Gut bacteria, gut fungus & Candida Overgrowth
The microbiome, also known as your gut bacteria, are the community of microorganisms that live inside your intestinal tract.
So often we here about these gut bacteria, but so little we hear about the gut fungus.
Ever heard of the mycobiome?
It’s the fungus in our gut.
Over the past few years, most of the gut hype has focused around building your good gut bacteria up through probiotic foods and supplements… however the poor old gut fungus hasn’t got much attention.
But did you know?
Your gut bacteria and fungi actually work together, sort of like bacteria-man and robin.
Generally, they live in harmony. Chilling side by side in a symbiotic manner. When things are good, they help your intestinal system flourish, resulting in a number of benefits, such as: normal digestion, synthesis of certain vitamins, stronger immunity and improved gut integrity.
You may of heard of candida overgrowth or fungal overgrowth?
When your intestinal tract is healthy, you should have healthy amounts of fungus such as Candida. But when these guys outgrow their stay, a funky situation called Candidiasis (Candida Overgrowth) can result.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeasts that belong to the genus Candida. It can infect the mouth, skin, stomach, urinary tract, and vagina.
Candida overgrowth in the mouth, as an example, can result in oral sores, creamy white patches, difficulty chewing, swallowing issues and even taste changes.
Some possible causes of Candidiasis
Taking certain medications e.g. antibiotics, corticosteroids
Having a bacterial infection
Particular conditions e.g. diabetes, psoriasis
A weak immune system
What can you do if you Candida Overgrowth?
1. Speak with you Doctor
They may prescribe antifungal medications or discuss other forms of treatment.
2. Diet & Lifestyle
i) The Candida Diet
At this point in time, there is not enough strong evidence behind this particular diet to count on it as reliable. On top of this, particular candida diet protocols cut out a lot of different foods, which may result in nutrient deficiencies. In turn, nutrient deficiencies can weaken the immune system to an even greater degree, allowing for further opportunistic growth of the unfavourable Candida fungus. In summary, there is not enough research to prove that this diet resolves Candida overgrowth.
ii) Food sensitivities
Some science suggests that those prone to Candida infections may have particular sensitivities to certain foods, including some particular proteins. This is best addressed via a consultation with a Dietitian.
iii) Alcohol and simple sugars
Both alcohol and foods containing processed sugars can have a negative affect on overall health. For example, their consumption can cause decreases in good gut bacteria, reduced immune function, increased weight gain and inflammation, as well as compromise meeting nutrient requirements. It is recommended to limit or even better, avoid, both alcohol and processed foods if you have Candida overgrowth.
iv) Strengthen your immune system with these nutrients from foods
Proteins - legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products, fish, eggs and lean meats.
Vitamin A - sweet potato, carrots, kale, spinach, red capsicum and eggs.
Vitamin E - wheat germ, nuts (*almonds), nut butters, seeds (sunflower*), sunflower oil
Vitamin C – citrus fruits, red capsicum, tomatoes, kiwis, dark green leafys, broccoli, berries, chilli
Zinc – beans, lentils, mushrooms, dairy, tofu/tempeh, eggs, oats, pumpkin seeds, hummus, whole grains, seafood, lean meat
Selenium – brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, lentils, mushrooms, soya/mung beans, pasta, eggs, cheese, sardines, salmon, chicken
Probiotics - yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut
Prebiotics - essential for good gut health, click here