Ask A Practitioner: All About Candida

Join every week for a Q&A session with one of Basmati’s practitioners, Melissa Hill (FDN-P)! We know that there is a lot of confusing information out there, which can make applying health advice overwhelming.  Sometimes, it’s best to ask a practitioner directly, so each week we’ll cover a common health question!

Do you have a health question you’d like to ask? Write to us at editors [at] basmati [dot] com () and your question could be chosen and featured in a future column!

Q: What is Candida? How do I know if I have it? How could I get it?

A: Candida albicans is a specific strain of yeast that lives in our intestinal tract and mucosal membranes. In a healthy person, it should live in balance, harmoniously, along with trillions of other microbes in our intestinal tract. So, yes everybody likely has some candida. The problem comes when you have too much. When candida starts to overgrow, it can overtake areas where ‘good’ bacteria should reside and can easily get out of control, causing many problems. If given the opportunity, it can easily spread to many different areas of the body as well, causing a variety of disturbances and symptoms. Depending on your unique constitution and state this might show up in different ways.

Classic signs of Candida overgrowth:

  • Intense cravings for sugar and/or carbohydrates
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Bloating or other digestive distress
  • Brain fog
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Mood swings, anxiety or depression
  • Skin or nail fungal infections
  • Chronic headaches or migraines
  • Persistent environmental or food allergies

How does overgrowth happen?

Candida is opportunistic, so when you get a drop in your normal healthy microbes, Candida can take over. This situation can occur:

  • If your immune system has been suppressed
  • After a course of antibiotics
  • With the use of cortisone or other prescription anti-inflammatory drugs that compromise intestinal flora
  • In a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugars
  • If you’re exposed to heavy metals and environmental toxins
  • If you live a high-stress lifestyle

Essentially, candida overgrowth is sign of a deeper imbalance as it only occurs in an out of balance microbiome. So, from a functional holistic health perspective, the solution would be not only to fight off the candida, but fix the underlying dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance) and address what factors (diet, lifestyle, environment…) got you there to begin with.