Excuse Buster: The link between fungi and depression

PHUKET: Could the fungus Candida play a role in mental health?

Lawrence Wilson MD believes that a yeast overgrowth is a common cause of brain fog and in some cases dementia, because this fungus produces substances that directly affect the brain.

Acetaldehyde is one of these substances and is a common neurotoxin affecting the lives of tens of millions of people. There are four main routes that bring acetaldehyde into the human brain. These are alcohol consumption; Candida – ‘the yeast syndrome’; exhaust from cars and trucks; and cigarette smoking. Think about that for a moment, Candida produces the same toxins as those derived from smoke and alcohol. These acetaldehydes then promote damage to brain structure, spinal cord, joints, muscles and tissues through numerous pathways.

Could this neurotoxin then be a cause of depression too? This seems to be a possibility when you connect the dots. But sadly this is never even considered in standard ‘mental health’ treatments. One recent example I had of this connection was from a client who saw me last year. His girlfriend actually contacted me to thank me for helping her boyfriend and said I did more to help than three years of antidepressants and therapy. This client came to lose some weight and get fit when we started, but after six months he achieved his weight loss and fitness goals and was a whole new person physically and mentally.

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Yes, seeing a body you like in the mirror and feeling healthy can go a long way to helping your mood, but he and his girlfriend described his transformation as being lifted out of a ‘dark cloud’.
Could the clean anti-Candida diet that I recommended have played a role in improving his mental state?

As I am not a medical doctor, I can’t say, but being poisoned daily can’t help your sense of well-being.
I recently read ‘A Mind of Your Own‘ by psychiatrist Kelly Brogan MD. Dr Brogan believes that depression is not a disease, but a symptom caused principally by systemic inflammation throughout the body, along with hormonal issues like thyroid dysfunction, gut issues (like fungal infections) and blood sugar imbalance. I believe this is a ‘must read’ for us all, as depression is now an epidemic – what if diet and lifestyle could make a big difference?

In Dr Brogan’s opinion, in order to reduce inflammation we should eat a paleo (hunter-gather) style diet with lots of vegetables, plenty of good fats (like olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, butter, coconut oil and eggs), plus high quality, clean (grass-fed, free-range, wild) proteins at every meal.

Again, the culprits in producing all this inflammation, in her opinion, are processed foods high in sugar and additives, plus alcohol and grains (especially wheat). She also recommends taking probiotic-rich foods (like kim chee, sauerkraut, natural plain yogurt and kefir) in order to fight the bad bugs like Candida. Neurologist Dr David Perlmutter shares these exact thoughts in his books ‘Grain Brain‘ and ‘The Brain Maker‘. He says if you want to have a healthy happy brain watch out for those gluten grains especially wheat, and don’t forget to eat plenty of good fats and bacteria (probiotics) to keep the pathogens under control.

Seems like the word is spreading – our old food pyramid, which told us too load up on grains and cut the fats is thankfully dying a proper death. RIP along with other nonsense like margarine is good and butter is bad for our health.

Craig Burton is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) with a Bachelor of Science Degree (Sports Science) and a National Academy of Sports Medicine (PES) certification.

— Craig Burton

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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