The common perception of Candida is that it is an invader kept in check by our immune system, but the truth is that it is actually a symbient. No, it's not quite like the ones that live inside the stomachs of the Trills in Star Trek. What it really means is that Candida provides us with a service and we give it a place to live in exchange.
Candida is a simple yeast that lives in the digestive tract and in the bloodstream. It has a very short lifespan, which can be measured in hours or days at the most, as long as you do not keep feeding it.
Its main purpose is to help keep the body's blood sugar levels under control. The body usually achieves this through stimulating the production of insulin in the pancreas and androgens from the adrenal glands. However, the failure of these defences triggers the Candida population to proliferate and soak up any excess glucose.
Because blood sugar levels that are too high can lead to diabetes, blindness or, even, death, it is vitally important to keep them under control.
Diabetes 2 begins as insulin resistance, where the body has plenty of insulin but cannot use it efficiently because the receptors that normally respond to it fail to be stimulated. The body reacts to this failure by producing more insulin until over-production exhausts the pancreas. As the condition of the pancreas deteriorates, type 1 diabetes can develop.
If, however, the Candida has performed its function and consumed any excess, the blood sugar will revert to its usual level. The Candida cells can no longer survive in high numbers because there are not enough of the nutrients on which it feeds to sustain it.
An overgrowth of Candida can only be possible long-term if there is a constant supply of sugary food, for example, if your blood sugar levels remain consistently high as happens when you suffer with insulin resistance - often as a result of eating too much fat.
Some people deliberately avoid carbohydrates because they mistakenly believe that these are broken down into sugar. However, this is an incorrect method of controlling Candida because, if the insulin receptors work effectively, they move any glucose into the cells too quickly to be fed on by Candida.
Diets which are low carb tend, consequentially, to be high in fat, a factor which restricts the function of the insulin receptors. This in turn causes the Candida to spring into action.
Pursuing a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet that excludes yeasts, moulds and fungi is the best way to avoid insulin resistance and keep the Candida population at normal levels.
Keira Benson wants everyone to know about the long-term effects of systemic yeast infection.
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