Turn the tables on fungi gone wild—and beat back digestive issues FOR GOOD!
You’ve probably got it in your gut right now.
Normally, it doesn’t cause problems. You can’t feel it, and you might never know it’s there.
But the tables can suddenly turn. And what comes next can be much more than just digestive distress.
In fact, many systemic health issues are partly or directly related to this fungal infection—which can remain undetected for YEARS.
And all the while, it can wreak havoc on everything from your belly to your brain.
But if you know what can trigger the fungus… and if you can keep it from taking over your gut… you can find a lot of your mysterious health issues SOLVED.
All it takes is a little detective work, some planning ahead, and a few tweaks to your daily routine—and you can close the book on any problems caused by the fungus that runneth over.
The prime suspect that can turn your gut against you
My patient Jackie was in her first semester of her first year of college in another state, and she’d been very sick for seven weeks.
Her symptoms included nausea and abdominal pain that was so severe, she’d been hospitalized and was on a morphine drip for it. Medication was only helping a little.
Because she’d been consuming mainly fluids, her weight had been dropping.
But here’s the kicker: All the tests she’d been given, including bloodwork and diagnostic images of the abdomen, had come back normal.
Since she had missed so much school and wasn’t improving… and no obvious cause could be found… the attending doctor at the hospital recommended she be sent back home to California.
That meant it was time to put on my sleuthing cap.
I knew something must’ve happened just prior to her symptoms—so I interviewed her mother at length and finally uncovered one not-so-small detail that helped crack the case.
One week before her abdominal flare-up, Jackie had been prescribed antibiotics for a skin infection.
Don’t underestimate the calamity it can cause
Most doctors think that only people with suppressed immune system suffer from candidiasis, such as people with HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, those on immune suppressing medications, and those with cancer. But based on the scientific literature, and the many stool and blood tests I have examined over the past two decades, I can assure you that it is quite a common problem.
For example, an article in the mainstream journal known as Current Opinion in Microbiology states, “high level of Candida colonization is associated with several diseases of the gastrointestinal tract… because Candida is a frequent colonizer, these effects have the potential to impact many people.”1
But conventional medical doctors don’t always know how to recognize Candida overgrowth when they see it.
Besides digestive complaints like those that sent Jackie to the hospital, there are a number of systemic symptoms you can have from Candida overgrowth. They include but are not limited to:
- persistent fatigue
- rectal itching
- kidney and bladder infections
- muscle pain
- canker sores
- numbness or tingling in the limbs
- poor memory and concentration
- mood problems (depression, anxiety)
- chronic skin rashes
- genital or toenail fungus
- blood sugar imbalance
That’s why it’s important to question the patient (or a family member) about the events that may have occurred immediately before the symptoms set in.
And fortunately, the inflammation caused by Candida overgrowth in the digestive tract can be measured by testing for an inflammatory chemical in the body—the inflammatory marker known as cytokine IL-17.
A process of elimination
Normally in a case like Jackie’s, I’d ask whether it was possible that the patient had consumed any hidden gluten. It may surprise you how sick gluten can make some people!
Besides gluten and antibiotic use, other factors that predispose generally healthy people to Candida overgrowth include the prolonged or frequent use of corticosteroids, a diet high in sugar and low in good bacteria (such as fermented foods), excess alcohol consumption, poor digestion and elimination, stress, hormonal therapies (synthetic hormones and birth control), and mercury toxicity.
The toxic metal mercury acts like an antibiotic in your body—and once it gets inside, it’s constantly recirculated through your gut and bloodstream.
I’ve seen a number of patients who have high mercury levels from either consuming too much tuna or having amalgam (a.k.a. “silver”) fillings in their mouth.
And sometimes they don’t even know it.
But until the mercury is removed from its storage in your body, you’re not able to replenish the good bacteria in the gut, which is your gatekeeper to keeping Candida in check.
A good holistic doctor can test your mercury levels and work with you on a plan to safely sweep the metal out with a detoxification program and/or chelating agents.
Become a bad host for unwelcome visitors
Successful treatment of Candida involves several factors.
First, your diet must NOT be hospitable to the fungal overgrowth. Since simple sugars feed yeast, consume a diet very restricted in simple carbohydrates—and that includes avoiding alcohol (especially beer), at least for a period of time.
A diet that is rich in vegetables and proteins, like Paleo, works best.
Normally, you would take it by itself or in combination with other natural antifungal agents, such as caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, pau d’arco, garlic, and others. Depending on the severity of the problem, you’d normally follow this approach for two months… or even or longer. A good book on the subject is Eating Your Way to Good Health by Doug Kaufmann.
An antifungal medication that can be effective is Diflucan (a.k.a. fluconazole). It has systemic effects, meaning it travels through the bloodstream. That makes it a powerful approach or people that have skin problems or other signs of more invasive Candida. Side effects of this medication are uncommon, although you should be monitored by a doctor while taking it.
A holistic doctor, however, might prescribe a more localized antifungal medication, like Nystatin. This medication kills yeast specifically in the digestive tract. It’s quite safe since very little is absorbed into the bloodstream. In fact, it’s SO safe that pediatricians prescribe it to infants with thrush!
In Jackie’s case, I called in a prescription for Nystatin at a local pharmacy near her college. Jackie started improving dramatically since starting the Nystatin while still in the hospital—enough to be able to go back to her dorm.
Jackie was finally able to return to school; and now, a year later, she continues to do well.
In the future, she will avoid antibiotic use as much as possible—but if she needs antibiotics, she will make sure to take both Nystatin and a probiotic (to make sure the good flora is replenished in the digestive tract) simultaneously to prevent this problem.
Your healthy bacteria work to keep the overgrowth of Candida and other organisms of the gut in check!
Are you suffering from digestive issues? Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine and find out the root cause of your problem — and what to do about it!
Make an appointment today at 760-274-2377.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Mark Stengler’s Health Revelations
- Carol Kumamoto. Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Aug;14(4):386-391.