Candida, Calcium and your Ileocecal Valve

The ileocecal valve is often ignored in discussions of gut health and probiotics. The NorthShore Naturopathic Clinic recently had a good in depth article by Dr. Matsen on the ileocecal valve in their monthly newsletter. I have been struggling with pathological yeasts in my gut after living in an apartment infested with mold in New Zealand in 2005. I have been on the GAPS diet for over two years–my health has improved but I recently discovered we live in an area very high in esmog (wireless technology) which is undermining progress I make with diet. My condition initially improved with the GAPS diet but has levelled off, so it is interesting to learn the ileocecal valve is damaged by lack of calcium. Low frequency electromagnetic fields cause calcium drift, inhibit probiotic growth and melatonin among other things. I have noticed my own ileocecal valve showing up when receiving biodynamic craniosacral therapy sessions and I have been noticing it in my clients who have digestive issues. The ileocecal valve is right next to the appendix which is an important part of our lymphatic system. If the appendix is removed this can cause issues with the ileocecal valve. It is interesting to also discover that the appendix synthesizes and secretes melatonin, similarly to the pineal as I have recently been getting the impression that the appendix is the pineal of the intestinal “gut brain.

The Yeast are Back

By Dr. Matsen of Northshore Naturopathic Clinic

Yeast (also known as Candida yeast) are members of the fungus family; they are normal denizens of your intestinal tract. Their job is to turn you into compost when you’re dead. Candida yeast are strongly inhibited by acidity, and they are content to hide away in the nooks and crannies of your large intestine – wherever the pH is acceptably alkaline. Your main defence against them is billions of acidophilus bacteria (your good bacteria) that maintain an acid pH in your large intestine (colon), which inhibits yeast growth.

Anything that disrupts the pH of your colon and your good bacteria – such as antibiotics, mercury, antacids, chlorinated water, cortisone, etc. – allows the yeast to begin the composting process while you’re still alive. Once they are active, yeast have ways of convincing you that sugar and chocolate are necessary in your diet.

Another way the yeast can become active is when your ileocecal valve is weakened. The ileocecal valve is located between your small intestine and your large intestine. This valve is usually kept closed so that the food you’ve eaten stays in your small intestine long enough to be digested and absorbed fully. It also prevents the good micro-organisms in your large intestine from getting into your small intestine, where their waste products could easily be absorbed. As digestion and absorption are completed in your small intestine, your ileocecal valve opens, and the food passes into your large intestine or colon.

When your ileocecal valve is weakened, the billions of normally “good” bacteria that live in the large intestine get through the ileocecal valve, up into your small intestine – where they’re not supposed to be. There, they can become “Bad Guys” – they steal important nutrients like vitamin B12 and tryptophan before you have absorbed them, and they can also dump toxins into your liver. Once your good bacteria become bad, yeast soon join the party. The alkaline pH of the small intestine allows the yeast to multiply vigorously.

Your ileocecal valve can become weak when your calcium levels are low for more than five days – calcium helps to strengthen this valve. Increasing your calcium intake doesn’t necessarily solve the ileocecal valve problem, because the solution depends on whether the calcium is being absorbed by your body. Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption: it stimulates your intestinal cells to make a calcium-binding protein that dramatically increases your absorption of calcium. Vitamin D is made by your skin when exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, and then it is stored in an inactive form in your liver.

When vitamin D is released from liver storage, your liver converts it into a weak form of vitamin D, which then activates calcium absorption to a small degree. This might be sufficient activation if you were out in the sun regularly, when your skin can make a lot of vitamin D. Your kidneys convert this weak form of vitamin D into a much stronger form that can improve calcium absorption up to 1,000 times. This strong activation of vitamin D is especially crucial for wintertime when there is little sun around to make vitamin D directly through the skin.

Your kidneys are in charge of regulating calcium levels by altering the activation of vitamin D with the changes in the seasons. Because the kidneys can’t see outside to know what the weather is like, they monitor the ions in the foods and the beverages you’re consuming. The sodium/potassium ion ratio tells the kidneys what to do with regard to the activation of vitamin D.

Your blood contains 3 percent sodium, a percentage similar to that found in the ocean and in animals. Your kidneys maintain a 50/50 ratio of sodium and potassium at all times. Excess sodium in the diet is eliminated through the kidneys, giving a warming effect to your body and making you more active, while an excess of potassium has a cooling effect, which slows you down.

All plants contain potassium; generally, the more sun they’re exposed to, the more potassium they contain. Eat a banana, which has lots of potassium, and your kidneys will think that you’re in Hawaii, and that your skin must be roasting in the sun – making vitamin D – so they stop activating vitamin D. if you’re not actually out in the sun, you could quickly lose your calcium absorption – and within five days, your ileocecal valve could be weak enough to allow your billions of good bacteria to stampede into your small intestine, where they could become Bad Guys.

A vegetarian animal on a high-potassium diet needs access to salt, while a carnivorous animal gets its salt from the 3 percent sodium found in the vegetarian animal that it eats. In the winter, an Inuit would be on a high-sodium animal-protein diet, which would tell the kidneys that the weather is not sunny, so his kidneys would activate the vitamin D much more vigorously.

If your skin is going brown from the sun, you can eat a slight excess of potassium; otherwise you should eat a slight excess of sodium. This is the basis of the concept in Asian medicine of “yin and yang” – warming and cooling. Even though most Asians don’t have high-calcium dairy products in their traditional diets, they generally have much lower incidences of dental cavities and osteoporosis than do Westerners who use dairy – and who also eat a lot of fresh fruit, juices, and salads, even in winter.

The ileocecal valve problem is commonly seen in PEOPLE WHO EAT TOO WELL! That is, they consume too many foods and drinks high in potassium, and don’t consume enough sodium in the form of animal protein or salt. This confuses the kidneys into assuming they are in the hot sun of mid-summer, so they deactivate vitamin D.

While the kidneys’ activation of vitamin D is crucial to getting calcium from the gut to the blood, it is vitamin K that delivers calcium from the blood into the bone. Vitamin K also prevents calcium from sticking in the arteries – thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Vitamin K is found in leafy greens; cooking them slightly and salting them will help prevent ileocecal valve problems when you’re not actually out in the sun.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption of calcium. If you’re out in the sunshine and your skin is exposed to the UV rays of the sun, it will make vitamin D. If you’re unable to get regular sun exposure, take vitamin D as a supplement – one capsule of halibut or cod liver oil per day. These sources of vitamin D seem to be more active than the irradiated yeast used in vegetarian vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D is relatively passive until it’s activated by your kidneys, which change the activation of vitamin D as the weather changes. Sodium in the diet tells the kidneys it’s not sunny, so they activate vitamin D – while potassium tells the kidneys it is sunny, so they don’t activate vitamin D. So, eat according to the climate in which you are living.

If you eat animal products, you get adequate sodium; if you eat vegetable products, you need to add salt. Unrefined sea salt carries myriad trace minerals that buffer the potential side-effects of pure sodium chloride. Salt, however, including most sea salts, has had these important trace minerals stripped off and sold to the industrial mineral market. The salt I recommend now is Nature’s Cargo™ Sea Salt

Symptoms of Ileocecal Valve Syndrome:

Source: Ileocecal Valve Syndrome

  • flu like symptoms
  • headaches, migraines
  • tinnitus
  • diarrhea, constipation
  • bladder infection
  • lower back pain
  • right shoulder pain
  • unexplained thirst
  • nausea
  • excessive gas
  • dark rings under the eyes
  • depression, low energy

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for any period of time, there is a chance that you are suffering from a dysfunction of your ileocecal valve, the intestinal valve that separates the small intestines from the colon.

More info:

Ileocecal Valve and Chronic Pain

More information on the appendix


Rethink Removal of the Appendix

The appendix is an important part of the lymphatic system, which in turn is part of your overall immune system. It is strategically located at the point where the small and large intestines meet, near the ileocecal valve. It provides a “trap” where harmful microorganisms can be captured and destroyed or inactivated by our immune cells. Once you remove the appendix, you lose a part of your immune system.

Research also suggests that the appendix may act as a type of “safe house” where beneficial bacteria from the bowels are grown and stored. In an event where the bowel becomes infected with pathogenic bacteria and is purged, the bacteria from this “safe house” would be used to restore healthy levels in the colon. In earlier times—and even today in many third-world countries where diseases like cholera exist—the ability to quickly re-colonize beneficial bacteria in the colon would be crucial to survival. I suspect it’s just as critical in individuals who experience food poisoning, heavy antibiotic use, chlorinated water, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or many forms of chronic prescription drug use. -www.drdavidwilliams.com

More on the Appendix: Appendix Isn’t Useless At All: It’s A Safe House For Good Bacteria

23 Comments

  1. Ray says:

    What Dr. Masten calls Yeast is actually called SIBO and is not caused by yeast, it’s caused by bacteria that live in the large intestine and due to ileocecal valve’s poor functioning crawl up to the small intestine. Those bacteria produce Methane and Hydrogen gas and there is a SIBO test that is been developed that can measure the gas in the blood and tell you if you have SIBO or not…. but it’s different from Candida.

  2. Ludmil says:

    You seem to miss an important issue: only defecataion in squat position securely seals the ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine; in the conventional sitting position, this valve is unsupported and often leaks during evacuation, contaminating the small intestine

  3. lori says:

    This is probably one of the best articles I’ve ever read on Vit. D and also the Ileocecal valve ! Thanks. I want to give you another situation for a seeming valve problem that I never see mentioned.

    During menstruation is the only time I have this problem and usually just the first 24 hours of my period. Sometimes, I get pain on the right side when I have to pass a bowel movement or even have gas, that is SO painful (worse than labor, and I’ve had four!) that I literally come close to fainting. Stabbing with a knife would not be a overstatement for what the pain feels like. The pain usually only lasts during the “event”, sometimes 2 hours sometimes all day (if all day, then on and off).

    But here is the weird thing, I can actually “feel” my liver-or gallbladder- release something prior to the event like maybe anywhere from 2 to 10 hours before this swelling of my lower abdomen and the super-tsunami-pain starts.

    I KNOW this has something to do with hormones and my period, I just am positive about that…but
    how to prevent it? A super bland diet and an enema if I feel it coming on sometimes prevent the pain somewhat but sometimes it’s too late. I always drink slippery elm too.

    I’m on a great diet of low carb, organic, lots of veggies and pastured meats, gluten and dairy free…etc. A strict GAPS diet the week before it starts is also really helpful

    And God help me if I eat baked beans or the like the day before my period starts! I’d probably have to be hospitalized!

    So in conclusion, there is something “up” with that time of the month and the ileocecal valve, since it hurts at NO other time for me..ever. Wonder if any other women have this pain with the valve during menstruation?

    • hellaD says:

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks so much for your question and I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you. I found your experience to be rather mystifying as well! I have been keeping my ears open and recently found this book on castor oil, which has been coming up a lot lately because of it’s beneficial effect on the digestive system — pretty much all of it. The small intestine, liver, gall bladder, the ascending colon in particular as well and the transverse.

      Anyway all you have to do is use a castor oil pack a few days a week and see if it helps as it is also good for menstrual and cramping. I think it must have a lot of minerals.

      Castor oil packs are recommended by the Gerson diet as well as various other detoxing programs, but they have been used traditionally for quite some time. I just found this book about it which is very helpful in understanding the gut and immunity as well: The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Successes With Castor Oil Treatments

      I just posted an instructable showing how to make and use a castor oil pack here.

      Please let us know how it goes if you try it!

      • hellaD says:

        Reply from Lori:

        My pain has since gone away about 90% and I believe it’s because I’ve been doing the GAPS diet and basically eat extremely low carb and NO sugar. I’ve been doing a detox tea by Dr. Schultz and those things combined seems to have knocked my endometriosis and intestinal pain out. I can’t believe the difference in energy and health (very little in the way of colds and flu this year, illness so small I barely notice them, even when others around me are sick). Also, on the GAPS diet basically no more sinus infections! That’s super huge for me as I’ve had quite a few in the last 2 years.

        I always had a good diet but changing to very low carb seems to have made the biggest difference.

        • Anna says:

          I have just found this article and agree, it’s the best and most informative I have found so far. I have just read Lori’s post and wanted to comment to say I suffer from exactly the same pain, which is directly linked to my menstrual cycle. I get it on day 2 of my period and the most pain is on the first 24 hours, but I’m still aware of it throughout my period. It comes in waves and when it does its debilitating. I have hunched over in pain and I can only describe it as a severe stitch pain (which doesn’t really do the pain any justice! I’ve never had children so can’t compare). It only started about 6 months ago, and now I’m aware of a constant bubbling in the right side of my abdomen even when not on my period. This ‘bubbling’ isn’t painful, just annoying.

          I went to see my GP who ran a few tests and simply said they don’t know what it is but it’s nothing to worry about. I wasn’t happy with this so asked to be referred to an consultant Gyneocologist as I thought it was GY related. He too said its nothing to worry about but said it was linked to this valve in my intestine, which has led to me doing some research.

          From everything I’ve read it appears diet has a lot to do with this so will definitely try Lori’s recommendation of no carbs etc.

          I just wanted to post to tell lori she’s not alone, and it’d be interesting to see how many other women suffer the same thing.

          Anna

          • hellaD says:

            Hi Anna,
            Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I am really curious as to what this is and what the connections are. I bet there area lot more women out there with this issue. I think you are right, though that the diet helps.
            Please keep us posted as to how things go for you if you remember.
            The GAPS or SCD diets are particularly helpful especially in combination with Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. I have had issues with this valve myself and some of it stemmed from my birth when my umbilical cord was cut. It sent a shock through my system which also created the stress/shock affect through my abdomen. The umbilical cord also has ligaments that go to the inguinal ligaments which if they are too tight can cause the ileocecal valve to get twisted.

            It took a lot of sessions to get to the really deep layer of the birth, but I can say it really does help. Healing goes much faster with a combination of cranio and diet. I think also that both of these types of therapy are really good for balancing your hormones as well.

          • lori says:

            Anna, thanks for your reply!

            My pain ebbs and flows with each period. One period is worse the next not quite as bad. I failed to mention before that I am perimenopausal and this seemed to start when that started.

            The more research I do the more I am convinced that this is mostly related to endometriosis of the intestine. I only get this pain severely during menstruation. Mildly during ovulation and occasionally with gastroenteritis (which is rare for me, thank God). I do feel the “bubbling” you describe, Anna, all during my period.

            I still stick to the GAPS for the most part but am finding that I now need to take even more measures to cure this like herbs and supplements.

            Next I’m going to look into homeopathic Sepia and use that as well. I’ll do anything to avoid this pain (except surgery or drugs..the only things the MD’s have in their bag – lol ).

            • hellaD says:

              I am really curious about that bubbling sensation. I really wonder what that comes from. Do either of you ladies ever use magnesium oil or epsom salt baths?

              • lori says:

                I think the “bubbling” sensation is simply gas, fluids, whatever, moving through the intestine. Normally it is not felt, but during the time of inflammation one feels everything going on in there…quite acutely!

            • Jayne says:

              Hi there. Interesting blog, and wanted to add to these comments. I was hospitalised 3 months in a row earlier this year with this pain… Worst pain ever. It baffled doctors and they just gave me endone and lots of tests. When the pain started the 4th month I went to a special chiro, who does kinesiology, cranial sacral and a bunch of other techniques. He told me it was the ileocecal valve. In one session he minimised that months pain. 4 more sessions and it has never returned.

              It was the most dreadful pain I have ever experienced and doctors couldnt diagnose.

  4. Sidra says:

    4 years ago I had my appendix removed. It had died and had adhered to my colon. My health has been nothing but trouble ever since. I am worried about scar tissue and adhesions in that area and problems with the ileocecal valve. I get lots of spasms, buldges, and aches in that area. I also just found out that my right ovary is adeard to the colon as well. The GI wants to do a colonoscopy to look around, but I am worried about that type of proceedure. I take lots of probiotics, do GAPS, and eat really well! Any ideas?

    • hellaD says:

      Hi Sidria,
      Wow that is incredible. Yes I understand what you mean about the scar tissue and adhesions. What I would recommend is if you can find a biodynamic craniosacral therapist to work with you. I am a practitioner myself and have done a lot of work with the digestive system and internal organs. I wish that I could give you some sessions.

  5. Val says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    After drinking lemon juice I always have very sharp pain in the area of ileocecal valve.
    Why is that? Is it the potassium in lemon or acidity It feels like the acid from large intestine is burning the end of my small intestine.
    I also noticed that drinkable yogurt with active cultures helps in reducing and eliminating that pain. Is that from calcium and probiotics?
    Thanks
    Val

    • hellaD says:

      Hey Val,
      I am not sure why this may be happening, perhaps someone else will have some answers. But I always hear that lemon juice produces an alkaline effect once consumed rather than acidic. I wonder if it somehow causes the ileocecal valve to seize up somehow. I will try to look it up for you.

      I would definitely agree that the probiotics and perhaps the calcium are calming the muscles of the sphincter there, but it would be good to find out more information about this. Thanks for the question. I hope someone will respond with a satisfying answer!

    • hellaD says:

      Hey Val,
      I have been having a little look round google searching for ileocecal valve spasms and lemon juice. I haven’t gotten very far, but it seems that lemon juice can cause the gall bladder to release bile which may cause a burning sensation. It seems another thing to consider with this condition is parasites and perhaps doing a parasite cleanse would help your situation. I haven’t tried it myself but have a friend who highly recommends paragon.

      Another thing that might help is perhaps your minerals are imbalanced, and rubbing some magnesium oil into the area may relieve the spasm.

  6. Gabriel says:

    hi there,

    i’m gabriel from trinidad and tobago and i want to know if chlorophyll liquid good for a malfunction ileocecal valve?

    thanks and take care
    gabriel.

    • hellaD says:

      Hi Gabriel,
      Thanks for your quesiton. It seems that many people have used chlorophyll with good results for soothing the ileocecal valve. Also it is very important to be sure you are getting enough calcium as that is what helps the valve to stay closed. If you don’t get calcium for 5 days and more then the muscles won’t be able to keep the valve shut.

  7. Hungry Girl in Texas says:

    I’m cleansing for candida and a closed ileocecal valve. I have a laundry list of what I cannot eat. And hear I find banana is ok. What else can I live on for the next week or 2? Please help.

    • hellaD says:

      Many people suggest not eating fruit for the first couple weeks. This site has some good information on avoiding roughage, it is also good to get some biodynamic craniosacral therapy sessions which will help to relax and relieve the sphincter.

      Another suggestion is to start doing coffee enemas as this help to stimulate the liver to help detox the small intestine, also there is a connection with parasites and ICV syndrome and coffee enemas help to clear out parasites from the intestine. The coffee enemas also help to stimulate normal muscle contractions in the intestine. Another helpful thing would be to use mineral oil and rub onto the area topically. I prefer the Ancient Minerals mineral oil.

      Be sure to get plenty of good probiotics too, but I am sure you know that :)

    • Ruth says:

      I have tried EVERYTHING for candida! The diets, etc. DO NOT work. I recently found out about 100% pure gum spirits of turpentine. Google Jennifer Daniels. The turpentine DOES work!

  8. Fascinating article. I’m going to go eat a banana.

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