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Candida Overgrowth And Your Child's Behavior

Candida overgrowth can be a big problem for kids with autism or ADHD. A healthy gut contains both good bacteria and yeast. However, in children with behavioral disorders, there can be an imbalance of the gut microbiome, which can initiate different health challenges. Many people, or even providers, are unaware of candida overgrowth and do not link it to children's behavior. When we think of candida, most of us would think of oral thrush, diaper rash, and vaginal infection. But there are actually more health problems that the overgrowth of candida has created!

What Is Candida?

When we talk about "candida", we are referring to Candida albicans fungus, which is the most common yeast in the human gastrointestinal system. Ideally, candida lives in the body in small amounts and is one part of the healthy microbiome that plays a valuable role in our digestive systems. However, in some circumstances, when there is a decrease in beneficial bacteria, Candida albicans could be out of control. If you have ever baked bread, you would probably know how yeast likes to grow!

Who Is Susceptible To Candida Overgrowth?

  • Chronic antibiotic, steroid, birth control pill, and/or estrogen use

  • Diabetes or metabolic syndrome

  • Systemic autoimmune diseases

  • Weakened immune systems such as HIV

  • Chronic alcohol use

What Are The Common Symptoms of Candida Overgrowth?

All of these symptoms are not specific to candida alone, with a naturopathic perspective, we look at the symptom picture as a whole, and look for other contributing factors that may lead to the root cause of candida overgrowth.

  • Abdominal Pain

  • Acne

  • Acid Reflux

  • Anxiety

  • Bad Breathe

  • Bloating

  • Brain fog

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Constipation

  • Depression

  • Diarrhea

  • Eczema

  • Fungal Infections of the skin, scalp, or nails

  • Headaches

  • Recurrent Infections

  • Sinus Issue

  • Sugar Craving

  • Weight Loss Resistance

  • White Coating on the tongue

  • Vaginal Infection

Chronic candida overgrowths are not easily detected. However, they exist and become invasive by increasing the permeability of the gut lining and eventually leading to a series of problems.

How Does Candida Affect My Child's Behavior?

When there is candida overgrowth in your child's body, there is a range of signs and symptoms that could exist, and some of these symptoms could also be seen in children with autism and/or ADHD. These behavioral changes include:

  • Aggressive Behavior

  • Bed Wetting

  • Depression

  • Emotional Instability

  • Fogginess

  • Hyperactivity

  • Inappropriate Laughter

  • Inattentive Behavior

  • Learning Difficulty

  • Sleep Problems

  • Stimming Behavior

  • Sugar Craving

The "Hangover" Behavior

Have you ever noticed your child unintentionally acting drunk? The "hangover" behavior could be like silly, goofy, or giddy, and might even be doing strange things like hanging upside down, heightened seeking of masturbation, etc. Before you wonder if your child has stolen your alcohol, think about candida!

How Candida Cause Alcohol-Related Behavior?

Candida can ferment compounds into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is responsible for the hangover feeling you get after a night out. Acetaldehyde eventually will turn into alcohol, therefore, your child might be acting drunk with candida overgrowth.

Diet Changes To Manage Candida

  • Avoid foods high in simple carbohydrate content such as refined sugars (sucrose, fructose, corn syrup), fruit juices, honey, and maple sugar

  • Avoid foods with high content of yeast, such as cheeses, dried fruits, melons, and peanuts

  • Limit intake of high-carbohydrate vegetables, eg. potatoes

  • Foods that can be eaten include all vegetables (except those mentioned above), protein, whole grains, and fruits (eg. apples, berries, pears)

  • Incorporate some anti-candida spices into the diet, including ginger, cinnamon, thyme, and rosemary

We Are Here To Help!

If you suspect your child's behavior is due to overgrowth of candida, you can always book a consultation with us to identify and treat the root cause of your child's behavior change! To learn more about our holistic approach to candida, feel free to book a complimentary discovery call with us to get started!


  1. Woods JW, Manning IH, Patterson CN. Monilial Infections Complicating The Therapeutic Use of Antibiotics. JAMA. 1951;145(4):207–211. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920220015003

  2. Margaret K Hostetter Handicaps to Host Defense: Effects of Hyperglycemia on C3 and Candida albicans Diabetes Mar 1990, 39 (3) 271-275; DOI: 10.2337/diab.39.3.271

  3. Giriraju A, Yunus GY. Assessment of antimicrobial potential of 10% ginger extract against Streptococcus mutans, Candida albicans, and Enterococcus faecalis: an in vitro study. Indian J Dent Res. 2013;24(4):397‐400. doi:10.4103/0970-9290.118356

  4. Akgül A, Kivanç M. Inhibitory effects of selected Turkish spices and oregano components on some foodborne fungi. Int J Food Microbiol. 1988;6(3):263‐268. doi:10.1016/0168-1605(88)90019-0

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