Candida Die Off Can Complicate Recovery From Candida Infection and Adrenal Fatigue
The term “candida die off” refers to a reaction that occurs during the elimination of the organism Candida albicans from the body while healing from this infection. Candida is a type of fungus that can grow out of control. It tends to flourish in people with Adrenal Fatigue. Stress, which is associated with Adrenal Fatigue, can precipitate an outbreak of candida or make an existing outbreak worse.
Controlling candida can be more complex in patients with Adrenal Fatigue, but success can be achieved through rebalancing the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response system. The NEM system includes many different organs and processes in the body that respond to stress and infections such as candida in various ways.
About Candida Infection and Adrenal Fatigue
The candida fungus is one of the most common fungal infections in the world. In fact, the presence of Candida albicans on human skin is universal. Much of the time this organism is a harmless hitchhiker on and inside the human body. C. albicans is one of many organisms found inside the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, and female genitals. In healthy people, moisture levels on the skin and other factors inside the body hold the fungus at bay. Candida might even play a beneficial role in the overall ecosystem of the body.
Problems can arise, however, when the immune system is suppressed or when the skin or mucosal barriers are broken, allowing the fungus to cause systemic infections. The lowered resistance to stress found in those suffering from Adrenal Fatigue can be a reason for a suppressed immune system and increased fungal growth. Candidiasis and thrush are both infections caused by the candida fungus . These infections affect as many as 90,000 people in the United States each year. In immunocompromised people, candida can invade the blood stream and lead to serious systemic infections such as endocarditis, abscesses, and thrombophlebitis.
There is no way of completely eradicating the candida fungus from the body. In fact, attempting to do so would be detrimental to your health. Instead, the solution is to resolve the underlying conditions that allow candida to flourish. Use of antibiotics that are also anti-fungal often causes out-of-control candida infections over time. This may sound counterintuitive, but most chronic candida sufferers have a common history of previous multiple antibiotic therapy, naturally or otherwise. When strong medicines are used to eradicate candida, an imbalance often occurs in the wake of the therapy, as many beneficial bacteria are also killed off with the bad ones. Candida is affected by the medication, but resurfaces stronger and harder to eradicate as the internal environment weakens with each round of therapy. The weaker the body, the it is for candida to proliferate.
The overuse of anti-yeast natural remedies can also make your condition worse by causing excessive candida die off. Seeing candida infection from a whole-body perspective using the NEM model and making slow, steady changes in diet and lifestyle is usually a more effective strategy as it leads to a resolution of the fundamental problem rather than just killing all of the candida. Many people live a normal life with chronic candida. A comprehensive holistic approach will produce the best results.
The underlying problems in stealth infections such as candida, EB virus, and Lyme disease are stress, imbalances in lipid profiles, and metabolic problems such as poor liver function and glucose regulation. All of these issues need to be addressed using the NEM approach in order to reestablish the balance required to keep candida from taking over.
Candida Remedies and Candida Die Off
Using an elimination diet deprives the candida fungus of its preferred foods. Foods to begin eliminating include all sources of sugar such as fruit, bread, pasta, and beans. Other foods that candida thrive on are alcohol, nuts, and corn.
Foods that are beneficial for creating an environment unfriendly to candida include garlic, onion, seaweed, lemons, pumpkin seeds, and olive oil. Most forms of starch are best avoided, but one exception is rutabaga. This potato-like root vegetable contains compounds that can help kill candida.
As the environment for candida becomes less hospitable, the yeast will find it increasingly difficult to survive and begin dying off in great numbers. This leads to unpleasant symptoms, often causing people to give up on the elimination diet: it starts working, but as the candida dies, it produces toxic by-products, making you feel temporarily worse.
This adverse result is called a Herxheimer reaction or “die off” reaction. As many as 79 different toxins are released by candida when it is dying, including acetaldehyde, which can interfere with mental function. Ethanol alcohol is also released during this process. The respiratory, endocrine, immune, and red blood cells can all be affected negatively by the release of these toxins.
The main symptoms of candida die off include;
- Joint pain,
- Itching and skin outbreaks,
- Swollen glands,
- Rapid heart rate.
Symptoms differ from one person to another and can be worse in people who also have Adrenal Fatigue. Because the liver is often functioning at a sub-optimal level, this central organ of elimination is unprepared for the increased toxins. The liver is one of the most important organs that metabolizes and processes toxins. Because those who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue tend to have congested livers that are working at capacity already, adding more toxins might push the body over the edge and cause the candida die off symptoms. It is thus important to ensure that your body is strong enough to handle a candida die off reaction. If your body is not strong when attempting an candida cleanse, the effects can be quite detrimental and take months, or even years, to recover from.
Managing Candida Die Off Symptoms
These unpleasant side effects from an elimination diet or other candida remedies usually resolve after a week or two. There are also ways of minimizing these side effects. First of all, knowing the symptoms of candida die off and being ready for them can make a big difference. Certain supplements can also be helpful in the process.
The micronutrient molybdenum can be helpful when coping with candida die off. This element helps convert the toxic byproduct acetaldehyde into harmless acetic acid. Acetaldehyde toxicity can be a major source of unpleasant symptoms, so molybdenum supplementation can be very effective.
The herb milk thistle (from the plant Sylibum marianum) is a powerful liver detoxifier. Taking this supplement in recommended dosages, especially in fermented form, can give the liver a boost during an elimination diet as it eliminates the toxins released during the candida die off phase.
Taking too much anti-fungal remedy can worsen your symptoms. Cut back on these supplements if the symptoms of candida die off are overwhelming. These supplements kill the yeast cells and send more of their toxic byproducts into the blood stream, so they should be used cautiously.
Drinking lots of water also helps by flushing the kidneys and reducing the concentrations of various waste products. Drink enough water so that the color of your urine is pale yellow. If it is dark yellow or brown, this is a sign of dehydration.
Resting, keeping stress to a minimum, and using gentle detoxification methods such as sauna, lymphatic massage, and steam baths are also recommended strategies for managing the symptoms of candida die off.
Remember that there is a balance between detoxification and retoxification. When addressing your candida and Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, it is best to consult an experienced health care provider who knows about the Herxheimer reaction.
Those with advanced Adrenal Fatigue should be very careful to focus on rebuilding the adrenal system as the first priority. A body with a weak adrenal system has limited capacity to handle any form of detoxification or retoxification reactions, yet these are an unavoidable part of the healing process. Many well-intentioned programs often exacerbate the symptoms if the adrenal component is not considered properly. A very comprehensive approach is needed, factoring in the adrenals, liver, metabolic, inflammation pathways, along with the body’s own abilities to fight infections. The right thing done at the wrong time will worsen and weaken the entire body, further slowing recovery. It is easy to have a strong mental attitude to “win the war against Candida,” but such enthusiasm can be misplaced. A knowledgeable practitioner will be able to plan a systematic approach that is most conducive to long-term recovery rather than providing only short-term benefits.
© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.