Ok, so I initially discovered Paleo by self-diagnosing and treating myself for candida in January 2011. I had been Google-ing symptoms and had so many candida symptoms - It made sense that I was suffering from a yeast overgrowth. I went through a really bad detox (something like a carb flu) once I started the candida diet but then starting feeling really well.
After discovering Paleo, I kept up the diet but added back in mushrooms and a few other foods that are 'forbidden' on the candida diet.
This past year, I've been doing well. My health, appearance and overall well-being have greatly improved. However, over the last few weeks, my health/energy have began to deteriorate and I am experiencing some pre-Paleo symptoms - i.e. eczema, constant hunger, gas (sorry, TMI!), brittle hair, facial zits and little spots appearing on my arms.
I'm trying my best to 'diagnose' what's going on! I hadn't been eating dark chocolate until the beginning of this month but then started eating up to 4 squares of Lindt 85% (sometimes more) each day. Now, with all of my meals, I am never satiated, no matter how much I eat. And if by a miracle I do feel a little satisfied by a meal, I'm hungry again an hour or so later. Also, last weekend, I was out with friends and had a little too much to drink (cough!) and felt like complete and utter s**t for 4 days afterwards - Really bad mood, confusion - I was all over the place, mentally.
Is this a blood sugar issue? Is it that my candida (if I ever had it in the first place) has returned? As of this morning, I'm starting a detox, big time. Only meat and veg for the next week or so to see if it will help my symptoms.
I've also been bingeing quite a lot this last week or so - Nuts, chocolate, potato crisps - Anything I can get my hands on, I'm eating.
Sorry for rambling on! Has anybody else had any experiences with candida overgrowth? Do you think that it is a myth and just a diagnosis for a range of random symptoms? I would really love to hear your thoughts on this.
If you're right about it being candida (which I bet you are, but I'm not a doctor):
It's good to beat back the overgrowth (like you did by starving the little yeasties). But here's the thing: your body should have a natural system to keep yeast population in check. Once your diet improved and your overgrowth was conquered, your gut flora should be managing the yeast population for you.
The fact that the overgrowth is back leads me to question whether your gut has enough of the good gut bacteria to do the work for you. Not everyone needs probiotics, but people with candida overgrowth usually do. Are you getting enough: 1. Cultured foods (traditional, non-vinegar sauerkraut, pickles, etc; raw grass-fed yogurt if you tolerate dairy) 2. Probiotics in supplement form (BioKult is a therapeutic-grade brand with lots of lactobacilli). You don't want one with bifidum; they've been proven to overgrow and dominate the probiotic population, so all you get is bifidum when you really need lacto's, etc.
No, Grok didn't take supplements. But she also never had antibiotics as a kid to kill off her gut bacteria, or sugar alcohols for her whole childhood, silently feeding yeast. And so on.
And yeah, if it's a bad overgrowth, you'll have die-off symptoms. They suck. But they're a sign the yeast are going away.
One more thing: too mant lactobacilli in the diet can cause anal/vaginal itching: a symptom that feels a lot like yeast and is just as unpleasant. So don't go crazy on the probiotics: start on half a dose a day, and ease up to the recommended dose. You're going for balance, not domination.
Also, on the brittle hair/zits front, please make sure you're eating enough fats and fatty fish! Just because you should lay off the chocolate (4 squares of 85% a DAY seems excessive, especially during a yeast flare-up) doesn't mean you can survive on meat & veg. Coconut oil kills candida in the gut (which'll cause gas at the beginning, but then they'll be under control, and it will have been worth it).
So, 1. Slow down on the chocolate (nothing to excess) 2. Probiotics (not to excess) 3. Omega-3 fats (coconut oil especially, and fatty fish)
The bingey stuff might be candida-driven cravings, it could be an insulin thing from all that chocolate, it could be adrenal from imbalance diet/exercise/stress/sleep...I don't know. I'd say, get the candida managed and stop eating potato chips, and find something else to do for 10 mins when you get snacky. That usually helps me.
Confirmed case of candida albicans overgrowth following antibiotic treatment for clostridium difficile here. So in addition to the fungus, I was also dealing with opportunistic bacterial overgrowth.
Despite my symptoms being relatively severe, I had read that treating with antifungals were very hard on the body and didn't guarantee permanent success in eradicating fungal overgrowth. So, I changed my diet. Permanently.
I've gone back and forth on how I feel about Dr. Jaminet's opinion that carbs need to be at certain levels to treat efficiently. I've seen more anecdotal success by treating with a relatively low-carb diet. I am an example of this. I started out very-low carb (< 50 g) and this improved my symptoms markedly. I would at least try this first, understanding that you don't want to stay at < 50 g forever.
As symptoms improved, I slowly started to add in additional carbohydrates in the form of some berries (~ 1 serving a day) and began to juice leafy green vegetables. I currently don't go above 70 g of carbohydrates and I would say I'm about 90% back to normal after five months. Don't kid yourself about the time it will take to self-treat Candida. They are extremely stubborn and the toxins that they give off incapacitate your immune system. They elevate cortisol levels and wreak havoc on your endocrine subsystem, for example. Vitamin D is a great supplement and I highly recommend it. If you can tolerate it, green tea catechins are fantastic along with building up to a therapeutic coconut oil dosage (> 5 tablespoons a day). I would lose the 85% dark chocolate for right now. It contains sugar and any amount of it can be really counterproductive until you're a bit farther along. If that's an absolutely impossibility, do the 99% Lindt dark chocolate. It's very tasty. Make your own yogurt, eat fermented veggies, intermittently fast -- it all helps.
If it really is Candida, and even if it isn't, all of the above should help quite a bit. I happen to subscribe to the thought process that Dr. Campbell-McBride (creator of GAPS) and Dr. Art Ayers preach about food intolerance and that is that by healing the gut, you can resolve what most people refer to as food intolerances. Dr. Campbell-McBride talks about ways to diagnose true food intolerances in the GAPS book. I highly recommend it.
A concluding thought: healing and detoxifying your body is not a linear process. You may not be doing anything wrong but use slow self-expiramentation to find out if there is a symptom trigger. Gut ecology can shift every so often, leaving you with what seems to be regression. Do not lose hope. I wish you the best of luck and please don't hesitate to update us on your progress.
I notice some of the answers are saying you should try more carbs: "I've also been bingeing quite a lot this last week or so - Nuts, chocolate, potato crisps - Anything I can get my hands on, I'm eating."
Looks like you are already trying it. I think the most important thing here is to find a diet you can stick with, be it VLC or Perfect Health Diet.
Also, while I do believe fungal overgrowth is an issue, candida is just one of many funguses. Unless you have been tested, it's just a possibility you have fungal issues, not "candida," which is unfortunately a term that's been co-oped by a lot of questionable dietary gurus. I know these issues exist (since I've had them), but I can't peg them to specific fungi.
Also, don't rule out other issues like bad bacteria, food interolances,etc. A FODMAP-free diet, for example, covers both gut fungal and bacterial symptoms like gas.
I had these experiences too. The solution? Believe it or not - higher carb. My theories, shared by others and based on what I've read/experienced, the yeast eat all the sugar available. When that runs out, they become invasive. I too severely reduced my carb intake and the problem got worse than ever. I think my body, in the absence of a dietary source, was trying to convert all the protein it could find into glucose. (Parts of your body like your brain need a certain amount to run properly). Non-essential systems like the reproductive system shut down while this more urgent problem is being addressed. Result? I had a raging appetite, low libido, weight loss (especially muscular) and crazy brain fog. Increasing my carb intake with things like white rice, sweet potatoes, fruit, and even orange juice helped tremendously. I eat as much as I'd like. The result - yeast issues and aforementioned problems are gone and I have not gained excess weight. Anyway - hope that is relevant/helps. Either way, best of luck to you!
Drastically increase your intake of fresh green leafy vegetables. This will feed competing, beneficial microorganisms in the gut while flooding your system with the micro-nutrients that you'd be lacking due to an overgrowth of yeast. To get the ball rolling, I would add a drink like kefir to your diet. Kefir is jam packed with many different strains of beneficial bacteria, more so than any other fermented dairy product.
Candida is just a symptom of an underlying health problem. Probably your body being unable to detoxify itself. Personally I am leaning towards that the "Candida diet" is contra-productive. You don't need to kill the fungus, the fungus is a part of you. What you need to do is to help your body detoxify itself. When the body has gotten rid of all the toxins, all the problems and symptoms associated with Candida will go away by themselves. Which is what I think happened to you.
Now since you're problems came back, it is probably something you have re-introduced into your diet. You mention that you eat potato chips. I would stay away from all oils except olive and coconut oil.
And it's important that you know that it's not the amount of food that you eat, but what it is you eat. It's also important to eat a balanced diet. Don't cut out carbs and fruits completely, your body needs it.
One thing that really struck me here is the dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains high quantities of the metal Copper. While copper is vital in our systems in VERY small amounts, some people get too much in their diet or other source and an excess can wreak havoc with their bodily functions from digestion to brain transmissions. Have a look on the internet for Copper Elimination and Copper Toxicity. Dr Wilson's pages are very informative. I have read reports of a woman only ingesting 4mg per day in supplement form and getting copper toxicity after a few weeks. I am carefully eliminating copper from my system after consuming at least 4-8 mg per day for more than a year - tanning tablets to protect my skin (didn't protect the rest of me). Symptoms for me? Insomnia, anxiety and hypoglycemia. Copper is actually a 'heavy' metal, and so is rather poisonous, yet remarkably we need trace amounts of it to function. Copper also has a unique relationship with yeast in the body. It is so easy to get too much from water pipes to copper rich foods. I can actually taste it in my mouth at night as I leech it out of my system with diet and some natural chelators. If anyone thinks copper is a dodgy subject in health confined to pseudoscience... I am 44 and lifting heavy weights 4 times a week, sprinting 100's, running ten miles a week - and excess copper nearly wrote me off for 5 months. It started with raised BPM, pounding heart, racing thoughts, and waking at 4am - wide awake. Then I had huge blood sugar swings after normal carb meals. It was like being on amphetamines for months! Elimination is like that of yeast - it gets worst first, then slowly improves. So look, why not check this out and eliminate it from your scenarios. Apparently chocolate cravers, especially women, are 'high copper' suspects. Hope this helps. Nick, N Ireland.
I don't know if candida is a myth, but perhaps your ability to self diagnose is a myth.
You may have felt better because pre-diet change you were eating a ton of crap. Once the effects of crap elimination were done you feel like a new crap because your crap elimination diet, although not complete crap, is not as crap free as it could be.
Perhaps the foods are perfect, but the combination/ratios is crap, therefore crapifying your crap free diet.
I'd go to the doctor and follow a proven diet, like MDA, for a while to see if your causing the problem or if you are wrongly treating an existing problem.