Candida, the medical term for yeast, can cause major, long-term health problems, including weight gain, according to some alternative practitioners. But many conventional medical practitioners don't believe that candida causes any health problems beyond the occasional vaginal yeast infection in women or thrush in babies. According to practitioners who do believe that candida can cause weight gain, several factors may make it hard for you to lose weight, from hormone imbalances to to fluid retention.
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Conventional Medicine's View
From the viewpoint of many conventional medicine practitioners, candida does not interfere with weight loss. There's no real medical evidence that candida overgrowth causes the large number of symptoms, from weight gain to headache, poor memory, fatigue, headaches, irritability, allergies or asthma, attributed to it by some alternative practitioners, Mayo Clinic internist Dr. Brent Bauer states. The effectiveness of treatments for yeast overgrowth such as low-carbohydrate diets do not have clinically proven benefits, Bauer reports.
Alternative Practitioner's View
Many alternative practitioners believe that the modern diet, which is high in carbohydrates, combined with overuse of antibiotics in food as well as for illnesses encourages Candida albicans, a type of yeast, to multiply out of control. When yeast concentrations reach a certain level, yeast spreads from the large intestine, its normal home, into the small intestine. From the small intestine, a more permeable area than the large intestine, yeast spreads to the bloodstream through small holes that create the leaky gut syndrome. Toxins spread through the bloodstream, affecting the immune and nervous systems and causing inflammation that contributes to heart disease and other chronic disorders, including thyroid disorders that make it difficult to lose weight.
Thyroid and Weight Gain
Some practitioners believe that yeast overgrowth causes thyroid imbalance by blocking hormone receptors, thus decreasing hormone effects. The thyroid produces hormones that control metabolism, which determines how your body processes energy. When the thyroid doesn't work at its optimal level, your metabolism slows, a condition known as hypothyroid. You won't lose weight easily when you have hypothyroid disease, because you don't burn as many calories as you normally would.
Alternative practitioners point to several ways that candida causes fluid retention and prevents weight loss. Some alternative practitioners believe that candida creates a hormonal imbalance in the body, causing a dominance of progesterone, a hormone that causes fluid retention and many of the mood swings associated with premenstrual syndrome. Alternative practitioners often site oral contraceptives, which contain synthetic progesterone, as a cause for yeast overgrowth. Some also believe that your body will retain fluid in an effort to dilute the toxins, explains Dr. Carolyn Dean, an allopathic physician and naturopathic doctor. If you eat a diet high in carbohydrates, a nutrient favorable for yeast growth, you may develop more yeast overgrowth and experience more bloating and weight gain. Carbohydrate cravings that can lead to more weight gain may be caused by yeast looking for a meal, Dean states.