During the winter months and the holidays especially, we tend to deal with more depression and anxiety symptoms. 

The lack of sunlight definitely has something to do with our mood changes, but did you also know that our gut microbiome can affect our mood and various symptoms, including those late-night sugar cravings? 

You could be dealing with candida overgrowth. 

Candida albicans is a fungus located in the mouth, throat, and intestines and is found in every human. However, candida can quickly become an opportunistic yeast, leading to an overgrowth and causing an imbalance in healthy bacteria. 

Don’t get me wrong, we need candida, and in a healthy person, candida albicans can be measured in the millions. Candida’s role is to help identify and rid the body of harmful bacteria. Without it, our intestines would have no defense system against harmful and pathogenic bacteria. 

Candida is kept in check by a functioning immune system and “good” bacteria in our gut. If the good bacteria are decreased with antibiotics or other scenarios that compromise the immune system, like a high sugar diet, candida albicans can change from yeast to mycelial fungal form and invade the body. 

As candida begins to overgrow in the gut, it bypasses and breaks past the lining of the intestine, causing a “leaky gut” where it makes its way into the bloodstream. There, it is able to move to various parts of the body and multiply, leading to candidiasis. 

Candidiasis produces many toxins like gliotoxin, acetaldehyde, and ethanol; they are very difficult to detox without help. These toxins are released into the bloodstream, causing various symptoms, and can cause severe issues to the liver and other organs as well as deplete glutathione, our master antioxidant. 

There are many signs and symptoms of candidiasis, some of which are gut issues, depression and anxiety, fatigue, inflammation, allergies, eczema and skin issues, muscle aches and stiff joints, headaches, food intolerances, issues with certain organs, and even serious illnesses like asthma, ADHD, diabetes, MS, arthritis, CFS, and fibromyalgia. 

Common physical signs of candida are: 

• Thrush, white film, or coating on the tongue 

• Intense sugar cravings 

• Cracked nails and flaky skin around the cuticles 

• Jock itch or athlete’s foot 

• Frequent yeast and urinary tract infections 

So, if you’re experiencing any of these issues mentioned, you may be dealing with candida overgrowth. 

Candidiasis is thought to be the root cause. However, it’s usually a by-product of the root cause like antibiotic use, mold toxicity, stress, low stomach acid, lack of digestive enzymes, toxic heavy metals, genetic disorders, hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues, medications like birth control and acid blockers, parasites, diets high in sugar and carbohydrates, chronic constipation or diarrhea, alcohol, and so on! 

So, it is important to address the root in tandem with treatment and dietary changes, or candidiasis will relapse and continue to proliferate. 

The nutrition team at Sundara Wellness can help support you through dietary adjustments and gut health optimization. 

This is not medical advice* 

Audrey Stimpson is a Certified Functional Nutrition Counselor at Sundara Wellness, specializing in gut-brain health, ADHD, autism, autoimmune, and hormonal imbalances. For more information, email Audrey at audrey@sundarawellness.com or on Instagram at @audreystimpson.