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Did Holiday Splurges Get to Your Gut?

If you over-indulged in holiday treats this past season, you may find it's catching up with you with candida symptoms of gas, bloating, carb craving, yeast infections, or worse. Intestinal overgrowth of Candida albicans is an extremely common condition and one that is difficult to treat. This type of yeast form has long, root-like tentacles that can penetrate the intestinal wall and destroy the membrane system. This allows for toxins to leak into the bloodstream, causing the aforementioned symptoms and aggravating preexisting conditions. Also, a compromised intestinal wall allows undigested dietary proteins to absorb, which can cause allergies and environmental hypersensitivities.

Candida overgrowth is becoming more prevalent due to a multitude of factors including: the over-prescription of antibiotics, which wipes out the good bacteria and allows Candida to flourish; overexposure to heavy metals and toxins; hormonal imbalances caused by xenoestrogens, phthalates, and other hormone-mimicking chemicals; excessive use of antacids; stress; impaired immune function; and dietary indiscretion (too much processed food and sugar).

Candida's virulent nature combined with these factors makes eradicating yeast difficult, however, there are many effective anti-Candida products on the market, including two NEEDS favorites, Fungal Defense and Tanalbit.

Candida cleanse products are available in many different formulas, with some being quite strong or too complicated to use. Fungal Defense, from Garden of Life, is a great solution for those new to a candida regimen. This product is designed for a 15-day cycle, with the addition of a probiotic blend to maintain gut health. It may also be considered for long-term maintenance. This multi-herb blend combines Syrian oregano, sweet basil, lemongrass, olive leaf extract, cinnamon bark, yucca, and garlic juice with protease and cellulase enzymes. These herbs help create an intestinal environment that is inhospitable to yeast cells, while the enzymes help break down the cell residue, decreasing the toxic "die-off " reaction (i.e., headaches, fatigue, or worsening of symptoms) in the gut.

Tanalbit, from Intensive Nutrition, contains condensed plantderived tannins, which are powerful anti-fungals. They work by binding to the surface of the yeast, thus preventing the yeast from adhering to the intestinal wall membrane and colonization (replication of the yeast), while leaving the healthy probiotic bacteria intact.

Tannates must be complexed with proteins (present in the casein) to survive the gastric environment and to prevent gastric irritation. The protein releases the tannates in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract where they can become active.

Plant tannins occur naturally in our diet, lending flavor, color, and protection to plants. Red wine grapes contain tannins that give it color and a slightly bitter or woodsy taste. The redwood tree also has tannins in its bark, protecting the tree from fungus and disease, and giving the bark its rich red color.

The tannins in Tanalbit are derived from Swedish Birch bark and are concentrated to make them effective against GI fungus. Casein is an important ingredient in this formula because it protects the tannins in the capsule. The casein found in Tanalbit is purified, so that 90% of potential allergens are removed, therefore making it useable by those who are lactose intolerant. It also contains zinc, which acts as an activator of the complex of tannates, as well as lotus rhizome extract and l-proline.

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