Yeasts are fungus, similar to mildew in the shower cracks, athlete’s foot, diaper rash, dandruff, jock itch, ringworm, thrush and cradle cap—all fungi. Women are often too familiar with the uncomfortable effects of a vaginal yeast infection. But, an overgrowth of yeast can occur in the gut (and elsewhere in the body) and be responsible for causing or at least worsening a myriad of health problems.
Problems related to yeast: These can include heartburn, gas, headaches, sore joints, depression, rashes, asthma, carb cravings, obesity, generalized inflammation, chronic sinus congestion…the list is much too long to include here but you get the idea. They may well contribute to auto-immune disease by creating permeability in the intestinal lining, known as “Leaky Gut”. When you look at this illustration of cells in the intestine, you will note (1) little fuzzy fingers—those are villi and microvilli that help with absorption of nutrients and (2) what look like little bungee cords holding the cells close—those weaken. No matter what might be bothering you, at least consider that yeast might be part of the problem. Take this quiz to get a rough idea.
Causes of yeast overgrowth: Antibiotics are the most common start of a yeast overgrowth. Antibiotics are overused not on in the practice of medicine, but also in agriculture. That means we may be eating second hand antibiotics in foods (especially of animal origin but even plant foods) that are not raised organically. The antibiotics kill off our protective bacteria (probiotics) thereby allowing the yeasts to take over. Other things in our environment are also hard on the good guys: most other medicines, chlorine in the water, excess natural products to kill yeast and low stomach acid (including that caused by acid blocking drugs). What helps the yeasts grow? They benefit from a diet high in starch and sugars and a weakened immune system.
Martie’s 4-step plan to tame yeasts:
- Stop feeding them the starches and sugars they thrive on. Read No more blood sugar spikes as a start. Doug Kaufmann’s book, Cooking Your Way to Good Health, is a good source of recipes using yeast safe ingredients.
- Start killing the yeasts off. If you have a doctor knowledgeable in this problem, he or she can prescribe an anti-fungal. Natural remedies can be very useful. Yeast Manager is the one I take if I suspect that the yeastie beasties are getting a foothold. Start slowly to lessen the change of a die-off reaction which might be something like a headache or flu-like fatigue. It also helps to make sure your bowels are regular so the yeast waste can exit quickly. Another approach is to use an enzyme specifically designed to dissolve the cell wall of the yeast. Candidase is from an excellent company. This can be used with Yeast Manager or first to reduce the likelihood of a die-off reaction.
- Replenish the army of good guys that used to keep the yeasts under control. Probiotics not only crowd them out, they make selective antibiotic substances to keep them out of the neighborhood. One of many reasons that I prefer Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics that the capsules contain those substances along with live bacteria and their food supply. (Not just freeze-dried bacteria like virtually all other brands.)
- Encourage your immune system to target the yeasts. When there has been a chronic problem, the immune system may have basically decided that they are a normal part of the family. Dr. King has a set of product that treat this problem with homeopathy.
Natural Alternatives to Nexium, Maalox, Tagamet, Prilosec & Other Acid Blockers. Subtitle: What to Use to Relieve Acid Reflux, Heartburn, and Gastric Ailments. Besides explaining the dangers of these medications and helping fix the real cause (which is seldom too much acid) this book is also helpful for solving other digestive problems.
Cooking Your Way to Good Health, Doug Kaufmann
The Fungus Link, Doug Kaufmann
Doug Kaufmann’s Know the Cause TV program and newsletter
Copyright 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN