Could Candida be the reason you are not losing weight?

What do antibiotics, a high-sugar diet, chronic stress and too little sleep have in common? They all play havoc with our gut flora and, therefore, our state of health. An imbalance between the good and bad bugs in the gut creates a very welcoming environment for opportunistic pathogens such as Candida Albicans to multiply to a problematic level.  Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast.  These microbes (in the right quantities) are actually helpful to our digestive system and we all harbour some in our gastrointestinal tract. Our good bacteria is what usually keeps the yeast in check.

Candida fungus

Unfortunately, poor food and lifestyle choices, as well as antibiotic use can weaken our defenses, allowing yeast colonies to grow. Sugar, alcohol and starchy foods provide nourishment for Candida to multiply.  When Candida is overproduced, it eventually weakens the walls of the intestines causing toxins such as undigested food molecules, bacteria and chemicals to be leaked into the bloodstream (leaky gut syndrome).  These toxins trigger widespread inflammatory and allergic reactions in the body. They impair the immune and central nervous systems and also upset our delicate hormonal balance.

A Candida infection can be a slow and insidious assault on our bodies that can manifest in many different ways.  It is often misdiagnosed and overlooked as the root cause of ill-health.

Here are 10 common Candida symptoms:

  1. Poor concentration and focus
  2. Being tired all the time
  3. Digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, cramps, nausea
  4. Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching
  5. Oral thrush
  6. Sinus infections
  7. Food intolerances and seasonal allergies
  8. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  9. Joint pain
  10. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  Bad breath, asthma, acid reflux, white coat on tongue, sugar and carb cravings, weight gain or difficulties losing weight as well as low libido can all indicate a Candida problem.  Because Candida has the capacity to affect the immune system, liver, hormones and neurotransmitters, its negative impact on health can be far-reaching.

Unfortunately, an all too common scenario is that when sufferers seek help, each ailment is diagnosed and treated independently of each other. A symptom-targeted approach using pharmaceuticals, such as antibiotics for a sinus infection or proton pump inhibitor medications for acid reflux, might provide some temporarily relief, but can also further aggravate gut dysbiosis. Treating individual symptoms instead of looking at the holistic picture and connecting the dots, frequently leaves the root cause of the problem untreated.

Can’t lose weight?

Those with Candida often struggle to lose weight. Putting in the effort without the expected results can be exceptionally frustrating. Once you understand the obstacles that Candida puts in your way, you can stop blaming yourself for the lack of results and instead get onto a healing protocol that will help rectify the situation.

  • Candida thrives on sugar and literally gobbles up what is available, leaving one with an insatiable desire for fattening foods like sweets, alcohol and starchy food that can become exceptionally difficult to resist.
  • When the Candida organisms die off as part of their natural lifecycle, large quantities of toxins are released into the bloodstream. The liver, whose job it is to filter these toxins, becomes overburdened and unable to process the released toxins fast enough. The “toxic spillover” gets quarantined in the fat cells leading to stubborn weight and cellulite.
  • The adrenal glands are also overworked by the toxins released by the Candida. This causes the thyroid to become sluggish, effectively putting the brakes on your metabolism. Cortisol levels go up and your ‘survival mode’ is switched on. In an attempt to conserve energy and hold on to every last bit of fuel that it can, the body slows down fat burning.
  • The Candida toxins also affect the brain and many neurotransmitters, leaving sufferers feeling tired and depressed. In this state of mind regular exercise and cooking wholesome meals from scratch becomes challenging.
  • Yeast causes abdominal bloating and fluid retention that can add extra centimeters to your waistline ‘overnight’. Even though this is not technically fat gain it can still be highly discouraging for those wanting to slim down.


Treating Candida

Step1: Go low carb

Start by eliminating sugar from your diet to stop feeding the yeast.  This includes fruit and starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Cut out fermented and high yeast foods like vinegars (apple cider vinegar is fine), beer and mushrooms, as these can be used by the Candida organisms to grow. Focus on eating vegetables, animal protein, nuts and seeds, healthy wholefood fats like avocado and stevia for a little sweetness. Garlic and thyme are natural fungicides, so cook with them as often as possible.

Steps 2: Restore balance

Take a high quality probiotic on a regular basis to restore your levels of good bacteria. The lactobacillus strain is very effective at combatting yeast.  Consider taking a supplement of caprylic acid (found naturally in coconut oil). This “pokes holes” in the wall of the yeast cell, causing it to die. Anti-fungal herbal supplements like oregano oil and grapefruit seed oil can also be beneficial. Studies have shown that N- Acetyl cysteine (NAC) has antibacterial properties that disrupt the yeast’s protective biofilm layer.  Now would also be a good time to eat a good variety of vegetables. Fibre from veggies help to feed the good bacteria in your gut and tip the balance back in their favour.

Steps 3: Heal your gut

Steps 1 and 2 will get the Candida under control. Step 3 is all about avoiding inflammatory foods to give your gut a chance to heal. Sugar, coffee, grains, alcohol and dairy are all best avoided as they are irritating to the intestinal lining. Consuming these foods also raises the risk of a Candida overgrowth problem starting up again. An L-Glutamine supplement to heal the gut lining is a worthwhile addition.

Steps 4: Rethink your lifestyle

Regular exercise, sweating and massage will assist the lymphatic system to clear the toxins from the body. Epsom salt baths are a great way to further support detoxification. Managing stress effectively and making time to relax and unwind will bring down cortisol levels.  Good quality sleep is critical, so don’t shortchange yourself. Investigate alternatives to oral birth control as these medications are also problematic for Candida overgrowth.

If you suspect that you have a Candida problem, consider getting professional help from a functional medicine practitioner. There are various tests they can request to confirm a Candida infection, for example, a comprehensive stool analysis, an organic acid urine test or a blood test to check for antibodies to Candida in the blood. Once a proper diagnosis has been made, a multi-pronged treatment plan that focuses on the root cause and brings your gut flora back into balance is your best bet for getting well. The good news is that once yeast overgrowth is addressed, the desire for sugars and carbs are reduced and sticking to a weight loss regime becomes that much easier.  With consistent effort the extra weight should come off.

Interesting fact: Cutting ALL starchy carbs from your diet, in other words following a very low carb ketogenic diet, is not necessarily the answer for treating Candida overgrowth. Studies indicate that yeast may actually feed on the ketones that result from a very low carb diet, making the Candida overgrowth worse.


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About Nicky Perks

Passionately sharing information about the paleo/primal, high fat/low carb lifestyle that will rock your world! I am on my own journey to good health and a slim body. My goal? To enjoy the ride as life on this beautiful planet is just too short to do it any other way.

Posted on September 30, 2020, in Primal 101 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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