Healthy Routes Column: Maintain order and eject the freeloaders

by Gladys Kublik, co-owner Neighbors Vitamin Shop

We often compare our body to a vehicle on the journey of life. We like to think of it as a sleek sports car, but in reality it’s more like a bus. The science of genetics has discovered that we carry the DNA of a multitude of organisms besides our own. We are the vehicle for bacteria on our skin, microscopic mites in our eyelashes called Demodex, fungus between our toes and approximately a one-kilogram mass of organisms within our gut. We are the hosts of a world apart, a microbiome, and for the most part this is a good thing.

However, if we upset this microbiome or introduce intruders – our little world is in turmoil. This is the case when we are unwitting hosts to parasites or if Candida gains the upper hand. Ancient peoples of all cultures recognized the reality of these problems and sought out herbs which killed worms, bugs and yeasts. They fasted and purged themselves on a regular basis to improve their health. We now have many effective natural formulations of herbs and supplements available at the health food store which can help you deal with these issues. Specific products target Candida, parasites or sluggish bowel allowing you to break this cycle.

Candida is a yeast, which is a form of fungus. It is a different strain of yeast than that which makes bread rise or sugars ferment to produce beer or wine, but it does cause fermentation and gas within us. Naturally occurring on our skin and in our digestive tract, it is kept in balance by other beneficial bacteria which are an integral part of our system. When something disrupts the balance, yeast flourishes. We then experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, poor concentration, poor memory, mood swings, irritability, and fatigue. Prolonged yeast overgrowth may also surface as allergies, itching, skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, athlete’s foot or toenail fungus. Women commonly experience vaginal and urinary tract infections. Many people experience a craving for sweets, which in turn feeds Candida and suppresses the beneficial bacteria in the body.

If you have been on a lovely holiday to a warm climate where you could go swimming or walk barefoot on the beach and eat luscious fruit or are in close contact with someone who has; if you have pets; if you have small children who love to play in the sand; if you love to dig in the dirt in your garden; if you have used public rest rooms; you have had the opportunity to be infected with parasites. Parasites are organisms which feed off another. We can carry within us tiny parasites such as worms and flukes, which steal our nutrients for years undetected.

Unexplained constipation, diarrhea, gas, or other symptoms of IBS can be signs of parasitic infection causing a change in the fluid balance of your gut. There are other signs not related to digestion such as – trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, grinding your teeth in your sleep which can be signals that you body is experiencing internal duress. Skin irritations such as rashes, hives, rosacea or eczema; muscle and joint pain, even anxiety and mood changes may be the result of toxins from parasitic eggs and waste. Fatigue, depression, apathy, constant hunger or cravings, and iron deficiency or anemia are also signs that something is stealing your nutrients.

Inability to gain weight is often a result of these infestations, but sometimes we experience weight gain because we are being robbed of nutrients and try to satisfy cravings with poor choices. These poor quality, high calorie foods feed the Candida, slow down the elimination process and produce additional toxins which cause itching, moodiness, fatigue, etc.

Cleanses which target the issues of Candida or parasites contain supplements which destroy these organisms and reset the internal environment so they do not re-establish themselves. Adjusting the diet to support a cleanse encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria which rebalances our microbiome.

These measures make it easier to improve the diet long term by curbing cravings for sweets, salty carbohydrates and rich low calorie foods. All of which makes for a healthier you. We may still be bussing around a world of microbes but we can do it with a clean, high performance, fuel efficient bus.

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