Our expert this month is our health advisor, Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., co-author (with the late Dr. William Crook) of the newly revised edition of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, available in our store.

Q. I find the holidays always get me down. When everyone is so full of the “holiday spirit,” I’m Ebenezer Scrooge personified. It seems to get worse every year. A friend suggested this could be caused the yeast problems I battle from time to time. Is that possible?

Dr. Dean answers:

IYou’re not alone! The holidays get lots of people down for a number of reasons. Putting yeast near the top of the list of holiday depressors may surprise you. But many of us fall off our healthy eating plans over the holidays: and yeast LOVES sugar, alcohol, cakes, and pastry. I know it may seem hard to imagine that yeast overgrowth can cause depression, but that is exactly the case.

While I’d never suggest that yeast is the culprit behind all cases of depression, it certainly can play a role and create havoc in many people’s lives.

Dr. Crook, in his decades of research on the condition I call Crook’s Candidiasis, found that depression, fatigue, headache, and weight gain were the most common complaints among his patients with yeast overgrowth.

Dr. Crook also reported that 85% of his patients with candidiasis and depression found relief by following the 6 Point Yeast-Fighting Program. Although it often took several months for complete relief, people who had been suffering for years felt it was very much worth the effort.

Here’s a brief re-cap of the science behind the connection between yeast and depression:

Scientists have discovered that two of the 180 toxic byproducts of candida yeast, acetaldehyde and alcohol, have a distinctive effect on brain chemistry that can lead to depression, fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration and a feeling of being “spaced out.”

Unless these two toxins are controlled, they will cause a complex spiral that leads to further depression, sugar and carbohydrate cravings, endocrine gland disturbances and a weakened immune system.

It’s a complicated cycle and you can learn more about it in the new edition of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health.

So, if you’ve been on the Yeast-Fighting Program, take a closer look at your diet at holiday time be sure you aren’t slipping. It’s so easy to give in to temptation and it usually isn’t worth it!

If you’re not on the Yeast-Fighting Plan, get on it as soon as possible and perhaps step up your supplements since there is little time between now and the holidays. Once Thanksgiving starts, you know the merriment doesn’t stop until New Year’s. But for a healthy 2006 we encourage you to stay on track.

If you have a question for Dr. Dean, please e-mail her at question@yeastconnection.com. We regret she cannot provide individual answers or consultations though our website, but you can visit Dr. Dean at for private consultations at her website, www.carolyndean.com. All questions will be considered for inclusion in her “Ask the Expert” column.

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