Candidiasis, Disbiosis and Leaky Gut Syndrome
Patterns Cause And Effects On Health And Disease Conditions And How To Prevent These Conditions
Diet and Nutrition
July 30 2014
Candida is the organism responsible for most fungal infections. It is normally present in the body however an abundance of it can cause symptoms when a weakened immune system or other factors allow it to grow unabated. Increased use of antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs contribute to higher frequency of fungal infections.
Antibiotics and immunosuppressive drugs disrupt normal bacterial colonization suppressing the immune system creating an environment where fungi can thrive. Chemotherapy, hormone replacement, corticosteroids and oral contraceptives, over consumption of yeast products, sugar or alcohol can promote yeast growth. Candida is can harmlessly colonize the human digestive tract, mouth, skin and genitourinary tract. When the balance of normal bacteria is upset the immune system weakened candida can proliferate. The Urogenital tract, skin, mouth and throat, intestinal candidiasis, fungal sinusitis and systemic infection can be affected by candida.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) does not have a diagnosis for candidiasis. Foods that disturb the balance of the Spleen, produce phlegm and create an environment for yeast overgrowth.
Cleansing is the first step in dealing with candidiasis combined with Chinese herbs. To clear damp heat (Long Dan Xie Gan Wan) and Coptis Formula promote the cleansing process. Acupunture points include LV3,2 ST40 UB57 and LI4. Followed by a tonifying process with astragalus (huang Qi), codonopsis (dang shen), atractylodes (bai zhu) and dioscorea (shan yao).
Foods To Eat
FOODS TO EAT
Eating non-starchy vegetables starves the Candida of the sugar that feeds it. You should buy your vegetables fresh and eat them raw, steamed or grilled.
Avoid starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, corn, all winter squash, beets, peas, parsnips and beans. Olives are OK as long as they are not in distilled white vinegar.
LIVE YOGURT CULTURES
Live yogurt cultures help your gut to repopulate with good bacteria. The live bacteria in the yogurt will crowd out the Candida yeast and restore balance to your system. This is especially useful after a course of antibiotics.
Eat only fresh and organic meat - processed meat (like lunch meat, bacon and spam) is loaded with dextrose, nitrates, sulfates and sugars.
Smoked or vacuum packed meats are also best avoided.
Wild salmon and sardines do contain ocean contaminants, but in much lower amounts than other seafood. Buy these fish fresh or packed in olive oil or water.
NUTS AND SEEDS
These nuts are healthy and have a low mold content. If you're still worried about mold, soak them in a diluted grapefruit seed extract solution for a few hours.
These grains contain a high amount of fiber, excellent for keeping your digestive system moving and eliminating Candida toxins. Most products derived from this list are also OK - e.g. quinoa crackers, buckwheat flour. You can find these in the gluten-free section in health food stores.
HERBS AND SPICES
Many herbs and spices have antioxidant and antifungal properties. They can also improve circulation and reduce inflammation. They're great for livening up food if you're on a limited Candida diet.
Virgin Coconut Oil
Red Palm Oil
Use cold pressed oils where possible. Remember that heating or boiling can destroy many of the oil's nutrients.
Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic, Raw, Unfiltered)
Coconut Aminos are a great alternative to soy sauce. And you can use apple cider vinegar to make some delicious salad dressings.
Chicory root coffee
These are just a few of the herbal teas that have antifungal properties.
Chicory root is also a great prebiotic (it contains 20% Inulin), so it can help to repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria too.
Stevia and xylitol can be used in place of sugar and they have a much smaller effect on your blood sugar levels.
Dysbiosis is a microbial imbalance on or inside the body. It is most common in condiditons of the digestive tract. It is associated with IBS, Chornic Fatigue, Obesity Cancer and Colitis. Dysbiosis can result from a deficiency of good bacteria or over growth of harmful organism. Candida and protozoa induce disease by altering nutrition patterns in the body. Signs and symptoms are bloating, belching, burning, flatulence after meals. Indigestion diarrhea, constipation. Nausea or diarrhea after taking supplements. Rectal itching, chronic intestinal infections, parasites, yeast, undigested food in the stool, greasy stools, skin that easily bruise, fatigue, chornic vaginitis, amenorrhea.
Like hormones, the flora in the digestive system are easily prone to upset and disruption by external sources. Stress, self criticism and anxiety change the PH level in the intestines. The adult intestinal bacteria are thought to remain relatively stable over a period of months or even years, however even the smallest shift in species can lead to compromised immune function in the form of allergies or other autoimmune issues. (Phillips, 2009) And at this point our gut bacteria balance, once completely out of our control, now becomes dependent, almost completely, on our lifestyle, diet and the environment in which we find ourselves. Things like antibiotics, poor dietary choices, psychological stress, and environmental toxins will cause immune-compromising shifts in this bacterial makeupThe intestinal tract is noticeably one of the first areas of the body to react to fear or personal stress. In a balanced system, once the stress is reduced, the pH straightens out and symptoms may disappear. In a weakened system, such as occurs under unrelenting stress, the intestines stay irritated and contribute to chronic discomfort. The cause of dysbiosis can be contributed to stress, diets that are quite poor or imbalanced and lacking nutritional supplementation; imbalanced diets may be extreme in carbohydrates, fat, or animal products. Food allergies or sensitivities (these may in turn be a byproduct of dysbiosis). Frequent antibiotic or drug therapy An immune system that is suppressed; this can occur for a number of reasons, including emotional stress. intestinal infections, parasite infestation Inflammation.
According to Flaws, Li proposes that when the spleen and stomach fail to properly raise the pure and downbear the turbid, a number of things can happen in the body. Dampness descends into the lower warmer, where it brews and forms dampheat. The ministerial fire of the kidneys is disturbed by either this dampheat and/or by depressed fire due to qi vacuity and/or heat in any other organ system or emotions transforming to fire. The ministerial fire can then become erratic, heat in any other organ system or emotions transforming to fire. This is called a yin fire, because it arises from vacuity and often involves dampness. However, this yin fire may also include yin vacuity, causing the more familiar vacuity heat to complicate matters even more. Yin vacuity may be the result of lower burner heat from other causes burning up the yin or it may arise as a consequence of the spleen's failure to replenish yin from foodstuffs.
Flaws summarizes the process, thusly, "Li describes various disease causes and mechanisms of yin fire, we can identify five basic causes of this condition.These are:
- Spleen qi vacuity
- Damp heat
- Liver depression, depressive heat
- Yin & blood vacuity
- Stirring of ministerial fire"
The symptoms associated with such yin fire scenarios can be diverse and include complicated forms of antomy and impediment pattern (bi and wei syndrome). Stasis of blood often complicates the basic scenario, either due to qi depression or vacuity. Thus, it is easy to see how diseases as different as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome can all share the same pathomechanism. To review briefly, the stomach is responsible for rotting and ripening. The qi of the harmonious stomach descends and propels the turbid waste through the bowels. The spleen transforms and transports, which is to say it breaks down foodstuffs and upbears the finest essences of the food. This pure grain qi mixes with air qi inthe lung, where it moves to the heart as blood to be propelled around the body. If the upbearing fails, then the pure is discharged through the bowels and one is not properly nourished, i.e. assimilation fails. If the food stuffs are not properly transformed by the spleen, then the turbid may pollute the newly formed blood, i.e. excretion fails.
- Fill 80% of your plate with greens and vegetables (raw, steamed, baked, cooked) and 20% with protein and good fats (meat, fish, avocado, etc.)
- Stop eating when you are 80% full – this will help your body digest more easily
- Daily protocol
- First thing in the morning, have a glass of water with half a squeezed lemon
- For breakfast, have a green shake plus supplements. There are recipes in the book and at cleangut.com. Ideally you should vary the shakes. If you have nut allergies, use sunflower seed butter or coconut manna instead, or omit them
- For lunch, have a meal from the Clean Gut diet (guidelines aren’t clear)
- For dinner, have a meal from the recipes, consisting of an entrée-size salad
- There’s also a supplement protocol to go with these meals
- Combine mindfully for better digestion
- Pair vegetables and greens with animal protein (fish, meat, eggs)
- Pair vegetables and greens with vegetable protein (e.g. lentils, quinoa)
- Don’t pair animal protein and vegetable protein – e.g. don’t pair chicken and quinoa, instead eat chicken and veggies or quinoa and veggies
- Whole vegetables, preferably organic and local
- Raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced, or roasted
- Acorn squash, arugula, asparagus, avocado, baby greens, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, butternut squash, cabbage, napa cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumbers, delicata squash, fennel, kabocha squash, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, green peas, bell peppers, hot peppers, pumpkin, radish, scallions, shallot, snow peas, spaghetti squash, spinach, tomato, yellow squash, zucchini, etc.
- Squash, tomatoes, etc.
- Seaweed and water vegetables – e.g. dulse, nori, spirulina powder
- Only fresh and frozen berries, lemons, and limes
- Preferably organic and local
- Dairy substitutes
- Unsweetened and free of xanthan gum
- Hemp milk
- Nut milks – almond milk, hazelnut milk, walnut milk, etc.
- Coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, coconut butter – unsweetened, no added flavor, organic when possible
- Organic or pasture-raised eggs
- Quinoa – go easy on these and lentils, only a side serving a day
- Meat and fish
- Fish – Fresh or water-packed cold-water fish – anchovies, cod, halibut, kippers, mackerel, pike, salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, etc.
- Wild game – bison, elk, pheasant, rabbit, venison, etc.
- Meats – lamb, small amounts of grass-fed beef. Preferably organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed – check out eatwild.com for a state-by-state listing of organic and grass-fed animal products
- Poultry – organic chicken, duck, organic turkey, free-range sugar-free turkey bacon
- Vegetable proteins
- Legumes – split peas, lentils – go easy on these and quinoa, only a side serving a day (note – soy foods such as tofu are not permitted)
- Bee pollen
- Spirulina, blue-green algae
- Nuts and seeds
- Go easy on nuts – only a handful a day
- Raw varieties free of preservatives, salt and sugar
- Nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, coconut, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, etc. (No peanuts)
- Seeds – chia seeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Nut and seed butters – almond butter, cashew butter, tahini, etc. – unsweetened, unsalted, raw or dry-roasted, organic when possible
- Nut and seed flours and meals – e.g. almond flour, flax meal
- Fats and oils
- Look for organic expeller and cold-pressed, unrefined oils
- Almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flax oil, extra-virgin olive oil, pumpkin oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, walnut oil
- Fermented foods
- Kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
- Filtered, seltzer, and mineral waters
- Green and white teas
- Herbal teas
- Yerba maté
- Coconut water
- Green juices
Stevia, xylitol, Lakanto
- Condiments and pantry
All herbs , including bay leaf, basil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint,parsley,rosemary, sage, thyme. All spices, including cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger, lemongrass, nutmeg, paprika, red pepper flakes. Black pepper, free-range or organic broth, capers, raw carob, raw chocolate/cacao (dairy- and sugar-free), coconut liquid aminos, fish sauce (Red Boat brand), unsweetened ketchup, miso, stone-ground mustard, nama shoyu, olives, sea salt, wheat-free tamari, vinegar
Plant-based protein powder – rice, hemp, or pea based, no soy or Nutritional yeast.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut is a condition affecting the lining of the intestines, creating a dysfunctional environment for proper digestion. It is also called “increased intestinal permeability”, because with leaky gut, the intestines lose some of their ability to filter nutrients and other substances. When this happens, particles of incompletely digested foods, bacteria, other waste by-products may leak through the intestines into the bloodstream. It is usually caused by some form of damage to the intestinal lining.
Our intestines are lined with cells, which are sealed together by something called “tight junctions”. In healthy intestines, these junctions work like gatekeepers, which essentially allow or prohibit particles to move through the gut and into the circulatory system. With leaky gut syndrome, particles can slip through the cells and tight junctions and literally leak into bloodstream or lymphatic system, and move freely throughout the body.
When the body recognizes these foreign substances and detects something is wrong, the immune system kicks in, and tries to fight what it perceives to be danger in the intestines. This causes inflammation and inhibits functioning. In this situation, a woman’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is decreased, and her immune system can become compromised. Impaired immune functioning here is extremely important, as our guts contain tissue known as gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) which helps protect us from antigens causing food allergies as well as microbes carrying disease.
When the body is continually trying to repair itself from the effects of leaky gut, it can be caught in a never-ending cycle, especially when the source of the problem is not diagnosed. For example, if unrecognized food allergies are creating leaky gut, and the same foods are consumed over and over, a self- perpetuating, inflammatory cycle will be triggered, and the intestinal lining cannot heal.
Chronic inflammation in the intestines is a concern, because of the potential for its link to many serious disorders ranging from depression, osteoporosis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s, heart failure, and more. Leaky gut may be also be linked to other gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel disease, Crohns disease or celiac disease, as well as immune system disorders such rheumatoid arthritis, and even asthma. That’s why I stress to my patients the importance of sharing all of their symptoms and concerns, no matter how small they may seem. As we examine each of the symptoms, we can figure out what may be causing them, and how to relieve them.
Antibiotics introduce a very cold environment into the digestive system. It depletes spleen yang and disrupts spleen-stomach harmony. This impairs digestion and absorption of food and fluids, and more important, depletes the qi necessary to maintain the integrity of the small intestine. The small intestine is controlled by the spleen. The spleen’s function of absorption and distribution of qi and fluid happens in the small intestine, and the function of the SI is controlled by the Stomach and Spleen channels (not the Small Intestine channel). So, the initial damage to the integrity of the small intestine is due to damage of the spleen function.
We can understand the small intestines discharging toxins to the liver in terms of spleen insulting liver, that is, a reverse control within the wu xing (five phase) cycle. The liver will become excess, causing a stagnation of qi and blood. Its ability to store and distribute the blood (which includes the ability to cleanse the blood) becomes impaired. This is the main excess in an array of other deficiencies (spleen, kidney), and as such, becomes the pivotal key-link that needs to be addressed first. Zang-Fu therapy usually requires that the excess be addressed at the beginning.
When the spleen becomes depleted, the kidney will become excess, according to wu xing theory. Initially, the body responds with a kidney yang excess, to try to reinforce the yang that has been depleted in the spleen. This will manifest as stress, anxiety, and poor sleep. (It is directly measurable as an elevated adrenal cortisol level.) Over a period of time, kidney yang will begin to become depleted, leading to fatigue. Over a longer period of time, both kidney yang and yin will be come depleted, leading to a depletion of the yuan-jing reserves, resulting in true exhaustion.
The combined depletion of kidney and spleen, with depletion of the yuan-jing reserves, significantly depletes the ying qi flowing through the channels. Wei qi, being the active radiating yang aspect of the ying qi, is also depleted, diminishing an effective response to pathogenic factors. The whole stomach and intestinal tract is still considered the outside of the body, and as such, depends on wei qi to keep pathogenic factors from entering. As the wei qi is reduced, pathogenic toxins are free to enter the body and further sap its reserves of energy.
Successful rehabilitation requires that the ying and wei be restored to normal levels, through regulation of the spleen and kidney. This tonification of the wei qi will help regenerate tissue on the surface of the small intestine. Again, it is required that the blockage and congestion at the liver be allowed to open up again, or, in terms of TCM, dredged.
Underlying the susceptibility to Leaky Gut Syndrome is the probability that the qi is deficient to start with. This goes back to a modern lifestyle of poor eating habits and poor food choices which injures the spleen, and the various stresses of modern life (lifestyle, chemicals, electromagnetic) that depletes kidney qi. Within the acupuncture network, this contributes to a weakened dantian, or hara. The small intestine lies over and around the dantian. This is one of the most important energy centers in the body, the place where food is converted to qi and blood. When the dantian becomes weakened, it creates a terrain that allows Leaky Gut Syndrome to take place. And it indicates that a successful adjunct to therapy would include dantian qi gong.
People worry about many sorts of environmental toxins: vaccinations, dental amalgams, pesticides, herbicides, food additives, chlorine, etc. It is true that all of these are stressors on the body, and contribute to an overall decline in health. The worst threat, however, is an ongoing toxic intrusion from the cesspool that exists in our intestines. The body has a marvelous mechanism, a selective intestinal permeability, that allows digested nutrients in while keeping toxins meant for excretion out. Throughout history, in general, this barrier has maintained its integrity. During the last fifty years, due to the intrusive irritation of antibiotics and NSAIDs, the average person’s health has been significantly challenged and weakened.
Liver Qi Stag.
- Spleen Qi Def
- Small Intestine damaged
4. Kidney yin/yang depleted (which needs to be addressed after the first 3 patterns)
Antibiotics damage the intestines is by fostering the growth of Candida Albicans and other pathogenic fungi and yeast. This event, more than any other, precipitates Leaky Gut Syndrome. In a healthy situation the small intestine epithelium maintains tight cell junctions, which contributes to the physical barrier involved in intestinal absorption. In addition to the physical barrier, there is an important chemical barrier within the mucus that contains immune agents which neutralize any toxin that comes in contact.
Candida exudes an aldehyde secretion which causes small intestine epithelial cells to shrink. This allows intestinal toxins to infiltrate through the epithelium and into the blood. The secondary barrier – immune agents in the epithelial mucus -remain the sole agent for neutralization. Eventually, the immune system becomes exhausted rising to this challenge.
Many people have an erroneous belief that the Candida itself enters the blood stream, allowing it to be deposited elsewhere, such as the brain. Unless the immune response is completely depleted, as in AIDS, Candida is quickly destroyed in the blood. The real damage done by Candida is to the intestinal epithelial barrier, allowing the absorption of serious toxic agents and chemicals, which then enter the blood and affect numerous organs, including the brain.
When the integrity of the intestinal barrier has been compromised, intestinal toxins are not the only pathogens to be absorbed. The barrier, in a healthy state, selectively allows digested nutrients to enter the small intestine when all is ready. With leaky gut, nutrients can be absorbed before they are fully digested. The body’s immune response, through specific antigen-antibody markers, will tag some of these foods as foreign irritants. Every time that particular food touches the epithelia, an inflammatory immune response is mounted which further damages the epithelial lining. What started as a Candida irritation with shrinking of the cells has now been complicated with active inflammation every time a particular food is eaten. Food allergies are a common secondary problem to Candida, and if present, will maintain the leaky gut continuously, even if the Candida is eradicated.
The most common food allergies are dairy, eggs, gluten grains (wheat, oats, rye), corn, beans (especially soy), and nuts. There are seldom real allergies to meat, rice, millet, vegetables, or fruit, although an allergy to garlic is not uncommon. We have to distinguish a real allergy – that which causes a histamine inflammatory reaction at the site of the SI epithelia – from sensitivity, which may cause uncomfortable symptoms, but seldom is damaging. Sensitivities are usually due to low stomach acid or pancreatic enzyme secretion, that is, poor digestion.
In the healing of the intestinal lining, exposure to a significant allergy can sabotage the treatment. For example, one may be very good at restricting wheat, dairy and eggs, but then compromises the treatment by taking garlic tablets.
Liver and Lymphatic System
The metabolic and microbial toxins that enter the bloodstream during leaky gut end up in the liver, which has the job of detoxifying and discharging the poisons. Under normal conditions, the liver is taxed just by processing the daily metabolic wastes created by cell and organ activity. Imagine the further load created by dumping serious intestinal toxins on a regular basis. There is a point when the liver becomes saturated; it cannot further detoxify the poisons, and they are returned to the blood circulation. The blood has sophisticated mechanisms for preserving chemical homeostasis, and will diffuse as much of the toxic chemicals and physical debris into the interstitial fluids as is possible. From here the lymphatic system will attempt to collect and neutralize the toxins, but unable to send the toxins to the liver, the body essentially becomes toxic. Microbes grow and develop, hence there can be chronic lymphatic swelling, especially in children. Over a period of time, toxins will be forced into distal connective tissue around muscles and joints, causing fibromyalgia, or into the cells, which can precipitate genetic mutation and ultimately cancer.
Stress to the Immune and Endocrine Systems
The immune system is stressed in three major ways. First is at the site of the intestinal mucosa. As toxins and food antigens brush up against the mucosa, the immune system mobilizes to neutralize the toxins. Normally, much of this work would have been done by beneficial bacteria, which have been destroyed by antibiotics. For toxins that make it to the mucosa, the body will tag them with a chemical secretory IgA (SIgA), which attracts macrophages and other white blood cells to consume the toxins. It is not long before this immune response is overwhelmed and depleted. This can be measured directly with a stool or saliva test for the intestinal SIgA level.
Effect on Health
The second stressor happens in the liver and lymphatic system which, also overwhelmed, puts demands on the immune system. The third stressor is a consequence: as the immune response diminishes, more microbes (viruses, bacteria, and fungi) multiply, allowing for a chronic state of infection. What might be tagged as a viral infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is actually an opportunistic infection taking advantage of a weakened immune system .
The most important organ in the production of immune agents seems to be the adrenal gland, and Leaky Gut Syndrome slowly diminishes adrenal function. In the early and middle stages, there is actually an adrenal excess, as measured by excess cortisol output. Eventually, cortisol levels drop, and one now has exhaustion.