In most cases, candida overgrowth in the gut develops as a result of excessive antibiotic use, as well as bad eating habits with a diet high in processed carbohydrates and sugars. Candida species in the gut create lots of nasty chemicals. Ammonia is one of those chemicals and in some cases, you can even smell ammonia in the urine. Kids with high ammonia levels tend to be “clumsy” with poor balance and seem to bump into everything. Another one of the major yeast toxic metabolites is gliotoxin. This is a sulfur-containing mycotoxin and is usually a major problem for those who have had persistent exposure to a mouldy environment. So if you have never been in that kind of environment but have high levels of gliotoxins in your urine test (more about this below), then think candida overgrowth! The third and most well known of the toxic metabolites of yeast is acetyl aldehyde. This is basically alcohol which makes kids act as if they are drunk. Have you noticed your child giggling or crying for no reason? I often see these symptoms in kids who are spaced out and unable to focus and learn.
In our clinics, we use a multitude of antifungal compounds, beneficial yeasts, binders, probiotics and nutrients to deal with yeast and its nasty metabolites. However, most importantly there is one supplement that is often overlooked. This supplement is glutathione, which is a major antioxidant and protector of your liver – the acetyl aldehyde produced by candida can destroy glutathione levels in the liver. This can lead to a vicious cycle where your child’s liver becomes increasingly stressed and can’t clear out toxic by-products of yeast. Your child then inevitably ends up with major gut issues, and many of the symptoms associated with candida overgrowth. Things are even trickier for those who have a mutation in the MTHFR gene where detoxification is impaired on an epigenetic level. In general, we spend a lot of time supporting the liver and making sure that we have good drainage and bile flow when working on beating candida overgrowth and we always make sure that the glutathione levels are topped up, through diet and supplements.
I really like transdermal glutathione like the one by Neurobiologix which is ideal for the sensitive kids who can’t tolerate oral supplements. I also really like the liposomal supplement by Research Nutritionals** – I have found the watermelon flavoured one is very palatable – a lot of them taste a bit nasty! For the super tricky kids, I like the glutathione patches by Patch MD which I have used more recently with good success. When using the patches for a really sensitive individual I ask the parents to use it for just a couple of hours to start with and remove it after that time. You can then build on this and increase the time it is kept on. The company recommends that it is kept on for 8 hours. Whatever you decide to do it is imperative that you are consistent in order to get good results. You can also use other products like taurine, NAC, milk thistle, and selenium to raise glutathione levels.
Another common issue we see with children that come to our clinics is that they’ve been in the past given lots of anti fungals usually without too much liver support and have not been given adequate help in restoring and replenishing the microbiome of the gut . So as soon as they stop the plan that they were on and go back to a normal life, where they can enjoy eating a variety of foods without restrictions, all their symptoms return. It is of fundamental importance to make sure that the gut is adequately healed and re-populated with a variety of species in order for candida to stay in check. We have developed a unique Gut Restoration Programme™ which starts with the first critical steps of dampening down the immune response in the gut and then restores, repairs and repopulates the gut to create optimal and long term health.
There are a number of tests that can be done especially for assessing yeast/candida overgrowth. My favourite is the organic acid test by Genova Diagnostics called the Metabolomics test (previously known as the ONE test). There is also another excellent urine test by Great Plains Laboratories called the OAT test Organic Acid Test), which we often order for our patients. This is an especially good test when we suspect oxalate issues. These tests are both urine tests and provide the most accurate information regarding yeast overgrowth as the tests measure metabolites rather than the level of the yeast itself which can be a bit of a hit and miss endeavour. Stool tests are also quite good but they can often miss yeast problems which get picked up in the urine organic acid tests. Blood tests are probably the least accurate in my opinion and I don’t generally use them. However, I do like to check for candida antibodies in the blood which is done as a finger prick test and part of a food sensitivity test that we often run for our patients. In terms of testing for mould, my favourite test is the Great Plains Laboratory MycoTOX Profile which screens for eleven different mycotoxins, from 40 species of mould, in one urine sample. It is hand down the best and the least expensive out there.
When candida overgrowth has become entrenched, it becomes really difficult to just “eat yourself” out of the problem. You can consume zero carbohydrates and sugars and the candida issue may quieten down during that period, however, the minute you start eating any carbohydrates candida species are woken up and your problems begin again. It is essential to have a functional medicine-based approach to dealing with candida overgrowth. As part of a Brainstorm Health® programme, we take into account everything from; diet, lifestyle toxic load, mitochondrial function, essential fatty acid status, nutrient deficiencies and so on to help bring the gut into health and full function. Supporting the liver and having adequate glutathione levels is of paramount importance in ensuring the success of our protocol.
*ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE BEFORE SUPPLEMENTING OR MAKING MAJOR DIETARY CHANGES. THIS ARTICLE IS FOR EDUCATION PURPOSES ONLY.
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