so we are learning more and more about candida and it's role in persistent acne. here are some random ramblings on the subject, as gathered from our discoveries in the clinic, good old google, and from my reading of the famous "the body ecology diet", written by donna gates.WHAT IS CANDIDA? candida albicans is a yeast that naturally resides in the digestive system. when we expose our body to things that throw off our body's natural balance, this candida yeast overgrows, colonizing in the intestinal tract, vagina, sinuses and tongue. in severe cases, it can enter the bloodstream, eventually invading the whole body causing multiple complications for the intricately intertwined bodily organ systems within. emedicinehealth.com says that 45% of those severely affected can die. HOW IS CANDIDA CONTRACTED? well, candida albicans already is present in our body. it is the overgrowth of it, that occurs when the body's immune system is down, that is the problem. stress, prescription medications, overly processed and sugar containing foods, poor air and water quality all weigh in on lowering our immune systems, making way for candida overgrowth. we often see clients with histories of months or years of regular prescription usage. birth control is one of them, though most common we see are antibiotics, which kill off all the bacteria in the body - both good and bad - eventually disabling the body's powerhouse, the digestive system. our guts need good bacteria (probiotics) and enzymes, to properly break down food, assimilate nutrients and dispose of the body's waste. the deficiency in probiotics is why it is so common that clients who have been on these drugs for so long now suffer from digestive issues. antibiotics and other chemicals can also enter into the body by way of conventionally-raised farm animals, where 70-80% of the US's antibiotics manufactured annually are dispensed. eating a highly processed diet of packaged and fast foods, sugars, even lots of caffeine can throw off our body's natural, stable, immune-fighting flora. CANDIDA SYMPTOMS well, there are a whole bunch of symptoms associated with candida sufferers. let's first talk about the physical symptoms. candida yeast thrives on sugars and anything we eat that turns into sugar, so those afflicted tend to have sugar, carb, alcohol and dairy cravings. we crave these foods, because the yeast wants it! this "feeding of the yeast" ends up with us eating junk, and gaining weight from it. digestive dis-ease is also commonly associated, including indigestion, bloating, gas, diarrhea, irregular bowel movements (2-3 a day is normal), abdominal pain, and constipation. general bodily discomfort such as lowered immune system (do you get sick a lot or are you really sensitive to things?), fatigue, muscle aches or weakness, pain and swelling in the joints also can show up. we've also heard from dr. thomas anstett (naturalhealthbalance.com) that chronic sinus and upper respiratory issues are way more bothersome than the frequent yeast infections that occur in women. and of course, the body's largest organ, the skin, is also affected. stubborn rashes, eczema, irritation within the folds of the skin, itching, redness and swelling of genital organs are also common. oral thrush also can pop up - thick, white, lacy looking spots on red bases within the mouth and throat that are not easily wiped away. not to mention the super stubborn acne that persists, even with super-faithful sS protocol adherence! candida also affects us psychologically. often times the candida-inflicted report poor memory, feeling "spacey" or "unreal", mood swings, irritability, headaches, panic attacks, outbursts of anger or crying spells, irritability, anxiety and depression. there are a TON of symptoms, these are just a few as observed at sS, and described in the body ecology diet. HOW TO GET CANDIDA UNDER CONTROL sS is in the process of working with dr. thomas anstett on a candida cleanse program, which consists mostly of a low glycemic, preferably local and organic, unprocessed diet and intake of a special herbal tincture, 2-3 times a day. a tincture is basically an extract of herbs to help promote natural healing of the body - it's the old school medicine people used to take, before tylenol and nyquil came around. basically, cooking a lot at home, focusing inward and taking care of yourself, as well as taking the medicinal herbs is what you'll need to do for about 2 months. dr. anstett says that by sticking to the diet and taking the herbs, candida should be under control in 6-8 weeks. of course, this can vary from case to case depending on how severe your imbalance may be. we are still experimenting with the regime and are making strides.. we have seen a couple of clients that are looking great, and feeling even better! SUPPORT sS is committed to fighting this candida monster together. we are slowly compiling recipes and ideas on how to get through the seemingly intimidating cleanse. a lot of our clients come from a non-cooking background, so we are going to try and get a bunch of easy to integrate ideas together to help ease the cleanse. we'll also soon have a night of candida-pow-wow-ing to encourage healing together :) CHRISTINE & KIM ARE DOIN' THE CANDIDA CLEANSE! we are going to be starting the candida cleanse in about a week. christine went to north carolina for a wedding, and kim is going through all the candida no-no's in her fridge and pantry. we will post as much as possible on our journey, so you all can see what this is all about, and how we deal. check back on our blog to see how we do! our next post will be about the specifics of the diet and tips from candida cleansers on surviving the "cleansing hump"!