I’m a massive believer that gut health = whole health. And I’ll tell anyone who will listen. And this is a big reason why. A huge part of my healing has been restoring damage done to my gut by years of eating gluten and unknowingly having celiac disease.
So a super brief overview of the gut: it’s pretty dang important. Hippocrates said years and years (and years) ago that “all disease begins in the gut” and we’re finding more and more just how right he was. Your gut (specifically GALT, gut-associate lymphoid tissue) houses 70% of your immune system and of course the intestinal cells that break down food: where nutrients are absorbed and toxins are (supposed to be) removed. It is composed of about a tennis court worth of lining all scrunched together to soak up as many nutrients as possible. I spent an entire semester studying the biochemical presses our body uses to break down our food, so I’ll spare you the textbooks of organic chemistry and tell you it’s incredibly complex. There is SO much our organs do to convert our food to usable fuel, it’s truthfully just beautiful. But we can’t do it all on our own. We actually rely on billions of bacteria cells to help us. Yes, billions. You literally have more bacteria cells in your gut than you have of your own body cells in your WHOLE body. And these bacteria are there to help us with our digestion. There are a lot of fibers and chemicals that our intestinal cells can’t break down on their own, so the bacteria help out in exchange for a warm and cozy place to live.
What Is A Yeast Overgrowth?
Very simply, a yeast overgrowth happens when your bad bacteria outnumber your good. Candida albicans, the most common fungus present in your mouth and gut, can be productive in small amounts, but when it is overgrown, it breaks through your intestinal wall and leaks into the bloodstream. This allows toxins your gut is supposed to eliminate to circle back into your system (and even without a nutrition degree, I’m sure you can guess that is not exactly a good thing.) This spillage of toxins into the blood is called leaky gut, and it is the root of so many of our health problems.
What Causes A Yeast Overgrowth aka Candida Overgrowth?
Lots of things!
Antibiotics can cause candida. Because they don’t just kill the bad bacteria of a skin rash or an ear infection, they literally kill all bacteria in your body – even the good stuff that your gut needs to function properly. And by killing off the good stuff, it allows the bad to grow in its place.
The birth control pill can cause it, too! Really any form of hormonal treatment. With a yeast overgrowth, the candida actually attaches itself to estrogen, so any time you’re adding estrogen to your body (or messing with any form of your natural estrogen/progesterone levels), you’re increasing your risk for overgrowth. A recent study says you’re doubling it.
Even just stress can cause it. Stress (and its sister: lack of sleep) weakens the immune system and disrupts hormone levels, both lowering your body’s natural ability to maintain a healthy bacterial balance.
But probably the biggest culprit for most of us: a high sugar / high processed starch diet. The candida feeds off of sugar (and starch because starch becomes sugar almost immediately in your body). By consuming a lot of the foods that fuel it, you’re promoting its growth and it can easily start to overpopulate and throw off your microbiome flora balance.
How Do You Know You Have It?
Well to be honest, odds are that you do. Because of our diets and the disgusting amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates loaded into everything we eat, most of us do.
You can go to the doctor and pay some good money to get a blood test for IgA, IgG, and IgM candida antibodies or do a stool or urine sample test to confirm. But I’ve battled this for years, and never once did a doctor think to test for these. So I’ve learned on my own: More often than not, if the symptoms are present, the yeast overgrowth likely is too.
You can go to a naturopath and pay for a candida test, but that will run you at least $450+ and will take weeks of your time.
Statistics show, if you have more than 3 of the below symptoms, you very likely have a dysbiosis in your gut microbiome.
What are the symptoms of too much yeast in your body?
A yeast overgrowth can cause any and all of the following symptoms:
- Skin infections – eczema, rosacea, acne, dermatitis
- Headaches and migraines
- Digestive issues – bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, IBS
- Chronic fatigue – general exhaustion or any form of adrenal fatigue
- Hormonal imbalances and side effects like anxiety or depression – 70% of our sertonin is produced in the gut, so a disturbance of our flora can lead to a disturbance of our happy levels
- Autoimmune diseases
- Diabetes – both autoimmune type 1 and type 2
- ADD or ADHD
- Frequent infections – ear infections, UTIs, vaginal yeast infections
- Food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities – often times, we develop food sensitivities simply because leaky gut allows these food particles into our bloodstream and then they use inflammation in places they shouldn’t be
- Thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s
- Joint pain and arthritis
Crazy, right? But it makes sense. With so much of our immune system and neurotransmitter production residing in our gut, it makes sense that a disturbance of its function can cause a lot of varying effects.
My own experience with a yeast overgrowth came from the perfection concoction of years of antibiotic use for chronic ear infections as a child, a decade on the birth control pill and then transitioning off without supporting my hormones, and a month of way too many starches in my diet during a European escapade (thanks Italy and all your delicious gluten free pasta and gelato). My intestines were swollen and painful to the touch, I had some serious changes to my bowel movements, and this rash I’ve been battling on my face got a whole lot worse. Oh and I got a yeast infection you know where. That one made it pretty dang obvious.
How Do You Get Rid of a Candida Yeast Overgrowth?
So let’s get real about this for a moment. Most doctors and forms of conventional medicine will tell you the solution to a fungal infection is an antifungal drug.
And sometimes, that might be necessary. But often, it only provides temporary relief.
Because if you are not supporting your entire microbiome as a whole, the yeast overgrowth will return.
1 | Clear The Yeast
You have to not only kill the excess yeast but also clear it out of your system. You can do that with:
- SUGAR DETOX: The first step is to kill the yeast. You don’t need to remove all sugars and starches but you do want to remove all the extra processed and refined sugars and starches that inflame the candida. (I teach you the difference between helpful and unhelpful sugars and how to strike the balance without starving yourself inside Gut Glow!)
- NATURE’S FUNGICIDES: Like apple cider vinegar and coconuts. An acidic environment is a hard one for bacteria and fungi to grow in. The acetic acid in ACV and the lauric acid from coconuts help kill any that is already established.
- AN ANTIFUNGAL RX IF NECESSARY: This isn’t my first recommendation as for most cases it’s possible to clear it without one, but for stubborn cases it can be neccessary.
- SUPPORT NATURAL DETOX: It’s not enough to just kill the yeast; you’ve got to get it out of your system.
2 | Restore The Microbiome
You have to replenish with good bacteria to build up a strong, balanced microbiome. You can do that with:
- PROBOTIC SUPPLEMENTS: In addition to actually killing the bad bacteria, it’s important to repopulate the good ones in its place. Probiotics are the good ones. Invest in a good quality probiotic supplement. (My favorite probiotic supplement of all time is the gut shot I take every morning and I can’t recommend it enough.)
- PROBIOTIC-RICH FOODS: You can also add in other probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.
- PREBIOTIC-RICH FOODS: No, that’s not a typo. PrEbiotics are the food for prObiotics. These help the establishment of the healthy probiotics. This includes resistant starches! (Download the free Yeast-Fighting Foods List for the best examples of these.)
3 | Heal The Gut Lining
You have to repair the damage done by the excess yeast. You can do that with:
- COLLAGEN PEPTIDES: If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know my obsession with collagen is real. Collagen protein powder is an amazing supplement to fight a yeast overgrowth because it helps to reestablish the gut lining and heal any damage made through leaky gut. Collagen is amazing because, as the main building block of all of our body proteins, it helps to strengthen the production of any new tissues. If you aren’t already taking collagen, I highly recommend you add it in to your routine. (I recommend this collagen from Perfect Supplements because of it’s heavy metal testing and manufacturing standards. You can use code MOLLIE for 10% off and if you bundle 3 you can get an extra 20% off!)
- COLLAGEN-RICH FOODS: Like bone broth.
- ADDITIONAL TISSUE BUILDING SUPPLEMENTS
BONUS | Digestive Enzymes
Taking enzymes basically just alleviates some stress on your gut by providing extra assistance in its processing, therefore allowing your gut to focus on healing. Get a quality digestive enzyme you can take with every meal and enjoy the enzymes packed into your morning gut shot. This is one thing that always helps clients with bloat and general digestion pain issues.
These three fundamental pillars (Kill The Yeast, Restore The Microbiome, and Heal The Gut Lining) are the foundations of the strategic system I’ve used to help hundreds of people find relief from yeast overgrowth and leaky gut: the Gut Glow program.
No doctor bills. No scary drugs or unpronounceable medications. Just real, whole foods and some supplements. Just natural sources to aid your body in its amazing ability to fight for health on its own.
Ready to treat your yeast overgrowth and heal your leaky gut? Here are your next steps:
If you’re ready for the support you’ve been waiting for, jump in with us in the Gut Glow program, my signature yeast-fighting, gut-healing system that has helped hundreds of people around the world find relief!
Let’s GLOW up your GUT health!