Parasites and Candida
Parasites and Candida overgrowths tend to go hand in hand. If you have one, you likely have the other. They are both extremely common, can cause many irritating symptoms and are usually the result of a slow metabolism.
What is a Parasite?
It’s a small organism that lives on/in another host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host. They essentially live inside us and eat up all our nutrients while releasing toxins. They mostly live in the colon but can be found all throughout the body.
Parasites are everywhere and simply a part of life. I know that sounds crazy because our society has made them out to be extremely rare and only in third world countries. But that is so far from the truth. You can get parasites from unwashed produce, undercooked meat, pets, walking outside barefoot, tap water, having sexual intercourse with someone who has a parasitic infection, pretty much anything. Keep in mind, not all are harmful and some won't cause any symptoms. Some parasites aren't even visible to the naked eye. We have seen our clients pull out long tapeworms from their stool but most of them have microscopic bugs like flukes or amoebas.
Many people get parasite tests done but they almost always come back negative even though parasites are present. Why? They only test for a few common species out of the hundreds that exist, the parasite eggs dissolve before the lab can analyze the stool sample and/or the parasites have buried themselves deep inside biofilms making them nearly impossible to detect. This is partly why parasites are not taken seriously in conventional medicine. Also because parasitic infections tend to mimic other conditions like even the common cold or the flu. The majority of people ignore the possibility of having a parasitic infection or simply just don't understand how common it is.
If you have a slow metabolism (which most people do) this will allow parasites to overgrow and proliferate. Parasite cleansing is often necessary when there is an active parasitic infection, but the most important part is improving your metabolic health and strengthening your body’s defence mechanisms so that these little bugs leave you be. They are unavoidable in society so the key is to ensure your environment (body) isn’t liveable for them. Some people may choose to do gentle yearly parasite cleanses as maintenance as well.
Symptoms of a Parasitic Infection:
Joint and Muscle Aches
Weight Gain/Weight Loss
How To Do A Parasite Cleanse:
When we do parasite cleansing on clients, we are very strategic with how we do it. The GI tract is very delicate and there is a hierarchy to gut cleansing which can be troublesome if not followed correctly. First, we ensure all of our clients are having at least one bowel movement per day so the toxins released from any pathogen/parasite will not get re-circulated. We don't want a bunch of dead parasites hanging out in your gut and I'm sure you don't either! Then we address any h pylori infection. A GI map test along with chronic upper GI symptoms like burping, heartburn and acid reflux are indicative of this. Then we move on to parasites (if present). We don't want to disrupt our gut microbiome if we don't have to so it's better to test with a GI Map rather than guessing. Testing also helps us decipher which anti-parasitic agents to use as it differs depending on which type of parasite you have. We like to use CellCore products for parasite cleansing- check them out in our shop. When killing any parasite or pathogenic bacteria in the gut, we always want to make sure we are supporting our detoxification and drainage pathways. CellCore has KL support which is amazing for your liver and kidneys but also offers different binders to bind to toxins and mop them up to be excreted through your stool. This also helps with minimizing die off symptoms. Die off symptoms often include; headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, bloating and/or vomiting. In addition, we typically advise a phase 1 or phase 2 biofilm disruptor to use before taking any anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic or anti-fungal agents to. This gives us access to the parasites/fungus we need to kill. After parasites have been dealt with, then we tackle any bacterial overgrowths in a similar way unless it is SIBO. Lastly, we address any fungal overgrowth like Candida (read below). Keep in mind, it can be okay to address these simultaneously as many of the natural herbs we use are multi-faceted meaning they have anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties.
We do not recommend any pharmaceutical agent to treat parasites or candida. We also do all parasite cleansing for a minimum of 3 months as a parasite life cycle is around 90 days. One week parasite cleanses don't even touch the surface of what needs to be done. During the 3 months, we often will go through a sequence of upping and reducing dosage which tends to be consistent with the moon cycle as parasites are most active during the full moon. This is actually why so many people report an undesirable shift in their energy, mood and sleep during a full moon. We do not recommend any sort of parasite cleansing diet. We encourage all of our clients to eat an abundance of whole food carbohydrates and natural sugars to keep stress hormones low and fuel our metabolisms during this time. We will often recommend eating a diet rich in anti-parasitic foods like coconut oil, papaya, pineapple and garlic as well.
It's very common for skin issues like acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, rashes etc. to pop up due to a parasitic infection. We often see patients with irritated skin having blastocystis hominis overgrown when we run a GI Map test. This parasite is more associated with eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and hives rather than acne but acne can still be present. Any sort of imbalance in the gut can cause acne so parasitic infections are no exception. There is evidence showing that acne and rosacea could be caused by a parasitic infection on the skin. Therefore, we do take natural topical treatments into consideration. When it comes to our skin microbiome, we find it more beneficial to crowd out any parasites or dysbiosis with probiotic cleansers and moisturizers rather than having a kill kill kill approach. We never recommend over cleansing or exfoliating as it is very damaging to your skin barrier which leads to dysregulated sebum production.
What is Candida?
Candida is the most common species of yeast that we all have on our skin and inside our bodies. We need small amounts in our mouths and throughout our digestive tract in order to fully digest our food.
However, we usually use the term Candida when there is an overgrowth that proliferates throughout the digestive system and other areas of the body. We need to keep a delicate balance of yeast and bacteria in order to be healthy. If yeast starts multiplying in our bodies due to stress, antibiotics, birth control, slow metabolism etc. this is when Candida begins to overgrow and we experience symptoms like…
Sugar and Carbohydrate Cravings
Vaginal or Anal Itching/Burning
If a candida overgrowth is detected via a stool test, this a sure sign we need to support your metabolism and defence mechanisms because candida only thrives in an unhealthy environment. Anti-fungal agents are necessary but we don’t recommend starving out the yeast by restricting all carbohydrates and sugars as that further breaks down your metabolism which is the reason the yeast has overgrown in the first place. It also is impossible to heal from any kind of overgrowth if you are not providing your cells with their primary source of fuel which is glucose aka sugar. We heal people from Candida overgrowths all the time without doing a "Candida Diet". It is not necessary and typically allows the yeast overgrowth to come back with a vengeance. We like to heal every condition from the root cause in our practice. When we see Candida popping up in any amount on the GI Map test, we usually warrant treatment as there shouldn't be any yeast showing up in the stool.
If a Candida overgrowth is present, acne is definitely possible. However, your acne might look a little bit different than usual. Candida overgrowths have a higher correlation with fungal acne which is an overgrowth of the yeast malassezia on the skin. If you don't have enough beneficial bacteria in your skin microbiome, then fungal acne can start to take over. Fungal acne looks like tiny red bumps that tend to be itchy and get worse in humid environments. We typically see fungal acne present on the forehead and body (chest, upper back) but it could be anywhere. As we do not diagnose, it's best to get it checked out by a dermatologist so they can take a scraping and examine it. The topical treatment we use for fungal acne is quite different than regular acne but healing your gut microbiome and eradicating any Candida overgrowth will be most beneficial.
If you suspect parasites and/or candida, check out our 1:1 membership to see how we can help. We offer in-person appointments in Toronto, ON and online worldwide!