What Is Candida Albicans?
Candida is a group of yeast organisms, the most common being Candida albicans. This strain makes up approximately 75% of the Candida overgrowth known as candidiasis.
Commonly found in patients battling Lyme Disease, Mold Toxicity, autoimmune disease, cancer, and another chronic disease, candida overgrowth is where it exists in the digestive tract, the urogenital, and the respiratory systems.
C. albicans is a commensal within the microbiome, where it typically exists in small amounts. If Candida overgrows, the microbiome becomes imbalanced, leading to dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis is commonly recognized in the digestive tract, with multiple symptoms often labeled as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
How Does Candida Impact The Body?
When Candida is not kept in check, it can overgrow and create health issues. Candida has two forms, yeast and hyphal; both can be pathogenic in the body.
The hyphal form is considered to be more invasive because it secretes hydrolases, while the yeast form is more easily transported throughout the body via the bloodstream.
With the increased invasion of the tissues, the hyphal form can create biofilms and build antifungal resistance.
Through these mechanisms, Candida causes problems in the digestive tract, the genitourinary system, and the sinuses.
What Predisposes Someone To Get Candida Overgrowth?
One of the most significant factors that increase the overgrowth of Candida is antibiotics. Even a single course of antibiotics in infants (in the early stages of developing their microbiome) can lead to an increase in Candida and a decrease in beneficial bacteria.
Considering most people have multiple courses of antibiotics throughout their lifetime, this is a significant risk factor. The standard American diet or SAD diet contributes to Candida's overgrowth and gut dysbiosis. The low fiber, high carbohydrate, and high sugar diet increases the risk of Candida overgrowth.
How Do Your Test For Candida Overgrowth?
Various methods for testing for Candida overgrowth are used in integrative/functional medicine. Stool tests can detect elevated levels of Candida. The traditional stool tests would look for Candida under a microscope and attempt to culture it.
One of the issues with that technology is that Candida can live in biofilms and, therefore, will not be found consistently in stool tests. Newer genetic stool tests look for DNA from Candida to identify overgrowth.
To bypass the issue of biofilms, urine organic acid tests can look for elevated metabolic toxins from Candida and other bacteria. Several markers, such as elevated tartaric acid and arabinose, indicate a high Candida level. These can be followed in a repeated measurement to determine if the Candida overgrowth is lessening.