Candida is a small amount of yeast that lives inside everyone and is harmless. It’s also the most common cause of a yeast overgrowth. Unfortunately, having a compromised immune system like multiple sclerosis (MS), it can grow out of control. MS and Candida overgrowth is very common and most people don’t even realize they have it. If diet alone isn’t working, Candida could be the missing link.
Sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
Vaginal yeast infections
Left untreated Candida will spread causing serious damage to organs including the brain. Once it gets to this point it’s known as systemic Candida and it’s very hard to get back under control. Your doctor can do blood work or a saliva test but doctors aren’t always willing to do these tests. My family doctor didn’t see Candida as a problem so I went and saw a functional medical provider for help.
What Causes Candida?
Candida overgrowth is more than likely caused by diet and lifestyle choices. A diet of processed foods is full of hidden sugars. Plus, antibiotics wipe out all the good bacteria allowing Candida to overgrowth.
High sugar diet
Steroids like Prednisone
Weakened immune system
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The Candida Diet
It’s important to start eating a low sugar/carbohydrate diet. It will stop the growth of Candida and allow your leaky gut to heal. Eat a nutrient dense diet including low-starch vegetables, healthy fats, and low-sugar fruits. Low sugar fruits like berries, avocados, lemons, limes, and olives. Eat lots of raw garlic, cinnamon, organic parsley, and a high-quality olive oil for an extra punch to Candida.
Foods to avoid are:
Alcohol – raises blood sugar
All artificial sweeteners
Caffeine – except green tea
Cashews and pistachios – mold
Coffee – mold and raises blood sugar
Fermented – sugar
Mushrooms – fungus
Pork – parasites
Tuna – high in mercury
Vinegar – except apple cider vinegar
Yeast containing foods
Along with a low sugar diet antifungals help get Candida back under control. There are prescription antifungals but they come with nasty side effects. It’s best to use safer natural antifungals. There are many to choose from and you can get them pretty easily including at your local grocery store.
While killing off Candida cells the liver becomes overwhelmed. Help your liver by drinking lots of water and herbal teas. Good choices are milk thistle or dandelion throughout the day. Bladder issues are a problem for some people with MS drinking these in the evening may be a problem. If so, it would be best to drink these earlier in the day to prevent having to get up multiple times at night.
Try taking a few different antifungals at the same time, you can even double your dose. My functional medical doctor recommended Formula SF722 by Thorne Research. It’s six times more effective than caprylic acid! It doesn’t kill off the good bacteria and promotes a healthy intestinal flora. I took these along with other antifungals.
Candida Die Off
When large numbers of Candida cells are quickly killed off, they create a die-off effect. It’s also known as the Herxheimer reaction. It’s best to start antifungals at a smaller amount then increase it as your body is getting used to them. If you do start feeling die off, cut back or temporarily stop the antifungals. Start back up when you’re feeling better. Then start back up but at a slower pace.
Die off symptoms:
Stress plays a huge roll in Candida because it raises your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone. It raises your blood sugar in stressful situations. Candida doesn’t care where the sugar comes from as long as it can feed off of it.
It’s impossible to remove stress but you can learn some techniques that will help reduce stress. Try deep breathing, yoga, stretching exercises, walking, or laughing with friends. Going to bed by 10 pm will help you get more restful sleep so you can feel refreshed the next day.
Every time you take antibiotics it kills not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria. Since Candida is fast growing it takes this opportunity to take over. First start a Candida diet and introducing antifungals to knock it down. Then introduce probiotics to build up the good bacteria.
Researchers discovered people with MS have different bacterias than healthy people. Two with higher levels pro-inflammatory bacteria’s. And lower levels of one anti-inflammatory bacteria. They also have higher levels of methane in their breath than healthy people. Which could be another option used as a diagnosis in the future.
There are lots of different articles about when to start taking an antibiotic so it can get confusing. It’s best to not start taking them on day one of the Candida diet since you’re working on removing the overgrowth. Since probiotics are expensive you may be wasting your money by flushing them out too. Plus, you don’t want to overload your body with all the changes and creating a Candida die off effect.
It’s best to start after you’ve started the Candida diet and antifungals. Since we’re talking systemic Candida, a serious infection, it will take time. I followed the recommendations from the book Healing Multiple Sclerosis by Ann Boroch. She recommended starting probiotics on the fourth month, so that’s what I did.
It’s important to choose a good quality probiotic. Some people have issues when they start a probiotic. Starting one with 15 billion live cultures is a good choice, then work your way up. I like to switch between different probiotics like these below:
Candida is hard to get back under control so no cheating and remember to start slow with antifungals to avoid die off. – You are strong and you can do this!
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