Taming the Yeast Beast
There are many species of yeast and fungii and numerous types have positive benefits. For example, yeast helps bread to rise and triggers the fermentation process that allows brewers to make beer and wine. Like mushrooms, yeast microorganisms are a type of fungus. They an important part of the mix of organisms needed for soil health. Yeasts are also among the dozens of species of microorganisms that inhabit our intestines. This blend of microbes is known collectively as the intestinal “microflora” and are critical to health.
Under the right conditions, however, these normally friendly micro-organisms can multiply out of control and change from friendly allies to nasty little “beasts” that wreak havoc on our health. One yeast that can do this is a little creature called Candida albicans, or candida for short. When candida gets out of control, one develops candidiasis. Other species may also turn beastly, so we’re going to call the problem of excessive yeast in the body yeast overgrowth.
Yeast overgrowth undermines good health because yeast secrete toxins which weaken the body’s immune system. Obvious signs of yeast overgrowth include recurring vaginal yeast infections, thrush, athlete’s foot, nail fungus and jock itch, but yeast overgrowth can also be an underlying factor in chronic indigestion, asthma, allergies, chronic sinus congestion, skin problems like acne and general immune weakness.
Remember that it’s normal and natural to have some yeast growing in the intestines, as yeast is part of the natural balance of intestinal microflora. However, when the yeast is out of balance and multiplying out of control, serious problems result.
What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
Typically, something upsets the natural balance of our intestinal microflora. Specifically, there are friendly bacteria in the intestines that help keep yeasts in check, the most important of these being Lactobacillis bacteria. Anything that destroys these bacteria will allow yeasts to grow unchecked.
It is becoming widely recognized that antibiotics upset the balance of the intestinal microflora by killing the friendly bacteria, but antibiotics aren’t the only reason yeast can multiply out of control in people’s bodies. Many other chemicals in our environment have negative effects on the intestinal flora. These include alcohol, chlorinated drinking water, MSG, nitrates and sulfates. Since yeasts feed on sugar, excess consumption of sugar also plays a role in yeast overgrowth.
Once the yeast is out of control, it secretes substances that weaken the integrity of the intestines (resulting in intestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome) and are absorbed into the blood stream, thereby weakening the immune system and causing us to crave more sugar. It’s almost like the yeasts hijack the body and cause us to want to perpetuate the environment that sustains their existence.
However, you need to be aware that it’s not just yeast that can mulitply out of control because of antibiotics and other chemicals and drugs, it’s also bacteria. An overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines can cause similar problems to excessive yeast. Fortunately, many of the therapies that work for yeast overgrowth also help to reduce bacterial overgrowth in the small intestines. Thomas Easley and I did a webinar on this topic, which we are re-recording and will be offering for sale soon.
Anyway, if you do have a problem with yeast, here are the steps to correcting it.
Step One: Modify the Diet to Stop Feeding the Yeast
The first and most important step in eliminating yeast overgrowth is to stop feeding the yeast beast. Yeast love carbohydrates – especially simple sugars. So, to calm the raging yeast beast, limit his food supply! This means eliminating all simple carbs, sugars and refined grains from the diet for a short period of time (usually 2-4 weeks).
Simple sugars include table sugar (or sucrose), glucose, fructose, corn syrup and even natural sugars like honey, brown sugar and fruit juices. Refined grain products include, but are not limited to, white flour, white rice, corn chips and breakfast cereals. In order to successfully eliminate these foods from your diet, you’ll have to read labels carefully, as most prepackaged foods contain them.
It is also important to avoid alcohol because it is converted to sugar in the body. In fact, if your problem is severe, you may want to avoid even whole grains, fruits and starchy foods like potatoes for the first two weeks.
It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that contain yeast or mold, such as bread, beer, aged cheeses and so forth. Many experts also recommend avoiding pickled and fermented foods with vinegar. These foods don’t cause yeast overgrowth, but eliminating them for a period of time seems to help get yeast under control.
This diet may seem very restrictive, but it’s going to help you learn to eat healthier in general. Here’s what you should eat.
Have a 3-4 ounce portion of high quality protein at each meal, such as fish, poultry, red meat, eggs, plain yoghurt, nuts or legumes. Meat and dairy products should be organic, as animals raised in non-organic farms are often routinely fed antibiotics, which contribute to yeast overgrowth.
Fill the rest of your plate with low glycemic carbohydrates (non-starchy vegetables) such as green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, chard, celery, lettuce, radishes and cucumbers. Green foods are especially valuable. You can also eat low glycemic fruits, particularly berries like raspberries and blueberries.
It is also important to include good fats in your diet. A particularly good fat for fighting candida is coconut oil because it contains a medium chain saturated fatty acid called caprylic acid that helps control yeast. Other good fats are organic butter, flax seed oil and olive oil.
Step Two: Use Anti-Fungal Agents to Reduce Yeast Overgrowth
Now that we’ve cut off the yeast beast’s food supply, we can knock it down using antifungal herbs and supplements. A convenient way to do this is with the Candida Clear Pack. This pack contains three anti-fungal agents, Pau D’Acro, Caprylic Acid Combination and Yeast Fungal Detox, which provide a three-pronged attack on the yeast beast. Candida Clear also contains packets of Candida Cleanse Enzymes which should be taken between meals to biodegrade dead yeast cells and avoid “cleansing reactions.” Here’s a breakdown of the products in Candida Clear and what they do.
Pau D’Arco bark is one of our most valuable antifungal herbs. It not only reduces yeast overgrowth, it also tones intestinal membranes and acts as a blood purifier to remove toxins and help clear skin conditions. Besides being part of the Candida Clear pack, Pau D’Arco is also available in capsules, extract and bulk form. Many people have successfully tamed yeast infections with Pau D’Arco alone. When using this herb by itself, one quart of tea or about 8-9 capsules per day is a good dose.
Yeast/Fungal Detox is a blend containing several herbs that reduce yeast overgrowth, including Pau D’Arco, garlic, oregano, and the antifungal compounds, sodium propionate and sorbic acid. It also contains echinacea, selenium and zinc, which help to rebuild the immune system. Yeast/Fungal Detox is available as a stand-alone formula, as well as part of the Candida Clear pack. Suggested dose for Yeast/Fungal Detox is 1-2 capsules per day.
Caprylic Acid Combination is the third product in Candida Clear that helps to counteract yeast overgrowth. It contains caprylic acid, a medium chain fatty acid found in coconut oil that is known to have antifungal and immune-enhancing qualities. Caprylic Acid Combination also contains elecampane and black walnut, two herbs known for their ability to combat intestinal parasites. It is also available as a separate product.
One of the problems associated with knocking down excess yeast in the intestinal tract is that their death results in cellular debris that can cause adverse reactions. To counteract this effect (often called a cleansing reaction) Candida Clear contains a pack of enzymes to be taken between meals. These enzymes digest the dead yeast and allow them to be destroyed without adverse effects. Without these enzymes, you have to take much lower doses of the anti-fungal products to avoid these die-off cleansing reactions.
Step Three: Repopulate the Body with Friendly Bacteria (Probiotics)
The final step in taming the yeast beast is to repopulate the intestines with friendly bacteria or probiotics. Naturally fermented foods such as yoghurt, raw sauerkraut and miso are good dietary sources of these friendly microbes to use when cleansing, but you’ll probably want to also take a probiotic supplement like Probiotic Eleven – a formula containing eleven strains of friendly bacteria to help restore normal intestinal flora. Bifidophilus Flora Force is another good probiotic supplement.
Probiotics should always be taken after a round of antibiotics. They should also be taken regularly by anyone on medications that disrupt and destroy friendly flora. For chronic yeast infections, probiotics can also be introduced into the vaginal area via a douche.