and Yeast: The Food Factor
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND.
This article can also be found on www.mercola.com.
you recently complained to friends and or family: "I
don't know why I've suddenly developed this spring sneezing
and wheezing" or "I never used to get an upset stomach
when I ate dairy products?" Developing allergies and
food sensitivities isn't necessarily a product of geography,
the season of the year or even of aging. While allergies may
have many causes, consider the possibility that systemic yeast
overgrowth may be an underlying factor. It may sound far-fetched
for those of us who think of yeast infections as those annoying
itchy vaginal problems, but extensive research shows that
yeast overgrowth can weaken the immune system and open the
door to food sensitivities, allergies, asthma and other seemingly
unrelated health problems. How can this be?
their 2005 edition of The Yeast Connection and Women's Health,
the late Dr. William Crook and Dr. Carolyn Dean described
a process known as the "leaky gut syndrome." In
the most simple terms possible, here's how you get leaky gut:
upset the balance of friendly bacteria in your digestive tract.
This usually takes places if you take antibiotics, even for
a short time or eat a diet high in processed foods, or if
you take birth control pills.
friendly bacteria in your gut allow the normal yeast balance
to begin growing out of control, compromising your immune
system which is based in the digestive tract.
The yeast overgrowth actually causes tiny perforations in
your intestines, which allows yeast and other toxins to spill
into your bloodstream, triggering allergic responses.
addition, the failure of your immune system to function perfectly
sometimes triggers over-response (known as a histaminic response)
to some substances that were not formerly problematic.
Some doctors think the term "allergy" should be
limited to those conditions in which an immunological response
can be demonstrated using skin tests or more sophisticated
laboratory tests, specifically IgE antibody tests.
some doctors expand that definition to include hypersensitivity
to foods and environmental toxins, which, in fact, may be
documented by IgG antibody testing. The most common food allergies
are wheat, corn, milk and eggs, although many people have
dozens of food allergy triggers. These food sensitivities
may not cause the obvious symptoms: sneezing, runny nose,
coughing, hives and itching.
fact, as Dr. Crook and Dr. Dean explain, some of your favorite
foods could be the ones feeding your problems, especially
if they are high in yeast and sugar. And they may have been
causing you trouble for years without your knowledge.
toxins, ranging from tobacco smoke to perfumes to household
cleaning products, can cause similar symptoms. And they may
be caused by yeast overgrowth resulting in the release of
toxins into your bloodstream.
toxins can trigger everything from depression to fatigue to
endometriosis to headaches.
you've gotten unsatisfactory results from decongestants, anti-histamines
and nasal sprays, perhaps it is time to consider the possibility
that systemic yeast overgrowth is causing your problem.
of Dr. Crook's and Dr. Dean's patients found relief from food
sensitivities, allergies and allergy-triggered asthma when
they adopted an anti-yeast plan that includes changes in diet,
supplements, non-prescription antifungal medications, and
sometimes prescription antifungal medications.
first method of treatment for allergies starts with avoiding
the substance that is triggering your problems. That's fine
if you know you're allergic to eggs or cat hair or ragweed.
what if you don't know what you're allergic to?
your hidden food sensitivities
food allergies and sensitivities, the easiest way is to
self-diagnose with what Dr. Crook called The Elimination
by keeping a symptoms diary for at least three days before
you begin the elimination diet. Continue to keep the diary
throughout your three-week elimination diet.
this phase, you'll avoid:
in all forms (including fruit and high fructose corn syrup)
substitute with stevia
wheat products (read labels carefully!)
and packaged foods
food colors and dyes
like vinegar, catsup, soy sauce and all fermented foods
You'll probably notice that your symptoms will begin to
diminish over the first week or so. Keep careful note of
this in your diary. You'll probably also notice that sugar
cravings will disappear after two or three days.
While the purpose of this diet is not to lose weight, you
may drop a few pounds - a pleasant side effect of this diet.
you can eat on this diet:
of fresh vegetables
can eat sparingly:
beans and other legumes
grains like brown rice, barley, oats
alternatives like amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa
three weeks, you'll enter what is known as the Challenge
During this time, you'll introduce the most common allergy-causing
foods, one at a time, and watch the effects carefully. Most
people with wheat allergies, for example, will notice congestion
returns if they eat even half a slice of bread. Many people
with yeast-related allergies and food sensitivities have
problems with sugar, which is doubly problematic because
it actually feeds the yeast that is already overgrown in
their systems. Once you have identified your allergy triggers,
you can avoid these foods or eat them only on rare occasions.
You'll find more details on the anti-candida diet plus recipes,
and lots more information at www.yeastconnection.com
or in The Yeast Connection and Women's Health.
Identifying environmental triggers for your allergies
triggers for your allergies are usually easier to identify.
You know if your head fills up when you're around cats or
if you can't bear the smell of cigarette smoke. Allergies
to specific pollens, household cleaning products, fabrics
and other common substances around us are sometimes more difficult
to identify. These types of allergies can be fairly easily
identified through a skin prick allergy test.
1999 Mayo Clinic study concluded that some allergy sufferers
have a systemic response to yeast rather than bacterial infection
as an underlying cause of chronic sinusitis, which is a common
complication of allergies. Treatment of yeast overgrowth with
prescription and non-prescription antifungal medications provides
relief for many people who have suffered with allergies for
Whether your allergies are food- or environmentally triggered
Probiotics are usually the first line of defense. These products
containing friendly bacteria help to restore the natural balance
of bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. Although probiotics
are unlikely to completely take care of your problem, they
will begin the job.
leaf extract is a potent antimicrobial that inhibits the growth
of many microorganisms ranging from yeast to viruses, bacteria
acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid, is readily absorbed
in the entire digestive tract if you get an enteric coated
form. Some research suggests it interferes with the growth
and reproductive processes of yeast organisms.
has been widely used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Garlic extract has been scientifically proven to strengthen
the immune system by helping white blood cells gobble up enemy
germs, including Candida albicans yeast.
seed or grapefruit seed extract has been shown to discourage
the growth of yeast in the intestinal tract. Some doctors
say this extract is as effective as prescription medications
in treating candida-related yeast problems.
products are available at your local health food store.
your yeast overgrowth has been long-established or you are
unable to follow the diet, your doctor may prescribe antifungal
medications for several months or even more. The most commonly
used antifungals are:
is common for the short-term treatment of vaginitis and is
the drug of choice for many physicians treating yeast overgrowth
on a long-term basis. It works throughout the system to penetrate
tissues infested with yeast organisms. Your liver function
should be monitored if you take Diflucan on a long-term basis,
since rare cases of liver toxicity have been reported.
has been in use longer than Diflucan and similar drugs. It
works in a unique way to help re-establish the strength of
the intestinal walls, eliminating the leaky gut syndrome.
are a few other prescription antifungals. Discuss them with
your doctor. But whatever you take for short term relief it
should be accompanied by an anti-Candida diet and an understanding
that you can regrow yeast very quickly by giving it the food
it wants: sugar, wheat, and dairy.
As a physician, I have found that reducing sugar intake is
one of the most important ways to control hypoglycemia, diabetes,
and intestinal yeast. Reduce your sugar intake by supplementing
your tea, water, and other beverages with Stevia. Please go
and click on Dean Wellness for my personal Stevia recommendation.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
Dr. Dean is the author and coauthor of 15 books including
eBooks. Proficient in both conventional and alternative medicine,
Dr. Dean is the medical director of VidaCosta Spa el Puente
in Costa Rica (2010), President of VidaCosta Academy, U.S.,
and offers customized telephone consultations for health through
her website: www.drcarolyndean.com.