Nutriglow

Candida

Any of the yeastlike imperfect fungi of the genus Candida that are normally present on the skin and in the mucous membranes of the mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina, and that may become pathogenic, especially C. albicans, the causative agent of thrush.

Normally, the populations of candida are kept in check by beneficial bacteria in the body, but sometimes they grow beyond tolerance levels and the infected person suffers a disease called candidiasis or thrush. In the vagina, thrush causes a white discharge and is accompanied by itching and soreness. Some doctors believe that heavy infections of candida in the gut can contribute to a wide range of different disorders, including abdominal discomfort, disturbed bowel function, soreness, and itching.

Some nutritionists believe that the incidence of candidiasis is affected by an individual's health and diet. The fungi are thought to thrive on simple sugars, bread, and biscuits, as well as fermented foods such as yoghurt, cheese, and alcohol, which form a large part of the modern diet. A person in good health can usually keep candida under control, but if the immune system is weakened by illness or stress, or if friendly bacteria are killed off (for example, by antibiotics) the opportunistic fungus grows rapidly. People suffering from candidiasis often have cravings for sweets and yeast-containing foods and drinks, which makes weight control very difficult. Candidiasis can be treated with a special diet that emphasises the avoidance of yeasty foods and the foods on which candida thrive, but doctors often use anti-candida drugs, such as nystatin.

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