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Posts Tagged ‘probiotics’

This time last year I was preparing my 10,000 word dissertation as part of my health sciences degree. Despite the fact that I loved every minute of that course I was going through a bad time with my health. I was feeling exhausted. Not everyone jumps out of bed in the morning full of the joys of spring, but I was waking up and peeling myself out of bed and most mornings I would wake up with headaches that would not budge for days on end. Most weekends I couldn’t find the strength to get dressed and were spent sleeping on the sofa. Although I managed to get through the working week and cook a meal in the evenings that was all I could manage. The dishes had to be left till morning. My digestion started to play up – something I’d never had problems with before. Blood tests revealed nothing ‘abnormal’. As a therapist, I was helping others to heal themselves yet I couldn’t help myself – I didn’t know which way to turn.

By complete coincidence and at a doctor’s suggestion I tried an anti-candida diet for two weeks to see if this made any different to my digestion. During those two weeks I noticed a difference and accepted that I had candida. A cocktail of vitamins, minerals and amino acids helped kill the candida and opened my eyes to the fact that candida is prevalent in most people. When the immune system is thrown out of balance (stress, diabetes, antibiotics) the environment in the intestines is such that it encourages growth of bad bacteria and hence candida attacks.

Doctors don’t recognise the condition of candidiasis and indeed there is no real accurate test (other than a live blood sample) but a quick and simple way for you to find out if you have candida if you suspect this is to spit into a see-through tumbler of water first thing in the morning. If the spittle develops legs like a spiders which travel down to the bottom of the glass, then the chances are you have candida.

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The environment within the stomach should be incredibly acidic – we’re talking battery acid here – in order for effective digestion to occur. The job of the (hydrochloric) acid in the stomach is to release minerals from food, help with the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and iron, break down food proteins and kill bacteria and parasites, thus controlling the unwanted microorganisms in the digestive tract.

Hypochlorhydria and achlorhydria are conditions in which the production of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices of the stomach is low or absent. Symptoms of low stomach acid include: heartburn, acid reflux, belching and gas. So if you thought that your symptoms were due to too much acid and that the right thing to do is to take antacid supplements (which reduce or neutralize acidity) then think again – that could be the wrong thing to do!

Without sufficient amounts of either stomach acid, digestive symptoms as well as a bacterial imbalance and nutrient deficiencies can arise.

Hypochlorhydria has been associated with:
Candidiasis
• Hip fracture, possibly due to reduced calcium absorption
• Reduced absorption of vitamins and nutrients
• Carcinoid tumors in the digestive tract

Symptoms of hypochlorhydria include:

• Diarrhea
• Anemia
• Abdominal discomfort or bloating
• Reflux

Treatments include: improved eating habits such as sitting down whilst eating and taking the time to chew thoroughly, avoiding stress around meal times, and supplementing with hydrochloric acid, probiotics, digestive enzymes and/or herbs to aid digestion are generally recommended

Some natural remedies include: grapefruit seed extract, garlic, oregano oil. In Ayurvedic medicine Ginger, Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Trikatu are considered a digestive tonic and improve gastric function.

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