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Early Detection and Treatment of Digestive Disease with Dr. Scott Freeborn, ND – Part 5


Fasting programs need to be tailored to the individual according to percent body fat, lifestyle and diet, genetic variation, health conditions, age, and previous experience with cleanses and fasts. Most people have never been taught about fasting from the time they were a child. If practiced from an early age, a person is much more tolerant to fasts. Someone who is 50 years old with GI issues, advanced candidiasis, and parasitic infection will not tolerate a big, intensive cleanse. These individuals need to start small, even if it means only taking one afternoon per week where they consume fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and beet kvass, take some probiotics and extra enzymes for digestive support and lay off the red meat, sugar, and alcohol.

Many people know how their body responds to a fast. Some cleanses and fasts are harsher than others, but what is one man’s meat is another man’s poison. I have completed extensive fasts on nothing but water for seven to ten days. Many people cannot tolerate a water fast, which reflects other weaknesses in the system. All kinds of genetic variation influence what people can tolerate. Percent body fat plays a significant role in an individual’s tolerance to fasting; people with less than 15% body fat will not have the caloric reserves for an intensive fast. The bottom line: it is possible to achieve a decent cleanse whether it is a daily practice of consuming probiotic foods like beet kvass and sauerkraut or simplifying one’s diet for a while eating greens and high-fiber vegetables.

Parasites and Candida (Fungal) Overgrowth

I am a big fan of a mild anti-parasitic herbal cleanse performed annually with the classic black walnut, wormwood, and clove combination taken with plenty of probiotics.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 89% of Americans have some form of parasitic infection and an average of two to three pathogenic bugs. The definition of a parasite is an organism that does not have any symbiotic relationship in the body; these organisms are not necessary for maintaining health. Pathogenic bugs do not always manifest the classic symptoms of diarrhea, bloating, etc. Whether or not they cause an imbalance to the point of becoming symptomatic, parasites are detriment to the system because they deprive the body of nutrients, contribute toxic waste from cellular metabolism, and are stressors to the body. People commonly ask “Why would I do a parasite cleanse? I had a stool sample analyzed and nothing was found.” Stool sample tests are notoriously inaccurate and have a poor record for diagnosing the presence of candida overgrowth and parasitic infection. Even if you do not have a parasite, there’s no harm in doing a cleanse when using just herbs and diet.

I am a big fan of complementing a yearly mild parasitic cleanse with a simplified diet –no sugar, hydrogenated oils, or non-organic protein sources. I also like to take a break from protein for a short time because it requires a lot of energy and enzyme function to digest (as do fats). Vegetables and fruits are much easier to digest and one’s easiest nutritional source to process, especially when ripe, organically grown, and free of chemicals. Some bulking fiber from vegetables and fruit is advantageous. I am not a big fan of psyllium seed but beets, squash, and carrots naturally have indigestible fiber in their whole food form.

Why is the candida cycle so hard to break? Why – in spite of all of my self-education and pro-active efforts – do I still experience recurring infections where other people don’t seem to?

Part of the reason is candida overgrowth is not an infection in the classic sense – candida is an organism naturally present in all of us. The objective is not killing it off and getting rid of it like we would pneumococcus in the lungs or strep in the tonsils. This is where we get back to the fundamental difference between the western model of disease, which is the germ theory of disease, versus the naturopathic model of disease, which is not really about the germs or the presence of the germs. The germs are dependent on the environment in which they find themselves and whether or not they thrive. You are never going to eradicate your body of systemic candida and different species of yeasts, mold, and fungi because keeping it in balance becomes the goal. Our modern food supply with added sugar, hydrogenated oils, antibiotics, etc. promotes an environment in our GI system that favors the overgrowth of candida.

I am pretty on top of dietary factors that favor the overgrowth of candida. I avoid antibiotics and antibiotic residues in non-organic animal products and I consume two to three probiotic foods per day – beet kvass, Redwood Hill Goat Milk Kefir, and homemade sauerkraut. I am disciplined in limiting sugar, caffeine, and alcohol (which seem to be my biggest triggers), so the question remains why do I have recurring infections where other people do not. Is it because the intestinal lining just has not healed enough between infections to better repel candida overgrowth, or is it some other causal factor like heavy metal toxicity?  After working on this problem for 10+ years, you would think I would have it figured out by now.

It is all of those things – your recurring candida overgrowths are multi-factorial. Long-term recovery occurs from 1) removing heavy metals and toxins out of the body, 2) constantly flooding the body with good bacteria and probiotics and the foods that feed them (i.e., pre-biotics), 3) taking specific nutrients like MSM, l-glutamine or gamma-oryzanol, slippery elm, etc. that help the gut rebuild it’s integrity, and 4) balancing the endocrine system to control the modulation of the immune system and what a person gets reactive to. Full recovery from chronic disease is not a simple process and can take years for some people who have genetic propensities or weaknesses to those systems in the body. With that said, I believe persistent, consistent application of what I have mentioned will yield long-term health improvements that are not possible through other means.

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Dr. Scott Freeborn’s interview continues in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 6. His complete interview is available here.

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