Do I Need A Yeast Cleanse?
I have been asked this question many times in my office and I usually begin with asking if the patient has any or all of these symptoms:
- Dry eyes, dry skin, dry mouth?
- Have you noticed you are bloated especially after meals?
- Do you crave sugar or carbohydrates ?
- Are you tired all the time or fatigued?
- Have you noticed brain fog or memory issues?
- Have you had any skin issues lately (psoriasis, eczema, rashes, rosacea, acne)?
- Have you been experiencing mood swings (anxiety, depression, anger, frustration)?
- Have you had achy joints lately or has your autoimmune disorder flared up?
- Have you noticed an increase in constipation or having to strain to go the bathroom?
- Have you had an increase in sinus infections?
- Have you had an increase in upper respiratory issues (asthma, bronchitis, etc)?
- Do you have reoccurring colds and flus?
- And have you noticed weight gain and have tried all the diets with no success?
I don’t ask all these questions but usually when I get three to four “yeses” on a handful of questions, I know you have a yeast overgrowth.
We all have a little bit of yeast in us, just like, we all have a few parasites and a few bacteria in us. It is natural process of the body. The issue becomes a problem when we have too much and there is no longer a balance. So, what is a yeast overgrowth?
Yeast is a single celled organism that falls under the fungi label. Yeast overgrowth in the body is typically referred to as Candida. Yet, I personally do not like to use the word Candida, because most of my patients think of vaginal yeast infections. Then, I must explain how yeast grows in moist dark areas of the body, this include the vaginal area, but also includes the digestion, mouth, and can spread throughout the body.
I like to describe yeast as bread. Many people have made bread or seen how bread was made and it gives a good visual. What do we use to make bread? Flour, water, sugar, yeast. Basically, all these ingredients are in our carbs and processed boxed foods. So, we make the dough, what next? We put it in a bowl, cover it to keep in the heat, and then place is in a dark high place. Later we remove it and the dough has doubled to even tripled in size. When you eat these yeast growing foods, you place the ingredients in a moist, dark, warm space call the large intestines for it to grow. If you visualize it this way you will begin to learn what foods to stay away from that make yeast grow.
You have yeast in your system growing, what’s the harm? Let me tell you what yeast can do to your internal system because it’s a lot!
First, think of the bread, if you add water the yeast will absorb it to grow more. Yeast will begin to steal water from your body, therefore, we get the dry eyes, skin, and mouth and even constipation. On my yeast cleanse, dry skin seems to be the first symptom to notice change.
Secondly, yeast is very sticky. Have you ever pulled out dough and it sticks to your hands and you find it very difficult to get off until you use some type of soap or oil? Yeast will cling to your intestinal wall preventing it from absorbing your vitamins and nutrients needs for the body to function. Your large intestines absorb an important vitamin B12. This leads to being tired, fatigued, maybe even brain fog. Hence, coconut oil and olive oil will help in reducing yeast and its stickiness.
The longer yeast stays in your intestines the more harm it does. It begins to punch little holes in your intestines. When this happens the toxins from the intestines begin to leak out into the bloodstream and cause a cascade of effects, such as inflammation and autoimmune disorders. This is typically known as leaky gut disorder. For this reason, I personally like to kill the yeast prior to fixing leaky gut conditions.
Yeast can affect mood because it lowers your serotonin level. Over 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. When yeast overgrows, it stops this production leading to mood swings such as depression, anxiety, and even anger. Serotonin also affects your sleep, sexual desire, memory, social behavior, appetite, and digestion. It is a very important neurotransmitter that is being put out of commission when yeast overtakes it.
The other problem we run into, is yeast likes to “eat” progesterone. If our progesterone begins to diminish our estrogen becomes out of balance and we have something called “estrogen dominance”. Estrogen Dominance can be caused by many other factors, but yeast is one that is overlooked and when killed can resolve the issue immediately. The other problem with yeast, it will mimic estrogen, therefore causing estrogen dominance issue again. Many female hormonal issues such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Infertility, etc can be linked to yeast and this is a must in fixing before any other protocol.
Yeast also lives and thrives in mucous membranes. Another mucus membrane that people forget about is your sinus cavities. I did a blog explaining antibiotics are misgiven for sinus infections. This here is the reason why: Most sinus infections are not bacterial or viral, but a yeast overgrowth. In Chinese medicine we are taught that sinus issues are due to an impaired digestion system. Usually the digestive system is impaired because of yeast overgrowth. This will travel to your wet, dark, sinus cavities and grow exponentially. Because of the sticky nature of yeast, it is very difficulty to get rid of the sinus issues and they continue to reoccur. Many people have even had sinus surgery and feel great and it is much less, but as time goes by, the condition comes back and the patient is confused; thinking they must live like this for the rest of their life. It is at this moment I bring up a yeast cleanse. Once the patient realizes this may be the culprit and changes their lifestyle, “Ta-Da”, the problem has permanently resolved (along with other issues).
Yeast seems to be a horrible thing; it affects our mood, our memory, our hormones, our nutrients, our digestion, and our immune. How did we get ourselves in this situation?
Majority of the time we have kept our body “out of balance” by eating incorrect foods. When I put my patients on a yeast cleanse, the first thing I do is eliminate foods that help yeast grow. This is pretty much boxed and canned foods, sugar, high glycemic foods, processed foods, etc.
We want to stay away from processed foods because they contain a lot of sugar (not only to flavor but preserve). Sugar makes yeast grow, as well as bacteria, and it lowers the immune system.
We want to stay away from fruits (especially dried fruit) because of the amount of sugar it contains (fructose). This means avoid all fruit juices as well. Aged cheese basically carry mold and mold is pretty much a fungi so we need to avoid aged cheeses.
Stay away from carbohydrates. This is the primary ingredients for yeast (think of the bread scenario). Carbohydrates are your: bread, crackers, cookies, pasta, rice, potatoes, peas, beans. These usually have a higher glycemic load therefore they contain more sugars that breakdown instantly when digested. These sugars are what feeds the yeast and lowers your immune system.
Coffee contains molds. For this reason, in many detox plans, they recommend avoiding coffee. Fortunately, there are some companies that make coffee that have been tested for mold. Yet, we always recommend switching to herbal teas such as Earl Grey or Dark Yerbe Mate.
Stay away from nuts for this reason as well.
The primary point is to stay away from foods that make yeast grow, and consume the foods that starve the yeast such as: cruciferous vegetables, salmon, olive and coconut oils, lemons, apple cider vinegars, garlic, onions, proteins, Greek yogurts (probiotics), sauerkraut, green leafy vegetables, water (to help replenish what it steals), and herbal teas (pau d arco). When you make your salads, don’t add any condiments (they contain a lot of junk and especially high amounts of sugar). Salad dressings should be olive oil and salt, or coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. Even if we eat clean, yeast overgrowth will be a lifetime event for us in America.
We can eat right, and we can clean out yeast, but it comes back! The reason this happens is because of:
- Our American diet of processed foods, and chemicals in our foods leading to yeast overgrowth
- Antibiotics: antibiotics kills the good bacteria in your gut which helps prevent bad toxins from entering our system. Antibiotics will lower our immune system and support yeast overgrowth. This is one reason we encourage patient to take a probiotic but also to change their diet while taking these pills.
- Birth Control Pills: Birth control pills can contain estrogen or progesterone. As we discussed before, yeast eats the progesterone and yeast mimics estrogen, therefore yeast likes estrogen and when we have an excess of estrogen it can make yeast grow more.
- Cancer treatments: These treatments kill all healthy cells therefore lowering the immune system and allowing yeast to grow more.
- Diabetes. Diabetics have a tendency to consume to much sugar and cannot metabolize sugar properly in their system, allowing yeast to grow.
- Corticosteroids can cause yeast overgrowth. That would be prednisone and inhalants (especially for asthma patients). That is very interesting isn’t it. Yeast may be the main cause of asthma but then we treat it with something that makes it grow even more and can lead to oral thrush.
How do I know I have yeast? Typically, I look at the number of signs and symptoms. There are several yeast surveys you can do online. If my patient has too many illnesses going on, I may recommend a full gastrointestinal panel. This panel tests for several dysfunctions in the digestive system and it will test for yeast as well. Primary doctors like to use blood test and look at the WBC’s but I find that to be a waste of time. We know that yeast grows in dark, wet, and warm places so test it where it grows. I prefer a lab testing fecal matter and saliva. Why saliva? Yeast grows in the mouth as well. This is “Thrush”.
If you want to do an “at home” test you can do two things: visual, and sputum. It is a horrible thing in my profession, Chiropractors look at peoples’ posture and walk, and Acupuncturist can’t help but look at peoples’ tongues when they talk. Tongue diagnosis can explain a lot about what is going on in the body. It is amazing how many people have a thin white coating on their tongue. This is the first sign of yeast overgrowth. our tongue should be a nice thick pink color with no fissures or grooves. When a person has a light pink to almost a whitish coat, I know it is yeast. The other test that people have tried is the spit test. Spit test: First thing in the morning before drinking or brushing your teeth, spit in a cup of water. In a 1-3 minutes timeframe, look for strings or film for + sign. If the strings sink to the bottom, it is a confirmation of yeast. If the water becomes cloudy then this is usually a positive sign. Look for these three things: 1. Spit is on the top of the water but begins to develop strings, water is cloudy, spit sinks to the bottom of the cup. This is a quick trick, but GI testing is the best form.
“OK, I think I have yeast, how do I treat?” Many doctors will give the patients either Diflucan or Nystatin. I don’t like Nystatin, because it has a lot of sugar in it so you can get it down. What makes yeast grow? Sugar!!!! The drug may kill the yeast but those sticky hidden yeast will stay on the walls of the intestines and feed off that sugar from this drug and grow again. For this reason, the yeast comes back and you are back at the doctor.
Fluconazole (Diflucan) has been linked to inhibit the P450 enzyme. This enzyme is necessary for detoxing harmful environmental chemicals to the liver. When this enzyme is stopped then the chemicals never get detoxed leading to severe health issues. Long term use of this drug can lead to side effects almost 10 years later and can be the leading cause of autoimmune disorders.
I find that yeast is a natural occurring substance in our environment. Naturally occurring organisms can easily be treated by naturally occurring products that mother nature produces for use. I personally like to do a yeast cleanse in my office that includes: dietary/lifestyle changes, herbal supplements to kill yeast, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, and herbal supplement to help flush the yeast out and repair the gut lining. This is typically a 4-week program. We have seen amazing results and most of my patients will continue this program when they notice the yeast has not been cleansed out completely. This program is not for just yeast but to teach lifestyle changes and commitment to support the natural processes of your body. My goal is to teach you the signs and symptoms of yeast proliferation, so when it returns you can reduce it and prevent its overgrowth. Patients who have gone to a plethora of doctors for multiple conditions and no results, will try this program and see their conditions resolve completely. They may have to do it for three to six months but by the end they developed a lifestyle change. Patients who feel good don’t want to go back to old eating habits; it is a thing of the past. Feeling good always out-ways a toxic lifestyle.
If you are interested in doing our yeast cleanse, it is a 4-week dietary and supplemental program. Typical immediate responses are more energy, better sleep, and weight loss. It never hurts to support your immune system, learn how to eat, and heal your gut. Give it a try.
Contact our office at drcheriejohnson.com or cahc.biz.
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