Yeast overgrowth, often referred to as Candida, is one of the most common conditions I see in my clinic, especially among my autoimmune patients. I’ve seen thousands of patients suffer from digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, mood swings, and more, all caused by Candida overgrowth!
What on earth is Candida?
I have also seen the incredible transformation that they experience by beating their yeast. I’ve witnessed energy and vitality return, mental clarity restored, and chronic symptoms fade away.
You might be wondering, “What on earth is Candida?” Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, a very small amount of which lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced it breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems ranging from digestive issues to depression.
How do you get Candida overgrowth?
The healthy or ‘good’ bacteria in your gut typically keeps your Candida levels in check. However, the Candida population can get out of hand if a round of antibiotics kill too many of those friendly bacteria, you have a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (which feed the yeast), high alcohol intake, are taking oral contraceptives, or any number of other factors including a high-stress lifestyle. Even a diet high in beneficial fermented foods like Kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles, can feed Candida causing an overgrowth.
Common Candida Symptoms
- Skin and nail fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus
- Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
- Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma, or Multiple sclerosis
- Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD, and/or brain fog
- Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
- Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
- Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching, or vaginal itching
- Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
- Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Do you think you have Candida overgrowth? Take this simple quiz to find out!
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 can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida 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 Candida antibodies, meaning you have Candida but since your immune system is lowered, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. Since I see so many patients with suppressed immune systems, I find in my clinic that blood tests can often be negative even when the stool or urine tests are positive.
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Often, I will see clues on a CBC that let me know that yeast is present. A low white blood cell count (WBC) has been associated with yeast overgrowth as well as a pattern of high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count. While these are non-specific to yeast, after working with thousands of patients, I can tell you I see this pattern very frequently in those with Candida overgrowth.
I personally find this to be the most accurate test available. This will check for Candida 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 yeast. 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 yeast overgrowth. An elevated test means an overgrowth of Candida. This test will determine if there is Candida in your upper gut or small intestines.