Gluten Intolerance and Candida: What’s the Connection?

Gluten

Gluten

One question that is starting to rear its head is this: What is the connection between gluten intolerance and Candida overgrowth. Why is this question being asked now? Because studies are showing that Candida overgrowth and Gluten intolerance appear to be showing up together.

If you are concerned that Gluten intolerance might be connected with your frequent vaginal infections or oral thrush, visit the professionals at Balanced Care and find the answers, and help, you are looking for.

Treating candida overgrowth is only part of the problem. Eating gluten-free snacks without knowing if gluten is the issue is a waste of time. Read on and see what naturopathic doctors are doing to find the connection and treat their patients, naturally, for gluten intolerance and Candida overgrowth.

Below you will read what one naturopathic doctor, or ND, does when he begins to work with a client who is having problems with Candida overgrowth.

Gluten Intolerance and Candida: What’s the Connection?

One of the first things I do when treating patients with Candida is put them on a strict anti-fungal diet. The goal is to restore immune function while eliminating any potential allergens, later adding foods back one at a time to find out which cause reactions. It’s not too surprising to find that a lot of my patients, while struggling to treat their yeast infections, also become gluten intolerant.

Why Do Gluten Intolerances Develop in Patients with Candida?

Candida

As you already know, a wide variety of commonly used grains – like barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt, (amongst others), contain gluten. Gluten is a protein, but it’s one that is very difficult to digest. Therefore, if the intestines aren’t functioning optimally, the process of trying to digest gluten can cause damage to the intestinal tract.

Those who are suffering from Candida already have desensitized immune systems and their intestines are already damaged by the Candida Albicans organism itself. The problem is that the Candida Albicans cell contains a protein that allows it to attach to the cell walls within the intestines.

This protein in Candida is very similar to the protein in gluten. When the Candida cells attach to the intestinal walls, change, and send out new spores, the immune system tries to respond. It not only begins attacking the protein in the Candida cell, but it begins to attack the protein in the gluten cells.

In other words, your immune system eventually gets to the point where it can’t tell the difference between the Candida and gluten proteins. The immune system goes into overdrive and you eventually begin to have allergic reactions to gluten products. Your body then tries to develop an auto-immune response, like celiac disease.

In short, there is always an explanation for relatively healthy people suddenly developing allergies and food sensitivities to items that never, ever bothered them in the past.

Treating Gluten Intolerance and Candida

While treating my clients with Candida, I often ask them to avoid all gluten products. I ask them to instead lean towards safer grains like quinoa, millet, buckwheat, and amaranth. A lot of Candida diet programs stress avoiding all grains, but I find that there are only a few very extreme cases (maybe 2% of all I’ve seen) where avoiding grains altogether is a necessity. As long as you’re avoiding gluten, usually for several months, you should respond well to your anti-Candida regime.

Focusing on Quinoa

Focusing on Quinoa

If I had to choose one grain for you to focus on, I’d pick quinoa. Quinoa looks like a little white seed and it puffs up a bit when cooked. Unlike most other grains, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, which is also incredibly important while you’re working to cure your yeast infection.

Quinoa is pretty versatile, too. If you’re cooking it as a grain, you’ll want to wash it thoroughly first to get the soapy saponins off before you cook it. Use a fine mesh strainer or a cheesecloth and run cold water over and through the grains. If you forget, your cooked quinoa may and up tasting pretty soapy.

Quinoa is great served with vegetables, cooked and eaten like you would eat oatmeal, or mixed with beans. You can also get quinoa flour and make your own kinds of pasta.

A lot of my Candida patients find, after completely eradicating their yeast infections, that they are no longer sensitive to gluten. Many go back to eating gluten grains, in moderation, while others simply prefer non-gluten grains for health or preference reasons.

There will be exceptions to the rule, of course, and some people are genuinely allergic to gluten and will have to avoid it forever. You’ll still be amazed at the number of people who can reverse the immune response once their bodies are healed!

Candida Overgrowth Does Not Have to be Forever

As you see, a gluten-free diet can give some relief to the person who is suffering from Candida overgrowth. While removing gluten from your diet may be helpful, making sure the friendly bacteria are at work in your lower digestive system is extremely important.

If you are using prescribe antibiotics, engaging in the use of alcoholic beverages, anxious, or stressed out, it may be time to give the professionals at Balanced Care a call. Health is not about fixing one problem but being healthy and balance physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

If Candida overgrowth is disturbing your life, it’s time to make the call that will give you the health you are looking for.

Should I Be Gluten Free?!

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Gluten, gluten free, health, nutrition, holistic, digestion, allergies, celiac

“Gluten Free”, “Celiac Friendly”, “Gluten Sensitive”, and “May contain Gluten” are a few phrases that are becoming more common in society today. But is this just another fad? Or is gluten a real problem?! First, let’s talk about what gluten is and the symptoms it may cause. Then I will discuss the difference between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease. And finally, what to do about it.

What is gluten and where do I find it? 

Gluten is a protein found naturally in all forms of wheat including barley and rye. Grains need the elasticity gluten provides to help it rise while keeping its shape.  Starch and binders often contain gluten as well and are used in various other products. Even the ‘paleos’ out there aren’t safe from gluten!

Gluten is not just found in grains, but also alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, some medications and supplements, soy sauce, lunch meat, imitation bacon and  seafood, sauces, and even brown rice syrup can contain gluten. Your friend, family member, neighbor, or even you might be sensitive to gluten, yet it is hidden everywhere!

Gluten has only been in the American diet for the past 300 years. May sound like a long time, but in terms of evolution, it is very short. In addition to this being “new” in our diet, it is also found more commonly in our foods. Now 90% of American foods contain gluten! Wow. Maybe too much of a something, isn’t such a good thing?

What is the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity?

1/133 people in the US have the genetic condition, celiac disease. It is an autoimmune condition of the intestines. The immune system reacts to the gluten proteins found in food. This immune reaction results in injury and inflammation inside the intestines. Diagnosing celiac disease requires blood testing and an intestinal biopsy to confirm.

Delayed growth, poor appetite, and irritability are common symptoms seen in children. Adults might experience diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and/or infertility. Celiac disease is also linked to other autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, graves disease, diabetes mellitus type I, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and Addison’s disease. The treatment for celiac disease is the elimination of all gluten from the diet, a matter of life or death in some cases. Even 1/8 of a cracker can continue causing inflammation and damage to the intestine.

You might be wondering why avoiding gluten makes you feel better, yet you don’t have celiac disease. Well, you can still have a sensitivity to gluten. There are thousands of people avoiding gluten and have noticed that they have more energy, lose weight, and their digestion improves.

Gluten sensitivity is the same as a delayed food allergy where the symptoms may not present for 48 hours after ingesting gluten. Body wide inflammation can result in a variety of different reactions. The symptoms of a sensitivity are generally less severe than celiac disease and may include fatigue, chronic colds, skin problems, asthma, abdominal pain, arthritis, and/or ADHD. One way to figure out if you are sensitive to gluten is to avoid it. If you feel better, it is likely that you are sensitive to gluten or have celiac in rare cases. Blood testing is also available.

Gluten free, health, nutrition, naturopathic, digestion, food allergy, food sensitivity

Eating Gluten Free

People generally report losing weight and feeling better when on a Gluten free diet. I believe this is partly due to potential food allergies, but avoiding gluten also naturally results in a cleaner diet. A gluten-free diet requires diligent label reading – check out the ingredients in your products, you might be surprised! The good news? Veggies, fruit, brown rice, quinoa, eggs, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, nuts, and beans are just a few of the foods that are naturally gluten free! These are much better choices than bread, cereal, pasta, microwave dinners, cookies, crackers, and frozen pizza. Do you see my point?! Everyone can handle varying amounts of gluten in their diet, it’s up to you to determine how much YOUR body can tolerate.

Still aren’t sure whether you have celiac or gluten sensitivity? I can help you determine if you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. I can also help you incorporate this often big change with more information.

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath