There’s a lot of talk about how Candida is bad for you. This is really an understatement. Candida isn’t just bad for you – given the chance it will destroy your health!
If you’re a woman, you’re probably at least familiar with the idea of Candida. It’s the fungus that causes yeast infections. Parents might be familiar with it in the form thrush, the yeast that coats the tongues of newborns and infants. The elderly can also develop thrush from a Candida build-up on their dentures that spreads to their tongues.
These, however, are the Candida overgrowths you can see. They’re unpleasant, but also obvious. This makes it easy to know when you have a Candida problem that needs to be treated.
Unfortunately, there’s a Candida overgrowth you’ll never see, won’t know you need to treat and if left untreated will may wreck your health in 5 different ways. It’s the one in your digestive tract. Here’s how it does it.
#1. Candida Disrupts the Way You Digest Food
A Candida infection in the digestive tract triggers an immune response and causes inflammation. Swelling in your gut like this interferes with your body’s ability to break down food. Some food may pass undigested. Other food may cause bloating, gas and indigestion, common symptoms of a Candida overgrowth. Your ability to absorb the nutrients into your blood is also negatively affected.
How does Candida get into your intestines? The reality is, like in other areas of the body, it’s always there. It’s just in small amounts the body can keep under control.
Candida becomes a problem when the body loses control of it. Reasons the body might lose control include:
- Taking antibiotics which kill off the probiotic bacteria that help keep Candida under control
- Using oral contraceptives, another chemical known to interfere with digestive health
- Eating a lot of sugar
Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria making you sick, but they also kill of the probiotic (good bacteria) that help keep Candida under control. Oral contraceptives also kill gut bacteria. Stress increases cortisol, a hormone that slows digestion. And then there’s sugar.
As a fungal yeast, Candida lives on sugar. The more the better. A diet high in added sugars, refined carbs and processed foods simply feeds Candida.
And once Candida gets out of control, your body has a real hard time regaining control. This has to do with that white biofilm it creates to protect itself. It’s a combination of sugars, fibers and proteins that pose a real problem for your body to deal with. While you have ways to break down sugars and proteins, the fibers present a real challenge. Plant enzymes are really the most effective way to break through these parts of the biofilm.
Left untreated, Candida will only increase intestinal inflammation. This can lead to more severe conditions like irritable bowels or ‘Leaky Gut,’ a condition where your intestines lose the ability to prevent toxins from getting into the bloodstream. Digestion gets worse, starving you of nutrients and simply making you feel miserable with indigestion when you eat.
#2. More Candida Means Less Probiotic Bacteria
You need healthy levels of probiotic bacteria for good health. These friendly bacteria have been shown to improve everything from digestion to memory.[i] The problem is, the more Candida you have, the less of these probiotics you have.
In a healthy digestive tract, probiotics help keep Candida under control. When it does get out of control, Candida releases waste from the sugars it eats that creates an environment that is hostile to probiotic bacteria. Without these probiotic bacteria, your digestion suffers. And as the research shows, so does your memory, thinking and mood.[ii]
#3. You’ll Crave Sugar
Every cell in the human body, including brain cells, burn glucose for energy. The more Candida you have though, the more sugar it eats, depriving your body of what it needs. As a result, you start to get sugar cravings, a common symptom of Candida overgrowth.
Eat the sugar and you’ll feed the Candida. Eat enough sugar and you’ll throw off your metabolism, prompting weight gain, hormone imbalances, high blood sugar and other potential metabolic disorders that will slowly destroy your health.
#4. Candida ‘Turns Off’ Your Immune System
The Candida biofilm has molecules in place that deactivate your body’s natural immune response. For example, in the biofilm there is a sugar, beta-glucans which causes inflammation. This same sugar turns immune cells off when they arrive.[i]
#5. Candida Literally Poisons You
Candida produces two waste by-products that are toxic to the human body. These are acetaldehyde and gliotoxin.
Acetaldehyde may sound familiar. You expose yourself to it when you drink alcohol. It’s called an intermediary by-product that exists as your liver breaks down alcohol molecules. When you drink too much alcohol, the acetaldehyde builds up as your liver can’t keep up and you get drunk.[i]
That’s right, Candida overgrowth produces the same toxin as alcohol that deprives your body of oxygen and which has been linked to liver damage, memory loss and cancer.[ii]
And if acetaldehyde wasn’t bad enough, there’s gliotoxin. It’s a poison produced by fungi that kills liver cells and immune cells and may even be linked to autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.[iii],[iv],[v]
How to Overcome Candida Overgrowth
The good news is, you can defeat a Candida overgrowth. Check out our next article in the series How To Identify if You Have Candida Overgrowth which details the symptoms of a Candida overgrowth and what you can do to cleanse yourself of it.
 Y Nakagawa, et al. Suppression by Candida albicans b-glucan of cytokine release from activated human monocytes and from T cells in the presence of monocytes. J Infect Dis. 2003 187: 710–713.
 Gainza-Cirauqui ML1, et al. Production of carcinogenic acetaldehyde by Candida albicans from patients with potentially malignant oral mucosal disorders. J Oral Pathol Med. 2013 Mar;42(3):243-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.2012.01203.x. Epub 2012 Aug 22.
 Wright, M. C., et al. Gliotoxin stimulates the apoptosis of human and rat hepatic stellate cells and enhances the resolution of liver fibrosis in rats. Gastroenterology, 2001; 121(3), 685-698.
 Sutton, P., et al. In vivo immunosuppressive activity of gliotoxin, a metabolite produced by human pathogenic fungi. Infection and Immunity, 1994; 62(4), 1192-1198.
 de Arruda, M. S. P. Effect of c. albicans infection on experimental autoimmune encephalitis. 2013.