Candida Albicans is a type of yeast present in everyone’s body and doesn’t cause harm in small amounts. When there is an overgrowth though problems can occur because our healthy intestinal bacteria are compromised.

Our intestinal friends have a multitude of functions. They produce vitamins B and K, stimulate our immune system, aid digestion and absorption of nutrients, and regulate appropriate storage of fats and more.

Also, damage to the intestinal lining due to a Candida overgrowth can cause obtrusive particles to circulate in the body, promoting allergies, arthritis and sore joints.

Some people are unknowingly affected by this overgrowth. I have been plagued with a Candida overgrowth for most of my life, until I was diagnosed and treated about three years ago.

Looking back on how I felt compared to now, I was extremely moody, often sick, had trouble concentrating, skin blemishes and was depressed. I thought it was just a part of my personality to be grouchy and introverted. In fact, I didn’t know I could feel otherwise.

I got even more depressed seasonally, especially after moving north to the Yukon and experiencing winters here. I now know that the symptoms I experienced are common factors in a Candida overgrowth.

There are many other symptoms involved with Candida that you might be unknowingly experiencing, such as aches and pains throughout the body (including joints), gas, bloating, fatigue, recurrent yeast infections, skin rashes, allergies and a general sick all over feeling.

A good reference is Allergies, written by Whitehorse naturopath and chiropractor Carolee Bateson-Koch. You will find a list of symptoms in this book as well as a comprehensive look at allergies and their connection with yeast overgrowth.

In order to combat a yeast overgrowth, an extensive diet makeover may be required that includes eliminating all forms of sugar, yeast, peanuts, vinegars, dairy and mushrooms, and encouraging lots of healthy fibre through whole grains, vegetables and legumes (for more detailed diet info go to http://www.thecandidadiet.com/candida-diet.htm).

Yeast killers are also recommended and can be found in cleansing kits at 3 Beans and Aroma Borealis in Whitehorse. Oil of oregano or grapefruit seed extract on their own can also work if taken 3x/day.

Another important factor in a Candida cleanse program is the reintroduction of healthy probiotics. Acidophilus can be taken in large quantities in the evening on an empty stomach to support the intestine with the growth of healthy bacteria (consult a nutritionalist or naturopath for quantities to suit your needs).

Exercise and an ample liquid intake are also important.

Because Candida can be easily spread within a household, I suggest taking a good look at the possible symptoms and how they relate to each member of your family. If you or anyone in your household has some symptoms, take the plunge together and do a Candida cleanse.

Make it fun by writing recipes together for the week, shop for treats together at the store (mixed nuts, puffed rice cakes, yeast and sugar free breads, sweet potatoes, hummus and corn chips), and take extra time to spend together enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company. Family time doesn’t always have to involve food and treats!

Eliminating this health problem can change your life, it sure did mine!