In the last four years, I’ve worked with thousands of participants worldwide on our Cura Romana online programs. I’ve learned a great deal from these people—a majority of whom have long wrestled with an inability to control their appetites, no matter how hard they try. At the top of the list of what I’ve learned is this: The single most important cause of food addictions, cravings, hopelessness and self-recrimination is not lack of willpower—it is an overgrowth of Candida albicans in your body.
Last week, I began to delve into this serious ailment, known as candidiasis. Candida overgrowth is a condition which the medical profession still largely ignores. There are no reliable tests for its presence, and few professionals are as yet aware that an overgrowth of this yeast/fungus in the body acts as a forerunner to many life threatening diseases—from AIDS and cancer to obesity and mental disorders. In small quantities, Candida albicans is a perfectly normal organism not dangerous to the human body. However, because for the past half-century most people in developed countries have been living on a diet high in sugar and grain-based carbohydrates, their bodies become invaded by this opportunistic organism which lowers immunity, undermines the body’s terrain and makes us highly susceptible to addictions, food cravings and serious illness.
Like all primitive microorganisms, Candida has a powerful will to survive. It can breach normal defense systems, enter through the skin and digestive tract, decrease the level of protective white blood cells, and invade the deep tissues and the bloodstream. Until the past decade, few doctors believed that Candida could invade the body’s tissues. Since AIDS, this has changed. Autopsies on AIDS victims—whose bodies become riddled with candida, seriously compromising their immune system—show that it can and does easily invade the whole body. It ends up destroying the brain tissue, the lungs, the liver and just about everything else. As a result of this finding, a group of savvy physicians have begun to take a long, hard second look at the Candida overgrowth situation in an attempt to learn more about how to treat this condition.
Yeasts feed on sugars and on grains and cereal-based carbs. For, when we eat these carbs they turn into sugar in our bodies. The chemical products that Candida produces through the fermentation process by which it lives and spreads contain high levels of ethanol—plain old alcohol. This is why there are many cases on record of people who do not drink alcohol, yet who live in a state of drunkenness which alters their thought patterns, disturbs consciousness and can create serious emotional and physical disorders. As the alcohol produced by the yeasts starts to break down in the body, this process produces acetaldehyde—a chemical six times more toxic to the brain than ethanol itself. Acetaldehyde insidiously undermines brain functions and can cause damage to neurological structures.
Acetaldehyde can combine with your red blood cells, enzymes, proteins and even the lining of your gut. Cigarette smokers are continually at risk of acetaldehyde poisoning because it also alters the structure of blood cells and interferes with the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. It even screws up your body’s ability to produce “feel good” prostaglandins such as prostaglandin E1. Another of its nasty effects on the brain comes from the way it alters normal brain function by combining with two important neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for good motor coordination, motivation, insulin regulation, immune function, short-term memory, clear thinking, physical energy and balance in motion.
Serotonin is one of two neurotransmitters that look after learning and memory, as well as calming the brain and the rest of the body. This is why it plays a vital role in regulating appetite and sleep.
When high levels of acetaldehyde are secreted into the system by a yeast/fungi overgrowth this turns emotional behavior upside down, altering people’s perceptions so greatly that the whole of their lives can seem distorted. Yet very seldom is such an experience traced back to its cause by the medical profession. Instead, doctors continue to prescribe antidepressants, tranquilizers and other drugs in an attempt to treat symptoms. These drugs only make the body more toxic while doing nothing to treat the underlying cause.
The chemical by-products of yeast and fungi metabolism have opioid characteristics. In effect, they create an experience of substance abuse, much as sniffing cocaine does. They affect the hypothalamus in the brain so that your appetite changes. Instead of longing for good quality food, you find yourself reaching for junk stuff and sugars.
In the presence of someone smoking, you may find yourself wanting a cigarette, thanks to the reaction of your body to the acetaldehyde in their cigarette smoke. You may even find yourself taking up smoking without understanding why. Nicotine replaces nicotinic acid (Vitamin B3) in the body. Eventually the body gets to the point where it opts for nicotine over nicotinic acid—further increasing addiction and depleting your system of this essential vitamin.
So long as the yeast and fungi which colonize the body are being fed the sugars and carbs they thrive on, things can remain relatively calm in much the same way the alcoholic can be charming so long as he just keeps sipping a drink. But when Candida become deprived of these goodies, for instance when you first switch over to a low-carb, low-sugar way of eating, the yeasty beasties which have been exerting major levels of control over your behavior and thoughts often raise their ugly heads to make you feel even worse—temporarily. This is called a die-off reaction. It is akin to the “cold turkey” detoxification that takes place in the alcoholic during his “dry-out” period. The good news is that it can pass relatively quickly, leaving you feeling brighter, clearer and freer of addictions and food cravings.
INVITATION TO DISEASE
One of the experts on Candida albicans, Paul A Goldberg, made an important observation about the relationship between candidiasis and cancer growth. This was when he was a graduate student at the University of Texas Medical Center (School of Public Health). He says, “I had the opportunity to observe many cancer patients at the MD Anderson Tumor Institute…Many, perhaps most, had candidiasis. The candidiasis was not the cause of their cancer, rather it was part of their lowered resistance that had likely contributed to the cancer itself. Most sick people have yeast overgrowth…so as our population continues to develop more and more degenerative ailments, what do we do? As a culture ultimately, in addition to treating the effects of our lifestyle e.g. the yeast, at some point the way of life in this country led by so many folks has got to be changed in some very fundamental ways.”
HOW IT TAKES HOLD
Candidiasis frequently invades the body after surgery, mostly because large doses of antibiotics are used in order to prevent post-operative infection. This is also true when a course of antibiotic treatment is given for other conditions in the body. What happens is that the antibiotics don’t just kill off the bad-guy bacteria they are supposed to target—they also wipe out the good guys needed by our intestinal tract for our colony of flora to maintain a balance beneficial to our health. After any form of antibiotic treatment—and except in life threatening situations, there is little reason to use antibiotics. If you have been given a course of antibiotics, afterwards, your intestine needs to be recolonized with the good guy microbes such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus.
Candida albicans, together with other yeast and fungi, are opportunistic organisms. They invade at the first sign of immune weakening. Savvy doctors who are aware of the ubiquitous nature of candidiasis (and there are very few around as yet who are) report that the problem exists in numerous patients who are apparently suffering from other illnesses. Just how much the candidiasis is a result of these conditions, and how much the perpetrator, no one is yet sure.
MEET YOUR SECOND BRAIN
Few people realize we have a second brain. Called the enteric nervous system, this was only articulated a few years ago by Michael D. Gershon MD, Chairman of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Colombia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. This primitive nervous system, located in our gastrointestinal tract, is incredibly complex. It boasts hundreds of millions of nerve cells— more than all the rest of the body put together—and is colonized by thousands of different species of micro flora. Depending on whether they are “goodies” or “baddies” they either help protect our bodies from illness and degeneration, or toss us headlong into it. Fatigue, depression, addictions, obesity, hormonal disturbances and mental disorders can all develop when the second brain gets out of whack. For it is responsible for maintaining the biological terrain that protects us from illness and degeneration. Little throws it out of whack as quickly as a chronic overgrowth of Candida albicans.
THE WAY OUT
Candida is best controlled through a combination of diet and non-prescription medicines. One of the reasons why the Cura Romana online programs work so well to enhance energy levels, encourage rapid weight loss and improve the way people feel on every level is that, in addition to countering insulin resistance and blood sugar problems, the Cura Romana eating protocol encourages a decrease in any Candida overgrowth that may be present. This takes place because it stops feeding these beasties the carbs and sugars on which they thrive.
However, in any moderate or serious overgrowth of Candida, more than this alone is needed. The standard anti-fungal prescription drugs used medically tend only to address the symptoms rather than correcting the problem. Real clearing of any overgrowth can only be accomplished by restoring the health to the biological terrain of the whole body, so that it no longer lends itself to Candida’s continued growth and reproduction. And this takes time.
Clearing Candida requires a major life change. The good news is that the change that comes about through a good anti-Candida program can be so health-enhancing that many people who experience it claim it dramatically improves their life in a myriad of ways. People unable to think clearly, or who suffered from aches and pains, arthritis, and from allergies to chemicals in the environment as well as food sensitivities, find, once the overgrowth is cleared, they can lead a normal life. They think more rationally and they no longer experience unpredictable emotional upsets. People who have long been overweight find, often for the first time in their life, they are able to shed excess fat and eliminated cravings. People whose candidiasis has been cleared often report that the sense they long had—that they were not in control over their lives and were unable to make clear choices—has gone. They move into an experience of personal power which they seldom dreamed possible. Clear headed and emotionally balanced, with energy to spare, they can now look forward to a life in which they are at the helm.
CLEARING AN OVERGROWTH
The successful treatment of an overgrowth of Candida requires a four-pronged attack. All four aspects have to be strictly addressed and followed otherwise, experience shows, it just won’t work. This is not always the easiest thing to do. Some with an overgrowth of yeast/fungus report difficulty in sticking to the commitment they make to change their lifestyle. They feel that their brains are so much at the mercy of the confusion, muddled thinking and lack of clarity that accompanies the high levels of ethanol and acetaldehyde produced by the Candida, that it’s hard for them to take consistent action. Here are the four steps for clearing overgrowths:
- Starve out the yeast/fungus with a proper diet, at the same time as using natural forms of treatment to wipe out the ineffective agent (we’ll explore both next week).
- Rebuild your immune system and restore the integrity of metabolism using specific vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.
- Recolonize normal gut flora to keep Candida from re-establishing its hold on the body.
- Stay away from the perpetrators of Candida overgrowth. This means avoiding all forms of antibiotics—except in life and death situations—drugs, hormones and steroids as well as any foods to which you might be allergic.
Next week we will look at the changes in foods and lifestyles that enable us to free ourselves from an overgrowth of Candida forever, as well as at how important it is to do this not only if we are to become free of addictions and food cravings permanently, but also to protect ourselves from degenerative diseases and early aging.