The overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus, can occur anywhere in the body, most commonly in the digestive tract or vagina, and causes thrush or yeast infection. Mild overgrowth can be eliminated by a four-point plan: anti-fungal agents such as caprylic acid and grapefruit seed extract; supplementation of beneficial bacteria; an immune-boosting diet and supplements; and an ‘anti-candida’ diet (see below). It is usually best to work with a nutrition consultant, who can confirm the extent of the infection with proper tests.
There are many causes of chronic fatigue, the most common of which is sub¬-optimum nutrition. Nutrients needed in energy production include vitamins C and B complex, iron and magnesium. However, more pronounced symptoms, sometimes called ME, can include extreme tiredness on exertion. These can result from the body’s ability to detoxify being overloaded. Any generation of energy (exercise) or digestion (eating) produces toxins for the body to deal with. If symptoms occur after eating or exercise, see a nutrition consultant who can test your liver detoxification potential.
Exposure to viruses is unavoidable, unless you live like a hermit. However, whether you succumb to a virus depends on the strength of your immune system at the time of infection. Studies have repeatedly shown that taking a daily supplement of 1 gram of vitamin C or more reduces the incidence, severity and duration of colds. However, optimum nutrition, together with immune-boosting nutrients during cold epidemics, can produce even better results.
In this condition part of the large intestine is inflamed. It is often stress ¬induced; however, it can also be due to poor diet, poor elimination, an allergy or sub-optimum nutrition. Since there is inflammation, the first step is to reduce any aggravating foods including alcohol, coffee and wheat. These can be replaced by foods and drinks that pass easily through the digestive tract, such as steamed vegetables, rice, fish and fruit, plus digestive enzyme supplements. Essential fats rich in GLA are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Antioxidants also help to reduce inflammation.
Contrary to popular belief, we should empty our bowels not once but two or three times a day. A healthy stool should break up easily and be no strain to pass. By these criteria, a large majority of people suffer from constipation. A high-fibre diet will help, as will a reduction in meat and milk products. Exercise is crucial, as it strengthens the abdominal muscles. Vitamins B1 and E help, while vitamin C may loosen the bowels. A non-irritant laxative, fructo-oligosaccharides powder, helps relieve severe constipation.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that responds very well to nutritional therapy. A few factors should be considered. Sensitivity to certain foods, most commonly gluten (the protein found in wheat, oats, rye and barley) and milk can aggravate Crohn’s, so avoiding them can help. The amount of good bacteria in the gut is likely to be low, so restore the balance with a probiotic supplement such as acidophilus. Taking some Omega 3-rich fish or flax oil, which contain Omega 3 fats, helps calm the inflammation. Certain herbs such as slippery elm or marshmallow are very soothing to the gut lining, while others such as boswellia and curcumin can reduce inflammation. The amino acid glutamine, 5 to 10 grams taken as a powder in water last thing at night, also helps to repair the gut.
Most people with Crohn’s are allergic to certain foods, most commonly gluten, and also have raised homocysteine levels. It is well worth working with a nutritional therapist, who can test for these factors and help you find your perfect diet and supplement programme.
You can’t avoid fibre completely and wouldn’t want to. Fibre is a natural constituent of a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables, lentils, beans and wholegrains and by eating such a diet you have less risk of bowel cancer, diabetes or diverticular disease, and are unlikely to suffer from constipation. However, be really careful with insoluble fibre found in bran and wholegrains. It’s harsh on the bowel and doesn’t suit a sensitive or inflamed digestive system. There are, however, many different kinds of fibre. Soluble fibres, found in oats, lentils, beans, fruit, vegetables and flax seeds or linseeds (which you should continue to eat plenty of) are a whole other story. Soluble fibre-rich foods contain many other nutrients as well, so are an important part of any healthy diet, including the diets of Crohn’s sufferers.
This is an inflammation and infection of the bladder, which causes frequent and painful urination. Vitamins C and A protect you from such infections, and vitamin C can be particularly helpful at clearing it up. So too can grapefruit seed extract. The following recommendations only apply to clear up a bout of cystitis and should not be followed on a regular basis.