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The Relationship Between Candida and Thyroid Conditions

July 02, 2012

Over the years numerous people have asked me whether or not there is a connection between candida infections and thyroid conditions.  And so I figured it would be a good idea to write an article that focuses on the possible connection between candida and conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, as well as hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease.

Without question there does seem to be a higher incidence of candida infections in people with both thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.  But before I discuss this I’d like to briefly talk about what candida is.  As you probably know, in the gut we have many different microorganisms that are essential for a healthy gut flora.  There are also dozens of different strains of yeast, but as long as we have a healthy gut flora this usually doesn’t pose a problem.  However, problems with the flora can cause an overgrowth of yeast, which can lead to a lot of problems.  One of the most common strains of yeasts which can cause problems is candida albicans.

What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Yeast Overgrowth?

There are numerous symptoms one can have when there is an overgrowth of yeast.  Some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, sweet and carbohydrate cravings, bloating and gas, etc.  Of course many of these symptoms are experienced by people who have thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.  Acetalydehyde is a waste product of yeast cell activity that can affect the liver, immune system, and some of the other systems of the body, and as a result can cause many of the problems mentioned in this article.

What Are Some Of The Causes Of Yeast Overgrowth?

One of the most common causes of yeast overgrowth is the overuse of antibiotics.  The reason for this is because the healthy bacteria that is part of the gut flora help to keep the yeast in check.  Antibiotics not only kill the harmful bacteria, but also the healthy bacteria.  This is why it is important to minimize the use of antibiotics, and if you must take antibiotics, make sure you take some high quality probiotics to help replenish the healthy bacteria of the gut.

In addition to antibiotics potentially causing the overgrowth of yeast, other factors include a poor diet consisting of too many carbohydrates and refined sugars, low stomach acid, and poor immune function.  These factors can also cause or contribute to a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.  But does this means that a candida infection can lead to the development of a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition, or vice versa?  Well, some sources claim that a candida infection can weaken the adrenals, which in turn can lead to a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.  Having a candida infection can also directly compromise the health of the immune system, which potentially can trigger an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Graves’ Disease.  While I’m not suggesting that yeast overgrowth is responsible for most thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions, it is a factor that needs to be considered.

But can the opposite be true?  In other words, can a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition cause a candida infection?  Well, a condition such as hypothyroidism can cause a decrease in the production of stomach acid, which in turn can cause an overgrowth of yeast.  And since a compromised immune system can potentially lead to a yeast infection, then it makes sense that someone with an autoimmune thyroid condition would be more susceptible to developing such infections.  So in many cases there can be a connection between a candida infection and a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.

How Do You Test For A Candida Infection?

The most accurate method of testing seems to be through the blood, although you can test through the stool.  Testing through the stool isn’t as reliable.  There is also a “candida questionnaire” you might also want to check out on the website www.thecandidadiet.com.  This won’t necessary conclude if you have a yeast infection, but it can give you a pretty good idea as to whether or not you have one.

Can A Candida Infection Be Treated Naturally?

In many cases a candida infection can be helped through a natural treatment protocol.  Fortunately there is a lot of overlap when it comes to treating both candida infections, along with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions.  With any of these conditions, focusing on one’s diet will play a major role.  Minimizing one’s consumption of refined foods and sugars is essential.  And even eating too many whole foods can cause problems, specifically with consuming too many fruits.  Adrenal and immune system support is frequently necessary for all of these conditions.

If a patient of mine has a candida infection then one of the things I’ll recommend is a gut dysbiosis protocol.  As the name suggests, this protocol will help the person achieve a healthy gut, which by itself will usually do wonders for an overgrowth of yeast.  But sometimes other things need to be addressed, and this is especially true if someone also has a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.  Either way, it usually will take a good amount of time to correct a yeast infection, as while someone might notice positive changes in their symptoms after only a few weeks of following a natural treatment protocol, in most cases it will take a few months to fully resolve this condition.

So hopefully you have a better understanding of the connection between candida overgrowth and a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition.  While these conditions can be independent of one another, it is not uncommon for a candida infection to cause or contribute to a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition, and the reverse can be true as well.  Either way, the goal is the same, which of course is to get to the underlying cause of the condition.