Warning: The Antibiotics You Give Your Children May Make Them Sick!
(This Article Applies to Adults Too)
The problem of chronic candidiasis in infants andchildren is especially important, not alone as it is related to their health at this period of their lives, butalso as it may relate to problems with yeast later in life. . . .[P]articularly in young children experiencing difficulty with school, this condition . . . is one worth considering. ~Tbe Yeast Connection, William G. Crook, M.D. (quoting The Missing Diagnosis, C. Orian Truss, M.D.)It is arguable that administering antibiotics can be necessary to kill virulent bacterial infections. But the overprescribing of antibiotics is rampant in this country. Very often, these drugs are prescribed for the wrong ailments (like viruses and acne) and with complete disregard for a child’s long-term intestinal health and overall immunity. By learning about candidiasis, a potential but all-too-common detrimental effect of antibiotic overuse, you can truly protect your child’s well-being now and in the future.
Why Is Candidiasis Dangerous?
Candidiasis, which can inflict both genders, is a fungal infection of any of the Candida species (all yeasts), of which Candida albicans is the most common. Various factors encourage growth of this fungal infestation, including: (1) a diet rich in sugars and yeast; (2) antibiotics, especially those labeled “broad spectrum” (including past use of these drugs, dating as far back as 20 years); (3) surgeries; (4) birth control pills and pregnancy (mothers with candidiasis can even pass it on to their children through the umbilical cord!); (4) a weakened immune system; (5) use of cortisone and corticosteroids, including prednisone; and (6) stress (which yields cortisone).
This condition encompasses infections that range from superficial, such as oral thrush and vaginitis, to systemic and potentially life-threatening diseases. William G. Crook, M.D., author of The Yeast Connection, identified 56 symptoms that can arise from yeast overgrowth, including: brain fog / inability to focus . . . hyperactivity . . . chronic ear infections . . . depression . . . anxiety… diarrhea/bloating/gas/constipation . . . chronic fatigue . . . rashes/eczema/ psoriasis . . . irritability . . . sweet/carbohydrate/alcohol cravings . . . and headaches/sinusitis. He also maintained that medical history and response to treatment, rather than testing, is the best way to confirm a candidiasis diagnosis.
There are two essential prongs to a yeast-fighting program: (1) using diet to starve it; and (2) using nutritional supplements both to actively kill this “bad bacteria” and replace it with “good bacteria” strains.
The Yeast-Starving Candida Diet
While monitoring a child’s diet can be extremely challenging, this is the place to start protecting your child’s health. There is generally no way around using the candida diet as the first critical step of a yeast-fighting program. The diet excludes foods that feed yeast or aggravate candidiasis symptoms: (1) fungus, mold, yeast, and fermented or aged foods (vinegar, cheese, mushrooms, alcohol, certain nuts, and corn); (2) dairy and gluten (in wheat, rye, barley, and some oats) (both pro-inflammatory and difficult to digest); (3) all sugars and simple carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes, bread, starchy/high-sugar vegetables); and (4) saturated fat.
The good news is that, despite the exclusions, there is still plenty to eat on the candida diet. The allowed and recommended foods include: (1) fish, chicken, turkey, and eggs, preferably organic; (3) non-starchy, low-sugar vegetables; (4) low-sugar nuts, especially walnuts and almonds (including almond milk and almond butter); (5) limited amounts of rice cakes, rice crackers, and certain breads; (6) limited amounts of berries and other fruits; (7) beans and certain legumes [especially non-aged, non-GMO soy (soy milk, soy cheese, tofu), navy and black beans, chick peas, and lentils); (8) unsweetened protein powders; and (9) stevia (a non-sugar natural sweetener).
Since most candidiasis patients suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), your child should ideally keep his blood sugar balanced with six small meals each day. Eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day are also recommended, along with lifestyle choices that minimize stress (yoga, meditation, and exercise).
Yeast-Fighting Nutritional Supplements
To combat candida, physicians traditionally prescribe the drugs Diflucan, Nystatin, or Nizoral. While these medications can work for some, they can cause excessive, accelerated die-off and thus can grossly exacerbate various candidiasis symptoms.
When administered properly, these nutritional supplements aid in the slower, less disruptive elimination and replacement of yeast: caprylic acid (found separately and in coconut oil); grapefruit seed extract; garlic; pau d’arco (in capsule and tea forms); and oregano oil. However, due to potential yeast die-off effects, and because candida mutates at differing rates in each patient and can become resistant to any antifungal, it is critical to obtain professional guidance when using these remedies for this purpose.
The human digestive system (stomach, small and large intestines) contains 70-80% of all of the body’s immune cells. It thus follows that a strong immune system begins with a healthy digestive system. A child’s digestive tract is fragile and its flora can be readily thrown off balance. Daily administration of probiotics crowds out and replaces the yeast in the gut, thus helping to restore healthy immunity.
When choosing the right child-formulated probiotic for your child, look for one that ideally: (1) is refrigerated (to preserve the live flora); (2) has multiple types of friendly bacteria strains (e.g., lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum/longum/infantis); (3) is coated (to protect the flora from stomach acid, allowing them to be delivered alive to the intestines) or powdered (for easier administration); (4) contains a pre-biotic that feeds the friendly/”good” bacteria (e.g., FOS, Inulin); (5) contains L-glutamine and NAG (to protect the intestinal mucosal lining, especially against “leaky gut syndrome”); (6) has at least 3 billion microorganisms; and (8) is dairy-free. The strains saccharomyces boulardii (prevents yeast growth) and bifidobacteria BB536 (a particularly well-studied strain that reduces production of inflammatory cytokines), can also be instrumental in combatting yeast overgrowth.
Natural Alternatives to Antibiotics
When your child gets sick, remember that there are a number of natural alternatives to antibiotics.
Cold & Flu
Echinacea/cone flower tincture and black elderberry/sambucus are tremendously effective in strengthening the body’s defense mechanisms against cold and flu viruses. The herb goldenseal can help fight an actual infection. Also, Umcka®, a homeopathic combination remedy with no side effects or drug interactions, has been clinically proven to shorten the duration and reduce the severity of cold/flu symptoms and throat/sinus/ bronchial conditions, especially when taken at the onset of symptoms. Liquid vitamin C can also have this effect. Finally, chewable colostrum for children will increase the antibodies required to combat cold and flu.
A glycerin-based ear drop tincture combination of mullein (also a demulcent, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory useful for upper respiratory illnesses) and garlic reduces and can eliminate middle- and outer-ear inflammation, pain, bacterial infection, and earwax buildup.
If your child has any type of mild digestive discomfort, try administering aloe juice, and/or chamomile or peppermint tea (which both soothe the stomach/intestines), magnesium (a natural laxative), and/or homeopathic belladonna (stops diarrhea). Also try eliminating dairy and gluten from his diet, consider getting him tested for food allergies, and reexamine his overall diet and supplements regimen in light of the above discussion.
Though candidiasis can be controlled with diet and nutritional supplements, itnever really goes away. It can flare up from increased stress and even the slightest diet violation. Since the anti-candida program is so complex, and can take an iron will, at times, to follow, it is best to attack candidiasis with the guidance of a practitioner well-versed in yeast-related health conditions.
PUBLISHED IN NATURAL NUTMEG MAGAZINE. By Michael Dworkin, PD, CCN, a Registered Pharmacist and Connecticut Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CT Cert 232), with J. Erika Dworkin, Certified Lifestyle Educator & Nutrition Consultant, co-owners of the Manchester Parkade Health Shoppe (860.646.8178, 378 West Middle Turnpike, Manchester). Pharmacist Dworkin has been guiding patients since 1956. Erika is available to speak to groups.References are available upon request. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The natural remedies discussed herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.