Honey

Honey should be taken as un-processed as possible. Cold-expressed honey is the healthiest type for human consumption as others are often heated to quicken their extraction from the honeycomb, which of course damages the micro-elements of the honey.

Honey has many health giving properties; it is a natural antiseptic which can be applied to open wounds, eczema and other skin rashes, mouth ulcers and erosions. It is a source of numerous vitamins and amino acids and can contain many bio-active substances depending on the flowers it has been collected from. It used to be used as medicine for arthritis, anaemia, cancer, debility, digestive troubles, insomnia and headaches, as well as infections of the throat and chest.

If you tend to crave sweet things like honey and sugar, you might have and Candida overgrowth in your gut. Another sign of this is a craving for carbohydrates; click here for more information. So it is important that honey and all other sweet things (except fresh fruit) are avoided as part of an anti-candida diet. It can be re-introduced once the Candida has cleared.

When following the GAPS Diet, natural honey is allowed as it contains fructose and glucose which a GAPS digestive system can deal with. It should however be avoided at the beginning of the diet to discourage Candida growth.

What Damages Intestinal Flora?

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are very damaging to the good bacteria in the gut as well as other body organs and tissues. They make benign bacteria, fungi and viruses pathogenic, they can then invade tissues and cause disease. Because of antibiotics, bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, so when you really need them to treat serious illness, you need more powerful one, which in turn are more damaging. Antibiotics make us more susceptible to infections damaging the immune system directly. Click here for a list of harmful antibiotics and more information on what they do to the gut.

It is all well and good avoiding antibiotics. There are many other ways to treat yourself effectively (like for blisters for example). But you also need to stop eating foods which are treated with antibiotics before they get to your plate. Farm animals are routinely treated with them. The same goes for eggs and farmed fish. Fruit and vegetables are sprayed with them to stop disease from taking over. Where do you get your meat, fish and veg from? For some time now have been collecting my fruit and vegetables from an organic cooperative nearby. It had not even occurred to me however to source my fish and meat responsibly! I have started going to my local farmer’s market for fresh fish fished from the coast of Kent. Although I used to buy organic meat from the supermarket, I have never completely trusted it! So I also get my organically reared meat from a local farm which sells at the farmer’s market.

Drugs in General are very damaging to gut flora, especially when taken over long periods of time. Aspirin, Ibuprofen and other pain killers or analgesics are often taken over long time periods. They encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut which can cause disease. Steroids are also destroy good bacteria as well as having immunosuppressive abilities which leave us vulnerable to infections. It is common knowledge that steroids are linked to fungal overgrowth such as Candida.

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The Pill

Contraceptive pills have a disastrous effect on flora in the gut and the vagina (as this flora comes from the gut) and they are very often taken for many years. If a woman decides to have children after having been on the pill, not only is her gut flora in an awful state, so to will be the flora she passes on to her child. This will predispose that child to learning difficulties and allergies, which I am sure you are aware are both more common now a days that the pill is a common contraceptive taken without much thought about its consequences. Bottle feeding your baby is not the answer to this. As babies are born with a sterile gut, breast-feeding is a unique opportunity for the entire gut surface to be populated with a healthy combination of bacteria, which will help protect your baby for the rest of their life. Bottle-fed babies often suffer health problems later on in life due to their abnormal gut flora. But if a baby’s mother has got abnormal gut flora, she will pass this on, as well as abnormal vaginal flora – which will be passed on during birth – so even if they are not breastfed, the mother flora (if a mother’s intestinal flora is unhealthy so will her vaginal flora be). Mothers of GAPS children suffer from symptoms of gut dysbiosis such as allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, eczema, hay fever, migraines and skin problems. If the mother of a GAPS child shows none of these symptoms, it is likely that the father has abnormal gut flora, and so suffers from the aforementioned symptoms. Usually the whole family of a GAPS patient has problems with abnormal gut flora and need to follow a gut cleansing diet to remedy it.

Disease

Infectious diseases such as cholera, dysentery, salmonella and typhoid as well as some viral infections damage the gut flora in ways that are lasting. It is very important to take a course of probiotics after such illnesses to repopulate colonies of good bacteria in the gut, especially when antibiotics are used for their treatment! Chronic illnesses like diabetes, autoimmune diseases like MS, endocrine disease, obesity and neurological conditions all involve abnormal gut flora. chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy and surgery all have after effects which alter gut flora and should be followed by a course of probiotics.

Diet

Pathological bacteria, disease-causing microbes like candida worms and parasites thrives on sugar, processed food and carbohydrates. Diets high in grain fibre is detrimental to the health of the gut, predisposing the body to Bowel Cancer, IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome) and nutritional deficiencies.

Fasting, overeating and starvation can unbalance gut flora in a negative way, so ideally if you are fasting, you should take a probiotic to supplement the good bacteria your gut needs. It is essential to remedy poor eating habits such as over-eating, as this can lead to even more problems. When we eat more food than we need, the body cannot digest it all correctly due to a lack of bile. A good time to stop eating is when you feel three thirds full, as this is the amount of food your digestive system can handle. Eating more will lead to undigested food will lead to liver stones. The same is true of eating more regularly than every three hours, click here for more information about how poor eating habits lead to liver stones, and what to do about it.

Stress

Both short-term bouts of stress and long-term ones damage gut flora. The latter is able to permanently damage it.

Alcoholism, exposure to toxic substances and ionising radiation, extreme climates, physical exertion, old age as well as seasonal factors can all have a negative effect on gut flora. The damage our gut endures is passed on from generation to generation, worsening as it gets carried down resulting in worsening consequences. For details on what steps to take to fix a leaky gut click here.

What Antibiotics Do to Gut Flora

Aminoglycosides are antibiotics which do a lot of damage to good bacteria colonies in the gut. If they are prescribed over a long time, they will completely destroy the good bacteria under their attack, leaving bad bacteria free to reign.

Antifungal antibiotics                                                                                                                                                                            Combinations of antibiotics such as these are more dangerous than single ones. They leave the gut full of empty pockets for pathogenic bacteria to install themselves in.

Penicillins let bacteria found usually only in the bowel to move into the intestines, predisposing you digestive problems such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Tetracyclines are often given to teenagers often over the period of a few years. They change protein structures in mucous membranes making the gut wall vulnerable to the invasion of dangerous microbes whilst informing the immune system that it needs to attack these proteins. So these antibiotics are capable of initiating an auto-immune reaction in the body.

Even when the antibiotics have been prescribed for a short time, it takes beneficial bacteria a long time to recover. Time to fix your gut?

Anti-Candida Diet

Anti-Candida Diet:

Yeasts like Candida love sugar, so all sources need to be removed from the diet: avoid dry fruit and honey (sugar too – I am assuming you already do this – sugar is a poison!), fresh fruit is fine in moderation (its sugars are simple sugars) but avoid anything containing fructose, maltose, lactose as well as honey, maple syrup and the like. Avoid breakfast cereals (This is something to avoid long-term if you have MS).

Also avoid fruit which not yet ripe as well as fruit (and veg) which is going bad

Candida overgrowth is known to cause allergies to other fungi and moulds. Avoid all fungi and fermented foods such as yeast (including breads and pastries made using yeast), soured milk products, cheese, fermented drinks (alcohol), vinegar, malt, mushrooms, tea, coffee, dried fruit and commercial fruit juice (which often contains moulds). Once you are candida free, you can eat two tsps of fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and drink a tbsp of aloe vera juice before every meal, to prepare the gut for the food on its way, as part of a gut healing diet.

It is important to avoid soya (once the gut has been repaired you can eat organic fermented soya in miso or natto again, other forms of soya have no health benefits at all)

Candida is never alone in the gut, so to do things properly, and really heal your gut; it is also necessary to follow the GFCG Diet (Gluten Free Casein Free).

Candida Albicans

Most chronic degenerative illnesses have been associated with an overgrowth of Candida – from arthritis and digestive illness to cancer, neurological diseases, ME, MS and Fibromyalgia.

Candida Albicans and the trouble it causes are a result of abnormal gut flora. It is able to grow out of control because of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria but have no effect on Candida.  After taking antibiotics, Candida is left to thrive and get out of control in the body. It also thrives on processed carbohydrates and sugar. At the bottom of this page you will find a link to the anti-Candida Diet.

Candida like other opportunistic bacteria can push apart intestinal cells due to their spiral shape, breaking down the integrity of the gut wall; causing leaky gut syndrome. They attach themselves to the wall, inserting themselves in a root-like fashion, making it leaky. This means that substances that should not cross the intestinal wall are able to. This is how we develop food allergies – part digested, or undigested bits of food cross the gut wall into the blood. They are then recognised as invaders and attacked by the immune system. Allergies often disappear when a leaky gut is healed.

Not only do Candida and other opportunists cause a leaky gut, they also breach the gut wall themselves and get into the lymph and blood, going on to cause trouble in other organs in the body. The first place that they cause problems though is the digestive system. The toxins made by candida reduce the stomach’s ability to produce acid needed for digestion.

so abnormal gut flora soon leads to illnesses of the digestive system. There is a link between different strands of Clostrida, which like Candida is unaffected by antibiotics; and serious inflammation of the digestive system. Other strands of this bad bacteria are linked to serious digestive illnesses such as Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Other, sulphur-reducing bacteria have been linked to autism because it has been shown that 95% of children suffering from autism have a severe deficiency in sulphates.

Yeasts such as candida take over the glucose and carbohydrates and digest them through alcoholic fermentation, which is not how they should be digested. As alcohol and its by-products have quite a small molecular weight, they can cross all of the body’s barriers, getting into the blood rapidly. The resulting chronic presence of alcohol from eating many carbohydrates and sugars is very damaging. It impairs digestion by damaging the gut lining which leads to malabsorption, causing multiple nutritional deficiencies, damage to the liver and immune system, brain and nerve damage as well as a lot of other damage, for more detail, read Natacha Campbell’s book.

Opportunistic flora produces harmful toxic by-products. Again these by-products are not toxic when the flora producing them are balanced by the presence of good flora. When the gut wall is not healthy, the toxic by-products cross it and get into the bloodstream, causing trouble. Neurotoxins for example can cross the gut wall and effect the nervous system. The mixture of toxins emanating from the gut can be quite individual and this according to Dr Natasha Campbell is why GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) patients conditions and symptoms are so varied. A well-known example of these by products is histamine, also produced by some of the cells in our bodies. Well, certain opportunistic flora also produce it as a by-product of their metabolism. In the absence of good flora this opportunistic bacteria is left to take over and too much histamine is produced. Because histamine has many roles in the body, all of these go wrong because there is too much of it. Then we experience symptoms of the following: addictions, allergies, autism, constant low blood pressure, over production of body fluids, emotional instability and hormonal changes such as PMS (due to malfunctioning of the hypothalamus) as well as problems sleeping.

The fact that abnormal flora can cause emotional instability does not surprise me. I find that I and all of the people I have met with MS without any exceptions; are over sensitive. It is something I have often wondered about. I myself am working hard on not being so, but it is difficult, and with each new MS patient I meet, I am confronted with the same problem of over-sensitivity.

When candida consumes carbohydrates, alcohol is produced. A very toxic by-product of alcohol is acetaldehyde. The latter can alter proteins, stopping them from doing their jobs correctly. The presence of these changed proteins has been linked to autoimmune reactions because the antibodies created to attack these changed proteins also damage other normal proteins in the body with similar structures. The most common antibody found against the body’s own tissues is the one which attacks myelin.  Damaged myelin=multiple sclerosis. The yeast overgrowth in children with autism and dyspraxia causing acetaldehyde explains the relationship which exists between the neurological picture of these illnesses and MS.

Acetaldehyde like phytates bind to proteins making nutrients we need useless in the body because they are unable to do their job because acetaldehyde is taking up their place, attaching itself to proteins. Vitamin B6 is one of the nutrients rendered useless. B6 is essential for the production of neurotransmitters, it is involved in the metabolism of fatty acids and has many other jobs too. It does not matter how much vitamin B6 is in the diet, it cannot be used in the correct way and so the patient becomes deficient in it. This happens to many essential nutrients in the body and they become useless to us. The same thing happens to GAPS patients in the thyroid. It is producing lots of hormones, but acetaldehyde (and other toxins) is taking up their work space. So the person develops thyroid deficiency symptoms such as depression, fatigue, lethargy, poor immunity, poor temperature control, weight gain, etc. The only way to fix this is by fixing the leaky gut. The first step to this is the Anti-Candida Diet.