Candida or candidiasis can be over-diagnosed, but there is no doubt that it is not uncommon, and that when chronic may cause wide-ranging, unpleasant symptoms. It has been suggested that it may also be a major underlying factor in many health problems, including unexplained fatigue, skin and sleep problems, overweight/obesity, arthritis, heart problems, M.S., asthma and exzema, IBS, PMS, depression, headaches, poor memory and/or concentration and especially C.F.S./M.E.
Candida is a naturally occurring fungus in all our intestines, but can overgrow and start to cause problems when it is fed by excess sugars and yeasts, and/or encouraged by excess alcohol, steroid drugs, hormonal treatments, anti-biotics or chronic stress. It spreads initially in the intestine, but can then cross the gut wall and colonise other parts of the body, giving rise to multiple symptoms. Because it is a live organism and needs its food, it tends to make people crave what feeds it, such as sugar, yeasted products such as bread and pizza, cheese, mushrooms and marmite, and even alcohol or fruit!
The internet and bookshops are full of advice about how to self-treat. However, I believe that it can be difficult to do this on your own, because the advice is so different, and because of the well described phenomenon of “die-off” (or Herxheimer’s reaction), whereby you may well feel worse before you feel better.
I use a four-step plan for getting candida under control, which involves taking away most of its food sources, replacing them with other nutritious foods and using targeted supplements to support digestive function and attack the fungus itself.
My programme includes active support through free email and telephone advice (available to all my clients), which is especially important for candida sufferers because of the dietary restrictions. Some people will clear it in months or even weeks, whereas others will take longer depending on the state of their digestion and liver, and their ability to stick to a fairly strict diet.