If I were to tell you that you’re more bacteria than human, would you believe me?
This is an except from my book Clear Nutrition: A Scientific, Holistic Approach to Clear Acne and Live an Amazing Life, you’ll learn all about the bacteria in your gut, candida, how you can know if you really have it, and how you can eliminate it.
There’s some crazy things about the human body, like how 5 liters of blood pump through the heart every minute, or how every cell in our body will die and new ones will take their place, virtually creating a new human being in just a few years. You will literally not be the same person in ten years from now.
Another crazy fact…
There are more bacteria in your gut than there are human cells in your entire body!
The large intestine, also called the colon, is the home to bacteria that play integral parts in digestion, inflammation, immunity, psychological and emotional well-being, and pretty much every other aspect of our lives. In every single one of us lies trillions of bacteria. We are made up of anywhere from 10 to 75 trillion human cells. We house around 100 trillion or more bacteria. That makes us more bacteria than we are human. Is this gut bacteria causing your acne? It’s crucial to have a basic understanding of these bacteria if we want to be truly healthy since they are so important for our well-being.
The bacteria in our gut mostly reside in the colon. We normally think of bacteria in a negative connotation, but without bacteria we wouldn’t be here. Bacteria are needed for the survival of plants, animals, humans and every living creature on the face of this earth. They are the determining factors in soil quality and nutrient content when it comes to food on the farm. Just as there are good bacteria and bad bacteria outside, there are good and bad bacteria inside of us as well. The ratio should be somewhere around 85 percent good, or beneficial bacteria, to around 15 percent bad, or harmful bacteria. Good bacteria are also known as probiotics. When this 85:15 ratio gets off kilter, it is called dysbiosis. When dysbiosis occurs, devastating consequences can ensue, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, bacterial infection, yeast overgrowth, migraines, depression, fatigue, immune system disfunction, acne, psoriasis, eczema and dozens of other problems.
Since the bacteria are a part of your immune system, you get sick more often and have a harder time warding off infection when there’s dysbiosis in your gut. Dysbiosis can lead to inadequate absorption of nutrients and subsequent nutritional deficiencies. Remember, it’s not what you eat, it’s what you absorb that counts. The bacteria in your gut are intertwined with nerve endings throughout your body so they can affect your muscles. If there’s too much bacteria, then they can feed off of undigested carbohydrates and cause gas and bloating. If the composition of bacteria are off kilter in the gut, that can lead to problems which are far removed from the gut, such as skin problems. So many people take rounds of antibiotics to help with their acne, which kills off the bacteria in their guts. It might help for a short while, but eventually, if probiotics aren’t added back in, their gut won’t fully recover from the antibiotics, which can lead to more problems down the road.
I believe it was Dr. Junger from his book Clean that said he went to a psychiatrist because he was depressed and the psychiatrist pointed to his head and said that he wasn’t making enough serotonin. Instead of pointing to his head, the psychiatrist should have pointed at his gut. Most people tend to think of their brain when they hear things like neurotransmitters, serotonin, and dopamine. The truth is that up to 80 percent or more of serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter, is actually created in your gut. The bacteria in your gut have a role in the production of these neurotransmitters. Serotonin is also called the “feel good” neurotransmitter because it makes you feel happier. People with depression have lower levels of serotonin and tend to have dysbiosis in the gut. People with acne also tend to have dysbiosis in their gut. Fixing our digestive health isn’t just important because we’ll absorb more nutrients, or clear our acne, or fight off disease, or enhance our immunity; We will feel and be happier when our digestive system is in working order and we have the right amount of good bacteria and serotonin production.
Something that needs to be mentioned here is the effect of antibiotics on the bacteria in our gut. Antibiotics are like bombs going off in our gastrointestinal tract. They kill everything in site, the good and the bad. If we use antibiotics and don’t quickly resupply our gut with beneficial bacteria, we will cause dysbiosis. If we take antibiotics and eat a sub-par diet such as the standard American diet, or SAD diet, we will cause dysbiosis. Is it really any mystery why so many people in westernized countries are depressed? We eat nutritionally void food, get sick, then are prescribed antibiotics for nearly every condition. In my opinion (and others), antibiotics are the most widely abused, overused and wrongly-prescribed drug in the world. We set ourselves up for disaster when we take antibiotics if we don’t need them. Of course, there are situations where antibiotics are life-saving and should be taken. If someone has pneumonia, for instance, antibiotics can play a vital role in helping the person survive. If there is a serious infection of some sort, especially a bacterial infection, antibiotics can and should be used. But for most common ailments, antibiotics are unnecessary, and possibly harmful. There are many other options that are less dangerous. It is sad that antibiotics are commonly prescribed for acne. It really makes me think that the medical community has absolutely no clue when it comes to acne or health when antibiotics are prescribed for things that are not bacterial infections.
When thinking of diseases, think of rocks under waterfalls.
One analogy to disease I have heard is to imagine a rock. It is a large, strong rock. Normally rocks take millions upon millions of years to break apart. Place that rock under a waterfall and after just a few thousand years, if not less, the rock will split in two. It was not the rock’s inherent weakness that caused it to split in two. It was the constant pressure from the water that finally broke it. Our bodies are the same way. It is the constant pressures of life that act as the waterfall to our bodies. We all have different constitutions, such as the things we were born with, but our condition – the way we are right now – is mostly based off of environmental factors. Much like the rushing water is the environmental factor that splits a rock into two, our poor dietary and lifestyle choices can “split apart” our health.
Yeast infections like Candida overgrowth are like a powerful waterfall. They are extremely problematic and incredibly annoying to deal with. To stop the pressure of candida albicans requires time, patience and a dedication and commitment to avoid sugary foods so we don’t feed it. It also requires taking certain supplements and herbs or possibly powerful medication to help create the balanced state of homeostasis that we all strive for.
Candida and acne
Something that I believe affects most people suffering from acne is candida overgrowth. Candida albicans is a yeast present in every person in the world. Normally it sits in the intestine and works in a symbiotic relationship with the bacteria in your gut. It acts like a checks and balances to the bacteria, making sure it doesn’t overgrow. The opposite is also true. The bacteria in our guts makes sure that the candida yeast doesn’t overgrow either. When we take antibiotics or eat sugary foods and refined carbohydrates, this yeast starts to grow out of control. It’s been shown that giving antibiotics to mice increases the candida in the intestines by more than 130 fold. (1) The yeast and harmful bacteria can overtake the good bacteria and bore holes in your intestine, allowing undigested food particles to pass into your bloodstream and activate an immune response (remember leaky gut). Yeast overgrowth and dysbiosis are some of the major reasons why we have food sensitivities. Yeast and bad bacteria feed off of sugar. If we consume sugar on a regular basis, we feed the yeast and the bad bacteria. Over time, the yeast overgrowth or the dysbiosis of good to bad bacteria become so large that we begin to see symptoms. This is why people can eat a certain way for years and not feel anything, then suddenly start to have digestive complaints or skin infections or acne. The ratio of good to bad bacteria slowly dwindled down over time. Rarely do diseases, especially chronic diseases, just pop up. It may seem like you are fine one day and sick the next, but you only start to feel the symptoms once your body can’t handle the stress that was pounding on it for weeks, months or years through improper diet, lack of sleep, lack of sunshine, lack of fresh air, too much negativity, or other factors that contribute to disease.
Candida overgrowth is something that pretty much everyone who studies alternative health and natural medicine eventually comes across. My philosophy when it comes to candida is this: 1. Follow a healthy way of eating. 2. Do a candida cleanse where you have no sugar for one week. If problems still persist, do functional testing, such as stool tests, or IgG tests to see exactly what is going on in your gut. The first thing we have to do, though, is change our diet, really focusing on cutting out sugar.
One thing that I want to hammer home here is that there are so many sites and people saying that Candida is the cause of all problems. But you simply do not know for sure if it’s candida or not unless you run tests. I suggest running the biohealth 401H and the G.I. Map at the same time during a full moon to really see what is going on. Many times candida is a secondary infection and there are other hidden stressors that you need to take care of. For instance, I ran the 401H and H. pylori came up. Then I took care of that and a bacteria called blastocystis hominis came up. These were bacteria and parasites, not the yeast/fungus candida. That’s why I always promote proper testing and retesting.
If you’re experiencing skin breakouts or digestive problems such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, etc. then you might have dysbiosis, candida overgrowth, or an infection in your gut. This is especially true if you have taken lots of antibiotics in the past.
How to deal with Candida
1) Quit Sugar. Candida and bad bacteria in your gut feed off of sugar. Even whole grains can feed candida. Alcohol is definitely something to avoid if you expect candida. Lowering carbohydrates can be a good idea too. Fruit is healthy, but you removing it for a week or two can help to starve the candida. If you do go fruit-free, I suggest doing it during the winter time when fruit would not be available if supermarkets didn’t exist.
2) Fermented foods are amazing and should be a part of your diet. However, if you do a stool test or a blood test and have Candida, or you do a breath test and have SIBO, then you want to get off of fermented foods and drinks like kombucha, because these can feed candida. You will want to get off of all prebiotics and fermented foods if you test positive for candida, especially inulin which is found in many foods like almond milk and coconut milk.
3) While you take care of the diet portion, you can try oil of oregano and olive leaf extract to kill off the yeast. You can also go to an MD and get prescribed an antifungal. Caprylic acid, which comes from coconut oil, can be very helpful and is very safe.
Taking a probiotic supplement without inulin or prebiotics is something you can do as well.
Right now I like Ortho’s Biotic from Ortho Molecular products for a probiotic without prebiotics.
To eliminate the candida I use Cadicid Forte, also from Ortho Molecular products,
and to help with die off I like G.I. Detox from Bio-botanical research.
These are all suggestions you can try out if you suspect candida infection.
If someone does come back with an infection, or suspects on, I recommend doing a complete cleansing protocol from BioBotanical Research to get the full range of antimicrobial botanicals. If you’re considering getting these supplements, schedule a free consult for some guidance into the different options.
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