Alcohol, Gut Health (Candida), and Your Weight: The Perfect Storm
As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday season, which continues through Christmas and New Year, there may be occasions that call for a little more than your usual glass of red wine.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an occasional glass of your favorite wine or indulging in a festive cocktail from time to time, but most people have a tendency to overindulge. Before you do, you’ll want to be mindful of how much is too much when it comes to your gut health, especially if you have a leaky gut, Candida overgrowth, or SIBO. Alcohol creates the perfect storm when it comes to your gut.
No need to worry; I don't believe in food or alcohol shaming. We all have some not-so-healthy habits, which is fine. It's all about balance and protecting health first, and I’m going to provide you with a few simple solutions that help protect your gut health microbiome, so you can honor your body by doing no harm.
Gut dysbiosis (imbalance of the good versus the bad bacteria) is one of the most common reasons for candida overgrowth, SIBO, and most digestive issues.
But what most people don't realize is that an unhealthy microbiome and poor gut health can cause other health issues, including fatigue, joint pain, and worsen digestive issues such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, IBS, leaky gut... you name it. Improving your gut health will help!
Candida overgrowth is common among those with gut issues, autoimmune disease, brain fog, fatigue, joint pain, weight gain, slow weight loss, and other health problems. If you have any of the these, consuming alcohol makes it worse.
There are simple cost-effective and proven solutions to help get your candida and gut health in check, preventing damage and restoring your biome balance, which is the secret to your success.
But first, here is the 411 on candida overgrowth.
What is Candida Overgrowth?
Candida (candida Albicans) is a natural occurring species of yeast, a fungus, that lives in your gut and outside your body. When kept in check, it's in small amounts and a part of your body’s normal microflora.
These opportunistic microorganisms are present in a delicate balance in your mouth, throat, gut, vagina in women, and on your skin, whose job is to assist in digestion and nutrient absorption. If your gut is healthy and in balance, the good bacteria keep candida in check.
Today's modern diet, consisting of an over abundance of alcohol, processed foods, sugar, as well as excessive exposure to environmental toxins and not getting enough physical activity (sedentary lifestyle) creates the perfect environment for candida to thrive, causing an overgrowth and wrecking the delicate balance of your gut microbiome.
The main difference between SIBO and candida overgrowth is that SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth and Candida is a yeast or fungal overgrowth.
The Most Common Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth
Candida overgrowth symptoms can include, but aren't limited to, brain fog, fatigue, digestive and gut health issues (including leaky gut, SIBO, IBS), recurring fungal infections, skin problems, seasonal allergies, depression, mood swings, and weight gain. Some of the most common links are hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and now long COVID.
Here’s how candida overgrowth damages your gut lining, causing it to be leaky.
When your gut is leaky, microbes, proteins, partially digested food particles, and toxins that shouldn’t be absorbed get into your system. This leads to a long list of symptoms, most of which overlap with overgrown candida.
A leaky gut leads to a long list of chronic illnesses, yet sadly, is frequently overlooked even as symptoms become worse.
The unhealthy particles slip through your intestinal wall and enter your blood stream, triggering an inflammatory response from your immune system in its attempt to fight off these “foreign invaders” that wreak havoc on your health.
Without proper action, your immune system goes into overdrive, sending more antibodies to fight off these invaders, inducing or increasing your bodies inflammatory response. Adding alcohol to this battle prevents your immune systems response and essentially fertilizes the candida Albicans encouraging and accelerating their overgrowth.
Alcohol and candida and what you need to know
Every time you drink alcohol, it enters your gut, where candida lives. This is how alcohol and candida create the perfect storm in your gut.
Alcohol Weakens Your Immune System
Alcohol wrecks the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome, where 80% of your immune system lives. Your gut is an ecosystem where billions of microbes live in harmony. This gut ecosystem has billions of bacteria, (some good, some bad), viruses, and yeast in a fine tuned-delicate balance.
When its balance is disrupted by alcohol, processed food or sugar consumption, environmental factors, or disease, dysbiosis, and candida occur due to an overgrowth of bacteria, disrupting your microbiome further and suppressing your immune system, which creates the perfect environment for candida to multiply and overgrow.
Alcohol Damages Your Liver
Your liver works all the time filtering toxins from your bloodstream, including alcohol toxins. What makes alcohol unique is that, unlike food that needs to be digested, it is absorbed the second it hits your tongue.
Once alcohol reaches your gut, 20% goes directly into your bloodstream. The speed at which the remaining 80% is absorbed is determined by the amount of alcohol you drink, if it was carbonated, if you’ve eaten anything, and genetics.
Typically, your body is capable of processing one (1) drink per hour, depending on its size and the type of alcohol you drank. One drink = a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
The liver metabolizes 90% of alcohol, turning it into carbon dioxide and water.
This happens at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter per hour. If your blood alcohol level is 40 mg/dL (.04), it will take two hours to metabolize the alcohol. The longer the alcohol stays in your body, the more damage it causes, including fueling candida, which accelerates its growth.
Alcohol Overworks Your Adrenal Glands
Your adrenal glands become exhausted during times of emotional and/or physical stress and when you don't get enough sleep, making matters worse because your adrenals play a significant role in preventing candida from overgrowth.
Candida fungus adds to the stress on your body the same way chronic conditions like allergies, arthritis, and asthma do. Drinking large quantities of alcohol (ladies, consuming more than four servings of wine weekly) lowers blood glucose levels. As your blood sugar levels drop, your adrenal glands start producing cortisol (the stress hormone).
Cortisol then raises your blood glucose levels, which exhausts your adrenal glands. It's also why drinkers crave carbohydrates and sugar after a night out and why they store excess fat around their stomach.
Healthy adrenal gland function is critical for making the hormones that regulate metabolism, and also communicate with your brain, kidneys, reproductive system, and other organs.
Alcohol Creates Unbalanced Blood Glucose Levels
Alcohol quickly raises blood glucose levels followed by a decline that alters the balance and creates the perfect environment for candida and other microbes and bacteria to multiply and proliferate and thrive. This is the exact opposite of what you should aim for when it comes to your health.
Blood sugar swings cause stress and other detrimental effects. Sadly, it gets worse. When you drink alcohol, you get hungry. That's your body's reaction to the drop in blood sugar that triggers cravings for sugar and fatty foods that lead to unwanted weight gai. It's your body's way of getting you to give it something to absorb the toxic substance.
What Causes Candida to Overgrow?
When your body is in balance, the healthy good bacteria in your gut keep candida in check. It's not hard for the yeast in your body to become out of hand.
A round of antibiotics killing off the friendly bacteria, consuming a processed, refined, high glycemic low fiber diet, alcohol, oral contraceptives, or living on today's fast paced stress filled world can cause candida to become overgrown.
Today's trendy foods such as fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, or kombucha all feed the candida.
Your gut is lined with mucus that lubricates and protects it. Without that protective liner damage to your gut cell wall and mucus lining occur. The damaged cell wall and mucus lining allows bacteria and other micro-organisms normally protected by a layer of slime to attach to your cell wall, making them harder for your body to rid itself of them and control.
Candida has the unique ability to protect itself in harsh environments, and even change its shape. It responds to shifts in acidity levels and temperature. Once it enters the blood stream, candida can invade other tissues, quickly transforming from a gut problem to a whole body crisis, which is why prevention is so powerful.
Candida can quickly multiply and take over skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, and reproductive organs. Nothing is off limits to these opportunistic creatures.
Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do to prevent candida overgrowth or help bring your microbiome and body back into balance that are tried, true, and proven to work!
The Simple Solution to Alcohol and Candida
This may sound simple, but it's not easy this time of year... avoid alcohol altogether if you have candida overgrowth.
However, treating candida overgrowth involves more than just avoiding alcohol.
Restore the friendly bacteria that keep candida and other microorganisms in check.
The final step is repairing your gut so the candida overgrowth can no longer enter into your blood stream. The best way to do that is to attack it from all three angles.
The first step is to starve the candida by avoiding the foods that feed it from your daily diet. This means cutting out alcohol and sugar, which includes fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes.
In addition to removing toxic and inflammatory foods, the best anti-candida diet focuses heavily on increasing your intake of foods that are proven to reduce the growth of candida Albicans. Foods such as leafy greens, natural whey that’s been microfiltered, garlic, cinnamon, and omega 3 essential fatty acids (like wild-caught salmon) are great anti-candida diet foods.
Next, attack the candida with the right nutritional supplements and stop taking the supplements that are contributing to candida overgrowth.
Taking the right supplements helps break down the yeast's cell wall.
I suggest Raspberry Ketone Cleanse & Restore. It has apple cider vinegar, digestion enzymes, aloe, and other nutritional powerhouses that are gentle on the body, yet highly effective when it comes to getting your candida under control and stimulate your immune system.
Raspberry Ketone Cleanse & Restore acts as as an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. When taken before meals, it can block gluten and other allergens from entering your system, helping your body to rid itself of the foreign invaders that damage gut lining and allow candida to become overgrown, while helping to keep blood sugar levels stabilized and keeping microbes in your GI tract in balance, discouraging yeast growth.
Raspberry Ketone Cleanse & Restore is both a defense and offense. Everyone should have a bottle with them at all times during the holiday season.
Next, it’s crucial that you repopulate your gut with good bacteria using a high potency Natural Synbiotic (synbiotics contain pre+pro+post biotics) that help keep candida in check by battling candida overgrowth. Synbiotics restore your gut back to the healthy microbial balance, which is the best prevention on the planet .
It's important to note that synbiotics contain all three pre+pro+ and post biotics in perfect balance and work with your body, not against it the way taking the wrong type of supplements can.
A Word of Caution
Even one drink or a few bites of processed carbohydrates can trigger candida overgrowth. Alcohol and candida create the perfect breeding grounds for candida to become overgrown quickly in your gut. Knowledge is power, so protect yourself with the tools mentioned above to restore the delicate balance in your gut where all health originates.
Lisa Lynn, Clinical Metabolic Nutrition & Fitness Expert and Associate Chaplain. Best known for her 18+ years as Martha Stewart’s trainer, who was responsible for Martha’s over-50 amazing physical transformation that caught the attention of Dr. Oz, leading to her many appearances on the Dr. Oz Show. Lisa is not just another trainer; she herself lost 40 pounds and has kept it off, even with a sluggish thyroid and menopause.
- Lisa Lynn