IF YOU’VE NOT heard about it already, you will. It’s a topic that has scientists, medical doctors, and natural food advocates watching for new developments, and all this attention is focused on a place few people find exciting.
Other words for the gut are the digestive tract, alimentary canal, bowels, and intestinal tract. The gut accepts the foods you put into it and moves them, whether solid or liquid, through a process that digests the food to extract nutrients, then eject the waste.
But that’s not all.
The gut is a gatekeeper. It determines what will and will not be allowed to enter your circulatory system and gain access to your organs. The gut is a beautifully designed and integrated system, but it doesn’t operate independently. It depends on you to help it do its job well.
And that can be a big problem.
What ever happened to sanity?
In the not too distant past, foods tended to be simple and relatively free of contaminants. There was no real danger of consumers ingesting chemical preservatives, genetically modified organisms, or poisonous residues from pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.
Nature didn’t add those things to the food supply; we did.
Moreover, foods were grown in rich, organic soil. The crops absorbed nutrients – essential vitamins and minerals – from the soil, and those nutrients were available upon consumption. Vitamin supplements were rarely needed.
Modern technology has completely altered that picture. Today’s agricultural soils are primarily lifeless placeholders that must be synthetically enriched to support life. And the chemist’s bags of fertilizer do not come close to supplying the myriad nutrients amply provided by Nature. The rise in the cluster of symptoms known as “metabolic syndrome” correlates with the onset of modern food production methods and the switch from farmer’s markets and gardens to supermarkets.
When your diet consists predominantly of refined and processed foods, you send to the gut many substances that should not be eaten … and the gut dutifully supplies them to the circulatory system, thereby spreading a toxic soup to every part of your body. Then, one day, (God forbid) the doctor says you have cancer, diabetes, heart disease, leaky gut syndrome – or another horrible disease. And you wonder where you got it.
Sometimes … too many times … we may be unwittingly giving those health problems to ourselves, all sanctioned and encouraged by new breed of agri-factory giants. And we’re not talking about family farmers. Like the buffalo that once stood guard over the land, they are all but extinct: victims of progress in a world focused on profit, not on health.
What’s all the commotion about?
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in Monterey, California. Writing for The Monterey County Herald, she put it like this:
I remember the first time — many years ago — that I heard the term “probiotic” at a nutrition conference. I was amazed as I listened to the speaker review volumes of research about these “good gut bacteria” that help our body digest food, assist in making B vitamins and vitamin K, and fight against aggressive disease-causing bacteria.
Today, a whole new area of nutrition research — including the Human Microbiome Project — is seeking to understand how specific “gut flora” (beneficial microorganisms that live in our intestinal tract) affect our health.
You see, the gut isn’t a sedentary place. It doesn’t only work when you are eating, then take a nap until the next meal. The gut is a vibrant, living atmosphere – home to perhaps 100 trillion residents. Moreover, these intestinal inhabitants (primarily bacteria, but also other microorganisms) play a much larger role in health than has previously been assigned them. Says a recent Time Health article: There’s a rainforest in our guts, and we’re just beginning to explore it.
The scientific journals are publishing reports about new studies on the gut regularly. Dr. Haley, along with science editors at newspapers, translate the academic talk into plain English so the public can grasp the implications. Here are just a few recent examples of headlines relating to the gut.
These stories sound fantastic, but the truth may be they aren’t fantastic enough. Gut research is a field that is just now coming into its own.
“Human gut microbes may help fight obesity, study finds” — Cedars-Sinai
“Research renaissance offers new ways out of depression” — Reuters USA
What does that have to do with yeast infections?
Dr. Haley fields plenty of questions: questions from patients, questions from customers, questions from seat-mates on airplanes. And many of those questions lead right back to issues originating in the gut. Once you become aware of how central the digestive tract is to life, the correlations become evident.
As president of Stockton Aloe 1, Doc doesn’t need to suggest a prescription drug or even and over-the-counter medication. He knows the potential of Aloe and is always pleased to recommend it. After all, that is how he became involved in the business. Doc used Rodney Stockton’s Aloe cream to soothe rope burns on his hands, saw the amazing results, and became an instant fan of Stockton Aloe products.
Now, Aloe supporters are becoming increasingly aware that Aloe vera can be used for more than just severe burns. Yes, pure Aloe gel is still the first choice for sunburns and radiation burns of all kinds, but there are many more applications where it can also work effectively.
For instance, Aloe can help wonderfully with vaginal yeast infections.
The symptoms of yeast infections
Yeast infections occur when a particular microorganism — Candida albicans — multiples rapidly and becomes over-abundant.
Normally, one thinks of a yeast infection being associated with vaginal itching – but yeast infections can occur in the mouth, throat, intestinal tract, on the skin, on the penis … it can even become systemic and spread throughout your circulatory system, affecting every part of your body.
When it gets on a roll, Candida albicans can cause all kinds of misery.
Symptoms of yeast infections
For Candida albicans vaginal yeast infections:
- Itching vagina
- Painful urination
- Burning on the outer part of the vagina (vulva)
- A discharge that looks like cottage cheese
For Candida albicans throat and mouth infections — known as Oral thrush or Oral candidiasis
- The infection site is red and sore
- There may be cracking at the corners of the mouth
- You may see lesions that look like cottage cheese in your mouth or throat
- “Cotton mouth”
- Can occur anywhere, but normally in moist, hidden areas: armpits, groin, between toes, anus
- Red rash appears
- Severe itching occurs
- May see a film of something that looks like cottage cheese
For systemic infections of Candida albicans (known as invasive candidiasis or candidemia)
- Chronic tiredness, depression, or anxiety with no apparent cause
- Headaches, muscle pains
- Blood sugar problems
- Insomnia and loss of memory
There are more symptoms, especially for systemic infections, but these describe the basics of Candida albicans. Do any of them sound familiar?
The common treatment for yeast infections may not work
Physicians normally prescribe an anti-fungal cream to kill the Candida albicans invaders and stop the itching. Many times, though, the problem reoccurs a few months later, requiring more medicine – often stepping up the intensity and duration of the treatment.
In other words, standard allopathic medical practices treat the symptoms and are declared “successful” when the patient’s experience of those symptoms has ceased. If you have a sore throat when you go to the doctor’s office, follow the medical advice given, and your throat stops hurting … your case is deemed closed.
But what if the same problem keeps occurring? At some point, it would be wise to give some thought to the cause, wouldn’t it?
The same thing applies to recurrent yeast infections: Look to the source of the problem, not to the symptoms only, and you may be able to not just stop the current problem, but prevent future outbreaks.
Where to find out about the causes of yeast infections (Candida albicans outbreaks)
Bacteria are simple critters. Normally, there are 30 to 40 different kinds residing in your gut. Most are beneficial; some are not. When your body is in balance, the bacterial colonies are in relative harmony. When your body is out of balance, there’s been a coup – a bacterial uprising – and one of the species has begun lording it over the rest.
Yes, antifungal medicines can quash a yeast infection, but that still doesn’t tell us why the Candida outbreak occurred in the first place. If we can get to the source of the problem, perhaps we can prevent it from happening again – isn’t that the preferred course of action? Let’s stop worrying about how to treat vaginal yeast infections, for instance, and learn how to prevent them.
That will require a discussion about causes.
Much of the time, Candida albicans infections follow a course of antibiotics. It’s a case of the medicine taking care of one situation and causing another. But we want to go beyond that to ask why antibiotics pave the way for yeast infections – and we want to look at other possibilities as well. That discussion is taken up here: Candida Albicans Yeast Infections — Causes.
Have you ever suffered a yeast infection? How did you treat it? Has it recurred?
Your observations and questions are welcome. See the Comment section below..