An integral part of the Anti Candida Diet Plan is the support and restoration of your immune system. A Candida overgrowth has a very damaging effect upon the immune system and it will be difficult to overcome Candidiasis with it in a weakened condition.
The immune system is one of the first bodily systems that Candida Albicans attacks and this makes it able to grow more rapidly. In order to beat Candida in the long term you will have to boost your immune system and keep it fortified with vitamins and minerals.
A weakened immune system is associated adrenal fatigue and leaky gut syndrome which are also linked to an overgrowth of Candida. By making some small changes to your lifestyle and daily routines, you can build up you immune system and fight / prevent all of the these conditions.
Candida and your Immune System
Even though technically your immune system is an organ, it is unlike other organs such as the lungs or heart because it is actually a collection of organs and systems that work together. Many aspects of you body are involved in contributing to its opperation, so an imbalance or problem with one of them can make it vulnerable.
Candida can de-stabilises your immune system in several key ways:
- Imbalances your gut flora
- Adrenal fatigue
- Leaky Gut Syndrome
Gut Flora Imbalance
Having a healthy gut flora is a crucial part of your immune system. Studies have now shown that the good bacteria in the intestines interact with the immune system and communicate where pathogens and harmful micro-organisims are, helping it respond more effectively.
Candida causes a imbalance in the gut flora when the yeast outgrows the good bacteria. Reversing the situation by supporting the good bacteria with probiotics and the correct pH levels help them thrive and deprive the Candida of the nutrients it needs to grow.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
LGS is the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal wall in your digestive tract. Candida suffers often find that they have food intolerances and bloating which can be the result of LGS. Once the Candida overgrowth spreads into the intestines, the yeast cells spread over and through the intestinal walls, perforating it and allowing paritcles to pass directly into the bloodstream. These particles will repeatedly trigger a immune response putting stress on the adrenal glands and the immune system as a whole, making it more difficult to fight Candida overgrowth.
Additionally, the immune system treats these particles as it would a pathogen, making antibodies to fight it. The next time it recognises that particle in the bloodstream it triggers an immune response that you experience as a food sensitivity.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are placed under prolonged stress and are unable to meet demands to produce various hormones. Physical and emotional stress, drug abuse, caffeine or a lack of sleep can all over stress the adrenal glands.
Candida, over time will have the same affect. The adrenal glans produce many hormones that regulate your metabolism and cardiovascular function. Once the glands are fatigued they can no longer produce the necessary amounts of hormones for the immune system to function properly. This can leave you with a tiredness that persists unless you use stimulants like caffeine as well as various other symptoms.
How to boost your immune system
Probiotics are key to beating Candida. You will find lots of information about them on this site for that very reason. A good quality probiotic will restore the levels of healthy bacteria in you stomach, crowding out the Candida while simultaneously producing acetic and latic acid to keep your stomach acidic and Candida hostile. Probiotics not only help cure Candida but also support the immune system too.
Take a moment read this interesting 2009 report by the University of Pennsylvania that studied the interaction between good bacteria and the function of the immune system. They found that having a lower than normal level of healthy bacteria in the intestines actually makes your immune system less effective at dealing with pathogens and viruses.
There are several vitamins that are helpful in fighting Candida and supporting your immune system. Ensuring that you have a good regular intake of all these vitamins will go a long way towards keeping you healthy but Vitamin C is especially important for boosting the immune system.
- Is used by the adrenals to regulate blood sugar levels and manufacture antihistamines / anti-inflammatories.
- Regulate the metabolism
- Supports the production of antibodies
- Increases levels of stomach acid which make it difficult for Candida yeast to overgrow.
Make sure you have the correct amounts of vitamins A, E and B5 (pantothenic acid) in your diet. Vitamin A was highlighted in the study as important in fighting infection by conveying information to immune cells in the mucosal surfaces. Vitamin E is know to have healing and cellular growth properties. Vitamin E can be especially beneficial when taken after vaccination to help boost the immune system and produce more white blood cells and antibodies.
Remember that it is better to get your vitamins from the foods you eat rather than from supplementation alone. Be aware of the amounts of vitamins that are in your diet as it is important not to overdose on certain vitamins.
Herbal remedies can also reduce the stress placed upon your immune system. Check with you doctor before trying some of these:
- Cat’s Claw contains Alkaloids that help your body produce strong white blood cells that attack pathogens and micro-organisms such as Candida yeast.
- Echinacea is a know immune booster and stimulates the production of white bloodcells.
- Ashwagandha is a potent herb with stress reliving properties.
- Licorice Root also has stress reliving properties but is more mild than Ashwagandha.
- Oregano Oil is a powerful antiseptic and antifungal.
More ways to boost your immune system
Go Caffeine free
Caffeine is the number one culprit for adrenal fatigue today. With so may products containing added caffeine in high does together with a growing coffee/tea culture it’s no surprise that we are addicted to the ‘buzz’ that caffeine gives us. Caffeine gives us this ‘buzz’ by forcing your adrenal glands produce a cocktail of stimulating hormones such as adrenaline on demand. This can become addictive and places too higher demands upon the adrenal glands leading to fatigue. It not easy to cut caffeine out of your daily routine. It has to be done slowly to avoid nasty withdrawal symptoms if you consume it regularly.
Start by looking at exactly how much caffeine you are consuming. It can be in cold medicine, energy drinks, chocolate, coco, coffee, tea and of course soft drinks. Try to reduce your intake gradually by cutting one drink at a time out of your daily routine or by looking for caffeine free alternative. There are herbal coffee substitutes such as chicory coffee that has a similar taste to coffee and contains a prebiotic that aids digestion.
Stimulating the organs and increasing the circulation with light exercise will support the immune system and your overall health. Do be aware that strenuous exercise can cause an adrenal response that you become hooked on just as you can with caffeine. Over doing it in the gym regularly can lead to adrenal fatigue.
We all know that saunas make you sweat but did you know that you where helping your immune system by doing so? As we sweat we secrete toxins and pathogens, passing them from our bloodstream out through our pores. A sauna speeds this process up and increases the quantity of toxins that your body can eliminate giving your immune system a well deserved rest.
Stressful situations force your body into making stress hormones such as cortisol. Prolonged physical and emotional stress will take their toll on you adrenal glands. Avoid stressful situations where ever possible. Take time for yourself to relax, maybe go on holiday or take up a relaxing pastime. Any activities that calm you down and help you de-stress will benefit your immune system and help you in your fight against Candida.
Rest and relaxation
Regular holidays are important for many reasons and they are a serious contributor to overall happiness and health. Try to take regular holidays but if this isn’t always possible make time to get proper rest. Go to bed at a reasonable time and get a better quality of sleep by having a bedtime ritual that sends you to sleep quickly. Perhaps try meditation or a relaxing activity such as Tai-chi. Rest allows your mind, body and spirit to better cope with the stress of life, make sure you get enough.