3 Reasons Why the Standard Candida Diet Doesn’t Work
The paradox of the Standard Candida Diet is that symptoms greatly diminish but the person doesn’t actually heal from the root cause of the problem which is a breech in the integrity of the gut lining.
Long-term healing is prevented on the Candida Diet for the following key reasons:
Reason #1: The Candida Diet allows foods like potato, yams and other starchy vegetables.
Reason #2: The Candida Diet doesn’t include traditional bone broth. This is an incredibly necessary food for proper healing of gut issues causing Candida in the first place.
Reason #3: More important than the allowance of starch in the Candida Diet, however, is the inclusion of grain based foods. Some adherents of Candida Diet include gluten free grains, others recommend none at all (in an apparent scramble to mimic diets that actually work to fix the gut like GAPS and to a lesser extent the bone broth diet). The point is, there isn’t uniformity to what is recommended, hence, the protocol’s unreliability for working long-term.
Even if the Candida Diet is used in conjunction with a gluten free, casein free diet, it fails in the majority of instances.
The reason is that disaccharides, or double sugars, are present in many carbohydrates including ALL grains – not just gluten containing ones. An inflamed, inbalanced gut overridden with Candida is unable to digest double sugar molecules completely because the lack of beneficial gut flora has compromised the function of the enterocytes.
According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome and one of the key scientists at the forefront of gut restoration research today, the enterocytes are the cells that reside on the villi of the gut wall and produce the enzyme disaccharidase which breaks down the disaccharide molecule into easily absorbed monosaccharide molecules. When the enterocytes are not nourished and strengthened properly by adequate beneficial flora, they become weak and diseased and may even turn cancerous. They do not perform their duties of digesting and absorbing food properly.
The critical importance of the enterocytes to health cannot be overstated!
Weak and diseased enterocytes also have trouble digesting starch molecules which are very large with hundreds of monosugars connected in long branchlike strands. People with weak digestion due to Candida overgrowth and messed up enterocytes have a terrible time digesting these complex molecules leaving large amounts of it undigested- the perfect food for pathogenic yeasts, bacteria, and fungi like Candida to thrive upon.
Even the starch that manages to get digested results in molecules of maltose, which is — you guessed it — a disaccharide! This maltose also goes undigested due to a lack of the enzyme disaccharidase and becomes additional food for Candida.
Therefore, when one follows the Candida Diet and yet still consumes grains and starches, food molecules that are not fully digested continue to putrefy, inflame, and provide food for Candida thereby preventing healing even if some improvement is noted from the removal of all sugars.
One Great Tip from the Candida Diet
While the Candida Diet fails miserably in resolving gut imbalance problems for many of the folks who try it, it does include and recommend one fantastic herb that is actually very helpful for keeping Candida under control: Pau d’Arco tea.
What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
Opportunistic bacteria and yeasts like Candida albicans don’t just spontaneously “take over”.
There’s a reason this happens! I prefer to group these causes into three main categories: stressful lifestyle, poor diet, and pharmaceutical drugs (not just antibiotics) have a powerful impact on our gut flora providing the opening for opportunistic strains of yeast to exert authority and overgrow with dire health consequences over time.
Diet– A diet high in sugar, starch and processed foods is fuel for yeast to thrive and multiply. This study found that biofilms of Candida are made of 32% glucose. It was found that Candida yeast needs sugar not just to reproduce, but also to create the protection in the form of a biofilm that keeps our immune system from attacking it.
Lifestyle- A stressful lifestyle can lower immunity and therefore lead to a decrease in beneficial gut flora. Remember 80% of immunity is located in the gut. Keeping bacteria in check is crucial to keeping symptoms and sickness at bay. Other factors that can lead to yeast overgrowth is exposure to chlorinated water, alcohol abuse, and digestive distress coming from a lack of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) which causes undigested food to putrefy in the gut, leading to symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea.
Drugs- Antibiotics and the birth control pill are a huge factor in candida and yeast overgrowth. These pharmaceuticals eliminate beneficial flora creating the ideal environment which allows for harmful pathogens to overgrow.
Biofilms: Overlooked Step in Treating Yeast Overgrowth
Much of the information regarding yeast and candida out there addresses treatment, including diet and supplements, although leaves out a very crucial step.
There’s another side of the story that rarely gets talked about that can make all the difference in an effective treatment plan.
Biofilms act as a protective shield around yeast and other microorganisms. This makes it even more challenging to attack the yeast as the anti-fungals that are taken by most cannot get through this matrix of a biofilm, whether it be drugs or herbal based remedies.
This is how yeast hides and protects itself from being destroyed. One study found that a group of anti-fungal drugs, including Nystatin and Diflucan, which are used to treat Candida, found that they were initially effective until the biofilm developed. At this point they became less effective and after 72 hours of the biofilm development, the candida cells were highly resistant. This research indicates that drug resistance develops over time due to the biofilm development. Now researchers are seeing more common anti-fungal drugs such as amphotericin B and fluconazole developing resistance as well.
Using Enzymes to Attack Yeast Biofilms
Common herbal anti-fungals (this is a comprehensive formula I use in my practice) used in yeast overgrowth treatment such as oregano oil, black walnut, uva ursi, berberine and olive leaf can be great options, but these alone won’t do the trick. To properly get to and kill the microorganism that is causing the trouble, you first have to breakdown the biofilm that’s protecting it.
Think of it as attempting to get past a security guard, it’s possible to get through him, you just need a more comprehensive approach to ensure your game plan is effective.
Anti-fungals need to be paired with a biofilm disruptor, which is a combination of specific enzymes that are designed to eat their way through the matrix.
Candida and other types of yeasts have no resistance and are not able to build a resistance to enzymes like they may be able to do with drugs or herbs. There are no side effects, only side benefits with this type of biofilm disruptor. When looking for an enzyme formula (I like this one) make sure and find one that contains a varied number of enzymes to target the layer of the cell wall, biofilm, nucleus and fibrin.
Enzymes to look for specifically in a product are cellulase, glucoamylase, amylase, invertase, protease, and serrapeptase.
Amino Acid (NAC) an Effective Biofilms Disruptor
Another agent that has been studied to also be effective as a biofilm disruptor is N-Acetyl cysteine (NAC). This is an amino acid and a strong antioxidant, but also has antibacterial properties. It has been tested on several different bacterias and shown to be effective, especially in upper respiratory infections.
Because of the number of relapses in both bacterial and yeast issues, alternative treatments as these biofilm agents provide are needed to complete eradication. I suggest working with an holistic health care practitioner who has experience treating yeast overgrowth to get an effective treatment plan. This is why an anti yeast/candida type diet can be difficult and usually not enough. You have to get the support to address the cause effectively otherwise you may not be seeing the results you’re after.
We have included in this article, information on candida and fungi... from Barbhealth.com
Barbara O’Neill, a qualified naturopath and nutritionist, is also an international speaker on natural self-healing. She has raised eight children and is a specialist in women’s and children’s health. She is also the health director of the successful Misty Mountain Health Retreat, located in the Macleay Valley west of Kempsey, between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.
Barbara is passionate about good health and natural healing. She believes in giving the body optimum conditions in order for it to heal itself.
Alongside you will find the following PDF downloads by Barbara O'Neil:
For more information on Candida, please follow this link. To ensure that your efforts are effective, it is imperative to address the gut. Read more on Your Body - Health of The Gut page and also visit our You Should Know page for a different perspective on Gut Health.