6

votes

What is the scoop on Candida infections?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 21, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Outside of vaccinations, I think I would be hard-pressed to find a more contentious health topic.

Here is an interesting n=1 story in the NYT about how a man came to the realization that he had a Candida infection, and how he went about treating it.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/for-a-celiac-sufferer-a-new-mystery-illness/?emc=eta1

Or do Candida infections exist at all?

The back-and-forth in the comments is especially interesting.

Sock it to me.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 28, 2012
at 12:51 PM

"In fact, it's at the worse it has been in my life" so why exactly do you continue your diet? It's clearly not working ...

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on February 21, 2011
at 06:07 AM

if you have Candida you have two major hurdles not solved as yet. Leaky gut or Leptin resistance. You will hit major plateaus and you will struggle losing body fat and getting cut.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 17, 2010
at 05:54 PM

Honestly, Seb, your command of English is better than most American native speakers of English.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 24, 2010
at 02:16 AM

@PortlandAllan Thanks for pointing this out. I guess this is where I'm at a disadvantage for having learned English as a second language. Unfortunately my compute doesn't know what I truly mean and won't correct it. I'll definitely not make that mistake again!

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:43 AM

@Paleo Seb -- no offense, but you keep using witch instead of which. Witch is a person. Which is a part of speech. Hope this helps. It's kind of like when one's fly is down. Some one's gotta say somethin'

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:22 AM

I have no doubt that some people suffer terribly from gut problems. My question is how do we know what causes it. How do we know that the times you feel bad are die off and not just you being more sick at those times than other times. Also, I do think paleo talks about probiotics a lot. I learned about it from paleo. But it's not so easily something you can talk about for tons of time. The main point is, they are good for you! Besides, most people find their gut improves just from cutting out the sugar, so ironically, need for probiotics is probably lower on average for paleo eaters.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:07 AM

Gak, sounds aweful! It doesn't surprise me that this happens to some. The thing is, Candida is one of the things that seems to be the explanation for all kinds of stuff in recent years. And you have to admit that symptom list is hardly unique. In the article, I was not convinced that the guy had candida for sure. My point is, there needs to be more science behind it. Otherwise, how do we know if we should be treating for candida and not giardia, chronic fatigue, low vit D, or some other disease causing organism?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 05:26 PM

Hey Mellisa, how would you go along and get a fecal transplant? How do you no for sure that what you receive will be compatible with your gut flora and well taken by your body? I guess you have to find a doctor willing to do it, witch must be hard in and of itself. Are you sure that the normal acid loving loving bacteria can't regain control in an adult even when when the gut acidity has returned to normal? It seems to me that a lot of people report complete healing after following a good program.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on July 22, 2010
at 02:54 PM

@yep--nope. Your diagnostic method assumes that only candida eat sugar in the gut and produce gas. However, many species of bacteria can also feed on sugar and produce either hydrogen or carbon dioxide gas.

D25307ea58300b9569b5a130444f7e14

(247)

on July 22, 2010
at 01:47 PM

I don't know the answer to this, as this type of testing is still over my head so to speak. But from what I understand Biofeedback machines measure electrical resistance so to speak as part of the testing, and based on responses within certain ranges or timeframe's the machine can put together via algorithm's programmed the causes of such responses. I initially was skeptical but when she printed out my results and pinpointed problem area's without me even telling her those areas, or issues existed I became a believer.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:19 PM

If I met him I would suggest: thyroid panel, very high fat diet.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:19 PM

Also, celiac has co-morbidity with sooooooo many other conditions. I would also hope this doc checked his thyroid, for example. I'm further suspicious of his story because it says chicken triggered his condition...as far as I know meat cannot feed yeast. It also sounds like he was a victim of low-fat diets. "egg whites and spinach and tuna"?- yeah you are going to feel pretty crappy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:11 PM

I have always recommended probiotics. Unfortunately, you have to take them forever since they are unlikely to colonize an adult's digestive system. A better alternative is a fecal transplant, but those aren't in widespread use for obvious reasons (eeew) despite how miraculously effective they have been in studies.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:08 PM

Well, it's good the guy had an excellent doctor who was willing to consider the possibility, but I've met sooo many people who say they have it but they have not even talked about it at all with any doctor and it's more likely they have gluten intolerance.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 08:48 AM

It is not really diagnosed as is so in this sense there are chances that it's not Candida, but my gut feeling tell me it it. Doctors check at all the wrong places for the problem and if I can't make any more progress in the next couple of weeks I'm still to order a stool test that I can send to the lab myself. Stool is the way to go for gut flora diagnosis. That said, it surely has to do with gut flora. It could be other parasites, protozoa, heavy metals. I also suffer from a gastritis witch could be caused by H. Pylori in my stomach (the leading cause of ulcers).

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:56 AM

The thing is that it can get worse and lead to death if you let it run wild. I don't think it's that much of a misunderstood problem. It's not because doctors ignore it that it doesn't exist. Look up Candia Albicans and Candidiasis on Wikipedia. Everybody has candida in their gut, but its kept in check by the good acid forming bacteria. When we have a bad diet with irritants or take antibiotics, candida, witch is opportunistic, gets a chance to take up more room and as a big role to play with leaky gut. Actually, if you habe a leaky gut, you automatically have a candida problem.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:49 AM

@Eva I can assure you first hand that those things are very real. Gurus are trying to make money off of it, but it's still real. I've been religiously Paleo for months now and I have to consume extreme amounts of powerful probiotics and keep my carb intake very low to be able to make it better for me. The overgrowth is so bad that the good bacteria can't seem to colonize. When it works, I immediately can feel the tiredness, I start sneezing and I get all those die-off symptoms. I've learned to love those symptoms because it also correlates with my digestion getting better.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:48 AM

What did you think of article?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:47 AM

@Paleo Seb -- how did you go about diagnosing Candida overgrowth?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:40 AM

I have been 100% paleo for 9 months now with no nuts, eggs or fruits and I'm still fighting Candida overgrowth very badly. In fact, it's at the worse it as been in my life. Diet alone doesn't fix the worst cases, good bacteria that creates an acidic environment does. There is way too much talk about being alkaline in the diet circles, the gut environment needs to bee acidic, as is the vaginal area and skin. This is why we say that acidophilus is an acid forming bacteria. Acid protects us from pathogens. A vaginal yeast infection only happens when the vaginal area has become alkaline.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 22, 2010
at 04:10 AM

How do you diagnose candida overgrowth with a biofeedback machine?

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 21, 2010
at 11:48 PM

@Paleo Seb Very interesting. Do you speak from experience?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 21, 2010
at 11:44 PM

Now I dont want to be mean, because I don't necesarily disagree with these statements, but do you know of evidence that this is indeed the main issue here? Do we know it is not just say, damaged cilia from wheat or some such other thing? Not saying you are wrong, just have not yet seen good evidence to separate this theory from a few other good sounding theories. Or of course, candida might be just one part of the puzzle but not necesarily the main player. I am still on the fence on this one and looking for more data.

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6 Answers

5
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on July 22, 2010
at 08:20 AM

I see a lot of confusion and people not sure about the truth behind those problems in the answers given. I wanted to add that intestinal bacterial overgrowth is not a laughing matter and is a real problem for many people. Some people are dying from it.

I am aware that the solutions advertised on the Internet are mostly shady, but it just makes things harder for people to get well.

It's a bit like diets, SAD is really bad so gurus promote diets like the raw food diet to cure the problem. The problem with the SAD diet is very real, but being raw vegan is not the solution.

It always amazes me to see that there is no more discussing and talk about achieving gut health in the paleo diet circles. People recommend fish oil and vit. D supplementation left and right, but for someone coming from a standard american diet, I'd say that a very strong probiotic is much more important. A damaged gut is guaranteed to have bacterial imbalanced.

Even Robb Wolf rarely recommend probiotics in his podcast.

I hope to be able to turn things around and bring awareness to the problem in this community and help those who follow a strict paleo diet and still feel bad without knowing why.

Anyways, I could be writing all day about this, but I have the last 16 years of my life as a testimony that bacterial overgrowth is something very real and damaging.

The only reason it became so bad and even became worst on the paleo diet is because I cut my consumption of cheeses and yogurt. I learned much later that it was those fermented foods that kept me somewhat well and that I needed probiotics. I used to live in constant fatigue, allergy and having frequent flu-like symptoms, witch stopped after quiting fermented foods, but I learned that those symptoms where only probiotics constantly fighting to regain a balance. I now have none of those die-off symptoms, but my digestion is at its worst point and I'm underweight and still losing weight.

I can also add that it's not just quacks and bacterial imbalances are supported by more and more specialists. Anyone interested should watch this presentation at a Weston A. Price foundation's conference by Natasha Campbell McBribe: http://vimeo.com/10507542

She is a specialist in this matter and wrote the GAPS diet and protocol. She can even link Autism to the gut and bacterial overgrowth.

The SCD diet (specific carbohydrate diet) was also crafted to heal bacterial overgrowth problems and hence Crohn's, IBS and IBD diseases. It is similar to the paleo diet, but probiotic at every meal is absolutely mandatory.

I invite any skeptic to dig deeper and look past the gurus recommending liquid oxygen and colonics.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 05:26 PM

Hey Mellisa, how would you go along and get a fecal transplant? How do you no for sure that what you receive will be compatible with your gut flora and well taken by your body? I guess you have to find a doctor willing to do it, witch must be hard in and of itself. Are you sure that the normal acid loving loving bacteria can't regain control in an adult even when when the gut acidity has returned to normal? It seems to me that a lot of people report complete healing after following a good program.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:22 AM

I have no doubt that some people suffer terribly from gut problems. My question is how do we know what causes it. How do we know that the times you feel bad are die off and not just you being more sick at those times than other times. Also, I do think paleo talks about probiotics a lot. I learned about it from paleo. But it's not so easily something you can talk about for tons of time. The main point is, they are good for you! Besides, most people find their gut improves just from cutting out the sugar, so ironically, need for probiotics is probably lower on average for paleo eaters.

5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

(2633)

on July 23, 2010
at 04:43 AM

@Paleo Seb -- no offense, but you keep using witch instead of which. Witch is a person. Which is a part of speech. Hope this helps. It's kind of like when one's fly is down. Some one's gotta say somethin'

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 17, 2010
at 05:54 PM

Honestly, Seb, your command of English is better than most American native speakers of English.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:11 PM

I have always recommended probiotics. Unfortunately, you have to take them forever since they are unlikely to colonize an adult's digestive system. A better alternative is a fecal transplant, but those aren't in widespread use for obvious reasons (eeew) despite how miraculously effective they have been in studies.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 24, 2010
at 02:16 AM

@PortlandAllan Thanks for pointing this out. I guess this is where I'm at a disadvantage for having learned English as a second language. Unfortunately my compute doesn't know what I truly mean and won't correct it. I'll definitely not make that mistake again!

5
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 03:20 AM

I'm personally suspicious because in the medical literature candida is a specific infection diagnosed with a specific test in immuno-compromised individuals (mostly people with HIV). On the interwebs it's a vague cluster of symptoms that is self-diagnosed and these overlap with several scientific illnesses that are worth eliminating before being like "OMG CANDIDA." Furthermore, its supporters seem to have overlapping interests with other remedies not supported by the scientific method like homeopathy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:19 PM

If I met him I would suggest: thyroid panel, very high fat diet.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:48 AM

What did you think of article?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:56 AM

The thing is that it can get worse and lead to death if you let it run wild. I don't think it's that much of a misunderstood problem. It's not because doctors ignore it that it doesn't exist. Look up Candia Albicans and Candidiasis on Wikipedia. Everybody has candida in their gut, but its kept in check by the good acid forming bacteria. When we have a bad diet with irritants or take antibiotics, candida, witch is opportunistic, gets a chance to take up more room and as a big role to play with leaky gut. Actually, if you habe a leaky gut, you automatically have a candida problem.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:19 PM

Also, celiac has co-morbidity with sooooooo many other conditions. I would also hope this doc checked his thyroid, for example. I'm further suspicious of his story because it says chicken triggered his condition...as far as I know meat cannot feed yeast. It also sounds like he was a victim of low-fat diets. "egg whites and spinach and tuna"?- yeah you are going to feel pretty crappy.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 22, 2010
at 01:08 PM

Well, it's good the guy had an excellent doctor who was willing to consider the possibility, but I've met sooo many people who say they have it but they have not even talked about it at all with any doctor and it's more likely they have gluten intolerance.

3
9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

on July 21, 2010
at 11:08 PM

I wouldn't call it Candida infection, but more Candida overgrowth.

When Candida Albicans that is already in our gut gets a chance to overgrow, often because of weakened good bacteria (think antibiotics, NSAIDS, high insulin, gluten, ...), a downhill set of symptoms starts to happen.

The gut lining becomes damaged and a leaky gut problem starts.

In my opinion, only a really tight diet (paleo that is, no eggs, no nuts, almost no fruits, no nightshades) coupled with tons of probiotics from multiple sources (supplements, lacto-fermented vegetables) will be able to re-establish to natural gut acidity witch will ultimately put the Candida in check from over spreading.

It can be a rough job to get well once the problem is advanced enough and die-off is very real and harsh. Die-off means when Candida starts to die you'll be tired, you'll sneeze all the time, and have all sorts of flu-like symptoms.

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:40 AM

I have been 100% paleo for 9 months now with no nuts, eggs or fruits and I'm still fighting Candida overgrowth very badly. In fact, it's at the worse it as been in my life. Diet alone doesn't fix the worst cases, good bacteria that creates an acidic environment does. There is way too much talk about being alkaline in the diet circles, the gut environment needs to bee acidic, as is the vaginal area and skin. This is why we say that acidophilus is an acid forming bacteria. Acid protects us from pathogens. A vaginal yeast infection only happens when the vaginal area has become alkaline.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 21, 2010
at 11:48 PM

@Paleo Seb Very interesting. Do you speak from experience?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 21, 2010
at 11:44 PM

Now I dont want to be mean, because I don't necesarily disagree with these statements, but do you know of evidence that this is indeed the main issue here? Do we know it is not just say, damaged cilia from wheat or some such other thing? Not saying you are wrong, just have not yet seen good evidence to separate this theory from a few other good sounding theories. Or of course, candida might be just one part of the puzzle but not necesarily the main player. I am still on the fence on this one and looking for more data.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:47 AM

@Paleo Seb -- how did you go about diagnosing Candida overgrowth?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 08:48 AM

It is not really diagnosed as is so in this sense there are chances that it's not Candida, but my gut feeling tell me it it. Doctors check at all the wrong places for the problem and if I can't make any more progress in the next couple of weeks I'm still to order a stool test that I can send to the lab myself. Stool is the way to go for gut flora diagnosis. That said, it surely has to do with gut flora. It could be other parasites, protozoa, heavy metals. I also suffer from a gastritis witch could be caused by H. Pylori in my stomach (the leading cause of ulcers).

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on January 28, 2012
at 12:51 PM

"In fact, it's at the worse it has been in my life" so why exactly do you continue your diet? It's clearly not working ...

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 21, 2010
at 11:05 PM

Well this kind of anti candida diet does seem to help a lot of people. The question is if the diet works precisely because it treats candida overgrowth, partially because it treats candida overgrowth, or if it has little to do with candida but a lot to do with other reasons. I don't think we really know this yet. The diet might have worked because the leaky gut was caused by other elements in his diet and the diet also solved those issues. I am also a bit confused by the idea of his immune system being weakened and so his problems with the mold in the walls. More accurate might be that his immune system was imbalanced, inflammation rampant, and his response to the mold in the walls was stronger than that of a normal person. Or the wall mold may have had nothing to do with it and his recovery was slow because his gut was in such a weakened state that it took a long time to heal.

Anyway, I would be wary of saying we know for sure why the diet worked. It could have been candida and it could have been other things as well. As paleo eaters, I think most of us feel that cutting out grains and sugars is probably healthy for a whole host of reasons including insulin control, weight control, improved nutrients intake and absorption, digestive provement, omega 3/6 balance, etc. ANd there are probably many other aspects that we don't yet know about. In the end, I feel paleo is healthy and lower carb is healthy, not only because it makes logical sense but also because it has made me personally feel better. The second one is the big indicator for me. The first one is something I try to keep an open mind about. Paleo is not a religion and I am forever on the search for evidence that will help me understand it better, even if that means the new info might prove my previous beliefs to have been wrong. Such is the true skeptic.

One of the things I have noticed about many gurus and guru followers is they assume that if part of a story is proven true, then all of the story is automatically true. In this case, cutting out sugar helped, therefore one might easily assume candida was the cause for sure. In fact, he may have gotten all better just over time and all the treatment may have had nothing whatsoever to do with the real cause of his problem. Maybe there was something else in his environment that was causing it all. We will probably never know for sure. Such is the danger of n=1 evidence and correlations.
-Eva

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 23, 2010
at 03:07 AM

Gak, sounds aweful! It doesn't surprise me that this happens to some. The thing is, Candida is one of the things that seems to be the explanation for all kinds of stuff in recent years. And you have to admit that symptom list is hardly unique. In the article, I was not convinced that the guy had candida for sure. My point is, there needs to be more science behind it. Otherwise, how do we know if we should be treating for candida and not giardia, chronic fatigue, low vit D, or some other disease causing organism?

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d

(3690)

on July 22, 2010
at 07:49 AM

@Eva I can assure you first hand that those things are very real. Gurus are trying to make money off of it, but it's still real. I've been religiously Paleo for months now and I have to consume extreme amounts of powerful probiotics and keep my carb intake very low to be able to make it better for me. The overgrowth is so bad that the good bacteria can't seem to colonize. When it works, I immediately can feel the tiredness, I start sneezing and I get all those die-off symptoms. I've learned to love those symptoms because it also correlates with my digestion getting better.

2
D25307ea58300b9569b5a130444f7e14

(247)

on July 22, 2010
at 02:51 AM

Yep, I've had it along with a host of other issues. I was visting a natural Dr, that using BioFeedback equipment found that along with some other issues. It took me only 6 months to really come to better health, during the candida overgrowth it affects more then just your gut...it also affects the operations of other organs, and functions of the daily activities in your body. The dieing off phase is indeed the hardest. You feel sick, almost cold/flu like. You can get gas as the candida breaks down and dies it releases gases, and these can be toxic to a degree thus the reason you feel somewhat sick for a while.

After a nice session of Candida clean up with my diet change, my gut felt less bloated, my anxiety improved, and I had fewer headaches and overall body aches. I'm sure some of this was better due to my diet change, but its obvious to me that this is a real problem that some people dont even realize they have.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on July 22, 2010
at 04:10 AM

How do you diagnose candida overgrowth with a biofeedback machine?

D25307ea58300b9569b5a130444f7e14

(247)

on July 22, 2010
at 01:47 PM

I don't know the answer to this, as this type of testing is still over my head so to speak. But from what I understand Biofeedback machines measure electrical resistance so to speak as part of the testing, and based on responses within certain ranges or timeframe's the machine can put together via algorithm's programmed the causes of such responses. I initially was skeptical but when she printed out my results and pinpointed problem area's without me even telling her those areas, or issues existed I became a believer.

1
A696e3df47f84e287771325a68fdec47

(10)

on July 22, 2010
at 12:37 PM

candida overgrowth... it went through this cycle: nobody had ever heard of it, then it became known, then over-popularized so that just about every symptom in everybody was said by some to be due to it. There was weird talk about thick layers of it coating the gut wall (somehow never seen in colonoscopy). That all led reactively to our current state, where it's said by some that it doesn't exist at all. Full circle.

in reality, it's very simple to diagnose: eat lots of sugar at one sitting. If you fill up with lots of gas within a day or so, then you have it. Olive leaf extract will work better than most things to knock it back down, though only temporarily. Biotin keeps it from converting to the rhizome form.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on July 22, 2010
at 02:54 PM

@yep--nope. Your diagnostic method assumes that only candida eat sugar in the gut and produce gas. However, many species of bacteria can also feed on sugar and produce either hydrogen or carbon dioxide gas.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on February 21, 2011
at 06:07 AM

if you have Candida you have two major hurdles not solved as yet. Leaky gut or Leptin resistance. You will hit major plateaus and you will struggle losing body fat and getting cut.

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