Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Candida and Hypothyroidism Connection Day 50 of My Diet Experiment: Low Basal Body Temperature

I have kept to a low carbohydrate diet for 50 in the hope of  candida, a yeast fungus that lives in the gut. Debilitating symptoms have plagued most of my adult life. In the belief my problem might be an overgrowth of candida albicans due to stress and a sugary diet, I gave the candida diet a try. I cut out carbs, took probiotics and antifungals.

Hair Loss and Adrenal Exhaustion

New Hair Growth
My hair had been falling out in patches, I had a coated tongue, itchy skin, fatigue, migraines, PMS, dry, puffy eyes and snuffly nose. All of these symptoms would point to an overgrowth of candida in the gut.

The results so far?

Fifty days later, I am noticing some improvement to my heath: my hair is growing back and it is a little thicker than before, my skin is clearer and I have lost weight. I do look a little better than before.

But something is missing.

At times, the coated tongue returns despite taking oregano oil daily, cutting carbs and taking probiotics. My skin continues to itch at night and unless I apply a little coconut oil to my scalp after washing my hair, my scalp would be dry. My hair is also rather on the coarse side.

The whites of my eyes are never really white. They look bloodshot or bleary. In fact, I often look knackered even after a full night’s sleep. I have cold hands and feet and remain tired. My eyes continue to be terribly dry in the evenings. My left eye is drier than the right and the vision is often blurred, even with reading glasses. Add to this, intermittent tiredness, especially in the mornings.

Body Temperature and Candida

Checking Basal Body Temperature
Not happy about the results so far, I read about a connection between candida and low basal body temperature (hypothyroid-like symptoms). If the body temperature is a little lower than normal, the candida flourishes. It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, the friendly gut flora cannot thrive because it prefers 37 degrees centigrade. Even a few tenths of a degree below that will affect every cell in the body. The digestive enzyme cannot work properly, everything slows down, and the liver is put under stress.

Having a chilly body temperature does not necessarily means the thyroid is underperforming. I have had several blood tests for thyroid function in my life, and the results have always come back normal.

Causes of Low Body Temperature

So what causes low body temperature if the thyroid is functioning properly?

Estrogen dominance is a sneaky little culprit of low body temperature in women. Another cause is adrenal exhaustion.

Firstly, let’s first look at Estrogen dominance. This hormonal imbalance is caused by a junky, sugary diet, estrogen-producing foods, chemicals and stress. Read more about estrogen dominance in my other post.

Adrenal exhaustion is caused mostly by stress (producing the stress hormone, cortisol), which over time puts the adrenals under tremendous pressure. A cascade effect upon the other hormones is inevitable as well as fatigue. Adrenal exhaustion and estrogen dominance are quite entwined, as progesterone (the heat-producing hormone produced during the latter part of the menstrual cycle) is used up during the production of cortisol. The result is a body that is too estrogen dominant and progesterone deficient.

A low basal body temperature is the biggest indicator of either adrenal exhaustion, estrogen dominance or both.

Low Basal Body Temperature

I brought myself a digital thermometer to check out my basal body temperature.

It must be borne in mind, the female body temperature would be a little lower than normal after menstruation leading up to ovulation (the follicular phase), but should fall no lower than 36.6°C first thing in the morning. At this point, I have just finished menstruating (I am on about day 5) so I wasn’t expecting high readings anyway.

I took several readings during the night as I couldn’t sleep.

I took readings from beneath the tongue (keeping the mouth closed) until the bleep went off. My body temperature fell to 36.1°C at 1.30 am, rising to 36.3°C at 4 am. I couldn’t believe these low readings, so I took second readings. My basal body temperature remained in the low 36°C region.

At around 7 am before rising, it rose to 36.6°C. Care must be taken not to move too much or this will affect the reading.

Bodytemperature must be 37°C for around 10 hours per day. Before breakfast (I was moving around at this stage) was 36.8 – 9°C. After breakfast (I took the reading 20 minutes after food, so the food temperature would not interfere) it rose to 37°C. But on sitting and writing this, it fell to 36.7 C. In room temperature, my nose, hands and especially feet feel felt cold. This is nothing new to me as I have suffered with cold extremities all my life.

I kept taking readings and it rarely touched 37°C.

To recap:

At 1.30 am it was 36.1°C
4 am it was 36.3°C
7 am it was 36.6°C
9 am (before breakfast) 36.8°C
10.30 am (after breakfast) 37°C (whoopee!)
But soon (at around 11 am) it fell to 36.7°C

12 noon it was 36.9°C
2.35pm it was 36.8°C
3.30pm it was 36.8-9°C
6pm it was 36.7°C
9pm it was 36.6°C

At midnight, it fell to 36.3°C

By this time, my eyes felt very dry and my headache intensified.

So overall, not good.

Estrogen Dominance in Follicular Phase

Day 50 is not a good day. I had a very mucous throat which kept me awake last night with a cough. The oral thrush has returned along with a snuffly nose. My eyes look bloodshot and puffy, I feel tired and I have had a vague headache all day. This would all indicate to a lower than normal basal body temperature. This is what candida likes.

Later in the day, I had giddy spells and I felt tired. In fact, for the first time since I began this diet, I had to take painkillers for a migraine that threatened to strike. Thankfully, it didn't bite too much, (not like the days when the pain was excruciating. Was this due to a build up of candida courtesy of a high sugar diet?)

The basal body temperature normally rises during the second half of the menstrual cycle (the luteal phase) as the progesterone kicks in. I would expect the symptoms to ease off. It would be interesting to see what my basal body temperature will be after ovulation.

Articles about Health and Candida

My candida diary
Go forward to day 51 of my diet diary
Go back to day 40 of my diet diary