Extreme gut fitness: Antibiotics and candida
Antibiotics have saved millions of lives and could be considered the single greatest breakthrough in medical history. Prior to their advent, our species’ population stayed in check naturally with the occasional horrible outbreak of bacterial infections — mostly created by our own filthy living conditions and poor eating habits.
In my opinion, antibiotics are partially responsible for the huge population explosion that we are trying to manage currently. It is possible that the brilliant scientists who are just beginning to flesh-out the problems of antibiotics are only here because of antibiotics. Far out, huh!
Like all magic, antibiotics come at a price. Sixty years of Disney movies should have taught us that. The fact that antibiotics are no longer able to keep up with modern mutating strains of bacteria is only the tip of the iceberg of challenges to understanding bacteria. Bacteria are amazingly complex and resilient forms of life — not simply germs.
Antibiotics powerfully disrupt gut flora — that’s what they do. That’s how they kill the infection along with enough healthy and necessary gut bacteria to screw you up down the road. We are a self-diagnosing, antibiotic happy society. Every time you take a different flavor of antibiotics for every little cough, you screw up the balance of bacteria in your gut. This creates symptoms sooner or later depending on many variables. Physicians have a difficult time isolating these variables in an attempt to help you — like algebra it’s not so easy.
Why would you think that your body could fight most infections on its own when it gets little or no practice because you won’t let it? Now that your immune system is so out of practice, your body can’t keep up with the onslaught of bad bacteria. This is why most physicians want to see you before they give you a prescription because most of them know that by becoming a habitual user, your body’s immune system gets weaker each time you use antibiotics.
It’s only logical to apply the same passionate vigilance to antibiotics that we give to recreational drugs, since they are just as dangerous, if not exponentially more. Even though antibiotics have very boring, non-attractive packaging, children still become habitual users.
According to Reuters, pediatricians in the United States write more than 10 million unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics every year for conditions like the flu and asthma. Don’t blame physicians, we demand it!
It’s not you, it’s the candida.
A problem called candida, or candida overgrowth, is a common fungal problem. Candida happens. In a normal environment (a diet not based almost entirely on sugar), it’s not such a big problem. We do know that it gets worse after using antibiotics without replenishing your healthy bacteria with probiotics. An estimated 90 percent of the humanoid population has candida overgrowth. Candida overgrowth can be the root cause of literally hundreds of different problems in the body. Are you surprised at just how many different and numerous dependent animals you actually are supporting?
Candida overgrowth can grow and nest in any number of areas in the body, and it will generally cause problems wherever it is allowed to flourish. Candida is a living, breathing organism that, similar to how humans release carbon dioxide as a byproduct of respiration, releases about 80 different chemicals as a byproduct of its existence. All of those chemicals are toxic, and one of them is chemically similar to formaldehyde. Every time you eat sugar or refined carbohydrates, you’re feeding the overgrowth its favorite foods and giving it the fuel it needs to keep growing and possibly embalming yourself! I’m pretty sure that it’s more fun to embalm yourself via other methods.
Here is a short list of candida symptoms: dandruff, eczema, headaches, allergies, rashes, acne, aches, pain, PMS, brain fog, sore muscles, mood swings, fibromyalgia, anger and depression.
THE PLAUSIBLE FIX
Remove or reduce grains and sugars from your diet: Flowering grasses or grains contain proteins called lectins and gluten that are difficult for some to digest and can cause intestinal inflammation in many of us. Some of us are more sensitive to this than others. Sugar screws up just about every function in the body and provides plenty of food for candida. Your immune system becomes compromised from the stress of eating this delicious junk thus making you even more susceptible to bacterial infections — then you need more antibiotics and other medications to keep up with the doughnuts. Are you seeing the pattern?
Eat weird probiotic-rich foods: Get some help from a qualified doc on a few cheap and easy tests to develop a precise protocol for good gut bacteria to add. Probiotics (good bacteria) will balance your intestinal flora and naturally help kill off bad bacteria and boost your immune system. To naturally build back the probiotics in your gut, eat cultured dairy (like amasai, kefir, yogurt), cultured vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, kvass), and weird probiotic beverages like kombucha and coconut kefir. Yep, you might not have heard of the weird foods above. This unfamiliarity often conjures up fear. Don’t fret, it’s only food, and it’s not covered by your insurance provider.
Consider natural antibiotics: Try natural antibiotics like oil of oregano, echinacea, colloidal silver, onions and garlic before you pull the antibiotic card the next time you have a little sniffle. These herbs and compounds have powerful anti-bacterial effects but leave the good bacteria alone. Consider that there may be a problem if you need an antibiotic to clear your little sniffle.
My take? Go ahead and eat whatever you want until you get symptoms. Then, decide if you actually have the guts to fix the problem or you just want to mask symptoms with drugs. Use prescription antibiotics only when really needed, under the care of a good physician. Most importantly, don’t get caught eating weird probiotic food unless it blows up on Twitter first.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.
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