Candida | A Functional Medicine Approach

If you have googled candida you will find that this fungus is blamed for almost any problem you can think of. Obviously you shouldn’t believe everything on the internet, so I’ve compiled a list of problems that candida can cause that is supported by good science.

That list is crazy! If you think about the symptoms connected to some of these conditions, the list of things candida can be associated with is even bigger. For example, here are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (the percent is how often each symptom is present):

This fungus can cause any of the above symptoms and many more, making it an imitator of other disorders.

Let me ask you

Have you ever had any of these symptoms/disorders? Did you go to the doctor for help? Did the doctor test you for candida? Based on what I’ve shared with you so far, don’t you think it would be wise to find out whether candida is at least partly responsible, instead of just treating the symptoms? If you do then you are thinking like a functional medicine doctor!

Testing for Candida is not so easy

Candida is a sneaky fungus! It can literally hide in the body. It does this by creating a slimy coating called biofilm. In fact it’s one of the best biofilm producers known. This biofilm makes detection and treatment of this fungus more difficult.

You may be surprised to know that you are already very familiar with biofilm. The plaque on your teeth is biofilm, and is made by the bacteria living in your mouth!

Blood tests for this fungus are positive if there is an immune response to it. However, the biofilm can prevent the immune system from “finding” it. This means that blood tests can show negative for candida even though the fungus is present.

Stool analysis is another way to test for candida, but the biofilm can cause in the same false negative results. However, if the biofilm is treated, a subsequent stool analysis will come back positive. Once the biofilm is gone this fungus is exposed and can be found.

Organic acid testing is the best way to test. This is a urine test that measures for 76 acids. This is very clever testing that this fungus can’t hide from! If present, candida will make an organic acid called D-Arabinitol which will show up in the urine. I’ve often seen a negative blood and stool test that also have a positive organic acid test. I always feel really good when I catch that sneaky fungus making my patient sick! Organic acid testing is one of the functional medicine doctor’s best friends!

Candida is everywhere

Candida is actually present in everyone. Thankfully that’s not a problem. It’s when the amount of candida gets out of control that it becomes troublesome. Here are the kinds of things that help candida thrive:

  • Antibiotics
  • A diet high in:
    • Sugar
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Processed foods
    • Alcohol
  • Oral contraceptives
  • High Stress
  • Smoking
  • Corticosteroids
  • Diabetes

That list is helpful to determine if you may have an issue with candida, and it also shows things we can do to prevent problems with candida. In fact, if I made another list of all the diseases that these “candida promoters” can cause it would be loooong! So why not adopt a lifestyle that eliminates these things or at least keeps them to a minimum?

Welcome to Functional Medicine

Most of my patients have some of the symptoms and conditions candida can cause. Thankfully a lot of them don’t have a problem with candida.

How do you think I know that?

That’s right! I test to find out! I don’t treat the symptoms or the “disease.” I see the symptoms and/or diseases as clues. The testing is how I figure out what is causing the problems. If someone tests positive for a candida problem then we can fix it!

So if you or a loved one knows someone who might have a problem from candida I would love to help them! The functional medicine approach is a fantastic way to get to the root of these kinds of problems!