Candida is a fungus and a form of yeast. A very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid digestion and nutrient absorption.

However, when overproduced it adds to leaky gut syndrome by breaking down the intestinal wall and moving into the bloodstream, releasing by-products into the body and leading to various health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression to tiredness.

CAUSES OF CANDIDA OVERGROWTH

Sometimes your gut isn’t able to keep your candida levels in check and this causes overgrowth. The common causes for this are:

• a diet high in refined sugar and carbohydrates, sugar feeds the yeast
• living a high stress lifestyle
• taking a course of antibiotics for a medical problem that also kills off the friendly bacteria in the gut

MY ADVICE

Candida is diagnosed based on symptoms and there are tests available to detect this too. A good functional medicine doctor who practises medicine as I do or a good nutritionist or naturopath will be able to order and interpret these tests for you. Treating candida fully can take up to six months. It is also important to take a good probiotic as discussed yesterday . Changes in your diet are key to healing your gut.

Sugar feeds yeast, so typically sufferers need a low carbohydrate diet and have to cut out sweets, chocolate, desserts, alcohol and flours. Cutting out refined sugar entirely and a reduction to just one serving a day of complex carbohydrates such as grains, beans, fruit, bread, pasta and potatoes will prevent candida from growing further and eventually cause it to die.