Post-Holiday Blues: Is It All In My Head?
Many of us feel a bit saddened when the New Year arrives and our attention returns to the mundane tasks of everyday. While some of this may be attributed to the expected drop of party adrenaline, another reality to be considered is the likely delayed effect of the standard holiday buffet of processed foods, sugar, and stress. The truth is, your post-holiday blues may actually be the symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Yeast overgrowth is often caused by excessive consumption of simple sugars, processed foods, medications, and excessive stress.
Yeast is a fungus that naturally resides in your mouth and digestive tract. Candida albicans (C. albicans) is one of the scientific names for yeast. In proper balance, candida actually supports digestion and intestinal health; however, when overproduced, Candida may cause symptoms of depression, irritability, memory loss, moodiness, digestive upset, repeated infections, weight gain, abdominal bloating, skin rashes, and much more. Newer research shows a correlation between candida overgrowth and cancer cell proliferation.
The fact that Candida resides in the intestinal tract makes diet an important factor in limiting yeast overgrowth. If you are experiencing symptoms of yeast overgrowth, be advised that it may be necessary to talk to a professional naturopath regarding an anti-yeast protocol. Such a protocol requires attentive guidance from a qualified healthcare practitioner and should not be attempted on your own.
Incorporating the following foods into your diet will support you in maintaining healthy Candida balance:
Apple Cider Vinegar is a lacto-fermented food that contains live enzymes. Enzymes are the complex proteins that either speed up or catalyze all the vital biological processes in your body, including strengthening your immune system.
Suggestion: mix a teaspoon of ACV into your first morning glass of water.
The high level of collagen in homemade bone broth supports your body in repairing connective tissue and healing the digestive system. The minerals contained in bone broth are necessary cofactors that combine with enzymes to fortify your immune system, aid in detoxification, and regulate the tens of thousands of other biochemical functions that take place in your body. Every culture throughout history has used bone broth for its medicinal healing properties.
Suggestion: consume at least eight ounces of homemade bone broth daily either sipped throughout the day or used to make soups, rice or noodles.
Cloves are rich in minerals, hydrochloric acid, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Clove contains eugenol, a powerful essential oil that has numerous health benefits, including stimulating the immune system, improving blood circulation, and providing antiseptic properties. Beware that clove oil is very strong, even in small quantities; some people experience an allergic reaction when taking too much at one time.
Suggestion: place clove oil into an essential oil blend that you diffuse into your environment with a cold air diffuser.
Caprylic acid is naturally contained in breast milk and coconut oil. This fatty acid perforates the cellular wall of yeast cells, thereby killing yeast; and because caprylic acid is not water soluble, it is capable of reaching the candida cells that are imbedded in wet mucosal membranes. In my practice, coconut oil is among my “first responders” in the naturopathic fight against yeast proliferation.
Suggestion: substitute coconut oil in your kitchen for sautéing vegetables; melt into your bone broth; and spread on your live-sprouted grain toast. The therapeutic dose for adults is 4 tablespoons per day.
Cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and radishes contain isothiocyanate compounds that suppress candida overgrowth through their anti-microbial activity.
Suggestion: consider adding wasabi and horseradish as condiments; get at least two servings of lightly steamed cruciferous veggies daily.
Aliicin is a natural antifungal. Johns Hopkins reports that the most common cause of sinusitis is fungal infection. Allicin was demonstrated in a time-kill study to be comparable to fluconazole against C. albicans in terms of means survival time (FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2011 Feb;315(2):87-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.02170.x. Epub 2011 Jan 10.).
Suggestion: add fresh, crushed garlic onto your daily greens salad in the form of my Wellness Salad Dressing (recipe available at www.creativecarewellness.com)
Ginger contains gingerols and shogaols that exhibit antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In addition, ginger exerts significant antioxidant effects, thereby providing liver support while detoxifying candida.
Suggestion: consume lacto-fermented ginger as a meal appetizer (lacto fermentation directions available at www.creativecarewellness.com)
The polyphenols present in both green and black tea are potent antioxidants. In order for C. albicans to colonize and proliferate, the cells must be able to adhere to each other and to the host organism, forming what is called a biofilm. In one study, yeast cultures treated with the polyphenols contained in green tea demonstrated a 75% reduction in biofilm formation (Can J Microbiol. 2009 Sep;55(9):1033-9. doi: 10.1139/w09-058.).
Suggestion: substitute green tea for coffee
Lacto-Fermented Foods and Beverages contain probiotics that are vital to the balance of flora in the intestinal tract. “Pro”-biotics are the friendly bacteria that help to keep the yeast from overgrowing. Different foods contain different strains of probiotics, so it is important to consume a variety of lacto-fermented foods and beverages on a daily basis: yogurt, kefir, Kombucha tea, sauerkraut, Kimchi, etc. Lacto-fermented foods are not canned foods. They are found in the refrigerated section of better-quality health food and grocery stores. They are chocked full of live enzymes, live probiotics, minerals, and vitamins. While somewhat costly to purchase, they are extremely quick and easy to prepare at home for pennies on the dollar (for recipes, visit www.creativecarewellness.com).
Suggestion: consume 4 ounces of a lacto-fermented condiment before every meal
Suggestion: drink lemon-steeped water throughout the day
Wild-Caught Salmon contains the sought-after nutrients Omega-3 Fatty Acids, specifically EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). A normal-size serving of salmon typically yields up to 3000mg of EPA/DHA. The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that up to 5,000mg of Omega-3 is safe. Keep in mind that not any fish oil supplement will support your body. You must have a combination of EPA and DHA for effective candida suppression. If you dislike salmon and prefer to take a fish oil supplement, contact your qualified health care provider for recommendations on brands that follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Suggestion: consume wild-caught fatty fish three times a week
While nutrition is foundational to maintaining yeast balance, Classical Homeopathy is also a tremendously effective therapy for yeast overgrowth, as homeopathy treats the whole person and yeast overgrowth is a systemic issue. The most responsible use of homeopathic remedies results from a properly taken interview with a Certified Classical Homeopath (CCH). For those who prefer to attempt at-home treatment first, the following remedies are commonly used:
Arsenicum album is the remedy of choice for burning, itchy rashes, especially when accompanied by mental anxiety
Belladonna is the sought-after remedy for bright red, inflamed skin that is painful, especially when accompanied with mental irritability
Borax works well for yeast infections that are accompanied by bleeding oral mucosa and diarrhea
Chamomilla is the remedy for the “diaper rash” skin infection that is accompanied by significant irritability
Graphites is often helpful for thick, cracked skin that oozes
Kreosotum is supportive for leukorrhea that also presents with itching and swelling
Yeast overgrowth can present with many different symptoms. Although treating yeast overgrowth is a multi-faceted, diet and lifestyle are foundational elements of avoiding the symptoms of yeast imbalance. When in doubt, consult a qualified healthcare practitioner, who understands the variety of symptoms of yeast overgrowth. For more information, visit the American Naturopathic Certification Board at www.ancb.net to find a qualified traditional naturopath or the Council for Homeopathic Certification at www.homeopathicdirectory.org to locate a certified classical homeopath.
Jennette Cable, ND, CTN, CCH, ST is a traditional naturopath, a classical homeopath, and a sound therapist. She is certified by the American Naturopathic Certification Board as a Certified Traditional Naturopath (CTN) and by the Council for Homeopathic Certification as a Certified Classical Homeopath (CCH). She is also a certified CEASE Therapist, a VoiceBio® practitioner (ST), a Rhythm Entrainment Intervention® provider, and a member of the Sound Healers Association. Finally, as a preceptor for the Aurora Family Medicine Residency – Integrative Medicine Rotation in Milwaukee, Jennette shares her experience with medical doctors looking for integrative medicine training.
Jennette holistically supports children and adults of all ages, and treats most physical, mental and emotional conditions. She believes that physical dis-ease originates from an energetic imbalance that can be overcome through her individualized, three-point protocol:
Traditional naturopathic principles (nutrition and supplements)
A constitutional homeopathic remedy (healing from within)
Sound therapy and creative expression