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Researchers and physicians have found that persistent fatigue affects women more often than men. Candida albicans may provide part of the answer.

Researchers and physicians have found that persistent fatigue affects women more often than men. Candida albicans may provide part of the answer.

This common yeast organism has long been recognized as a cause of mouth and vaginal infections and diaper rash. What many people don't realize is that the medical literature abounds with reports that show yeast overgrowth to be one of the most allergenic microbes we face one often associated with other illnesses.

Repeated antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and nutritionally unbalanced and deficient diets encourage candida overgrowth. Once this occurs, the candida organism emits toxins which further weaken the immune system, causing health problems of many types. Since your immune system is connected to your hormones and nervous system, candida can be a major factor in premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sexual dysfunction, endometriosis, sugar cravings, fatigue, headache, depression, poor memory and low body temperature. Candida cause many digestive and skin problems. In 1999, the Mayo Clinic reported that 96 per cent of people with chronic respiratory symptoms showed fungi (related to yeast) in their sinuses.

Yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract also weakens the lining membranes. As a result you develop a "leaky gut" and absorb food allergens and toxins which play a part in both making you tired and developing other symptoms.

Symptoms, Not Tests

To find out if your problems are candida-related, practitioners check whether you've had one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent or repeated courses of antibiotic drugs (often given for acne, respiratory or urinary infections);

  • Fatigue, weakness, feeling drained;

  • Depression, even suicidal depression;

  • Bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain;

  • PMS and other menstrual disturbances;

  • Sexual dysfunction (especially common in women);

  • Nervousness and irritability;

  • Food and chemical sensitivities;

  • Feeling sick all over, yet the cause hasn't been found.

Many individuals with fatigue, headache, depression, digestive problems and muscle and joint pains have taken numerous tests and been misdiagnosed or find nothing wrong. This is not uncommon in cases of candida overgrowth. Although tests are needed to rule out other causes of health problems, they do not "make" the diagnosis of candida, a disease still in search of a laboratory test.

The best test remains a symptomatic personal history and positive results from a one-month antifungal treatment and a sugar-free special diet. Such a diet should feature a wide variety of nutritious foods, including low-carbohydrate vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds and fish.

Diet Crucial

The role of simple sugars in promoting candida overgrowth was documented by researchers. They found that mice with weakened immune systems who received dextrose in their feeding showed a 200-times greater growth of candida in the digestive tract than in a control group. Processed and concentrated sources of sugar and carbohydrates must be eliminated in order to starve and kill off the yeast.

Agents which control yeast in the digestive tract include caprylic acid products, bentonite, psyllium, olive leaf extract, aged garlic extract, Lactobacillus acidophilus (and other probiotics), kolorex (a New Zealand herb), undecylenic acid, oregano and citrus seed extracts.

Persons with yeast-related problems need dietary supplements even more than a healthy person. Disturbances in the intestinal tract lessen your ability to absorb the vital nutrients found in many foods. To increase absorption you'll need to take supplemental vitamins, minerals and the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in flax seed oil, fish oils and evening primrose oil.

Treating candida alone may not help. I cannot overemphasize the importance of the other irritants or "total load" with my patients. Track down and identify all hidden food allergens, including dairy products, wheat, corn and egg. Such sensitivities can often be determined by a carefully designed and properly carried out elimination/challenge diet.

You'll also need love, touch, clean air and exercise to regain your health and get your life back on track. But you can do it!

Cured from Candida

Here are two typical testimonials from women who went through a battery of tests and, when told nothing was wrong, took the search for a cure into their own hands.

Ten years ago, Paula worked many hours each day, ran 15 miles a week and enjoyed an active personal and professional life. In her late 20s, after taking tetracycline for acne, she developed concentration problems, anxiety and fatigue. Her symptoms were disabling. She gave up her job and stayed in bed for a year.

After changing her diet and taking anti-yeast agents, she began to improve. Within a few months she was back at work. In January of this year Paula called and said, "I'm doing great, travelling and fulfilling many job responsibilities. Thanks again for your help. Without it I don't know where I would be."

At 36, Suzanne was bothered by extreme fatigue, digestive problems, asthma, chemical sensitivities and a lack of libido. Following a two-month treatment program featuring dietary changes and anti-yeast products, she wrote me two long, enthusiastic letters, saying, "I have tons of energy. I'm jogging. I hiked up to 10,000 feet last weekend and jogged back down. I have all this energy with only seven to eight hours of sleep instead of the previously required 10-plus. The list goes on and on. It's as if the last 10 years of my life never existed. Thank you Dr Crook. Treating the yeast has completely changed my life!"

For more information on curing candida, read Nature's Own Candida Cure, by William G. Crook, number eight in the alive Natural Health Guide series, available at your health food store or through alive books (800-661-0303).



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