Leaky gut syndrome is a very common (often undiagnosed) condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed. This inflammation can be caused by many different things, including the following:
Inflammation causes damage to the tissue, resulting in excess permeability and unusually large spaces between the cells of the mucosal lining, which allows bacteria, viruses, fungi and other potentially toxic materials to enter the bloodstream. The widened spaces can also allow undigested food particles to “leak” through the intestinal lining. This could pose a serious health risk since these particles may be considered “foreign” by the body and the immune system may try to destroy them.
Candidiasis typically progresses in a very systematic way. The symptoms escalate in four stages. First, imbalances begin in the digestive tract. As the Candida begins to dominate the intestinal environment, people develop characteristic symptoms such as heartburn, gas, bloating, anal itching and vaginitis. As body defenses weaken, Candida and other fungi can infect other body areas, causing athlete's foot, jock itch, skin, ear, and nail infections.
Although yeast cannot invade bodily tissue directly the way bacteria and viruses can, like other fungi, it produces root-like structures that penetrate the lining of the gut. This damage provides a site for incompletely digested dietary proteins to enter the bloodstream. The body sees these proteins as antigens and responds by developing an allergic reaction to that particular food. Candida sufferers are plagued by multiple food sensitivities, a condition that creates a vicious circle of immune suppression, further Candida and allergy.
As Candidiasis progresses, yeast cells attach themselves to mucous membrane surfaces, form a colony and transform into a fuzzy "mycelium" (think mold on bread). As their roots penetrate the tissues, searching for nutrients, the yeast produce toxins that damage the tissue and cause inflammation. Any tissue that has been colonized by yeast will be plagued with symptoms---vaginitis, diarrhea, heartburn or "thrush" (yeast in the mouth). Yeast cells can also show up in the sinuses, ears and eyes.
As the toxic by-products of a yeast infection circulate through the bloodstream, they can trigger symptoms in distant parts of the body. This tissue upset can result in conditions as diverse as asthma, sinusitis, lupus, PMS and kidney stones, according to Dr. Ralph Golan, writing in Optimal Wellness. Symptoms depend on which organ has been affected by the toxins. Damage to the brain can cause fuzzy thinking, while skin damage will cause itching and rashes.
As the immune system becomes compromised, the body becomes hypersensitive to otherwise benign levels of such common chemicals as gas fumes, perfume and pesticides.
The yeast-damaged body becomes so overwhelmed that it can produce antibodies against its own tissues, causing conditions like severe PMS. Along with classic allergy symptoms like hay fever and hives, as the sufferer becomes more allergic and chemically sensitive, he/ she can develop reactions including headache, joint pain and nausea.
A third set of symptoms occurs when a yeast infection involves the central nervous system, and mental symptoms such as headache, irritability, confusion and lethargy begin. Finally, in an advanced case of candidiasis the body develops symptoms of organ and hormone dysfunction. The most common of these is hypothyroidism, followed by adrenal failure, but any organ can be involved. In children, the symptoms usually start with chronic ear infections and colic.
What Triggers The Invasion?
Candida truly is a disease of modern life. All of the factors that aggravate yeast overgrowth are consequences of modern living. Healthy people (or pets) do not get yeast infections.
Yeast overgrows for two reasons: Something feeds it or something suppresses the immune system, rendering the body incapable of controlling it.
Antibiotics are thought to be the single greatest contributor to Candida. True, antibiotics kill unwanted bacteria, such as those that cause teenage acne, but they also non-selectively kill the good bacteria in the digestive tract and vagina, allowing the antibiotic resistant Candida Albicans to flourish. Women often develop vaginal yeast infections after using antibiotics and frequently trace their first onset of Candidiasis to a potent course of antibiotics, often years before. Once Candidiasis develops and the gut is overgrown with yeast, the body's colony of beneficial bacteria cannot be reestablished without treatment.
Yeast also loves sugar. Remember, yeast is used to ferment sugar in bread and beer. White sugar, especially, is the perfect yeast food. It also suppresses immune response, which increases the likelihood that a yeast infection will spread. Sugar is not the only dietary culprit: All carbohydrates feed yeast to a certain extent and can contribute to episodes of symptoms.
Women are more at risk for the yeast syndrome, at least during their fertile years. Progesterone, produced in abundance prior to menstruation, favors yeast, and many premenstrual women see an increase in their yeast symptoms. Progesterone is a principal ingredient in oral contraceptives, which, not surprisingly, provoke yeast. When the body is in balance, taking oral contraceptives shouldn't cause significant yeast problems, but when Candida is out of control, birth control pills can be a serious complicating factor.
During pregnancy, women develop higher blood sugar and higher progesterone. What could be better for yeast? In fact, many women trace the onset of their symptoms to their first pregnancy.
Finally, of course, women have a vagina---one more dark, moist, warm cavity for yeast to call home. A recent study showed that women with vaginal Candidiasis had one-sixth the normal level of beta carotene in the cells of the vagina. Reduced levels of beta carotene, a recognized immune-enhancing antioxidant, suggest suppressed immunity in those tissues, leaving them more susceptible to vaginal yeast.
(It is virtually impossible to have a yeast or fungus infection in just one small area, such as the vagina. Fungi and yeast only need dark, warm, and moist conditions to become opportunistic. Our bodies have literally a multitude of other dark, warm, and moist locations. People who have been adequately treated with prescription drugs for fungi often find that have less itching in their ears, that their sinus problems clear up, and that various body rashes disappear. While those are external benefits to anti-fungals, internally, they often find that they breathe easier, asthma-like symptoms disappear, thrush evaporates, and their IBS is no longer a problem. One of the main reasons for us to have fungal problems is that we have been found to lower NK cells. NK cells are among the first line of the immune system's defense to ward off opportunistic infections. While alternative medicine practitioners know and treat this problem, it is only the nationally-recognized CFS, FM, MCS, and Lyme-literate doctors who address these issues. Attempting to obtain appropriate and adequate anti-fungal treatment from one's HMO or regular Internist is almost a lost cause, despite the overwhelming research that proves its reality.)
Numerous other circumstances favor yeast development. Incomplete digestion of carbohydrates, especially when combined with diarrhea, brings food to the yeast that inhabit the large intestine. A number of drugs, especially cortisone, encourage the growth of yeast, as does exposure to damaging amounts of environmental chemicals, such as pesticides. Allergies, glandular disorders from any source (including diabetes) and trauma (such as surgery) also contribute to Candidiasis.
Clearly, none of these factors alone causes yeast disorder, which is what makes the condition so elusive. To treat the problem successfully once yeast has gotten firmly established, you must "search and destroy" each of Candida's building blocks one by one.
Candida can be controlled with a multi-pronged approach aimed at normalizing and strengthening immune function, killing yeast in the digestive tract (and other areas it has colonized), replacing beneficial flora in the intestines and stabilizing the nutritional status of the body as a whole.
Diet. Eat whole foods that nourish you--not the yeast. You knew all along I was going to say it: No Sugar. The more you minimize simple carbohydrates in favor of complex carbohydrates, the better. Most people need to eliminate fruit for a period of time, and some can't even tolerate high-starch vegetables like potatoes.
Essentially, the diet that starves yeast while supporting the immune system avoids sweets, refined flours and all allergy-producing and mold-containing foods (if sensitive to them). Such a diet includes adequate protein, a lot of fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates appropriate to the case and moderate fat and fruit only as tolerated.
Food craving can be a big problem on an anti-yeast diet. When full of yeast, people feel a tremendous pressure to feed the fungus with sugar. Dr. Crook likens eating sugar in these circumstances to throwing kerosene on a fire. For cravings, he recommends protein, such as raw nuts or baked tofu. Ironically, when people have multiple food allergies, they are often addicted to the very foods that produce the allergic reactions and have classic withdrawal cravings without those foods.
Supplements. Many natural medicines work well to control yeast. One of the most important is "friendly flora," the bactobacilli that belong in the gut. Because the yeast has colonized the membranes of the intestines, large doses of lactobacilli are necessary to overpower the Candida and replace its colonies. Use powdered acidophilus from the refrigerator case. A typical dose is two tablespoons per day for two weeks. In addition, you can use five mg of biotin per day or try Caprylic acid (begin with 200 to 300 mg a day, working up to 6,000 mg a day after two to three weeks).
Herbs. Many herbs act as anti-fungals. Basically, we can separate them into those that kill yeast directly and those that control it by supporting the immune system over time. Some do both.
Getting control of yeast requires a holistic approach to your total lifestyle. The world---and our bodies with it---is covered with yeast, and you will never be able to kill enough of the fungus to escape it. Only by adjusting your diet, de-stressing your lifestyle and supporting your immune system can you conquer Candida. For this whole-person problem, with a little discipline, you will find a whole-person solution.
Yeast Risk Factor -- Antibiotics, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, cortisone and other immunosuppressant drugs, sugar, high-fat high-sugar nutrient-poor diets, environmental chemicals, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, allergy-producing foods, malabsorption of nutrients, chronic diarrhea, chronic viral infections, anti-inflammatory drugs, ulcer medication or acid blockers/antacids used for prolonged periods, emotional trauma.
Indulge -- Fresh lemon, fresh lime, most vegetable juices except carrot and beet, most vegetables, fresh garlic, fresh ginger
Avoid -- Fruit, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, ketchup, all alcoholic beverages, chocolate, coffee, dried-herb teas, milk, vinegar
This category represents two different gastrointestinal diseases that are medically grouped together under the heading of idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. They include Ulcerative Colitis, which affects the large intestine, and Crohn’s Disease, which can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. Depending upon where Crohn’s disease manifests, it can also be called regional enteritis, terminal ileitis, or granulomatous colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a severe inflammation of the mucosal lining of the colon. When the condition flares, it can be extremely painful and the individual experiences severe diarrhea. One triggering factor is believed to be infection of the colon with E. coli.
Crohn’s Disease is thought to involve infection with a microorganism known as Mycobacterium Para tuberculosis, although there may be many other causes. Most people with Crohn’s disease suffer gastrointestinal distress, persistent diarrhea and weight loss due to poor absorption of nutrients. These individuals are also much more susceptible to infections in the gastrointestinal tract.
Pets suffering from these conditions usually benefit significantly from high quality bovine colostrum supplementation like our NZYMES® Pet Colostrum (call, for special order).
There are several reasons for this:
- Dairy cows are usually exposed to pathogenic forms of both F. coli and to Mycobacterium Para tuberculosis. The cows’ immune systems then produce specific antibodies for both of these antigens, which are passed on to us in high quality bovine colostrum;
- The broad diversity of other antibodies in colostrum (particularly IgA) protect against further infection;
- The growth factors in bovine colostrum induce repair of damaged tissues, sometimes significantly reversing the condition all together.
Also, a diagnosis that must be consdered in IBS/IBD cases is:
Click here: Division of Parasitic Diseases - Cryptosporidium Infection
During the past two decades, crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease within humans in the United States. The parasite may be found in drinking water and recreational water in every region of the United States and throughout the world.