Do you have frequent stomach pains and indigestion? Are you surprised by your own mood swings and sugar cravings? It could be possible that you have a Candida overgrowth in your body. Our body naturally consists of yeasts and other microscopic fungal organisms which are tolerated by our immunity. Candida exists simply because it has some functions in our body. You hardly think about it when it lives in harmony with other microorganisms. Candida albicans form a kind of yeast that is present in the mouth, vagina, rectum and the skin. Candida is harmless in the yeast state and is invasive in the fungal form. The protective bacteria or probiotic (“acidophilus” and “bifidus”) inside our body use Candida as its food. When antibiotics taken for some disease kill the probiotic it may disturb the correct balance of Candida. Then the Candida cells begin to multiply spreading to the digestive tract causing a lot of health concerns like bloating, gas, food reactions and allergies, constipation, diarrhea and more. Stress is another reason that may cause a Candida imbalance. When you are stressed a hormone named cortisol is released into your body which affects your immune system. Simultaneously, it can also raise your blood sugar level serving more sugar foods for the yeasts. Similarly, Candida and constipation share a hand in glove relationship. If you have constipation it slows down your digestive tract making it alkalic. This alkalic environment boosts the Candida overgrowth. Drugs, alcohol and even tap water consumption can kill our friendly bacteria inside and encourage Candida growth. Hormonal imbalance and hypothyroid are other conditions that contribute to yeast overgrowth. Candida overgrowth becomes high in diabetic patients with a lot of sugar to feed them. And it is a herculean task to control this when you have diabetes. Candida with diabetes also leads to a variety of complications including oral candidiasis or oral thrush. Though Candida cannot travel in the air it spreads easily through kiss and sexual intercourse. People with a good immunity may escape from Candida infection while the yeast may reside in people with weak immunity. Candida can create root-like structures to burrow holes in the internal organs and reach the blood stream. Once in the blood stream it has the monopoly over the carrier’s body. The yeast itself can be allergic to some. Also, the 70 different toxins it releases lead to a variety of health problems from acne and acid reflux to psychological issues depending on the organ affected. It is sad when some traditional doctors overlook the possibility of a Candida overgrowth and undermine the importance in maintaining balanced systemic Candida infections. It is vital to maintain a balanced pH level and good immunity to thwart many infections and health threats. A few herbal remedies you can try at home for candida are garlic and grape seed extract. Garlic with its antimicrobial properties can prevent the overgrowth of yeast in the body and thus serve to thwart Candida infection. The use of garlic liberally in food or ingesting garlic pills can be effective. Grape seed extract increases the pH level in the body making it impossible for Candida to live and grow. A few other remedies include Tea tree oil and Lavender oil for external application for skin infections and olive leaf, cinnamon and more depending on the area of infection.

-Aparna K V

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