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Got Yeast? Get Rid of it!
Got Yeast? Get Rid of it!
Intestinal yeast overgrowth, which is at the root of many chronic inflammatory diseases, is an unfortunate side effect of modern medicine. It’s normal to have some yeast in our intestines, but since the advent of antibiotics, yeast has grown by leaps and bounds. Antibiotics kill off intestinal bacteria, leaving yeast spores as the sole occupants and allowing them to leap into the small intestine, where they transform from their budding stage into a tissue-invasive stage. They can then poke tiny holes in the intestines and trigger irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, according to a 2005 paper in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
What’s more, yeast produces 178 chemical antigens—many of which are toxic to humans both in the intestines and throughout the body after they are absorbed into the bloodstream. These toxins include gliotoxin, alcohol and acetaldehyde.
According to a 1995 report in the European Journal of Cell Biology, gliotoxin disrupts normal glutathione metabolism within the cell. An earlier report (1986) in the Canadian Medicine Association Journal references this mechanism to help explain the hypersensitivity syndrome and chemical sensitivity that is common in individuals who suffer yeast overgrowth.
Yeast produces alcohol in the body—enough to make some people feel drunk and even give a positive reading on a Breathalyzer test. And why not? Yeast, after all, is used in the wine making process. Add it to the sugar in your gut, and you have your own still.
When alcohol breaks down in the body, it produces acetaldehyde. If you have yeast overgrowth and also drink alcohol, you are hit with a double dose of acetaldehyde hangover or brain fog. In fact, most people with yeast overgrowth can’t touch alcohol because it makes them feel so rotten.
Acetaldehyde is a particularly potent toxin that can damage all the tissues in the body, including the brain. Acetaldehyde is called “the hangover chemical.” It readily combines with red blood cells, proteins and enzymes, travels to all parts of the body, and even passes through the blood-brain barrier. It damages the structure of red blood cells, making them unable to squeeze through tiny capillaries to convey oxygen to the tissues that need it.
Acetaldehyde also blocks oxygen from attaching to red blood cells. Your brain uses 20 percent of all the oxygen that you inhale, but stiff red blood cells cut down that amount considerably, leaving you gasping for air and feeling woozy. Acetaldehyde damages nerve cells and also causes deficiencies in vitamin B1 (thiamine, an important nerve vitamin), vitamin B3 (niacin, the energy and neurotransmitter vitamin), and vitamin B5, which is crucial for normal brain function.
Magnesium is essential to the proper functioning of the enzyme required to keep acetaldehyde levels in check during alcohol breakdown. So if there isn’t enough magnesium in the body, the acetaldehyde builds and builds. This surplus can cause facial flushing, lightheadedness, palpitations, nausea and general “hangover” symptoms.
Do you have too much yeast?
It can be hard to diagnose yeast overgrowth, because everyone has some yeast, so it will always show up on the tests designed to look for it. Because of the issues with the tests, I recommend taking the 10-question Yeast Questionnaire developed by Dr. William Crook. For women, a score of 9 or higher means your health problems are probably connected to yeast; higher than 12, and it’s almost certain. For men, 7 or higher is a probable yeast connection, and 10 or higher is almost certain.
If you do have too much yeast, there are many steps you can take to fix the problem:
- Avoid sugar, wheat and dairy.
- Use antifungal herbs: cayenne, coriander, turmeric, ginger and cumin.
- Eat antifungal foods such as lemons, limes, onions, seeds (soaked pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), almonds and sea vegetables.
- Use probiotics. Choose soil-based products, and not just lactobacillus and bifidobacteria.
- Use natural antifungals, such as grapefruit seed extract, horopito, undecyclic acid and caprylic acid.
- Encourage bowel health with psyllium seed powder.
- Pull out toxins with bentonite clay and use clay and magnesium baths.
- Use the neti pot with a drop of tea tree oil.
After trying these, fill out the more detailed yeast questionnaire in a downloadable PDF from YeastConnection.com. You can use those questions to follow your treatment progress and watch your numbers drop as your symptoms subside.
For more information, read Top 3 Candida Fighters.
Dr. Dean is a medical doctor and naturopathic doctor in the forefront of the natural medicine revolution since 1979. She is the author/coauthor of 29 health books (print and eBooks) including The Magnesium Miracle, IBS for Dummies, IBS Cookbook for Dummies, The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, Future Health Now Encyclopedia, Death by Modern Medicine, Everything Alzheimers, and Hormone Balance. Dr. Dean is the medical director of the non-profit educational site—Nutritional Magnesium Association. She has a free online newsletter, a valuable online 2-year wellness program called Completement Now! and runs a busy telephone consulting practice. For more information, visit DrCarolynDean.com.
August 9th, 2012