BIOLOGISTS TELL US there are more microbial cells in and on our bodies than there are human cells.
It is thought that 1-3% of our total weight is made up of tiny creatures with names like Enterococcus faecalis and Candida albicans. If you weigh 150 lbs, that means about three pounds of the number you see on the scale is not really “you” at all. It comes from the microbes you carry, most of it within your digestive tract, or “gut.”
Most of the time, your abundance of “gut flora” serves a useful purpose. There are times, though, when one of the hundreds of microorganisms that make up your individual biome can make you ill.
For instance, you have probably either heard of, or been afflicted by, a “yeast infection.” It is a condition that occurs when Candida albicans microbes become too abundant. The resultant itching, pain, and general discomfort can become almost unbearable. And if the overgrowth breaks through the intestines and enters the bloodstream, it can even be deadly.
Let’s take a look at the potential causes of Candida albicans yeast infections.
A gut-wrenching story
Three pounds of microbial creatures, numbering perhaps 100 trillion, live inside of you – the idea seems almost unbelievable; yet, advances in molecular biology have shown it to be true. These organisms aid in digestion, glean energy from food, help strengthen the immune system, and perform other functions to help maintain your health. Most of the gut flora work symbiotically with your system, but some can cause real trouble if allowed to flourish. Such is the case with Candida albicans.
Your body seeks a state of balance. It doesn’t like to be too hungry, too tired, too anything. And it certainly doesn’t like being the host site of a microbiological invasion. When all is working as it should, the friendly microbes help keep the bad guys in check. Any invaders serve only to help your natural defenses stay in shape – like war games for a platoon of soldiers. There are times, though, when the bad guys get a foothold and run rampant. Depending on the type of organisms on the loose – and how severe the infection — that can mean anything from a sore throat to severe itching to, perhaps, even cancer.
One thing we want to know, then, is what conditions allow the dangerous microorganisms to multiply? If we know the cause, we may be better able to seek a solution.
Right now, we will focus on Candida albicans, but there are many other types of microbes in your. Many writers group all together and call them “bacteria.” That is not a scientifically accurate description, though. We prefer the term “microbes.” We will talk more about the different types of gut flora later. For now, much of what we say about Candida applies to intestinal microbiology in general.
Why your internal defenses sometimes fail
Not many years ago, the foods normally found on the family table were more likely to be natural and fresh than to be refined and preserved. Sadly, that story has reversed. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Fact Book, the average U.S. citizen consumes over 150 lbs of sugar and other refined sweeteners per year — much of it in soft drinks. That figure certainly seems incredible, and Dr. Haley says he believes it is over-reported, yet that’s the current USDA statistic. Prior to the 20th century, most people ate just a couple of pounds of sugar per year. Any way you look at it; we are eating way too much refined sweetener.
Not only is there a heavy impact on the adrenal system from this (and similar) changes in diet, but the makeup of the gut flora is impacted as well. Recent research shows the gut flora balance can affect many parts and processes in your body, including your ability to maintain a healthy weight, digest your food, and stay mentally alert.
Your gut is the hub from which your health radiates.
Potential causes of intestinal flora disruptions include:
- Consuming excessive sugar and refined carbohydrates
- Immune system disruptions
- Diabetes complications
- Taking antibiotics and other medications
- Certain douches and other feminine products<
- Low estrogen levels
- Using spermicidal condoms and applications
- Eating foods containing synthetic preservatives, colors, and sweeteners
- Eating foods contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
This is not an exhaustive list. Antibacterial soaps and chlorinated water, for instance, are often mentioned as possible gut flora disruptors. When considering known and potential causes, however, one thing is certain: Our intestinal problems are, in large part, of our own making.
Are you experiencing frequent yeast infections? Do you often struggle with digestive problems or abdominal pain? Are you often tired or depressed? Are you plagued by skin eruptions and itching? Have you lost mental acuity? Have you suffered from GERD, leaky gut syndrome, or are you overweight and can’t seem to get rid of the excess pounds?
These and other symptoms may be related to the makeup of your gut flora community.
How to treat Candida albicans outbreaks
The standard treatment regimen for external yeast infections (and inner parts of the vagina are still “external” to your circulatory system) consists of applying a cream to the site — typically clotrimazole, miconazole, or a related drug. Suppositories and pills are also available. Whether the Candida manifests as a vaginal infection, a throat infection, or appears somewhere else on the skin (the anal area, for instance), the cause is the same: an overgrowth of Candida albicans.
Current developments in gut flora research, however, have led many forward-thinking physicians to begin prescribing probotics, along with dietary changes, to restore balance to the bacterial colony. Remember: the problem begins in the gut, so that is the place to effect a lasting change.
Relief for current outbreaks can be helped by applying raw Aloe vera gel to the affected site. We have received many reports of quick relief from the itching and pain of Candida albicans by Stockton Aloe 1 customers — especially when the topical application of the gel is combined with drinking a cup of it daily. Rodney Stockton attributed his vibrant health — even up into his 90’s — to his habit of consuming Aloe vera gel as part of a daily regimen.
You see, since we are in control of the primary contributing factors to gut flora problems, the solutions are also within our power. Changes in habit can render changes in the gut … and that can make a world of difference.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your experiences with Candida albicans or other gut flora outbreaks? Can you think of additional causes for gut microbe disruption? What methods have you tried to stop the itching from yeast infections?
(A special thank you to the microbiology laboratory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, for the Candida photo)