This is a Guest Post by Christa Orecchio, Clinical Nutritionist at The Whole Journey
When Candida is the Root Cause
It all started with what I thought was a harmless little sugar habit…after all, fat was the real culprit, right?
I was stuck in the undying low-fat fad of the nineties and avoiding fat like the plague while loading up on candy in lieu of meals or at the very least; I needed something sweet after meals, especially at night.
After having personally overcome the worst case of Candida I have ever seen (we were fed antibiotics like candy as kids) and having taken over 400 private clients and 4000 people online through thorough Candida cleanses, I can say with complete confidence that sugar cravings are the number one symptom of having a systemic candida overgrowth infection.
Candida albicans is the opportunistic yeast that exists in the human body. When in balance, it’s actually beneficial to keep us safe from other pathogens and from the damaging effects of heavy metal toxicity.
However, when it’s out of balance, it can wreak havoc on our hormones, moods, digestion, immune system, weight, and sleep.
It can leave even the most dedicated healthy person stuck in their progress, suspended at a level of health they don’t want to be, plagued with stubborn weight, brain fog, bloating, and too many food sensitivities to count.
This is the time to look deeper to see if the root cause lies in your gut, and more specifically if Candida albicans and it’s associated viral and bacterial overgrowth are the “bad guys” taking up valuable real estate in your gut and therefore dragging down your immune system, thyroid, and brain function.
It’s not always candida, because parasites, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), H. pylori, or heavy metal toxicity can also be root causes to specific health and hormone issues, so it’s important to do the detective work.
I created an algorithmic based quiz that you can take that breaks your level of candida overgrowth into three categories of severity, two of which require a thorough cleanse, one that doesn’t.
As functional nutritionists, we always say not to guess at it, but to test it. While you can run blood, stool, and saliva tests to check for a Candida imbalance, it’s helpful to start with something like a quiz to know if you should go further.
What Are Other Symptoms of Candida?
Besides those sugar cravings that are bigger than you (I would hightail it to 7 Eleven at 11 pm because I couldn’t rest until I had sugar), the top 10 symptoms of a Candida overgrowth being at the root cause of you not feeling well are:
- Persistent constipation, bloating, or gas
- Mental fog you simply can’t shake
- Debilitating chronic fatigue/exhaustion
- Chronic sinus infections
- Excess mucous
- Recurring vaginal yeast infections
- Persistent food or environmental allergies
- Depression and anxiety
- White coating on the tongue
- Hypothyroidism (Candida inhibits thyroid conversion)
In a perfect world, our good bacteria would keep Candida in check and it wouldn’t be a problem, only we are doing so many things daily to kill our good gut bacteria that so many people unknowingly struggle with it.
What Contributes to Candida Overgrowth?
- Antibiotics- Even one dose of broad-spectrum antibiotics without repopulating the gut and healing the lining afterward can allow Candida to run rampant.
- Antibiotics in our meat supply
- Overconsumption of sugar and processed, refined foods
- Overconsumption of alcohol and coffee
- Chronic, prolonged stress
- C-section deliveries
- Mercury exposure from dental fillings, vaccines, & tattoos.
- Birth control pills
Any one or a combination of these things kill our good gut flora, thin our gut lining, and compromise our immunity enough to allow this opportunistic organism (and often times many other pathogens) to take over and dominate our gut health.
And when anything dominates our gut health, it’s only a short matter of time before it dominates our hormonal health and immune health.
How to Test for Candida
There are stool, blood, and saliva lab tests for Candida overgrowth. While I prefer to run an 8-day stool test on someone when looking for pathogens in their GI tract, many people cannot afford to run labs and many don’t want to go through the hassle of testing.
That’s why I recommend starting with the quiz to see if you need to go deeper in your testing.
We’ve had hundreds of people take this quiz in tandem with stool, saliva, and blood tests and it has proven accurate.
How to Get Rid of Candida
If you have Candida, don’t worry; you can get it back in balance even when you’ve done other candida cleanses in the past to no avail.
Chasing back this overgrowth and restoring delicate balance to your precious microbiome is the single best thing you can do for your long-term health.
It will make it so much easier to break up with sugar for good, regain thyroid health (so that your thyroid can once again convert inactive thyroid hormone to active thyroid hormone), and you then have energy and can lose that stubborn weight and the have mental clarity you deserve.
You can have good digestion, many fewer food sensitivities as a result of a healed gut and strong gut lining and immune system. All of this, of course, stacks up to much better moods, taking away excess anxiety and depression that are not tied to circumstance.
After a decade in private practice and working with thousands of real people, I cannot have a stronger belief in the power of the human body. When you give the body what it needs and remove what burdens it, it will heal itself and it will thrive.
You don’t have to live your life craving sugar, being tired, or managing a litany of other uncomfortable symptoms. You can use food as your medicine to heal and to thrive.
To find out more details about my unique candida cleanse, how I break up biofilms, and rotate my antifungals every four days (and why it works when other cleanses don’t), watch this TV interview where I explain my protocol in detail.
About Our Guest Contributor:
Christa Orecchio became a clinical and holistic nutritionist after healing her own case of raging candida, thyroid, and adrenal imbalances. This improved her life so much, that she went on a decade’s long mission to help as many people as possible using food as medicine so that they can thrive. She’s a TV Show host, best selling author, mom, and passionate health advocate. You can find out more about Christa and her work at thewholejourney.com