What is Candida?

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What exactly is Candida; that’s the question I wanted an answer for when I was told, a few years ago, that this yeast organism  was the cause of the health issues I had at the time.

Candida Albicans is just one strain of the hundreds of species of bacteria or gut flora which we carry, naturally, within our intestinal tract and digestive system. In fact we have around 4lbs or 1kg of friendly and unfriendly bacteria keeping us company every day!

The friendly gut flora has an important role to play in terms of protecting our body, mainly:

Aiding digestion

Controlling pathogenic bacteria

Regulating cholesterol

Promoting absorption of minerals

Providing energy

However, there is a fine balance of friendly and unfriendly gut flora and if this balance is upset (dysbiosis) and the friendly flora are reduced, Candida can flourish.

Candida Albicans is opportunistic, so it will soon multiply and occupy the lining of the gut where the good bacteria resided before dysbiosis. Once this occurs, the yeast organism will change into a more invasive fungal form, putting out little hair-like structures. This is sometimes known as its’ mycelial stage because they resemble the mould you find on bread.

These hair-like structures, or hyphae, become attached to the gut lining, causing what is commonly known as a “leaky gut.” Any toxic waste and gases produced by the Candida, along with particles of undigested food will then get into the bloodstream which is where the trouble starts.

The immune system will be alerted to the invasion of waste matter and food particles into the body and will send out reaction which in turn will give out numerous symptoms such as lethargy, headaches, arthritis, inflammation, food intolerances, anxiety, dermatitis, asthma and more.

Some of the toxic wastes produced are alcohols and can produce hangover symptoms when they are broken down in the liver.

Emotional symptoms are also attributed to candida such as anxiety, mood swings, depression and irritability.

As you can see, Candida can be responsible for numerous symptoms apart from the obvious ones like Thrush. Some doctors do recognise Candidiasis as a problem but many more believe it’s either all in the mind or only those with severely impaired immune systems suffer from it.

My own diagnosis was made when I had a food intolerance test and was found to have a 70% overgrowth of candida in my system.

For me, I was just pleased to know that I wasnt becoming a hypochondriac and that Candida was responsible for the unexplained symtoms Id been having for some considerable time and that there was something I could do about it.