The Candida Connection
You may have been hearing the word "candida" a lot these days and wondering what if anything it may have to do with autism. Well, it may actually have a lot to do with autism related symptoms.
Some of the behavior problems which have been linked to an overgrowth of candida such as confusion, hyperactivity, short attention span, lethargy, irritability, and aggression. There are also health problems associated with an overgrowth of candida like headaches, digestive distress, constipation, gas pains, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Sometimes these problems are often worse during damp or muggy days and in moldy places like basements, cottages, old homes or classrooms.
Candida albicans belongs to the yeast family and is a single-cell fungus. This yeast is located in various parts of the body including the digestive tract. Generally speaking, "good" microbes or bacteria limit the amount of yeast in the intestinal tract, and thus, keep the yeast under control. However, exposure to antibiotics, especially repeated exposure, can destroy these microbes and therefore cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria like candida. Also having food allergies or a poor diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause an overgrowth of candida. When the yeast multiplies, it releases toxins in the body; and these toxins are known to impair the central nervous system and the immune system.
There are methods to treat yeast overgrowth, such as taking probiotics which re-balance the intestinal tract with 'good' microbes and taking anti-fungal supplements like grapefruit seed extract, garlic or caprylic acid. To really get yeast under control you need to adhere to an anti-candida special diet, low in sugar and other foods on which yeasts thrive like carbohydrates. Interestingly, if the candida is causing actually health and behavior problems, a person will often become quite ill for a few days after beginning an anti-candida protocol. The yeast is destroyed and the debris and toxins are circulated through the body until they are excreted, this is called the "die off" phase. Therefore, a person who displays negative behaviors or worsening symptoms soon after treatment for candida is likely to have a good result in the end after the candida is eradicated and flushed from the system.
To be clear, candida does not cause autism, but it certainly can be responsible for some challenging aspects associated with autism. For more info about specific dietary interventions to treat candida overgrowth, contact us.