My 34-year-old patient Margaret was struggling with weight-loss resistance, moodiness, and fatigue—which made her feel pretty miserable. At first I felt puzzled, since Margaret had a good diet, exercised regularly, and seemed to do everything required to maintain a healthy weight.
Then one day she casually mentioned that she craved fruit. For the last seven months, Margaret had been following Weight Watchers, a popular weight-loss program that assigns zero points for fruit. In other words, she could eat all the fruit she wanted and often did. That excess sugar—yes, even in Weight Watchers–approved fresh fruit—fed Margaret’s yeast overgrowth, which caused her to crave more sugar.
A few tests revealed she had candidiasis, a form of yeast-predominant dysbiosis (a gut imbalance between favorable and unfavorable microbes, in this case, an overgrowth of yeast in her gut). While about 20 species of Candida yeasts can create problems, the most common is Candida albicans. As a medical doctor who specializes in gut health, I see how Candida and yeast overgrowth triggered by things like chronic stress, sugar overload, or antibiotics can contribute to or exacerbate numerous problems including inflammatory bowel diseases and leaky gut.
Your best protection against yeast overgrowth is a normal acidic stomach pH. Unfortunately, many of my patients use acid-blocking medications, have vagal nerve dysfunction, or have an H. pylori infection—all of which make their stomachs less acidic and create fertile ground for problems like candidiasis.
Candida overgrowth and the toxins secreted by this excess yeast wreak havoc throughout your body, leading to a host of seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions. Among them include fatigue, mental fog, anxiety, mood swings, muscle and joint pain, itching, histamine intolerance, and rashes. Many patients like Margaret also experience bloating, sugar cravings (for any type of sugar, whether starchy carbs or "healthy" foods like fruit), and abdominal pain.