Alcohol and Candida: The Perfect Storm
There’s nothing wrong with having a glass of your favorite wine or indulging in a cocktail from time to time. The holiday season is upon us, so there’s more temptation than ever to indulge. However, you should be mindful of how much is too much, especially if you have Candida overgrowth. That’s because alcohol and Candida create the perfect storm in your gut.
I don’t want you to worry. The good news is that there is a solution that I will share with you. Candida overgrowth is prevalent among those with autoimmune disease, gut issues, fatigue, brain fog, and other chronic health problems. If you have Candida, alcohol is just adding fuel to the fire.
I will tell you about the relationship between alcohol and Candida and my proven solution to get Candida in check and restore the balance in your gut. Let’s begin with a quick review of Candida overgrowth.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida is a naturally occurring yeast species, a fungus, that lives in and on your body in small amounts. It is a part of your body’s normal microflora — the microorganisms present in a delicate balance in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina in women, and on your skin. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption.
Normally, your good bacteria keep Candida in check. However, due to our modern diet of high-processed sugar, exposure to environmental toxins, and a sedentary lifestyle, the opportunistic Candida can overgrow and destabilize the balance of your gut microbiome. That’s when Candida overgrowth occurs.
Symptoms of Candida overgrowth include digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, seasonal allergies, mood swings, and more. It’s even linked to other health issues, such as leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Let me tell you how.
Candida overgrowth damages your gut lining, causing it to become leaky. When your gut is leaky, toxins, microbes, proteins, and partially digested food particles that shouldn’t be there can get in. It leads to a myriad of symptoms, many of which overlap with Candida overgrowth.
A leaky gut leads you down a path of chronic illness. Those unwelcome particles pass through your intestinal wall and into your bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system in an attempt to fight off these foreign “invaders.” Eventually, your immune system goes into overdrive, sending more antibodies to battle the invaders, inducing more inflammation. Introducing alcohol to the mix hinders your immune system’s response and makes the Candida more opportunistic.
What you Should Know About Alcohol and Candida
When you drink alcohol, it enters your gut – right where Candida lives. Here’s how alcohol and Candida create the perfect storm in your gut.
Alcohol Weakens Your Immune System
Alcohol disrupts the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome, where 80% of your immune system lives.
Imagine your gut microbiome as a rainforest where billions of microbes live harmoniously. This rainforest contains good and bad bacteria, viruses, and yeast in a delicate balance. Dysbiosis occurs when this delicate balance is disrupted by disease or environmental factors, leading to an overgrowth of bacteria. Adding alcohol into the mix disrupts your gut microbiome further and suppresses your immune system, giving the opportunistic Candida room to overgrow.1
Alcohol Damages Your Liver
Your liver is your body’s filter, and it works endlessly to filter out toxins in your bloodstream. This includes alcohol. Your body begins to absorb alcohol the second you swallow that first sip. Once alcohol hits your gut, 20% goes right into your bloodstream. How quickly your body absorbs the remaining 80% is determined by the amount of alcohol you drink, whether or not it’s carbonated, if you’ve eaten anything, and genetics.
Your body can typically process one drink per hour, depending on what you are drinking and the size of your cocktail or beer. For example, a 5-ounce glass of wine is equivalent to one drink. Yet, so is a 12-ounce beer.
Your liver is responsible for 90% of the metabolism of alcohol into carbon dioxide and water. Metabolism of alcohol happens at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour. For example, if your BAC is 40 mg/dL (or .04), it would take two hours to metabolize the alcohol.2
The longer alcohol stays in your body; the more effect alcohol has on Candida overgrowth.
Alcohol Stresses Your Adrenal Glands
Your adrenal glands get overworked in times of emotional stress or fatigue, yet they also play a significant role in fighting Candida. This fungus causes stress on the body, just like chronic conditions such as asthma, arthritis, or even allergies.
Drinking large quantities of alcohol lowers blood glucose levels. As sugar levels drop, your adrenal glands produce the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol raises your blood glucose levels, which exhausts your adrenal glands. Optimal adrenal gland function is essential for making hormones that regulate metabolism and communicate with other organs such as your brain, kidneys, and reproductive system.
Alcohol Destabilizes Blood Glucose Levels
As I mentioned, alcohol lowers your blood glucose levels. Alcohol can also raise your blood glucose levels. I know that’s confusing. However, it depends on the type of alcohol you are drinking. Drinking alcoholic beverages high in sugar, such as cocktails, can cause a short-term spike in blood glucose levels. Increased glucose levels alter that balance and encourage pathogens such as Candida to proliferate.3
The significant swings in glucose levels have other detrimental effects, too. It rapidly depletes your adrenals and your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the liaison between your brain and pituitary and adrenal glands. That’s not all. When you drink, you get hungry. That’s because a drop in blood sugar leads to cravings for sugar and fatty foods that can cause unwanted weight gain. It’s your body’s way of saying, “give me something to absorb this toxic substance.”
Alcohol is a Fermented Food
All yeasts, including Candida, need sugar to thrive. Your gut microflora naturally ferments food by breaking down carbohydrates into glucose for fuel. Alcohol fermentation is one of the two main types of fermentation, where yeast eats fructose and glucose and spits out ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. When you consume alcohol or any other fermented food, it feeds Candida.
What Causes Candida to Overgrow?
The healthy or ‘good’ bacteria in your gut typically keep your Candida levels in check. However, the yeast population can get out of hand if a round of antibiotics kills too many friendly bacteria or you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar, which, as I’ve discussed, feed the Candida.
High alcohol intake, oral contraceptives, and several other factors, including a high-stress lifestyle, can cause Candida overgrowth. Even a diet rich in fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles can feed Candida.
Your gut is naturally lined with mucus that lubricates and protects it. However, Candidiasis can damage your gut cell wall, causing the mucus to also be disrupted. Damaged mucus allows bacteria biofilms — or groups of microorganisms protected by a layer of protective slime — to attach to your cell wall, making them harder to control.
Candida also has the unique ability to change shape to protect itself from harsh environments. It responds to a shift in temperature or acidity levels by transforming from a rounded yeast cell into an elongated hyphal cell.4
Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues, which means that Candida overgrowth can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body one. As mentioned above, Candida can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere.
The good news is there is something you can do to get Candida back in check. I will tell you about my proven solution to Candida overgrowth.
The Solution to Alcohol and Candida
As simple as this sounds, the first solution is to avoid alcohol altogether if you have Candida overgrowth. Treating Candida overgrowth doesn’t just involve stopping the growth by ditching alcohol. You also must restore the friendly bacteria that usually keep Candida in check. The final step is repairing your gut so the Candida overgrowth can no longer enter your bloodstream, and I accomplish this with a simple three-wave attack.
First, starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet. This means cutting all sugar and alcohol and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes.
In addition to removing toxic and inflammatory foods, an anti-Candida diet focuses on increasing your intake of foods known to minimize the growth of Candida albicans. Foods such as coconut oil, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, and wild-caught salmon are great anti-Candida diet foods.
Next, you’ll want to attack the Candida by taking supplements that help break down the cell wall of yeast cells. I use Candifense® as well as Caprylic Acid. Candifense® supports microbe balance in the GI tract and discourages yeast growth. At the same time, Caprylic Acid helps penetrate intestinal mucosal cells to exert the effect of yeast. Both Candifense® and Caprylic Acid are excellent at helping to break down the walls of Candida cells. Don’t take my word for it. Members of my community have said Caprylic Acid is “a friendly, peace-maker” in your gut.
Finally, you will repopulate your gut with good bacteria using a high-potency probiotic to keep Candida under control. While battling Candida overgrowth, I recommend a probiotic supplement containing 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) to restore your gut’s healthy microbial balance.
To make it easier for you, I developed the Candida Breakthrough® Program. This program is an all-in-one, step-by-step solution that includes all the powerful, pharmaceutical-grade, doctor-designed supplements you’ll need, including Caprylic Acid, Candifense®, Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion, Coconut Charcoal, and The Myers Way® Vanilla Bean Paleo Protein. It also comes with an easy-to-follow Candida diet plan full of foods that kill Candida.
The Final Word
Even one drink can trigger Candida overgrowth. Alcohol and Candida create the perfect storm in your gut. Empower yourself with the tools to restore the balance in your gut to calm the storm between alcohol and Candida.
- Binge drinking disrupts immune system in young adults, study finds. Majid Afshar, MD. Science Daily. 2014.
- Interactions between the intestinal microbiome and liver diseases. Bernd Schnabl and David Brenner. Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego. 2014.
- Why Does Candida Really Need Sugar?. Lisa Richards. The Candida Diet. 2017.
- Candida albicans cell type switches and functional plasticity in the mammalian host. Suzanne M. Noble. Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2016.
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