Yeast or candida albicans is a fungus which along with bacteria in the gut help us break down and digest our food. It lives mostly unnoticed in the large intestine. Scientists categorize bacteria as good or bad but both are necessary for optimal health. The ‘good’ and ‘bad’ designations are more like an accelerator in your car. Step on the gas and the car moves faster. Stop stepping on the gas and the car slows down. These opposing bacteria and fungi work together in a synergistic effect which promotes and dissuades (turns on and off) various biological processes. We need this accelerator action to speed up and slow down reactions as needed. It is good that there is opposition in all things. These forces allow systems within the body to find balance or middle ground for optimal operation.  They can thus compensate for fluctuations in available nutrients as the body swings between extremes where the gas tank is full and when it is empty and everything in between.

Problems occur when the balance between the opposing forces becomes lopsided and unduly favors one side or the other. Good things can quickly become bad in that scenario. When yeast overgrows and becomes predominant, our body can enter into a chronic inflammatory state. Candida albicans can move out of the large intestine into the small intestine. It will send out threadlike filaments that poke tiny holes in the lining of the small intestine. Yeast overgrowth occurs due to antibiotics which kill good and bad bacteria and disturb the checks and balance with yeast. Also, steroids, birth control pills and a high-carbohydrate diet (too much sugar from processed foods and high-fructose corn syrup) can cause  the yeast to overgrow its natural boundaries.  The ‘simple’ yeast produces at least 178 different chemical byproducts in its normal life cycle.

Acetaldehyde is one of the most powerful toxic by-products of yeast. Dr. Carolyn Dean in her book, The Magnesium Miracle, states: “the enzyme that breaks it down (acetaldehyde dehydrogenase) depends on magnesium for its function. When excess acetaldehyde overworks the dehydrogenase enzyme, using up stored magnesium, the enzyme can no longer metabolize acetaldehyde. A buildup of this chemical can cause many problems. Free acetaldehyde is toxic to the brain, liver, and kidneys and can cause depletion of B vitamins. It can also block hormone receptors for the thyroid, adrenals, and pituitary. Symptoms of thyroid imbalance are very common today, partly because thyroid hormones, which may appear normal in blood tests, cannot get inside cells to do their  work as a result of chronic acetaldehyde poisoning. The same happens with female hormones, especially estrogen–it’s blocked from getting into cells, even though blood estrogen levels may be normal.”

For more information on endocrine disruptors and gut health, see my book which is available on Amazon.

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