What about yeast (candida)?

So what’s the story on systemic yeast infection and weight gain or inability to lose weight?  Dr. Robert Atkins considered it a significant and usually unexplored cause of weight problems.  It’s featured prominently in an interesting book called The Harcombe Diet.  A systemic candida infection causes carbohydrate cravings because the yeast in your body wants to be fed.  The only way to get it under control is to stop feeding it, but sometimes even that isn’t enough.  Various supplements can further help kill off the overgrowth and restore better gut balance.

But is this for real?  I remember in the late 80′s a long list of ailments were blamed on systemic yeast infection and I knew lots of people on yeast elimination eating plans.  And I had a phone consultation with a regular doctor, but one who was at least conversant with low carb eating, who told me that the only people he’d ever seen with systemic yeast infections were AIDS patients at an advanced stage of the disease.

Well, it turns out that that doctor is correct as far as the allopathic model of medicine goes–yeast issues are not acknowledged in that model until they reach the extreme of an AIDS patient or other patient with a severely compromised immune system that allows the yeast to multiply to the point that it is visible.  However, naturopathic physicians routinely treat what an allopathic physician would consider a sub-clinical yeast infection–one that doesn’t show up on standard testing–but nonetheless causes significant problems for the patient, and they observe that those patients improve when the yeast condition is treated.

In Juliana’s case, she is severely allergic to mold.  Yeast and mold are co-reactors; being allergic to mold suggests she is also sensitive to yeast.   She had already been on a low carb eating plan that should have “starved the yeast,” but what if she needed more?  I talked the naturopathic physician into beginning a protocol of supplements to attack yeast.  But Juliana couldn’t tolerate the supplements–in addition to being hard to swallow, she had bad tasting reflux and burps from them for hours afterward.

We decided to try a test to see if we could identify a measurable sub-clinical yeast problem.  If we could, then we’d try a single supplement to attack it rather than the multiple supplement protocol she had been taking, and see if she tolerated that better.  There is a blood test and an accompanying stool test.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the stool test before she left for summer camp.  (Now I know that stool tests have to be delivered to the lab before the morning fedex cutoff so that they can be overnighted to the testing facility, and only on a Monday through Thursday morning.  It would be helpful if they put that information on the test itself).  So for the moment, we’re not working on yeast.




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