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Can yeast grow in your gut?

yeast in your gut

YEP...Yeast infection is something that can also affect your GI tract, it does not just exist the standard UTI or oral thrush!


Do you have any of the below symptoms constantly?


👉chronic debilitating fatigue

👉brain fog - you can literally feel foggy/drunk even though you did not drink any alcohol!

👉anxiety - there is a direct relationship between gut imbalances and your emotions

👉bloating - incredibly common with yeast

👉sugar cravings - yeast literally hijacks your brain cells to crave sugar like crazy, often uncontrollably

👉nasal congestion

👉histamine symptoms (including rashes, allergies, and asthma)


Well then, you may have more than acceptable levels of yeast in your gut!


There are a number of common reasons for GI yeast overgrowth:


👉prolonged antibiotic or steroids use

👉High intake of sugar, starches, and dietary fungi (beer, bread, nuts, cheese, corn)

👉Impaired immune function

👉gut dysbiosis or imbalance in gut flora (more bad guys than good guys)

👉low stomach acid


What exactly is yeast? 

Generally, yeast is a harmless commensal, existing at a normal level in all human guts (Spampinato, C., & Leonardi, D., 2013). However, because of factors that include poor diet, inadequate digestive functions a weakened immune system, steroids use, oral contraceptives (Aminzadeh, A., Sabeti Sanat, A., & Nik Akhtar, S., 2016) or antibiotic use, yeast can become opportunistic and pathogenic, and spread beyond levels we consider "normal". Clinically, what I often see in clients with GI yeast overgrowth is they suffer from fatigue, anxiety, skin conditions, brain fog, food cravings, digestive issues (diarrhea or constipation, reflux, and bloating), amongst many other symptoms. In extreme cases, yeast infections can become systemic and spread throughout the bloodstream so it is important to address it if there is an overgrowth!

 

Yeast are super agile and have a number of ways that allow them to grow and thrive. Just like pathogenic bacteria (bad guys), they also form biofilms (gooey substance), which makes it that much harder to eradicate. Yeast often feed on your iron and zinc stores, so if you are low on those, it may be something to explore via testing (Almeida, R. S., Wilson, D., & Hube, B., 2009). Additionally, yeast can change from a form that grows on mucosal surfaces and kills host tissue (similar to an oral thrush infection) to a very invasive form, where the yeast actually goes into the host's cells and resides there. In this more invasive form, yeast are more dormant, but release toxins that trigger inflammation and can therefore make you feel fatigued and yucky (Chen, H., Zhou, X., Ren, B., & Cheng, L., 2020).


How do you find out if you have yeast in your gut? 

The comprehensive DNA based stool test I run, the GI MAP tests for several types of yeast (Candida, Geotrichum, etc), but note that yeast is extremely difficult to pick up on stool testing. Why? Because often times the fungus may not be active in the large intestine and is not necessarily actively shedding in the stool. However, if it does show up on the GI MAP, then it is present in much bigger levels. Often times, additional testing may be a good idea which zooms in on yeast specifically.


How can you get rid of yeast?

Don't worry, there is a solution to this riddle! I can help! After we have established that you have yeast in your gut using a functional stool test (such as the GI MAP), usually a protocol with professional high grade therapeutic supplements + Anti-Candida diet would be the best course of action which lasts about 3 months. Medications in the form of antifungals are often times not very effective as when yeast is in its hyper invasive form, it is hidden from the host’s immune system and therefore from antifungal agents, making eradication much more challenging. GI yeast often also comes back with a vengeance if dietary habits are not addressed!


 

References

Almeida, R. S., Wilson, D., & Hube, B. (2009). Candida albicans iron acquisition within the host. FEMS yeast research, 9(7), 1000–1012. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1567-1364.2009.00570.x


Aminzadeh, A., Sabeti Sanat, A., & Nik Akhtar, S. (2016). Frequency of Candidiasis and Colonization of Candida albicans in Relation to Oral Contraceptive Pills. Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 18(10), e38909. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.38909


Chen, H., Zhou, X., Ren, B., & Cheng, L. (2020). The regulation of hyphae growth in Candida albicans. Virulence, 11(1), 337–348. https://doi.org/10.1080/21505594.2020.1748930


Spampinato, C., & Leonardi, D. (2013). Candida infections, causes, targets, and resistance mechanisms: traditional and alternative antifungal agents. BioMed research international, 2013, 204237. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/204237


Disclaimer: This post is intended for inspirational and informational purposes only, is not a substitute for medical advice, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. Consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your routine.

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