Individuals suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, irritability, and mood swings may be surprised to learn that the source of the troubles is found in the gut. Candida overgrowth, often referred to simply as candida, is a condition that can have a notable impact on many bodily functions including mood and mental activity.
If you experience chronic irregularities in mood, it is quite possible that you are suffering from a case of candida.
What is Candida?
There are many forms of dysfunction that can trigger mood irregularities. One of the most common is overgrowth or infection of candida. Candida albicans is a fungus found naturally in small amounts in the mouth and intestines. When maintained at the correct level, candida supports important bodily functions including digestion and nutrient absorption. However, if candida grows in excess and overtakes the gut or spreads to other areas of the body, serious issues may develop.
The gut employs various substances and systems to regulate candida and other members of the intestinal microbiome. The occurrence of candida overgrowth and the severity of its symptoms are influenced by several factors. Some of the most common instigators of candida are antibiotic use, diets containing a high volume of sugar, carbohydrates, and/or alcohol, long-term use of birth control, and chronic stress. Each of these elements promote intestinal stress, cause bacterial imbalances, and inhibit gut function thereby increasing the risk of candida overgrowth. If left unresolved, candida may cause notable dysfunction and trigger the development of many different symptoms – here are symptoms of candida you may not know about.
The most common symptoms of candida are relatively mild including itchiness, discomfort, gastrointestinal issues, and lack of energy. However, candida may also impact neurological activity resulting in problems relating to mood.
The Brain-Gut Connection
At first glance, it may seem like the brain and gut are not closely related. However, in reality, these two systems have a significant amount of influence over one another. One of the key factors regarding mood disorders is the prevalence and activity of an essential neurotransmitter called serotonin. Studies estimate that up to 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. Therefore, gut disruption, such as that caused by candida, can have a dramatic impact on neurological activity and mood regulation.
Because of the way it affects the gut, candida overgrowth can significantly inhibit serotonin production thereby contributing to mood irregularities. As candida grows and overtakes the intestinal tract, it suppresses serotonin production. A lack of serotonin is associated with a variety of neurological issues including mood swings, anxiety, and depression. If serotonin deficiency and candida remain untreated, the severity and regularity of these symptoms will continue to worsen.
Research presented by assistant professor of pediatrics and member of the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Emily Severance, Ph.D. further supports the theory that candida and brain activity are closely related. Severance states that even though candida is a natural part of the human body, overgrowth may cause malfunctions in the gut-brain axis. Such disruption can have a negative impact on neurological functions including memory and mood. It is believed that symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, depression, brain fog, ADD/ADHD, and poor response to stress may be caused by candida overgrowth.
Candida may also influence mood by promoting the occurrence of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability, allows harmful substances such as toxins, viruses, partially digested foods, and candida to escape into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. As these foreign particulates escape the gut and enter the blood stream symptoms such as brain fog, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, irritability, and depression may begin to develop. Without repairing the intestine and resolving an underlying case of candida, particulates will continue to escape, thereby worsening and prolonging mood-related dysfunction.
Resolving Mood Disorders by Treating Candida
Many common mood disorders are initially triggered or prolonged by underlying intestinal issues such as candida. Therefore, diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders should always include a comprehensive assessment of gut health and subsequent restoration of any gastrointestinal dysfunction. Unfortunately, standard treatments for mood disorders typically do not involve gastrointestinal testing or optimization.
Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD are generally treated with prescription medications. Although antidepressants and mood regulating drugs have their place in treating these conditions, it is best not to rely on them entirely. Most of these medications come with unwanted side effects that in many cases cause more severe symptoms and have an ultimately negative impact regarding long-term wellness.
Fortunately, research suggests there may be effective alternatives for treating candida that do not come with such severe side effects. The ultimate goal of any candida treatment should be to balance intestinal flora and resolve any existing candida infections. Although there are several ways to naturally support candida removal, perhaps the most effective approach is by following a candida diet. Eliminating sugars and inflammatory foods while increasing intake of gut-supporting nutrients can dramatically improve intestinal restoration, candida removal, and mood regulation.
Get Your Good Mood Back by Kicking Out Candida
Irritability, difficulty focusing, depression, and other mood-related issues are difficult symptoms to manage on an everyday basis. Most believe such issues are due entirely to disruption of the brain. However, the more likely cause is mood irregularities is an imbalance or malfunction within the gut. Candida overgrowth is a common condition that can trigger a wide range of symptoms including mood irregularities.
Treatment of candida is considered to be exceptionally difficult and requires a comprehensive treatment plan that attends to the many systems that may be impacted. At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address candida . If you suspect you have candida or have already received a diagnosis, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!
1. Martins N, et al. “Candidiasis: Predisposing Factors, Prevention, Diagnosis and Alternative Treatment.” Mycopathologia. June 2014, Volume 177, Issue 5–6, pp 223–240
2. JH Staff. “Yeast Infection Linked to Mental Illness.” Johns Hopkins Medicine.
3. Amy Myers, MD. “Anxious? Moody? Depressed? Why You Might Have Candida.” MindBodyGreen.
4. Amy Myers, MD. “The Gut Infection Behind Mood Swings, Anxiety, and Depression.” Amy Myers, MD.