My experiences with Candida began long before I entered the medical profession. In fact, the problems my dad suffered quite possibly led me along the path of naturopathic medicine rather than that of allopathic.
For years he experienced severe problems after eating, having terrible gas, cramps and stomach distension. His doctor sent him off for every investigative test possible, including endoscopy, ultrasound, colonoscopy and X-rays, but the results always came back as no cause found. The problem my dad faced was the same as many people face today – without a cause being identified many patients are treated by their clinicians as if they are overreacting to minor, everyday issues. It was this attitude which sent my dad off to investigate the problem himself and he discovered the work done by Dr William Crook, who saw the implications of gut dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth as being something significant even back in the 1980s.
Yet what Dad’s doctor failed to spot was that all his symptoms were clearly indicative of Candida overgrowth. After meals he always craved something sweet. In fact he craved something sweet even in between meals. Bread loaded with marmalade or jam, coffee with three spoonfuls of sugar, tins of condensed milk. It was indeed a rare occurrence for him to turn down anything with sugar in it! As kids we thought we were lucky because we were rarely refused ice-cream – in reality it was just a great excuse for Dad to eat as much of it as he could!
Eventually, with the help of Dr Crook, even Dad began to realize that it was the Candida causing him to crave sugar. His desire for sugar wasn’t driven by his own cells but by the bacterial overgrowth in his gut – and the more he ate, the worse his problems got. Flatulence, was a common occurrence in our household. And, although it is natural particularly when we are laid down, it shouldn’t occur all the time. But with Dad, it most certainly did!
Yet the phrase, ‘like father, like son’ became a reality in my case, when I began to experience similar symptoms to his in early adulthood. In my case though my diet was, at least originally, reasonably good. Yet with hindsight I began to believe that a dysbiotic situation was initiated in my gut by old amalgam fillings which were replaced within a 6 month time-frame. This caused a release of methyl mercury, quite possibly from the damage caused to the old fillings and the new ‘source’ replacements. The end result being that my gut microflora were negatively affected. My situation improved but only after I had the new amalgam fillings exchanged for composite ones and underwent 18 months of intensive Candida treatment. It was a health issue which I could have well done without but at least it provided me with, yet another, learning curve.
But what my dad was actually suffering from was a state arising from Fermentation Dysbiosis. This is a situation created by carbohydrates (sugars), which the Candida demand and which enable them to increase numbers and continue a state of dominance in the gut. In the main the common symptoms which arise from fermentation are those which represent that of any fermentation process – increased gas – and in the human body this results in excessive flatulence, bloating and general gut discomfort.
Problems can also occur which are subtly different to fermentation dysbiosis, when it comes to a problem known as putrefaction dysbiosis. This is when the digestive tract is having problems related to degrading not carbohydrates, but proteins. Putrefaction results in flatulence which has is of a more odorous nature and reflected by the unpleasant, and embarrassing, sulfur smell of flatulence. The protein foods involved are meats, eggs, gluten, dairy products, and often, peas. In addition to this distinctive pungent flatulence, a person who has problems digesting such products will also have other symptoms such as nausea and headaches to accompany the digestive issues.
So, the end result is that the two different kinds of digestive dysfunction can result in symptoms which initially appear similar, but which subtly differ. With fermentation dysbiosis, the problem of digesting carbohydrates or sugars, patients will often get accompanying symptoms in the form of depression or anxiety as well as the odorless but frequent flatulence and it will be visibly driven by a craving for sugary foods.
Yet other problems can occur with fermentation dysbiosis. This is because the toxins produced by specific organisms such as Candida albicans will ultimately degrade the integrity of the intestinal wall and the fungi itself, in addition to other foreign bodies, can actually infiltrate the blood stream and so travel around the body to set up further infections – and of course, result in more serious and chronic conditions.
So, when it comes to gas it is important to establish exactly why this excess is being produced – is it as a result of excessive sugar intake or the inability to digest proteins – maybe it will be a mixture of both? And, not only is it important to identify why the problem is occurring but equally it is necessary to appreciate that although initially it may seem to be a minor problem, if not little more than an embarrassing inconvenience, but to understand that in some circumstances it could possibly set up long term and chronic health issues which are often very difficult to resolve.