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Candida & behavioral disorders

Can candida affect my brain?

When I was growing up if you watched a movie about aliens and mind-control you were a bonafide sci-fi junkie. Anymore it seems common for a movie to have some sort of mind-control plot going on: computer chips, electronic waves, injections. . .

So what does mind-control have to do with candida? Maybe more than you think. . .

An opportunistic fungus

For those of you just learning about candida, let me quickly explain what it is.

To begin with, candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, that everyone has. It’s a normal part of our gut flora that’s harmless when it’s kept in low numbers. It usually lives on the skin and mucosal surfaces, like your digestive tract, mouth, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, etc. [1, 2, 3]

With this in mind, candida is also called an ‘opportunistic pathogen,’ which means that it looks for opportunities to grow out of control. As soon as your body’s resistance is lowered, it’s ready to make its move. [3]

For example, when things like stress, lack of sleep, a poor diet, overuse of antibiotics, etc. lower our immunity, it can cause our gut bacteria to get out of balance. That environment then encourages candida growth. Once candida has grown to the point that it has ‘taken over’, it starts to release mycotoxins (79 at latest count according to C. Orian Truss, MD). [4]


Candida & behavioral disorders

Candida’s mycotoxins and byproducts

Mycotoxin means ‘fungus poison’ in Latin. Mycotoxins can create symptoms such as:

•poor memory
•poor concentration
•vision impairment
•slurred speech
•mood swings
•lack of muscular coordination
•brain fog
•mental illness
•muscle weakness

(View a list of candida’s 80+ side effects here.)

One of the mycotoxins produced by candida is called acetaldehyde. Normally the liver can convert acetaldehyde into a harmless substance. But at toxic levels, it can make its way into the brain. [5] And when it gets to this level, your liver may not be able to handle it.

On the same token, if your liver isn’t functioning properly from the beginning, it may not be able to handle even normal amounts. Either way, excess acetaldehyde is released into the bloodstream. Some of the symptoms acetaldehyde are known to cause are depression, anxiety, panic, brain fog, and feelings of intoxication. [4]

Common byproducts of candida overgrowth are tartaric acid and arabinose. With this in mind, elevated levels of both tartaric acid and arabinose are commonly found in those with autism, SLE, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, attention deficit hyperactivity, and chronic fatigue syndrome. [6]

Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and candida

Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that it was more common for men with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to have a history of candida yeast infections (yes, men can get yeast infections too).

Likewise, they also found it more common for women as well. Women with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who tested positive for Candida perform worse on standard memory tests than women with those same mental illnesses who had no evidence of past candida infections. [7]

Childhood behaviors and disorders

I think most of us can say we know a child with a behavior or brain disorder. In fact it’s more common to know someone diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or autism than to not. Although this may be true, what if some of that behavior could be reversed? What if we were told there were other options rather than Ritalin and other drugs to keep children calm?

Dr. Wilson states that “chronic yeast overgrowth can cause many symptoms in susceptible children, including behavioral changes.” [8]

The Journal of American Science created their own small study.  The study found that “There was a significant relation between the autistic children and heavy growth of Candida albicans in a stool culture.” [9]

Candida overgrowth solutions

With all these links between candida and brain issues, it’s worth considering candida as a central problem and looking for a solution.

An article in the Delhi Psychiatry Journal relayed several cases in which anti-fungal treatment effectively treated cases of autism, behavior issues, and fibromyalgia. Researchers concluded that psychiatric disorders require not only the antipsychotic treatment but also anti-fungal to treat the organic cause behind such illness. [6]


What to do next

Ultimately, an effective candida treatment is based on several aspects of a person’s health, but if you suspect candida overgrowth, you can never go wrong by:

  1. Avoiding antibiotics, NSAIDS, and steroids.
  2. Taking care of your liver by doing a routine cleanse or supporting it with beneficial foods like beets, bitter greens, and cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.
  3. Seeking a solid direction and a plan of action from a coach, naturopath, or alternative doctor who has experience treating candida and knows how serious it can be.

Have you experienced brain-related symptoms due to candida?

Candida & behavioral disorders

[1] Nobile, C. J., & Johnson, A. D. (2015). Candida albicans Biofilms and Human Disease. Annual Review of Microbiology, 69, 71–92.
[2] Sudbery, P.E. (2011). Growth of Candida albicans hyphae. Nature Reviews. Microbiology. 10. 737-748.
[3] Hirota K., Yumoto H., Sapaar B., Matsuo T., Ichikawa T., & Miyake Y. (2017). Pathogenic Factors in Candida biofilm-related infectious diseases. Journal of Applicated Microbiology. 2, 321-330.
[4] Boroch, Ann. (2009). The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health.
[5] Bakker, Eric. Candida Crusher.
[6] Malhotra S., Nirmaljit K., Bhatia MS, Kumar P, Hans C. (2010). Yeast Infection and Psychiatric disorders. Delhi Psychiatry Journal. 13.2, 345-350. http://medind.nic.in/daa/t10/i2/daat10i2p345.pdf
[7] Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2016, May 4). Yeast infection linked to mental illness: Candida infections also more common among those with memory loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 15, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160504121327.htm
[8] Wilson, L. (2015). “Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders”. Dr. L. Wilson. Retrieved July 19, 2017 from http://drlwilson.com/articles/attention_deficit.htm
[9] AM, E., Esmat, M., Sadek, A. (2016). Candida Albicans Infection in Autism. Journal of American Science, 122012;8, 739-744.

Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Hi, I'm Paula - wife and homeschooling mom of six. Several family health issues involving candida, food allergies, and Lyme Disease have created a passion to better understand our God-created bodies. Today I share that enthusiasm by bringing you information on ways to improve your gut health. You can follow me on Facebook, and Pinterest.
Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant
Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

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