One of the things that can mysteriously and frustratingly prevent us from losing weight is a systemic yeast problem. Most people think of yeast as being vaginal, but everyone has yeast. Yes, men too. You could have never had an apparent yeast infection in your life and still have yeast overgrowth.
We have a very delicate balance in our gut between friendly flora and yeast. Yeast colonies can rapidly multiply and overtake our friendly flora in response to diet, hormones, or environmental factors. People who eat a lot of sugar may be more prone to yeast overgrowth . But really ANYONE who eats reactive foods, foods that cause an inflammatory response, will kick up yeast. You may also note that in times of stress you are more prone to having a flare-up.
Taking antibiotics disturbs your intestinal flora; this is the reason people recommend eating yogurt when you take antibiotics (which really doesn’t help that much for systemic yeast – especially if you are reactive to yogurt!). Other factors that might contribute to yeast overgrowth are hormonal changes, birth control pills, steroids, and exposure to radiation such as radiation therapy.
Regardless of what causes it, a yeast overgrowth can create digestive disturbances like bloating, gas, and constipation, headache, sinus problems, brain fog, depression, and fatigue. Even worse yeast, left unchecked, can cause disorders like leaky gut and disrupt your immune system. Candida can also set off volatile emotional issues . You know all those symptoms usually associated with PMS, like feeling irrational, severe mood swings, and anger? Those can often be a result of systemic yeast, which can flare during times of hormonal shifts.
When yeast organisms take over your intestinal flora, they produce acidic toxins, which slow down weight loss and affect your immune system. If you are having a yeast flare-up while testing, it will affect your data. To make matters worse? The more yeast you have, the more foods you may be reactive to!
If you are doing The Plan to identify your inflammatory foods, I want you to have as accurate data as possible. It would be frustrating to put in all this effort on your 20 days and not have the payoff, so we want to determine if there’s an issue before we get started.
I use a very easy test for yeast overgrowth. Since yeast feeds on sugar and fermented foods, we do a test day prior to beginning your Plan on the foods that are the most likely contributors to its growth. Set aside one day and include in your daily menu wine or beer or better yet champagne (full of yeasty goodness), balsamic vinegar, and chocolate. Yes, all in one day; did I mention the test was fun? If you don’t drink wine, you can just use the dessert and a heavy dose of balsamic vinegar. If chocolate isn’t your thing, you can choose any sweets that you love. Throw some carbs in there for extra fun! Keep everything else that day the same as you usually do. The next morning, upon awakening, check your tongue in the mirror. If it’s coated white, it’s a sign that yeast is an issue for you. Even if your tongue is not coated white, note how you feel. Are you craving sugar and carbs? Are you irritable or do you have extra energy, or feel super low energy?
If you have any of the above, don’t panic. This is easily treatable. I know there are many hardcore practitioners out there that want to cut from your diet every bit of sugar and everything fermented to moderate yeast, but I haven’t found this strict regimen to be necessary – and frankly, it is pretty depressing. In addition, if the yeast is rampant, this austere approach will cause rapid yeast die-off symptoms, which feel horrible (think extreme detox with foggy thinking and extreme moodiness). I believe it’s better to let the yeast die off slower and enjoy a regular life in the process.
The best way to counteract a yeast overgrowth is through a course of high-quality probiotics and removing any foods that cause a reactive response (inflammation). Probiotics are living organisms that are similar to the beneficial bacteria in your stomach that help restore the correct balance in your system. You can use the brands recommended on The Plan website – www.LynGenet.com. I find most people respond to probiotic treatment within a few days. If you are are female and beleive that yeast is systemic in your system, you may also want to try a vaginal suppository. I have found that many women do wonderfully with Yeast Gard which you can find in many drugstores or online. A 7 day protocol in conjunction with an oral probiotic is wonderful!
Please do avoid probiotics with the following:
- I find that probiotics which contain FOS ( Fructooligosaccharides) , is reactive to approximately 80% of the population I work with. FOS is used as an sweetener and it has a sugar level of somewhere between 30 and 50 percent of sugar syrups. Conventional research is quite mixed on FOS as it can increase the growth of unwanted bacteria in the GI tract. It could also serve as food for less desirable strains of bacteria. In addition, FOS feeds E. coli and many Clostridium species, which will disrupt your population of gut-friendly bacteria. There is also a concern that some kinds of yeast are able to use inulin/FOS for fuel, thereby leading to overactive yeast production in the body.
- Xylitol can cause nausea, gas, bloating and diarrhea and or constipation. Remember whenever you impair digestion you not only cause weight gain, but create an inflammatory response which can affect your immune system and serotonin production.
- Dairy, Soy and Gluten- If you have sensitivities/allergies, please make sure that your probiotics do not contain these ingredients.
Also what is confusing to some people is that it’s not the number of cells in your probiotic that are important, but the strains and how many they are. You can research which strains work best for what ails you. I find that it’s best to rotate your probiotics so you can restore gut function with as many beneficial strains as possible.
Your friend in health,