Healing the Gut - Biofilms, Candida, Parasites & More.
Updated: Jun 12
With the rise in GMO foods, pesticides, overuse of sugar, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, exposure to chemicals, and other health-depleting influences, humanity is experiencing an epidemic of sorts when it comes to gut health. Issues like candida overgrowth, parasite infestations, leaky gut syndrome, SIBO, IBS, and numerous digestive issues are on the rise. When the gut is not healthy it affects the entire body. Brain function is impaired, immune response decreases, blood production, detoxification, and hormone regulation are all impacted. Many medical professionals are now seeing the correlation between gut health and autoimmune disorders, as well as the correlation between gut health and mood disorders and mental illness. When it comes to making breakthroughs in health with issues such as Lyme disease and autism, the leading health professionals are focusing on healing the gut. Much of this work includes disrupting and eliminating biofilms, bringing down the candida load, eradicating parasites, chelation therapies to remove heavy metals, cleansing and rejuvenating the liver, and helping create strong and healthy digestive functions.
Some of you may not be familiar with the term biofilm. Biofilms are mucus-like sticky masses of microorganisms that are able to coat and attach to many surfaces. Medical scientists have found that biofilms are inherently resistant to antibiotics. Biofilms have played a huge role in the development of antibiotic-resistant illnesses such as MRSA. They keep wounds from healing and can contribute to recurring infections. Biofilms can lead to chronic inflammation which in turn can lead to a wide array of other health problems, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, depression, and much more.
Biofilms are surely present when there is candida overgrowth, parasites, Lyme, autism, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), mold infections, fibromyalgia, cancer, cystic fibrosis, bacterial pneumonia, and anytime there has been an implant in the body - breast implants, metal implants, etc. To heal most gut troubles and to successfully heal candida overgrowth, parasites, and SIBO (three common gut health issues), one must address biofilms. Biofilms can harbor and grow colonies of yeasts, pathogens, parasites, heavy metals, and harmful bacteria. They also can create barriers so that a person is not properly absorbing the nutrients from their food, and also interfere with absorption and utilization of any herbs, supplements, or medicines they may be taking. It is often why a person can eat all the best foods and take healing remedies yet see no results when trying to clear a health issue. The biofilm barrier must first be addressed. The first step to disrupting and eliminating biofilms is diet. To successfully remove harmful biofilms you must stop feeding them what they thrive on. This includes gluten, dairy, sugar, non-fermented soy, GMO foods, refined oils, excess consumption of grains and starches, processed foods, foods with chemicals, peanuts, and legumes, and nuts that have not been soaked and sprouted. There are a number of foods that actually help to break up biofilms and weaken their power, These foods include raw garlic, ginger, turmeric, raw apple cider vinegar, cranberry, black pepper, and cinnamon, These foods should be included as regular parts of the diet when working to eliminate biofilms. In addition to food-derived biofilm disrupters, there are a number of supplements that are even more powerful in breaking up biofilms and making headway with healing. I suggest including several of these when doing this work. These include proteolytic and systemic enzymes that include serrapeptase (these enzymes must be taken 90 minutes away from all food), bacteriophages, modified citrus pectin, oregano oil, shilajit, fulvic acid, high doses of sodium ascorbate or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) - 2000-4000 mg 4-6 x daily, Boswellia, xylitol, and sodium bicarbonate.
Because biofilms can harbor many pathogens, parasites, and heavy metals, it is important that binders are included when cleansing. A binder is a substance that attracts these pathogens to it, captures them, and helps take them out of the body through the elimination system.
Modified citrus pectin is an excellent binder that also helps to disrupt biofilms. Other good binders include zeolite and bentonite clay - both of which must be taken 90 minutes away from all foods, herbs, and medications, as well as chlorella (an excellent chelator and binder for heavy metals, especially mercury).
Glutathione is the most abundant antioxidant that our bodies produce. Not only does it prevent and repair damage from free-radical compounds, but it also acts as a binder, shuttling heavy metals such as mercury, and lead out of the body. Liposomal or IV infusions are the best sources of glutathione. NAC or N-Acetyl Cysteine is a precursor to glutathione. and is another excellent option. NAC was found to decrease biofilm formation by a variety of bacteria while promoting biofilm disruption.
Proper hydration is very important when using binders. You also need to make sure the bowels are moving daily. Constipation and dehydration will inhibit the therapeutic effects of binders.
Parasites are unfortunately a very common reality that is affecting the health of millions of people all over the planet. We often think of parasites being a problem in third-world countries, yet the sad reality is that they are just as much a problem in developed and industrialized countries such as Europe, Canada, and the United States. One of the frustrating facts in regards to parasites is they often go undetected and most medical exams and diagnostic techniques will not detect them. There are worm-like parasites and there are parasites that cannot be seen by the human eye. Even in cases where there are large, worm-like parasites, they often go undetected and unseen. They can hide out in the small intestines, bile ducts, large intestines, and many other places in the body.
Many alternative and natural health practitioners are aware of the issue of parasites and have been utilizing diagnostic techniques that can often detect their presence. Biofeedback, live blood analysis, kinesiology, tongue and pulse reading, iridology, and other methods can often determine parasite infections. Sometimes certain herbal remedies, enemas, salt flushes, and the use of food-grade diatomaceous earth will help to flush certain parasites out of the body so they can be seen in the stool or in the toilet.
The health professionals who are having the most success treating autism, Lymes, SIBO, IBS, Chron's, and a few other challenging health issues are all incorporating parasite purging in their protocols. Many of these practitioners have collected loads of parasites eliminated by their patients - even after other medical doctors claimed there was no presence of parasites. If there are any digestive or chronic health issues it is always a good idea to do a thorough parasite purge. Many health professionals believe that many mental health disorders have an underlying parasite infection. Tics, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar, and many other disorders could very well be linked to parasites.
Beware of the parasite purge kits sold in health markets and online. Most of these are not thorough enough to truly eradicate the infestation. Parasites are tricky and adaptable. They have egg cycles that need to be taken into consideration. Sometimes the infestation is so prevalent that pharmaceutical parasite medications are needed, yet often natural methods will suffice if the protocol is thorough and for the appropriate amount of time needed to eliminate all the adults and the eggs. This takes months not weeks.
Two natural remedies I always recommend when embarking on a parasite purge are mimosa pudica and food-grade diatomaceous earth. Both of these can be taken daily for up to 6 months or longer. In addition to these, I recommend including several of the following choices - oregano oil, neem, black walnut, cloves, artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), quassia amara, raw garlic, olive leaf, goldenseal, and raw papaya seeds. Since parasites are very adaptable and to successfully get the eggs and the various life cycles of the parasites, the best method is to take several of these herbs 2 times daily for 10 days then stop for 7 days. Repeat this cycle 6 times (3 months). It is very important that you include plenty of probiotic-rich foods in your diet daily, as well as take a good probiotic supplement. I like SBO (soil based organisms) and spore-based probiotic supplements. Some good probiotic foods include raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, coconut kefir, and coconut yogurt.
It is crucial that the bowels are moving daily. You want to be having 2-3 full-sized bowel movements each day. If you are not, you can incorporate foods like soaked flax seeds, fresh aloe vera, and slippery elm to help move the bowels, The Ayurvedic herbal formula called Triphala is excellent for regulating bowels. Enemas, colonics, and herbal laxatives can help on occasion, as well.
The Ampcoil device and Rife machines emit frequencies that can kill certain parasites. Ozonated enemas and insufflations can also be very helpful for ridding the body of both parasites and candida. Fasting is another method that can help decrease the parasite load.
Candida contains hundreds of species yet the most common is Candida albicans. Candida is a yeast that is naturally occurring in our bodies. Due to antibiotic and pharmaceutical use, and many other factors that can weaken our immune system and deplete digestive health, candida overgrowth can become a problem. Candida overgrowth or candidiasis is a fungal infection that can occur all throughout the body and is often present when there are autoimmune issues, cancer, Lymes, digestive troubles, depression, mental health disorders, autism, Chron's, IBS, and many other health troubles and diseases.
Like parasites, candida overgrowth can take some time to thoroughly clear. It is not something that will be reversed in a week or a couple of weeks. It requires strict dietary protocols, biofilm elimination, digestive healing, and specific herbs and supplements to truly shift a serious case of candida overgrowth. Some of the symptoms common to candida overgrowth include hormonal imbalances, foggy head or "brain fog", fatigue, bloating, constipation, body odor, bad breath, headaches, acne, food intolerances, chemical sensitivities, erratic moods, depression, attention disorders, tinnitus, eczema, joint pain, recurring infections, and allergies. Parasites and candida overgrowth can cause many of the same manifestations, and they often are both present together at the same time. The best natural remedies for treating candida overgrowth include oregano oil, olive leaf, Oregon grape, goldenseal, NAC, raw garlic, caprylic acid, grapefruit seed extract, quassia amara, pau d'arco, chlorella, wheatgrass, reishi mushrooms, and aloe vera. Coconut oil is a strong antifungal and can be used daily when working to clear a candida overgrowth. Additionally, turmeric, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper are also important ingredients to include in the diet. Probiotics are essential and I suggest following the same advice I outlined for using probiotics in the section for parasites.
Quite often when there is candida overgrowth there is also something called Leaky Gut Syndrome.
In our intestines, there is a very thin layer of cells that line the gut called the epithelial layer. These cells are linked together by something called tight junctions which act as gates, keeping cells connected and blocking certain unwanted particles. Normally the body breaks down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into smaller pieces such as amino acids, fatty acids, and glucose. Once broken down, the cells in the epithelial layer have specialized transporters that grab nutrients and bring them across the epithelial layer and deposit them into the bloodstream to be carried to other parts of the body and nourish those cells. The body has very careful selective mechanisms for deciding what nutrients get through. This functions to keep out undigested food fragments or potentially dangerous bacteria.
Bacterial overgrowths, GMO foods, pesticides on food, and inflammatory proteins such as gluten, can loosen tight junctions that seal cells of the gut lining together. When this happens, you get these gaping holes in the gut, making it permeable. When this happens, large undigested food fragments and bacteria can slip past these epithelial cells and find their way into the bloodstream. The body recognizes that these particles do not belong there, and quickly launches an immune response. This can lead to food and chemical sensitivities, allergies, depressed immunity, headaches, and an array of uncomfortable health issues.
When it comes to healing the gut and eradicating parasites and candida overgrowth there are foods that must be avoided and there are foods that are very wise to include. Parasites and candida love sugars, starches, fried foods, and dairy. All of these foods feed biofilms as well. For that reason, it is important to follow a very low starch/low carb, sugar, gluten, and dairy-free diet. This means eliminating grains (corn, wheat, rice, oats, etc.), potatoes and tubers, cheese, milk, ice cream, sugar, maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, coconut sugar, alcohol, legumes, beans (they are high in starch), as well as peanuts which are typically high in molds that feed candida and biofilms. Caffeine from coffee and black tea tends to make leaky gut issues worse and are also advised to be eliminated.
All foods that contain GMOs, refined oils, artificial ingredients, or chemicals must be eliminated. Non-fermented soy is another food to eliminate. Organic fermented soy such as wheat-free tamari, miso, or tempeh is okay in moderation. Nuts should to be eaten infrequently and need to be soaked and sprouted before consuming.
High-sugar fruits such as bananas, persimmons, sapotés, cherries, grapes, dates, dried fruits, oranges, pears, sweet apples, and fruit juices are to be avoided.
Starchy vegetables such as carrots and beets are best avoided or at least eaten very infrequently. Nightshades are best avoided for anyone suffering from joint pain or allergies. Nightshades include eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers.
Pork and sushi should be avoided as they are both prone to contain high levels of parasites. All fish that may be high in heavy metals needs to be avoided. Tuna, swordfish, mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, and seabass are some of the worst. Also, avoid all farmed fish as they are often fed GMO feed. Farmed salmon and tilapia are examples.
Processed meats such as sandwich meats, bacon, sausages, and hot dogs are not to be included in the diet.
Any distilled or non-raw vinegar should be avoided. Raw apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar that should be used.
Avoid lab-made salts such as common table salt. The only salts to be used are natural pure sea and Himalayan salts. You may be asking- What can I eat?
The diet should consist of low-starch vegetables such as leafy greens, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, and fresh herbs. Cooked mushrooms, onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric are all excellent options to include often. Seaweeds such as nori, wakame, dulse, and hijiki are allowed. There should be plenty of probiotic-rich foods.
Low-sugar fruits such as berries, green apples, lemons, grapefruits, pomegranates, dragonfruit, cranberries, melons, fand kiwi are all okay. These fruits need to be eaten as whole fruits, not in juiced form.
Hemp and almond milk are typically fine for most people as long as there are no sweeteners added.
Coconut oil should be used abundantly. It can be added to smoothies, tea, and for cooking.
Wild-caught salmon, anchovies, and sardines are okay, as are organic meats, other than pork.
If you choose to be eating meat it should be consumed in moderation. I don't advise meat at each meal or even meat each day. Be sure to prepare the meat in a healthy way - not fried or overly greasy. Bone broth is helpful for healing the gut, as are collagen peptide powders.
Organic eggs can be included occasionally.
Plenty of healthy fats are encouraged. These fats include coconut, MCT, olive, sacha inchi, and hemp oil; flax, chia, pumpkin, and hemp seeds; soaked and sprouted walnuts, sacha inchi, and almonds; cashews if soaked, sprouted, and fermented - such as cashew "cheez", avocados, ghee, organic egg yolks, and coconut, hemp, and almond milk.
Stevia and monk fruit can be used for sweetening foods. Both stevia and monk fruit are natural sweet foods with zero actual sugar. Xylitol can be used in moderation.
Spices such as black pepper, cayenne, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are all encouraged to be used often.
Raw apple cider vinegar should be used often as it helps break up biofilms, improves digestion, kills candida and some parasites.
I also recommend plenty of green superfoods such as moringa, chlorella, spirulina, and wheatgrass powder. All food should be fresh and organic whenever possible. Avoid packaged, stale, and canned foods, and do not consume fried foods. The best methods for cooking food are sauteing, baking, oven roasting, and slow cookers. Soups, broths, salads, and smoothies are all excellent. When digestion is weak (bloating, nausea, constipation, etc.) you need to limit cold and raw foods. Warm, cooked foods with carminative spices such as ginger and black pepper will help to heal digestion and build what we call in TCM - digestive fire. If your digestion is weak it is wise to take digestive enzymes along with your meals, as well as eat probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir, or miso with each meal.
While embarking on a cleansing regime to heal the gut it is very normal to go through a period of discomfort. Many toxins are being released and sometimes it can overload your system and create uncomfortable symptoms. It is a very normal part of the process. Some call this "die-off".
It is also known as the Herxheimer reaction. This time of discomfort can last days or weeks and can include elevated pain levels, headaches, stiffness, fatigue, brain fog, impaired vision, floaters in the eyes, gas, bloating, diarrhea, rashes, insomnia, cravings, irritability, mood swings, body odor, and more. It is helpful to incorporate additional detoxification therapies to keep your channels of elimination open and to help eliminate excess toxins and reduce discomfort. Some helpful therapies include coffee enemas, infrared saunas, detox baths, castor oil packs, skin brushing, gua sha, acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, ozone saunas, IV vitamin C infusions, exercise, colonics, colon cleansing, liver/gallbladder flushes, and intermittent fasting. I recommend 3-5 coffee enemas per week when dealing with candida and parasites, and the same amount of castor oil packs and detox baths. Stay hydrated! I also recommend a good colon cleanse followed by one liver/gallbladder flush per month for six months, then once every 3 months. See this blog post for more info on coffee enemas, castor oil packs, and detox baths, My Full Body Cleanse program includes a colon cleanse and the liver/gallbladder flush, as well as additional organ cleansing.
As I stated earlier, it takes time and commitment to successfully heal the gut from parasites, candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, and biofilms. Proper diet is essential and the use of biofilm disrupters, binders, parasite and candida-killing herbs and supplements, and detoxification methods are all crucial for true recovery. For those who are willing to do the work will be so pleased they did when they recover their health and revitalize their energy.