Words of Intestine Condition sketched on a Blackboard

Candida

By paulgmack

Candida

Candida, or Candidiasis, is an infection caused by the growth of several types of yeast in the body. Our bodies are the perfect breeding ground for yeast to grow and multiply; in turn, an overgrowth of yeast in our bodies can cause the immune system to be weakened. Candida is not typically a dangerous infection, but when left unmonitored, it can cause major symptoms including: conjunctivitis (pinkeye), athlete’s foot, muscle and joint pain, cold-like symptoms, worsening allergies in damp or muggy weather, kidney and bladder infections, constipation and diarrhea. Luckily, researchers and health professionals have found that with a lower carbohydrate diet, Candida sufferers can have a large reduction in their symptoms.

Primarily refined carbohydrates, gluten, and sugar in your diet help fuel Candida overgrowth. Eliminating sugars and artificial sweeteners within your diet is essential in reducing your symptoms. When you have high amounts of glucose (sugar) within your cells, your body struggles to maintain its vitamin C and calcium levels; therefore, your immune system is inhibited. Decreasing your sugar intake can help increase your body’s immune function, and help control your symptoms. Here are some tips to help limit your sugar intake:

  • Try to avoid fruits, with the exception of lemons, and some vegetables (sweet potatoes and beets) due to their high sugar content.
  • Start reading food labels, especially for highly processed food, to find out how much sugar has been added.
  • Lactose, contained in diary products, is also considered a simple sugar
  • Try to avoid high carbohydrate foods such as grains, breads, potatoes and pasta
  • Artificial sweeteners also need to be avoided, but can sometimes be tricky to find because of all the different names that manufacturers use. Here is a partial list of some artificial sweeteners to look out for: Aspartame, carob powder, corn starch, crystalline carbohydrate dextrin, dextrose, disaccharides, galactose, glucose, levulose, malts of any kind, maltitol, maltodextrin, maltose (malt sugar), manitol, mannitol, mono-saccharides, sucrose, Nutrasweet, polydextrose, polysaccharides, ribose, saccharin, sorghum, suamiel, succanat, xylitol.

 

Health professionals have also found that most Candida sufferers are gluten intolerant. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, including barley and rye. Gluten grains contain a protein that is difficult to digest and interferes with mineral absorption and can cause intestinal discomfort. Fortunately, gluten intolerance has gained a significant amount of awareness in the last 5 years. Most health food stores have entire sections that contain “gluten free” products. Here is a list of grains and starches that contain gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Wheat germ
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut Matzo
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale

Most health professionals recommend a 6-week sugar and gluten free diet in order to give your immune system time to recuperate. After the 6 weeks, you can introduce one food item at a time, in small amounts, to discover what is causing your symptoms. For example, you may try to add back small amounts of fruits into your diet. If you are able to eat small amounts of fruit for 1 week, then you know that your body can tolerate it in small doses. You can continue on with this same process until you find out what “triggers” your Candida symptoms. With consistency and patience, many Candida sufferers have found permanent relief by following these guidelines.

Cholesterol

This very simplistic image does not show that a lot of cholesterol from the liver is made form excess carbohydrate intake, excess insulin production, and the conversion of excess ingested carbohydrates into triglycerides.

A bit on cholesterol – Cholesterol is a waxy molecule composed of lipid (fat), and is contained in the membrane of every cell in the body. Now cholesterol has many critical roles including the said building and maintaining cell membranes, metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins, producing bile to help digest fat, and synthesizing many hormones, including hormones like testosterone. Not all cholesterol is dietary and the liver manufactures cholesterol to provide for healthy bodily functions and varies its production level in accordance with dietary intake. Because cholesterol is oli-based it needs help getting around a water based bloodstream, so is bound to proteins to become lipoproteins (lipid + protein), which allows easy transportation through the bloodstream.  These lipoproteins carry triglycerides and phospholipids (also fats) along with the cholesterol.

FACT – when you cut dietary cholesterol the liver will produce more to compensate!

Lipoproteins come in different varieties with different transporting functions, that comprise the total amount of cholesterol in the body. They come in sizes from the largest chylomicrons, VLDLs (very low density), IDLs (Intermediate density), LDLs (low density), and HDLs (high-density), (as well as subfractions of each), each carrying a certain percentage of cholesterol, triglycerides, and other minor fats.

HDLs (High-density lipoproteins) remove oxidised cholesterol from the blood stream for recycling in the liver so is very important as far as disease risk goes, and comprises about 30 percent of total cholesterol in a healthy body.

VLDLs (Very-low-density lipoproteins) are manufactured in the liver to transport triglyceride and cholesterol to target fat or muscle cells, and contain about 80% triglyceride. The VLDLs will then become either large fluffy LDLs or small dense LDLs because they now only contain mainly cholesterol and minimal triglyceride.

Large, fluffy LDL also known as buoyant LDL, this type of cholesterol is formed from VLDL when blood levels of triglycerides and insulin are low. This is the more preferred type of LDL we want because they are generally harmless even in high concentrations, which is common with people genetically predisposed to high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). Unfortunately, systemic inflammation, abdominal obesity, high insulin-producing diet,  and smoking etc can cause even fluffy LDL to make a contribution to heart disease, if the particle count is high enough and it’s not cleared from the blood quickly enough.

Small, dense LDL occurs when VLDL converts to small, dense LDL when triglyceride and insulin levels are elevated in the bloodstream. This can be a problem because they are small enough to become lodged into gaps of the endothelial cell layer (ECL)(the cells that line the walls of your arteries) when damaged. Systemic inflammation, caused by hyperinsulinemia (chronically elevated insulin levels), reduces levels of nitric oxide (a compound that keeps the ECL relaxed) and promoting platelet adhesiveness (sticky platelets that clot more readily). This will also increase blood pressure.

When having cholesterol checked, its important to measure the triglycerides to HDL ratio with 3.5:1 or below being desirable, while a ratio of 1:1 is considered best, not just HDL and LDL.

Nancy Ernst, Expert in the science of cholesterol and heart disease, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) made this statement in 1984 – “There has been some indication that a low-fat diet decreases blood cholesterol levels. There is no conclusive proof that this lowering is independent of other concomitant (naturally accompanying or associated) changes in the diet…. It may be said with certainty, however, that because 1 g fat provides 9 calories-compared to about 4 calories for 1 g protein or carbohydrate-fat is a major source of calories in the American diet. Attempts to lose weight or maintain weight must obviously focus on the content of fat in the diet.” [1]

Anyone else confused? This was the reason for the health campaign convincing Americans that low-fat diets “will afford significant protection against coronary heart disease”. Hmmm, how did that work out for you? There has never been a study to show that saturated fat causes heart disease, and these recommendations have lead to an epidemic of obesity and associated diseases including diabetes and heart disease.

Remember, excessive triglycerides are driven by excess carbohydrate intake, excess insulin production, and the conversion of excess ingested carbohydrates into triglycerides in the liver. Consuming saturated fat helps elevate HDL levels, since HDL is used to digest fat. HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease by cleansing the bloodstream of potentially damaging small, dense LDL molecules.

cholesterol-levels-highres-web

References:

[1] Taubes, G. (2010). The Nature of a Healthy Diet. In Why We Get Fat. Toronto: Randon House.

Living to your genetic potential – Some of us view the way we look, as just what we have been handed down in genes from our parents. Sure there are heritable traits such as eye & hair colour, adult height, and predispositions to certain diseases like heart disease & obesity.

Some of how we look, like when we are overweight is because certain Homo sapiens genes, which we all share, are switched off or dormant and others are more active. Living-Primal is about promoting optimal gene expression through lifestyle choices, of those Homo sapiens genes. Approximately 20,000 different genes are located on the DNA strands in each of the  50 to 60 trillion cells in our body. These DNA strands are further organized into 23 pairs of chromosomes

Gene expression happens through transcription and translation: DNA information flows to the RNA, which interacts with ribosome in the cytoplasm to make specific amino acids that comprise a protein.

Gene-expression1

The central dogma of molecular biology, is the flow of information from DNA to RNA to protein, as shown in Transcription and Translation. First, during transcription, information stored in a cell’s DNA flows to the RNA, both of which are located in the cell’s nucleus. When RNA contains the information for making a specific type of protein, it is called messenger RNA (mRNA). mRNA carries its information out of the nucleus and into the cytoplasm in preparation for the next step, translation. In the cytoplasm, mRNA interacts with ribosome, the protein-making machinery in your cells. Ribosome translates the information contained in the mRNA to make specific amino acids that comprise a protein. Another type of RNA, known as transfer RNA (tRNA), methodically assembles the protein molecule one amino acid at a time, as directed by messenger agents known as codons, this process is gene expression.

It takes around 3 weeks to reprogram your body from being a glucose burner into a fat burning machine, up-regulating fat-burning genes and down-regulating glucose-burning genes. I have done this and have been in nutritional ketosis for about 3 month’s.

The same can be said with athletic performance, switching on genes that build muscle, through properly conducted workout’s that maximize adaptive hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. If you are a glucose burner and train using glucose for energy you miss out on the growth effects of testosterone and growth hormone as they are quickly shut down in the presence of insulin. Insulin and growth hormone play antagonist roles against one another.  When one is elevated, the other will be low.

References:

Hormonal Responses to Consecutive Days of Heavy‐Resistance Exercise With or Without Nutitional Supplementation.  (Kraemer, Volek et al. 1998)