy that we’re aware of, but her skin made it very clear that dairy is not a good option for her. Why does dairy contribute to acne? Mainly because it is so hard to digest. Let’s face it, we’re not cows, so our bodies have a very difficult time digesting and absorbing milk intended to be drunk by baby cows. The result is that the body tries to eliminate the toxins in the milk through the skin. Unfortunately, mainstream milk and dairy products are loaded with growth hormones that negatively impact our own hormone balance, causing a the skin to produce excess acne-causing sebum. Dairy is also known to be one of the most inflammatory foods in our diet. Any food that increases inflammation will only worsen acne symptoms.
- Comedogenic facial products (even some used to combat acne): Comedogenic is used to refer to products that are irritating and which block the skin’s pores, thereby causing acne. Mineral oil is one of the worst oils possible for the skin, yet it is used frequently because it’s cheap. (Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct that is discarded during the production of fuel oils. Not a good choice to put on your skin, anyway.) Many of the most commonly used skincare ingredients are comedogenic, and many anti-acne products contain quite a few of these ingredients. Your best option is to use products from companies such as Aubrey Organics, Pangea Organics, Burt’s Bees and other chemical-free companies.
- Prescription medications: A well-known side effect of steroids (both prescription and black market) is acne. Other prescription medications that may cause acne include anti-convulsant medications (such as Lithium), prescription iodides and bromides. (Supplemental iodine is not related to prescription iodides and is not known to cause acne.)
- Reduced liver function: It is a well known fact that many skin problems originate in the liver. The primary function of the liver is to eliminate toxins. If its function is reduced, the body resorts to eliminating toxins through the skin. My favorite herb for improving liver function and reducing skin issues is Burdock Root. Burdock Root is known to cleanse the liver and to target the skin to assist with healing. Although Burdock Root works well, other supplements known to improve liver function often result in clearer skin. Milk Thistle is another one of my favorites.
- Over-washing of the skin: Excess use of soaps and drying anti-acne cleansers can actually make acne worse by overdrying the skin and causing it to produce more and more sebum. (Most pimples are caused when the skin produces excess sebum. Sebum is intended to protect the skin, but it can harbor bacteria and can cause pimples when the skin produces more than is needed.)
In addition to the tips shared above, here are my top ways to eliminate and prevent zits:
- Eat a healthy diet: (You knew that was coming.) Good skin happens from the inside out. Clear, healthy skin requires a healthy diet. Period. Eating a healthy diet loaded with vegetables and fruits, whole foods, and void of excess sugars, processed foods and refined grains boosts the immunity and has a very anti-inflammatory effect on tissues. If your immune system is working at 100%, your body will often be able to very naturally eliminate the bacteria that cause pimples and acne. Obviously, a healthy diet does not include hydrogenated oils, processed foods, or excessive carbohydrates and fats. As I stated above, many people find their acne disappears once they eliminate dairy from their diet. One of my favorite books on naturally eliminating acne is: The Acne Cure. It is worth reading if you suffer from acne!
- Don’t squeeze: We’ve all done it … squeezed a zit because we believe it will go away faster if we do. That is, sadly, a myth. The problem with squeezing a zit is that it has the potential to push the bacteria deeper into the skin. The other problem squeezing creates is that it creates an open sore that is wide open to bacteria in the air and environment. Squeezing may also cause scarring, and nobody wants that. Your best bet is to use the topical remedies I mention below and to be very, very patient.
- Use topical antibacterials: One of my favorite remedies to speed the healing of a pimple is Tea Tree Essential Oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most antibacterial chemicals known, but it has the added benefit of being known to stimulate the skin to heal itself. It works well. I also find that a drop of CellFood morning and evening has an amazing effect. CellFood is a powerful oxygenator that can be used internally and externally. I use it straight when I have a zit, but I recommend blending one drop of CellFood with one drop of purified water. It is a powerful antibacterial that also stimulates the skin to heal itself.
- Use Goldenseal and probiotics internally: Goldenseal is a natural herb with powerful antibacterial properties. I use it to help pimples go away faster. (Do not use more than 10 days in a row.) For more information on how amazing Goldenseal is, please read my blog post, The Wonders of Goldenseal. Using oral probiotics will also boost the body’s own immunity and help the body heal pimples faster.
How do you deal with zits? Please share your favorite remedies!