Candida overgrowth is one of the most common conditions I saw in my clinic, especially among my autoimmune patients. I’ve literally seen thousands of patients with digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more, all caused by Candida overgrowth.
I have also seen the incredible transformations that they experience by beating Candida overgrowth. I’ve witnessed the return of energy, vitality, and mental clarity, and seen chronic symptoms fade away.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
You might be wondering, “What is Candida?” Candida is a fungus, a form of yeast that lives in your mouth and intestines in small amounts. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption. It is a part of your body’s normal microflora — the microorganisms that live in a delicate balance in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina in women, and on your skin.
Ideally, your good bacteria, bad bacteria, and Candida (among other forms of yeast, viruses, and even mites) that make up your gut microbiome exist in a balanced state. In fact, I like to think of your microbiome as a rainforest, with many different species living together in harmony. When one species gets out of balance in your rainforest, everything gets out of control. When this balance is tipped between Candida and other microorganisms, Candida overgrowth occurs. Candidiasis, or yeast overgrowth, is very common and causes Candida overgrowth symptoms such as bloating, constipation, rashes, fungal infections, fatigue, brain fog, and mood swings.
What Causes Candida Overgrowth?
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 of the friendly bacteria or you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the Candida.)
High alcohol intake, oral contraceptives, and a number of other factors including a high-stress lifestyle can also cause Candidiasis. Even a diet rich in fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles can feed Candida.
How Does Candida Overgrowth Spread?
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 creates an opportunity for bacteria biofilms — or groups of microorganisms that are 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 in order 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.1 These elongated cells have the ability to permeate the gut lining, causing leaky gut.
Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues. This means that Candida overgrowth can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem. As I mentioned above, Candida can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere.
10 Common Candida Overgrowth Symptoms
Because yeast overgrowth can become a full-body problem, Candida symptoms can be experienced in many different forms nearly anywhere in the body.
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus: These are often a sign of an underlying condition such as Candidiasis. When pathogenic fungi such as Candida permeate your gut lining, they can travel through your bloodstream and colonize on your skin, toenails, and fingernails.
- Feeling tired, worn down, or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia: Gut infections such as Candida overgrowth can suppress the immune system and interfere with energy levels. Furthermore, Candidiasis is often accompanied by nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B6, essential fatty acids, and magnesium. Particularly, magnesium deficiency has been known to cause fatigue.
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea: The excess Candida can begin a fermentation process in your gut that produces its own swelling and belly bloat, much like when bread rises. This happens because good bacteria are depleted due to the overgrown Candida in your microbiome. When your gut bacteria is imbalanced you can experience digestive issues which include constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, cramps, and bloating. Colon Comfort may help to regain regularity over your digestive tract and bowel movements.
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, lupus, psoriasis, scleroderma, or multiple sclerosis: Candida overgrowth damages your gut lining, which allows for toxins, microbes, protein, and undigested food particles to escape into your bloodstream. Your immune system marks these foreign invaders as pathogens and attacks them. As the invaders continue escaping, your immune system goes into overdrive, sending more antibodies to battle the invaders and inducing more inflammation.
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression, and/or brain fog: Excess yeast coats the lining of your intestinal tract and suppresses your ability to make or secrete serotonin. Candidiasis also affects your brain and mood function by producing chemicals that are directly toxic to the brain such as canditoxin and acetaldehyde.
- Skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes: Once Candida cells escape into your bloodstream, they can colonize on your skin and result in skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and rashes. In fact, researchers have taken skin cultures of eczema patients and more often than not, yeast was found in the samples.
- Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching: An overgrowth of Candida can lead to Candidiasis of the vagina, also known as a yeast infection. Yeast infections are extremely common. It’s estimated that 75% of all women will get at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime, and half of those will have at least one recurrence. Although it’s much less common, urinary tract infections can also be a Candida symptom.
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears: Seasonal allergy symptoms are caused by your immune system responding to something in the environment, such as pollen in the air. However, the reason your responses to these environmental allergens are heightened is often that your immune system is on high alert due to gut infections such as Candida overgrowth.
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings: Because yeast feeds on carbohydrates, once you have a yeast overgrowth, the Candida will cause you to crave sugar, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
After hearing about the many Candida overgrowth symptoms, do you think you have Candida overgrowth? Take this short symptoms quiz to find out!
Do you think you have Candida overgrowth?
The Candida Overgrowth & Autoimmune Connection
Once Candida has penetrated your intestinal lining and caused your gut to become leaky, it opens the floodgates for undigested food particles, toxins, viruses, and bacteria to 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.”
As your gut remains leaky, your immune system continues sending out wave after wave of inflammation, and soon gets stressed, weakened, confused, and begins firing less accurately. When this happens, your own body’s tissues can end up in the crosshairs of your immune system. Over time, this can lead to the development of a full-blown autoimmune disease.
The Candida Overgrowth & Estrogen Dominance Connection
Estrogen dominance also plays a factor in Candida overgrowth. Research shows that exposing Candida albicans to estrogen increases its virulence. This is why women taking birth control or traditional hormone replacement therapy tend to show high estrogen levels and be more susceptible to yeast infections.
For both HRT and birth control users, you can try my Adrenal Support for relieving menopausal symptoms and supporting a healthy menstrual cycle without causing high estrogen levels. However, note that this supplement cannot be used as a birth control method.
How Do You Test For Candida Overgrowth?
IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida Antibodies
Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and they can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that Candida overgrowth is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it.
Remember, Candida has the ability to suppress the immune system, so it is important to ask your doctor to test your total IgG, IgA, and IgM levels along with the Candida antibodies. Low levels of total IgG, IgA, or IgM could cause a false negative response to the antibodies.2
This can mean you have Candida overgrowth. Yet, since your immune system is affected, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. I saw so many patients with suppressed immune systems and found that blood tests can often be negative even when stool or urine tests are positive.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Often, I saw clues on a CBC that let me know that yeast overgrowth is present. A low white blood cell count (WBC) has been associated with Candidiasis. It has also been associated with a pattern of high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count.3 These are non-specific to Candida, yet I can tell you I saw this pattern very frequently in patients at my clinic with Candida overgrowth.
I personally found this to be the most accurate test available for Candida overgrowth. This will check for Candidiasis in your colon or lower intestines. However, you need to make sure that your doctor orders a comprehensive stool test rather than the standard stool test. With the stool test, your stool is directly analyzed for levels of Candida. The lab can usually determine the species of yeast as well as which treatment will be effective.
Urine Organix Dysbiosis Test
This test detects D-Arabinitol, a waste product of Candida overgrowth.4 An elevated test means an overgrowth of yeast. This test will determine if there is Candida overgrowth in your upper gut or small intestines.
How Do You Treat Candida Overgrowth?
Treating Candida overgrowth doesn’t just involve stopping the growth. It also means restoring the friendly bacteria that usually keep them in check. The final step is repairing your gut so that the Candida overgrowth can no longer enter your bloodstream. I accomplish this with a simple three-wave attack I describe in detail in my free training. The steps to combat Candida overgrowth are as follows:
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 the growth of yeast while 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.
Get Help with Your Candida Overgrowth
You don’t have to go it alone! I’ve helped thousands of people all over the world take back control of their health. Take my free training for details on the diet and supplements that can stop Candida overgrowth, banish your Candida overgrowth symptoms, and return you to the life you love.
Candida Overgrowth FAQs
What is Candida?
What is Candida?
Candida is a form of yeast that lives in your mouth and intestines in small amounts. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption. When Candida is overproduced, it breaks down the walls of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, causing leaky gut syndrome.
How do you know if you have Candida overgrowth?
How do you know if you have Candida overgrowth?
If you experience symptoms such as recurring fungal infections, skin problems, digestive issues, or mood swings, there’s a good chance you have Candida overgrowth.
What foods cause Candida overgrowth?
What foods cause Candida overgrowth?
Candida feeds off of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and yeast-containing foods. For this reason, I recommend removing all gluten, sugar, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, dried fruit, fruit juices, and fermented foods from your diet.
What foods fight Candida overgrowth?
What foods fight Candida overgrowth?
Some foods that help your body combat yeast overgrowth are coconut oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cruciferous vegetables, ginger, olive oil, cloves, and cinnamon.
- Candida albicans cell type switches and functional plasticity in the mammalian host. Suzanne M. Noble. PubMed Central. 2016.
- Assessment and clinical interpretation of reduced IgG values. Shradha Agarwal. NCBI. 2007.
- How to Interpret and Pursue an Abnormal Complete Blood Cell Count in Adults. Ayalew Tefferi, MD. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2005.
- D-arabinitol--a marker for invasive candidiasis. B Christensson, G Sigmundsdottir, L Larsson. PubMed. 1999.