By: Shelly Robinson | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: May 2009
Dr. Wanda Harris and her assistant Loretta can suggest anti-fungal agents to help reduce yeast overgrowth.
While yeast infections are typically thought of as a female problem, Wanda Harris, doctor of naturopathy, says Candida albicans actually affects men, women and children of all ages.
Known as the Herbal Lady, Dr. Wanda Harris has been an herbalist for over 33 years. She explains that yeast overgrowth can infect various parts of the body – the most common being the ears, nose, gastrointestinal tract, and bowels. According to Dr. Wanda, many symptoms of Candida albicans, such as constipation, colitis, persistent heartburn, and kidney and bladder infections, are commonly misdiagnosed as other problems.
Candida albicans, Candida for short, is a condition that occurs when normally friendly micro-organisms multiply out of control. The most common reason for overgrowth is the use of antibiotics. However, sulfa drugs, chemotherapy, steroids and even antacids and acid-blocking drugs can cause yeast overgrowth. Dr. Wanda says another common cause is excessive consumption of sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Our bodies are the constant host of many micro-organisms that live on our skin and in our intestines. These organisms are normally kept in check by the competition of various microbes, and yeast is a natural part of this mix. Dr. Wanda explains that when you have yeast overgrowth, you are actually acting as a host for parasites.
Dr. Wanda uses a quiz to find out if her patients are showing symptoms of Candida.
Are you experiencing:
• fatigue / low energy?
• food sensitivities / allergies?
• nail fungus, athlete’s foot or jock itch?
• recurrent vaginal yeast infections?
• craving sugar or sweets (candy, pop, etc.)?
• gas, bloating or indigestion?
• craving refined white flour (bread, pasta, baked goods)?
• brain fog, mental confusion or mental fatigue?
• taken birth control pills for 6 months or more?
• taken broad spectrum antibiotics?
If you answer yes to five or more of the questions, you may have a problem with Candida. Dr. Wanda says that yeast secretes toxins that weaken the body’s immune system and can be an underlying factor in chronic indigestion, asthma, allergies and skin problems such as acne.
“Candida can actually make you crave sweets, and since the yeast feed on carbohydrates, especially simple sugars, it just becomes a vicious cycle,” explains Dr. Wanda. “Excess sugar from things such as flavored diet drinks, sports drinks, and soda keeps the Candida fed and throws the blood sugar off, which affects the pancreas, liver and adrenal glands. Diabetes or hypoglycemia can develop over time.”
Dr. Wanda recommends four steps for reducing yeast overgrowth. Step one involves modifying the diet to stop feeding the yeast. Eliminating all simple sugars and refined grain products from the diet is necessary for a period of two to four weeks. Avoiding alcohol and foods that contain yeast or mold, such as bread, beer and aged cheeses is also recommended. Having quality protein at each meal and filling up on low glycemic carbohydrates such as green beans, broccoli, cabbage and green leafy vegetables is recommended.
Step two is improving general digestive and intestinal health. Yeast becomes out of control because the environment is conducive to its growth. Changing the environment of the digestive tract can bring these microbes in line.
Step three is to use anti-fungal agents to reduce yeast overgrowth. Once the food supply is cut off and the environment is made unfriendly for growth, the yeast can be further reduced by the use of anti-fungal herbs and supplements. Dr. Wanda suggests the Tiao He Cleanse and the Candida Clear pack, and also carries a full line of Nature’s Sunshine products.
Step four is to repopulate the body with friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics. Dr. Wanda suggests that probiotics should always follow a round of antibiotics, to help restore the balance and let the friendly microbes thrive.
Visit Dr. Wanda and her friendly staff at The Herbal Lady on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.