Tired all the time – could it be candida?

Do you feel tired all the time? If you do, you’re not alone- one in five of us do. In this post I’m going to talk about candida as a possible cause, but it’s really important to rule a few other things out first. 

The first thing to check is that you are getting enough quality sleep.  You probably need more than you think- most adults need 7-8 hours.  If you struggle with your sleep quality, try and start a bedtime routine.  Turn off phones, TVs and computers well before bedtime, and maybe have a warm bath to relax your muscles instead (you could add in some calming essential oils).  Calamine tea is really soothing to drink at bedtime, or you could try some warm soya milk if you prefer. Soya milk is rich in tryptophan which your body converts to serontin, a brain chemical which aids sleep.  

The next thing to ask yourself is whether you regularly skip meals, as low blood sugar will make you feel tired.  Try to eat some protein with each meal, and avoid refined foods such as white rice, sugar and flour- these cause sugar ‘spikes’ followed by ‘dips’ leaving you exhausted but wired.

Other lifestyle changes that might help include daily exercise, ensuring you have some natural daylight each day, and drinking enough to stay hydrated.

If you are still suffering from tiredness, have your doctor check you out for such conditions as anaemia, under active thyroid, diabetes, sleep apnoea, etc.

If you’ve ticked off everything above, and medical tests do not provide you with answers, it could be that you have a candida infection.  

Candida albicans is a fungus that lives in the small intestine.  This fungus can get out of control, and as a result gut flora gets out of balance. Because the health of your gut is crucial for your general health, this is really bad news. 

A common reason why this happens is long-term stress, which lowers your immunity and allows the fungus to take over the “good” gut flora. You might also get a candida infection if you take the contraceptive pill or long term antibiotics- the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut will be destroyed, allowing the fungus to do its thing in your gut (yuck). Also, a diet high in sugars or refined foods may lead to a candida infection by ‘feeding’ the fungus.

This fungal growth can lead to a range of icky symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, skin problems, ‘brain fog’, anxiety, food intolerances and fatigue. It might seem odd that fungi in the gut can lead to poor concentration and anxiety, but eventually an uncontrolled candida infection will lead to a ‘leaky’ gut. This is where the fungi stick protrusions called hyphae through the gut wall, oozing toxins that leak into the blood. Once in your bloodstream, these toxins can travel everywhere in the body- including the brain. Also, this creates a pathway for partially digested food to leak from the gut (double yuck). This is attacked by the body’s immune system, causing food intolerances.

If you do suspect that you have a candida infection, you should consult a nutritional therapist to find out which foods you might become allergic or intolerant to as a result of leaky gut.  Once you know, you can start fighting back against the fungi by:

•Starving the yeast. This means eliminating all sources of sugar from your diet, including all the “hidden” forms of sugar like dextrose, sucrose and maltose. It’s really important to check your labels carefully (or you can be sure by preparing food from scratch). Eliminating all sugars also means temporarily cutting out natural sources of sugar- so at least for a little while, no fruit except bananas (see below).  You need to cut out alcohol, vinegars, yeast and mushrooms.  Many candida sufferers have become intolerant to wheat and dairy foods, so you might need to cut these out too- live yogurt is usually ok, however, and might even be helpful (see below).  Although this list of foods to cut out might seem ouch-worthy, try to be positive and think in terms of what you can eat rather than what you can’t.  Many of the recipes in this blog would be suitable for people with candida infections and I’ll be giving more advice on this in a later post.  Meanwhile here’s a candida diet friendly recipe:-

Sugar free coconut, pumpkin seed, almond and pecan granola

Makes 4-6 serves 
100g oats
2 tbsp stevia
50g pumpkin seeds
50g almonds
50g pecan nuts
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
Mix all the ingredients together.  Spread out on an ovenproof dish and place in an oven at 150 degrees.  Stir after 15 minutes and leave for a further 15 minutes.  Serve with organic natural live yogurt or use as a topping for the basic breakfast smoothie. 

•Killing the yeast. When it comes to candida, you gotta be one tough customer. I find that coconut flesh or oil is effective in killing the yeast. Garlic is another brilliant candida-buster, or you might want to try caprylic acid tablets (a candida-fighter which is derived from coconuts).  Be aware that candida do not die quietly and as they die they can make you feel dreadful for a few days.  This is known as die off, and symptoms include fatigue, headaches, nausea, diarrhoea etc.  When you are feeling like this, rest if you can and try to drink plenty so wash the toxins out of your body.

•Re-populating the gut. To bring the gut flora back into balance a probiotic supplement is really helpful.  Live yogurt or kefir will also help repopulate the gut.  Probiotics supply bacteria to re-populate the gut, but you also need prebiotics to encourage the bacteria in the gut to multiply.  Foods that prebiotics include oats, beans, bananas, saukraut and kimchi.

If you think stress may underlie your candida overgrowth, take steps to reduce stress such as yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and visualisation.  Acupuncture is also helpful. 

If you have any questions, leave a comment below. I love to hear your comments and I’m always happy to help. In the meantime, this is sent with lots of love to you and your gut! : ) 

Janet x

Recipe and article Copyright © 2014 40plusandalliswell

1 comment:

  1. 3 Studies SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    This means that you actually burn fat by eating Coconut Fats (in addition to coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from big medicinal magazines are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world around!


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