The yeast becomes problematic when it grows beyond normal levels and spreads throughout the gastrointestinal tract, into the bloodstream and from there throughout the body. The yeast then does something remarkable and changes into fungus.
This fungus now settles itself into the tissue and a fungal colony quickly spreads. The fungus is protected from the environment as it has now left the gut and does not have the challenge of the gut bacteria trying to consume it. The risk for the Candida fungus is the human immune system. The immune system would normally identify and fight off this fungal intruder without too much effort.
Sadly more and more people suffer from low immune systems due to stress, bad diet or general ill health. This means the immune system is not as strong as it needs to be to fight the Candida fungus colony. The Candida fungus is protected from the immune system attack by its cellular membrane.
This membrane is comprised of a layer formation called chitin. Your own cells when the immune system is strong and healthy fight Candida by producing an enzyme called chitinase which breaks down the yeast cell wall exposing it and making it vulnerable to attack by the body’s immune system. In a system wide infection there is simply too much of the yeast for the body to fight and it is at that point we begin to see symptoms of the yeast infection.
In simple English – imagine the fungus is wearing a suit of armour that your immune system cannot punch through if it is weak.
There are several reasons for Candida to spread and become problematic.
Over the past few decades the diet in the west has changed dramatically. We now consume far more sugar and refined food than we ever have before. Even those of us that have strict diets do succumb to fast food and sugar treats!
Candida thrives on sugar. With a diet high in sugar and refined food it will grow exponentially, it is almost as if our diet in the western world is a super food for the yeast. Items such as sugar, alcohol, chocolate, bread, pasta, coffee, tea, fast food and any refined food all contribute to Candida growth.
No one is disputing the need for antibiotics – they are one of the greatest medical discoveries made and without them we would be in a lot of trouble! However,
broad spectrum antibiotic use does have a profound effect on our natural defences against Candida infection.
These antibiotics kill all bacteria, including the good bacteria in our gut that maintain a healthy balanced state.
Without these bacteria the yeast is free to grow and spread within the body.
Immune Compromised system
Our cells naturally produce a substance called chitinase. This enzyme breaks down the protective layer around the yeast and allows our immune system to attack the yeast if it is growing out of control. When an immune system is in a weakened state then it does not have the capability to attack the yeast and so its growth is not regulated.
Any single or combination of these elements provides the Candida yeast with the perfect breeding ground within the human body and results in you becoming sick.