Candida albicans (C. albicans), yeast, the root of all evil. Okay not exactly, but in the world of disease, too much yeast in the body appears to be at the root of many of the ailments that we deal with today. As a matter of fact, this ties into my previous post about having too much acid (forming foods) in the diet. When you unwrap most of the diseases plaguing us today, skin included, and compare symptoms as well as prescribed treatments, candida is there, hanging out at the root.
It isn’t often presented that way; and while, it may not be the single cause, it is most certainly the genesis of subsequent issues that arise from Candida overload. These issues are treated with various anti-inflammatory drugs and such but it seems we are not realizing that the gaping hole in our healing process, has to do with killing the fungus and flushing it out of the body’s systems. A manageable task albeit a long process. It can be done, and for many, it can be done holistically but you’ll want to consult a naturopathic practitioner; he or she will help you to focus on a solution versus just a treatment. It is understood that sometimes the symptoms are so uncomfortable and life altering that some form of treatment is required in lieu of a solution. I am not suggesting anything less than 1.) comfort, 2) solution. Let’s get back to the issue.
The fungal pathogen Candida albicans (C. albicans), is what causes yeast infections, diaper rashes and oral thrush. It’s part of the gut’s (gastrointestinal tract) normal flora and is well-regulated by the immune system. However, when the immune system is compromised, the fungus can spread beyond the GI tract and cause a life-threatening infection of the blood called disseminated candidiasis. Candida is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans2.
The signs and symptoms of candidiasis can include (but are not limited to):
|Brain fog||Digestive Issues||Blood Sugar Spikes||Skin Inflammation
(Acne, Eczema, etc.)
|Depression||Acid Reflux||Sinus infections||Recurring UTIs|
|Memory loss||Gut Inflammation||Joint Pain||Recurring Yeast Infections|
|Extreme Mood Swings||Chronic Fatigue||Arthritis||Skin, Hair & Nail Infections|
|Headaches||Irritable Bowels||Weak Muscles||Toenail Fungus|
|Constipation||Food Intolerances||Chronic Bloating||Ringworm|
What is the point?
Many of you are dealing with some form of skin troubles like eczema, psoriasis and other forms of dermatitis and quite possibly some of the above symptoms but you haven’t been able to connect the dots or find relief. As a maker of holistically centered skin care, I am often presented with questions concerning various skin issues. I am not a doctor but people come to me looking for soaps, lotions and butters without fragrance oil and other ingredients that may trigger an inflammatory outbreak. Others are hoping to find some relief, as they are tired of wasting money and they want something that will work.
However, topicals are only a small part of the equation. Typically chronic skin issues are related to an imbalance in the body, that likely began in the gut. What I find works best to address skin issues, is a systematic detox approach; not all at once but a series of steps should be taken to restore the body back to health. It is a process and it will require commitment to the cause.
What I endeavor to do with this blog is get you to think of your skin as a component of the big picture, your body as a whole. Skin is an organ, the largest at that. Usually what is happening at the skin level is an effect of disorder within. I hope to point you all in the direction of whole body health. In that I mean getting to the root of the issue to improve your overall quality of life now and in the future. It goes well beyond skin issues; those are the uncomfortable signs of an even greater problem. Candida is a big deal and Candidiasis is certainly life threatening.
There is a plethora of solid information from trusted sources available all over the web on this topic. My personal favorite is the National Library of Medicine. However, as time is a rare commodity for most of you, I will begin gathering information, organizing it and sharing it with you. In the meantime, please take advantage of the beneficial discussions held by real people with real experiences to share in one of my favorite online forums: https://www.earthclinic.com/. You’ll thank me for it!
I am choosing not to use this post to discuss how to attack candida because it is such an in-depth conversation and best had with a naturopathic practitioner; however, consider this: restoring order to your skin and your body as a whole will most certainly require a regimen to address the following:
- Starve it: candida feeds on excess sugars and carbohydrates, cutting back will slow down its growth. There is a safe and natural herb called Gymnema that block sugar absorption and inhibits the growth of Candida1
- Kill it: natural anti-fungal foods like raw garlic and cold-pressed coconut oil3 reduce the amount of Candida in the gut. Adding these to the diet will help to kill the fungus. Garlic is a great blood tonic, with anti-fungal properties, but use caution if you are taking blood thinners as garlic itself acts like a blood thinner and too much garlic can increase your risk for bleeding during or after surgery. It may also interact with blood-thinning medications.
- Detox & Cleanse: detoxifying the body’s systems is necessary to physically remove some of the Candida colonies and biofilms, in addition to cleaning out the digestive tract.
- Diet: you’ll want to develop a new ‘normal’ way of eating to support a diet profile that is lower in sugar and refined carbohydrates. You also need to re-populate your gut with good bacteria Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented foods help with this in addition to a good probiotic that can survive passage through the gastrointestinal tract for effectiveness.
What Can You Do RIGHT Now?
Add a little apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your day. ACV is one of nature’s strongest antibiotics. It can kill just about every fungus, bacteria, virus and protozoa it comes into contact with. Not only does ACV help to kill the fungus, it also helps to recolonize the intestines with friendly bacteria. How: Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink before every meal. Topical: You can also make a quick solution at a 1:1 ratio of ACV and water. Mix it in a fine mist spray bottle and apply it to dry patches on the skin. It can be used on the scalp as well. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and rinse.
Add some coconut oil to your daily regimen.The caprylic acid in coconut oil is the most effective of the fatty acids in fighting Candida. Caprylic acid inhibits the growth of the yeast cell and eventually destroys it. In fact, it has been shown to work faster than some pharmaceutical anti-fungal drugs.3,4 How: Take 1-2 tablespoons each morning. It can be added to a smoothie, coffee, tea, or just as is. I take it as is with 1/4 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon which possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. Cinnamon is also considered as an alternative treatment for controlling blood sugar which is befitting if candida is present. Topical: You can also rub virgin coconut oil on the skin. Its antifungal properties can inhibit the fungus on the skin and scalp.
Reduce your intake of yeast containing products (like bread and beer); cut back on carbs, processed and sugar rich foods. Find a way to include more vegetables in your diet. Freshly made green smoothies (not store bought) or fresh pressed vegetable juice will help your body detoxify itself.
Increase your water intake. Some people just don’t get enough plain water, especially if there’s a large intake of alternative beverages. Fresh water helps the body detox by flushing out toxins. I cannot stress this enough. Water is important.
- Kansas State University. “Treat the fungus among us with nontoxic medicinal compound.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130912131803.htm (accessed December 9, 2017).
- Raz-Pasteur, A., Ullmann, Y., & Berdicevsky, I. (2011). The Pathogenesis of CandidaInfections in a Human Skin Model: Scanning Electron Microscope Observations. ISRN Dermatology, 2011, 150642. http://doi.org/10.5402/2011/150642
- Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus. “Coconut oil can control overgrowth of a fungal pathogen in GI tract, study in mice suggests.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118125325.htm (accessed December 9, 2017).
- Omura Y, O’Young B, Jones M, Pallos A, Duvvi H, Shimotsuura Y. Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc., caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury. Acupunct Electrother Res. 2011;36(1-2):19-64. Review. PubMed PMID: 21830350.
Other resources to consider: