Candida Albicans, or ‘yeast,’ is a harmful agent that can cause disease in our system. For most of us, the yeast balanced out by the good bacteria in our intestinal tract; but some people don’t have enough good bacteria to combat the yeast, and overgrowth occurs. When yeast overgrowth is present, many things can happen that negatively impact our ability to function.
Candida can occur from taking antibiotics. The more antibiotics we take, the worse the overgrowth can become. This is not the only way that yeast overgrowth occurs, but antibiotics can certainly contribute. This is not to say that if you are ill you should not take antibiotics; but it may be helpful to limit the amount of yeast producing food your child is eating during antibiotic use. It will also be helpful to monitor your child to ensure that yeast overgrowth has not occurred. Yeast overgrowth tends to affect children on the autism spectrum more severely than the general population. Yeast overgrowth is not the cause of autism, but it does seem to intensify the symptoms. It also causes a breakdown in the natural biochemical processes in our body. Too much yeast causes toxins to leak into our bloodstream, causing many difficulties including a weakened immune system, damage to the intestinal wall, opiates entering the brain, and reduced energy levels
Damage to the immune system can be one of the biggest problems, as it only reinforces the vicious cycle of yeast. If the immune system is compromised, then the person is more likely to become ill, requiring antibiotics which increases yeast growth, further damaging the immune system, and so on. Getting control of the yeast is extremely important in building up the immune system and stopping the cycle.
When yeast damages the intestinal wall, it does not allow needed digestive enzymes to be formed. Digestive enzymes are necessary for breaking down food and extracting the nutrients our bodies need to function properly. As a result our bodies absorb things that can be toxic, or we end up eliminating the nutrients our bodies need. When toxic substances pass through our intestinal wall, they end up in our blood stream and eventually in our brain.
As yeast enters our brain, we begin producing endorphins (opiates) which cause our brain to slow down. We have difficulty processing information, making decisions, speaking clearly, and regulating our emotions. When a person has too much yeast in the brain, s/he often appears “drunk.” S/he seems slow, lethargic, and clumsy. Some people become more active, but this activity tends to be random and unorganized.
Yeast overgrowth can affect all of us, and in different ways; but the effects seem to be especially intense for children on the autism spectrum. Common symptoms of Candida include the following:
- Distended stomach
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Yeast infections (vaginal, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, or thrush)
- Itchiness in warm moist areas such as elbows, knees, or genitals
- Fogginess, difficulty concentrating, poor memory
- Irritability or restlessness
- Inappropriate laughter
- Seeming drunk
- Craving for sugar and fruits
- Continual nasal congestion or runny nose
If any of these symptoms describe your child, it is time to seek treatment. The possible or suggested use of medication, supplements, and changes to the diet. This will be discussed in detail in an upcoming article.