The answer to this question may be due to the fact that their diets are pretty much “yeast free” and a yeast free diet is one component of what is called a “Candida Cleanse”. The Candida Albicans yeast is a part of our normal gut flora, a group of microorganisms that live in your mouth and intestine. When the amount of Candida Albicans gets too high in our bodies we tend to experience stomach problems such as bloating and gas. As well, we can experience symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, weight gain and joint pain. In this Passover special article I would like to investigate the health benefits of yeast free diets and how it relates to Candida overgrowth.
Why does Candida get out of hand?
Almost everyone has Candida Albicans in their gut, and a significant proportion of us may have Candidiasis, or an overgrowth of Candida. Candida Albicans starts to cause trouble when there is some change in your body that allows it to overgrow. This change could be anything from a few courses of antibiotics or a prolonged diet rich in carbohydrates and sugar. (Anyone who has ever made Challah certainly knows how sugar immediately causes Yeast to growth and become active!)
What’s the problem with having too much Candida?
So why is Candida a bad thing? Ordinarily it isn’t – the Candida Albicans population is kept under control by the friendly bacteria in our gut. However, when your immune system is down or you have taken too many antibiotics, Candida starts to multiply and can quickly take over.
The overgrowth of Candida Albicans produces toxins that your body has problems coping with. The wide-ranging side effects of this battle may range from headaches and fatigue to abdominal pain and depression. The theory is that the problem stems from the metabolic byproduct of Candida called acetaldehyde, which happens to be toxic to humans at high levels. It is what causes the hangover symptoms one might get from drinking too much alcohol.
The occurrence of Candidiasis has actually been increasing rapidly over the last few decades. Our modern diet of processed food and sweets is partly to blame, but also the increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes, plus the much more frequent use of antibiotics.
Symptoms common with Candida Overgrowth
Hypoglycemia: Because Candida yeast is in our guts and eat the sugar we ingest, we actual get less of it when we eat it! Then we will crave it, and in a vicious cycle, we need to eat a lot more sugar. Then our pancreas works harder than normal to produces insulin, sugar rushes out of the bloodstream and into the cells, and then finally our blood sugar crashes. We then might feel shaky, irritable and have a headaches!
Brain fog: As mentioned a byproduct of its sugar metabolism, candida produces acetaldehyde – the same toxic byproduct your liver produces when processing alcohol. So effectively, candida can make you feel a little bit drunk! People usually describe it as poor memory, fuzzy thinking, or poor word recall. Acetaldehyde can also leads to headaches.
Gas and bloating: Candida ferments the sugar you eat, and one of the byproducts of fermentation is carbon dioxide. Great in your lungs, but pretty unpleasant in your gut.
Itching: Patients usually have some kind of skin involvement when they have too much Candida, but occasionally a patient will describe itching at some other body orifice, such as the ears or throat.
Food sensitivities. Candida byproducts irritate the gut lining, and over time this can cause inflammation. If the inflammation is severe enough, it can lead to food molecules prematurely coming in contact with the bloodstream, and this can trick your body into thinking the food is a foreign invader. Then you end up becoming sensitive to a lot of foods you love eating!
The Candida Cleanse in a Nutshell:
So how do you lower you Candida levels? I have a particular protocol I designed which is about 7 pages in length and refers precisely to what a person can and can not eat and exactly what to do --- but for brevity in this article this is the basic concept:
1. Cut out all refined sugars, refined carbohydrates and fruit sugars (all of which Candida likes to eat and grow from)
2. Cut out Yeast, Fungi and fermented foods (like vinegars and alcohol)
3. Kill the Candida -- There are some excellent over-the-counter natural antifungal products. Garlic is one of the most potent of all.
4. Repopulate the gut with a probiotic. Bacteria like bifidobacillus to lactobacillus are generally used. The increase of good bacteria will crowd out the Candida.
What are some other Benefits of a Yeast free diet?
Obviously a decrease in eating sugar leads to eating more vegetables and fiber to replace the processed food you used to be eating. This will help regulate your blood sugar. Eventually this will lead to a more constant level of energy. Eventually one will lose weight. The higher level of fiber you will likely get in your diet will improve the efficiency of the digestive tract.
Are there side effects to the yeast free diet?
Many people who have decreased or eliminated yeast report feeling healthier and more energetic in about three to six weeks. It is important to note that a sudden drop in yeast and sugar in the diet could make one feel very sick for up to one week; this result is generally considered normal but is not really that fun. It is called a “candida die-off reaction.” As the yeast dies off from the lack of sugar it tend to release toxins as it dies. A good way to avoid this is to make sure you are eating enough food throughout the day and drinking plenty of water to flush the toxins out of your system. Also eating ground flax seeds (due to the fiber content) can help to bind up some of the toxins. 1-2 tsp of freshly ground flax seed in a large cup of water a day will definitely help improve the situation.
The bottom line:
Many sufferers of Candidiasis remain undiagnosed by their doctors and unaware of their condition. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t recognize the systemic problems that Candidiasis causes. They only treat the symptoms when it appears to be an obvious infection like thrush. Some healthcare professionals don’t believe in systemic Candida infections, so you need to find a doctor with an open mind, or see a naturopath like myself, a homeopathic doctor or another holistic practitioner. Try to see if you are one of the few people that feel better from the yeast free “Passover diet” this year. If you do see a decrease in your symptoms and more energy you might want to look into doing a full Candida Cleanse! Feel free to contact my office for a Candida Cleanse Consultation. I would be happy to share my Advanced Candida Cleanse Protocol with you and help you kill the yeast once and for all! Have a Happy, Healthy and Kosher Passover!
Dr. Anders Nerman, ND.
Dr. Anders Nerman, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor with an Integrative Family Medical practice in Wolfson Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. For more visit www.drnerman.com, call 972-54-427-8667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or adopting any treatment for a health problem.