Candida Albicans and Arthritis

Candida Albicans

This little yeast is a common member of the microbiome. Typically, our bodies have a commensal relationship with Candida → the yeast benefits from living in our gut without causing us any damage. However, eating a diet full of refined carbohydrates, routinely drinking alcohol, and living a high-stress lifestyle can cause this Candida to overgrow.

Inflammation and Autoimmune Reactions

Recent studies have demonstrated that overgrowth of Candida albicans causes both inflammatory and autoimmune reactions throughout the body [1]. This places you at risk for conditions, like arthritis. What do these studies tell us? The composition of our gut flora has a decisive role in the development of chronic illnesses. Here is how it happens:

  1.  Candida is a destructive pathogen that is capable of fighting against your immune system. It grows rapidly and easily overwhelms the good bacteria in your gut.
  2. Candida is capable of invading and distorting the intestinal walls, making it easy for toxins, microbes and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream → this is known as a “leaky gut.”
  3. The presence of excess Candida in the gut stimulates pro-inflammatory cytokine production → these small proteins leak into the bloodstream and play a big role in initiating widespread inflammation and even cause pathological pain.
  4. Excessive and chronic production of these cytokines has been linked to inflammatory diseases, including arthritis and even cancer [2].

Arthritis is not a single disease. It is actually an informal way of referring to joint pain or different kinds of joint disease. There are over 100 types of arthritis and it is the leading cause of disability in America [3].

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The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cushioning surface of the bones wears away. Bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Osteoarthritis typically occurs with old age and can often be managed by maintaining physical activity, balancing exerciee with rest, and the use of hot and cold compresses. However, Candida overgrowth can make things a little tricky.

Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis

A healthy immune system is protective. In generates internal inflammation to rid the body of infection. But the immune system can be touchy. If experiencing a state of widespread and chronic inflammation (like with Candida overgrowth), it and may go awry, attacking the inflamed joints. This causes significant pain, joint erosion and crippling bone damage. Your end result is the development of inflammatory arthritic conditions like Rheumatoid and Psoriatic arthritis [3].

So what do we know? Overgrowth of Candida is bad for arthritis and may lead to destructive and devastating joint issues [4]. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to reduce Candida overgrowth and improve life with arthritis:

probiotic food kimchi

Provide your body with good, healthy bacteria.

This good bacteria fights against this stubborn fungus. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables notorious for promoting gut health (yogurt, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles). Supplement with a good probiotic.

cleanse the gut with lemon water

Remove the bad stuff and cleanse the gut.

Adding foods like garlic, coconut oil, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, salmon, and cloves to your diet may help you decrease the amount of yeast in your gut. Cleanse the gut (personally, I like to use BioCleanse because of its gentle nature). Drink a lot of water to help flush out unwanted microbes.

honey for candida overgrowth

Feed the good bacteria.

Feeding good bacteria with prebiotics promotes their growth and colonization.  Try prebiotic supplements or eat more prebiotic foods, like bananas, artichokes, onions, garlic, honey and asparagus.

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