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The Health Perils Behind Yeast

Allergies, hyperactivity, obesity … Could something as simple as yeast be the culprit behind your child’s health problems? With chronic health problems running rampant among American children today, parents are turning over every stone in search of hidden causes. Traditional and alternative health care practitioners alike have begun to examine the role of hidden yeast in our children’s health.

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, co-author of The Yeast Connection and a consultant to patients across the country who suffer from yeast overgrowth problems, Candida yeast has been linked to allergies, ADHD and weight problems. She points to “leaky gut” syndrome, a condition in which yeast overgrowth migrates to the small intestine, where it causes micro punctures in the intestinal lining that allow toxins from intestinal yeast to leak into the bloodstream, wreaking allergic and inflammatory havoc.

“The main red flag for parents is that any antibiotic that a child takes can cause yeast overgrowth by killing both the good and bad bacteria, allowing a vacuum in the intestines that is readily filled by yeast,” Dean explains. “Yeast produces toxins that are absorbed through a leaky gut and contribute to body-wide inflammation, which includes symptoms of allergies, hyperactivity and obesity.”

Common yeast-related problems in children also include thrush (a white coating in the mouth or diaper area), recurring diaper rash and excess gas and bloating. Leaky gut has also been medically linked with asthma, says Dean.

While chronic yeast syndrome itself is not currently recognized as a valid diagnosis by mainstream medicine, physicians and natural health practitioners are beginning to pick up on the dangers posed by yeast. Probiotics, for instance, are widely recommended by many physicians to prevent antibiotic-associated yeast infections. A yeast-free, sugar-free diet, combined with the anti-fungal drug Nystatin, notes Dean, can reduce yeast overgrowth symptoms and bring children’s health back into balance.

To head off yeast overgrowth problems, especially when your child is sick and on antibiotics, follow these tips from Dean.

• When you child must take an antibiotic, give them a probiotic, as well, in order to maintain a normal, healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.
• Milk, sugar and white bread tend to feed yeast, so cut back on these foods when your child is sick and on antibiotics.
• Beware of fruit juice. Fructose-sweetened juices deliver too much corn syrup, which can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, obesity and yeast. Even undiluted 100-percent fruit juice can give a child too much sugar and feed yeast. Fruit juice can develop mold quickly and mold cross-reacts with yeast.