DR MEGAN ROSSI shows that mushrooms have a significant impact

DR. MEGAN ROSSI shows that mushrooms have a significant impact on our bodies

Mushroom isn’t something you’re likely to want in you, is it? But the reality is, you have hundreds of different types living on your skin and in your mouth, gut, and elsewhere in your body — and they’re pretty important to your health.

And although we have far more bacteria than fungi, the fungi on our bodies (known as the mycobiome) have a significant impact.

In fact, one of the best-studied types of probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii – which protects the gut from invading “bad” microbes when you’re taking antibiotics – is actually a type of fungus, specifically yeast. (Although many people use the term probiotics to refer to good bacteria, the term actually refers to “friendly” organisms, including yeast.)

While we have far more bacteria than fungi, the fungi on our bodies (known as the mycobiome) have a significant impact, writes Dr. Megan Rossi (pictured).

Just as we can get sick when the composition of our gut bacteria is out of whack and certain types overgrow others, the same scenario happens with our personal fungi.

Perhaps the most famous example of this is an overgrowth of the Candida yeast. This is a common problem that leads to conditions such as athlete’s foot (itchy, scaly rash between the toes); oral thrush (which causes white patches in the mouth); vaginal thrush; and when it occurs in the gut, particularly the small intestine, small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO).

SIFO can cause all sorts of uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, changeable bowel movements, and nausea.

Did you know?

Placing mushrooms gill-side up on the windowsill can increase your vitamin D levels many times over. Like our skin, fungal skin can produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun’s UV rays.

If this list sounds familiar, these are all symptoms that we also typically associate with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). So how can you tell the difference?

SIFO can occur when you are taking antibiotics or have a compromised immune system due to underlying health conditions such as poorly controlled diabetes.

This allows the fungi, which normally live in small amounts in the large intestine, to migrate to the small intestine, which is a bit more sensitive to their presence, where they ferment and feast on our undigested food. This causes belching, gas, diarrhea, bloating, pain, and changes in bowel habits.

SIFO affects some people more than others. For example, people with diabetes are at higher risk because nerve damage means their gut muscles may not be working as well.

The weakness of the intestinal muscle contractions means that the fungi can move against their weak pushing action and enter the small intestine.

People who take proton pump inhibitors, a common medication for acid reflux, also appear to be at higher risk. This is thought to be because the drugs lower the acidity of the stomach, which in turn affects the balance of your microbes, allowing certain types (like Candida) to overgrow others.

A US study published in the journal Current Gastroenterology Reports in 2015 estimates that up to a quarter of unexplained bowel problems can be linked to SIFO, although more research is needed.

While not uncommon, I see many people at my clinic attributing their symptoms to Candida overgrowth. This is largely thanks to a boom in online tests that claim it can be diagnosed via a home stool sample.

We do not use such tests in a clinical setting as studies have shown that people with high stool Candida levels may not have symptoms and those with low Candida levels may have symptoms. (So ​​my advice is don’t waste your money on these tests.) Instead, we usually diagnose SIFO by ruling out other possibilities—and if a Candida overgrowth is suspected afterwards, a gastroenterologist can prescribe antifungal medication.

Many people who have self-diagnosed are tempted to try the Candida “diet” that you also see advertised online.

But not only does this have little scientific basis, it sometimes makes people worse.

One of its main principles is to avoid sugar, which sounds harmless, but there’s no evidence that it helps.

The theory goes that sugar encourages the growth of yeast. However, sugar is absorbed very high up in the gut, and not where that pesky yeast fungus, Candida, is thriving.

For example, a small 1999 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gave volunteers 27 teaspoons of sugar every day for a week and found no difference in the levels of Candida in their feces or reported any gut symptoms.

The candida diet also cuts out many types of fruit as they contain sugar. But we do know that fruit helps feed the beneficial microbes in the gut, and balancing these levels over the long term is linked to preventing Candida overgrowth.

The diet also recommends avoiding gluten because it “disrupts” your gut lining. But unless you have celiac disease (which is where gluten triggers your immune system to attack your body), there’s no validated, scientific evidence that this will help.

so what can you do There’s a lot of overlap in the symptoms of SIFO and IBS — and it can be difficult to know which one.

So my suggestion for clients suffering from bloating, pain, intermittent bowel movements and constipation is to try my first line diet approach for gut symptoms as it can help with both.

The basic goal is to get your gut bacteria in good shape to suppress any yeast growth and regulate your bowel movements.

Your “good” gut bacteria feed on fiber, so aim for two pieces of whole fruit, five servings of vegetables, three servings of whole grains, and one or two servings of nuts and seeds per day. Try to spread this out throughout the day so as not to overload your sensitive gut (and make bloating more likely).

And keep your intake of gut irritants like alcohol and caffeine to no more than one per day; Also, avoid spicy and high-fat foods and all sweeteners ending in “…ol” as all of these can (through various mechanisms) overwhelm the ability of a sensitive gut to function properly.

This won’t work for everyone, but you should see improvement in two weeks to a month if it helps.

A similar approach can help people with recurrent vaginal thrush – I find that women on a more plant-based diet seem to be less prone to it. And it makes scientific sense: A more balanced colony of vaginal microbes has been shown to prevent Candida.

It might be worth trying – it won’t do you any harm – and is backed by more compelling science than the candida diet.

Try this: Gingerbread Truffles

These high-fiber, no-sugar truffles are a real eye-catcher — easy to make and the perfect way to get rid of those post-Christmas office blues.

power 12

  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup nut butter of your choice
  • 3 dates, made into a paste with ¼ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (use 100% cocoa with no added sugar)
  • ¼ cup nuts of choice, finely chopped

In a large bowl, mix together the almond and coconut flour, flaxseed, ginger, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Add the nut butter and date paste and mix until the mixture forms a dough consistency. Don’t be afraid to use your hands. Place the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.

Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave, checking every 20 to 30 seconds to make sure they’re stirring and avoiding burning.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll into small, smooth balls between your hands.

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and place on a tray or plate and sprinkle with mixed nuts. Freeze for an hour, then store in the fridge or freezer.

Ask Megan

I love coffee but only drink three cups a day at most as it seems to make my bowel movements very watery. Why is it doing this and could it affect the amount of nutrients I am getting through my diet?

Mark Thomas, via email.

It’s all due to the caffeine found in coffee, tea (including green tea), dark chocolate, and several other beverages (as well as some medications like cold and flu medicine).

Caffeine stimulates your gut muscles, which in turn can speed up the movement of food through your gut. In general, this is not a problem for nutrient absorption, and it can be helpful for many people struggling with constipation.

However, because it has a noticeable effect on the consistency of your stool, it can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as potassium, which is important for heart health.

With that in mind, I would recommend you switch at least two of those regular coffees to decaffeinated varieties.

Contact Megan Rossi

Email [email protected] or write to Good Health, Chron, 9 Derry Street, London, W8 5HY – please include your contact details. dr Megan Rossi cannot maintain personal correspondence. The answers should be viewed in a general context; Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns

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