What is Candida Related Complex
by T L Cornish, CNP
Candida Related Complex is a condition involving severe and lasting overgrowth of candida albicans, a naturally occurring intestinal yeast. The imbalance caused by an overgrowth of candida can set the environment for other pathogenic yeasts, bacteria and even parasites to also become overgrown and the variety of challenging pathogens that can combine to play a role in Candida Related Complex symptoms is vast.
The longer candida levels are left to expand out of control, the more likely the yeast can develop into its fungal form. Once the candida has evolved in this way it is likely to affect multiple sites and organ systems in the body. There is some controversy about why this is. There are at least three main clinical explanations for how candida related symptoms impact the body so broadly.
One theory states that the wide range of symptoms is due to toxicity related to the byproducts of the yeasts’ metabolism that poison the whole body, generally affecting the most vulnerable organ systems first. Toxicity in the colon affects the health of the whole body, particularly if one’s elimination is slowed as in the case of constipation due to an imbalance in intestinal flora. Susceptible organs or joints can show symptoms of congestion or imbalance because of the interference of the toxins with normal enzymatic and hormonal activity. In addition, the body’s healing resources are distracted by the extra work and cleansing responsibilities that toxicity presents. The delicate hormonal and chemical balance that orchestrates our emotional health can also be affected, causing symptoms of mental illness. A severe candida infestation can even be associated with severe debilitating emotional symptoms.
The second theory embraces the toxicity element described above and offers the additional explanation that illness can also be caused by direct physical action of the fungus and the penetrating action of its dendrites (root like tendrils) which can ‘migrate’ from one organ system to another, potentially infecting many organ systems with fungus. The dendrites grow into the tissue, beginning in the intestinal tract where it leaches nutrients both from the diet and the tissues. This fungal form of candida yeast releases larger amounts of toxins than the single celled form. Due to the destructive impact of the dendrites on intestinal tissue, the chances of complications from Leaky Gut Syndrome are also increased with long standing fungal candida. The fungal dendrites can create perforations in the intestines resulting intestinal permeability. Intestinal permeability can allow waste materials to seep back into the bloodstream. This can result in a generalized toxicity throughout the body and any area in the body that is particularly vulnerable can be negatively affected. Immune functions will be lowered thus the body’s ability to defend against allergens, detoxify or to resolve inflammation of any kind will be lessened.
A third theory embraces the potential physiology of the above two theory and, in addition, includes the suggestion that if the biochemical environment or “body terrain” is weakened, the yeast can develop spontaneously anywhere in the body in single celled or fungal form.
Regardless of chemical and mechanical means in which the candida affects the body, long term overgrowth of candida is well known to be correlated with other health conditions. These include hormone imbalances, congestion of the eliminative organs, inflammatory intestinal conditions, intestinal infections (parasites and other pathogens), viruses, digestive weakness, nutritional deficiencies, immune deficiency, intestinal permeability and allergies (both food and environmental).
Effectively addressing the candida overgrowth alone may or may not be sufficient to correct some of the above imbalances that may have been triggered by candida overgrowth. In some cases, related complications will require specifically directed treatment concurrent with candida treatment (or after candida treatment.)
Because of the complexity of CRC, recovery time can vary widely. In really severe cases or when multiple complications accompany, the overgrowth, even a comprehensive therapeutic program such as the Whole Approach program may need to be combined with the supervision and support of a qualified holistic or naturopathic physician. Just the same, the comprehensive program encouraged through Whole Approach support will be helpful to reduce candida populations and to encourage whole body detoxification; colon cleansing and immune boosting and can complement many healing protocols.
The successful treatment of severe candida demands a specific, methodical and customized approach to Food Therapy, allergy management, anti-fungal therapy, detoxification, intestinal healing and immune support. Because of the importance of a calm state of mind for optimized healing power, relaxation therapy, contemplation practice, counseling, faith, and the practice of self-compassion can also dramatically affect outcomes for the better.