The intestines contain a diverse population of good/bad bacteria. They also contain yeast, which is kept at bay by the bacteria. When bacteria is removed, as happens with a course of antibiotics, a yeast species known as candida, flourishes. Candida release toxins in the body, which affect the nervous system and immune system. Candida feed on sugar, so sugar/carb cravings are common among those who have yeast overgrowth. This leads the individual to restrict their diets to those things that break down into sugar, including grains and starches. Candida overgrowth can result in various forms of yeast infections, but can also cause headaches, constipation, sleep disturbances, foggyness/confusion/inattention, depression, anger/aggression, and hyperactivity.
An overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria, known as clostrida, can also cause similar physiological and behavioral symptoms including OCD and anxiety. Many children with autism suffer from clostridia and yeast overgrowths, causing disruptive behaviors.
Common signs of Yeast Overgrowth
Thick white coating on tongue
Spurts of hyperactivity, especially after a meal
Chronic nasal/sinus infections
Aches (migraines may lead to head banging)
Sound Sensitivity (can also be related to clostridia overgrowth in intestines which is actually a byproduct of antibiotics)
Cravings for sweets/carbs
How to overcome a yeast overgrowth
Diet – Cut out sugars, white floured foods, pasta, packaged cereal, and sweets. Your diet should come primarily from complex carbohydrate foods. Some simple carbohydrate foods (ie fruits) are allowed while others are not. Check out information on the SCD and GAPS diets for more information.
Supplements – There are many anti-yeast supplements, such as probiotics, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Oil of Oregano, Goldenseal, Biotin, Caprylic Acid and Pau D’ Arco. There are also dietary ways of reducing candida, such as consuming raw apple cider vinegar and/or garlic. Please research appropriate ways to introduce things to your child or consult your doctor.
Medication – Nystatin and/or Diflucan can be prescribed by a doctor.
Tolerating an anti-yeast diet?
Because Candida lives off of sugar, they release toxins in the body, which cause cravings for items that turn to sugar. With cravings, comes withdrawal symptoms. A person going through sugar withdrawal may experience fatigue, depression, and irritability. In children, this can produce behaviors of crying, whining, and short tempers.
As the yeast are starved and/or treated with anti-yeast medication/supplements, it is likely that the individual will experience die-off symptoms. If die-off symptoms are unmanageable, it may be wise to reduce the protocol to a more manageable level. One can also take the following items to assist with die-off reactions.
Activated Charcoal – Absorbs material in the digestive tract and carries it out in the stool. Must be taken at least 2 hours away from food/supplements.
Calcium Bentonite Clay – Adsorbs positively charged material in the digestive tract and carries it out in the stool. Must be taken at least 2 hours away from food/supplements.
Psyllium Husk – Fiber for cleaning out digestive tract.
Milk Thistle – Supports the liver when detoxing the body.
Molybdenum – Mineral that helps the liver to detox
Epsom Salt Baths – Magnesium Citrate helps the body to detox.
Alka Seltzer Gold
The best way to curb sugar cravings is to keep your blood sugar as steady as possible. To do this, you need to consume fat, fiber and protein.
Eat healthy fats; coconut oil, avocado, nuts
Eat more protein; Fish, eggs, meat. This will keep you more full for longer.
Eat lots of veggies for fiber
Thirst is often disguised as hunger, so be sure to increase your water intake as well. This will also help you to feel full.