Zinc: The natural way to balance Candida
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Our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria. Some are good, and some are not so good. In a perfect world, we have a healthy balance of both, with slightly higher amounts of friendly bacteria to keep the bad guys in check.
In recent years, the widespread use of antibiotics, over-processed foods, and other lifestyle factors have played a role in tipping the scales in the wrong direction. This has made it much more common for Candida and other harmful bacteria to grow out of control.
In this article, we’ll go over the relationship between Candida and the body, and the role zinc plays in fighting back against this stubborn yeast.
What is Candida?
Candida is an opportunistic fungus—harmless in small quantities, but harmful if it grows out of control in the body.
When it overgrows, Candida has the ability to create major gastrointestinal disturbances that can affect your ability to digest and absorb nutrients, as well as cause system wide inflammation and food intolerances.
Other symptoms of Candida overgrowth include:
- Brain fog
- Oral thrush
- Skin issues
- Mood swings
- Food sensitivities
- Digestive discomfort
- Recurring yeast infections
The system-wide inflammation will create more work for your immune system, which can cause it to fall short in other areas. And when the immune system gets overwhelmed, bad bacteria in the gut are able to multiply. One of their favourite activities is to steal your nutrients to help themselves grow and proliferate. Zinc is one of those nutrients.
What is zinc and why do we need it?
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that helps to facilitate over 100+ chemical reactions in the body. It plays a major role in building proteins, healing tissues, and fortifying the immune system.
We get small amounts of it in our diet from sources such as nuts, shellfish, and meat. But if you’re dealing with a Candida overgrowth, you may need to seek out more of this mineral.
Zinc deficiency and Candida overgrowth
Candida overgrowth can lead to zinc deficiency in the gut microbiome by shifting the ratio between good and bad bacteria. This microbial imbalance reduces the amount of zinc available for absorption and can result in zinc deficiency. Candida is also able to consume zinc for its own use and has been shown to generate scavenger proteins which remove zinc from human cells.
Without adequate zinc, high amounts of glucose get stored in cells and can become food for the Candida yeast. This perpetuates the cycle even further, as Candida thrives in a sugar and carbohydrate rich environment.
Does zinc kill Candida?
Zinc is known to have strong antimicrobial effects that can bring the Candida population back into balance. It is one of the many tools available to you when looking to balance your microbiome and regain your health.
If you’ve confirmed that Candida overgrowth is a problem for you, it’s best to start supplementing zinc low and slow to avoid intense die off reactions from the yeast. When Candida dies off, it releases harmful chemicals into the body in an attempt to try to slow down detoxification and remain alive.
This is known as the Jarisch Herxheimer reaction. When these die off reactions start, people will notice a range of symptoms like headaches, fatigue, nausea, skin rashes, and more. It’s important to drink lots of water, move your body, and get plenty of rest.
Treating the root cause of Candida
Candida overgrowth is notoriously tricky to get rid of. The yeast is extremely intelligent and can create confusion in both the body and mind to allow itself to thrive.
If Candida still persists after you’ve cleaned up your diet, optimized mineral levels, and tried antifungal treatment, it may be worth looking deeper to see if there’s another reason for your issues.
Oftentimes, Candida overgrows in the presence of heavy metals, mold, and parasites because these toxins are able to significantly dampen immune function. By addressing these toxins in conjunction with your Candida detox, you may start to see better results in your healing journey.As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for assistance in navigating this tricky fungal infection..
Alongside maintaining a healthy lifestyle, using antimicrobial minerals like zinc will help set your gut and immune system up for success to have you feeling your best again.