Note: This article provides an explanation and overview of a condition called Candida albicans overgrowth. It also takes a unique perspective towards addressing the problem -- Metabolic Typing®. For the best explanation and overview of what Metabolic Typing® is and what it can do for you, please see the article, Living In The 21st Century...With Good Health. In brief, Metabolic Typing® is the understanding that genetic inheritance defines metabolic individuality and metabolic individuality defines nutritional requirements. This is why what works for one person, doesn't work for another with the same problem. There will never be one diet or nutritional approach for a given problem that works for all people. The essence of this aricle on candida overgrowth is the understanding that candida is not the problem. The problem is a compromised immune system that fails to control the candida. This is the reason that so many people fail to rid themselves of candida overgrowth. They limit their approach to trying to kill off the candida, but when the protocol is stopped, the candida overgrowth problem comes right back again. The only real, final solution is to restore efficiency to the immune system, a task that in our experience can only be accomplished through addressing individual nutritional requirements through defining one's Metabolic Type®.
Every person lives in a virtual sea of microorganisms, (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.). These microbes can reside in the throat, mouth, nose, intestinal tract, almost anywhere; they are as much a part of our bodies as the food we eat. Usually, these microorganisms do not cause illness, unless our resistance becomes lowered.
Candida albicans is a yeast that lives in the mouth, throat, intestines and genitourinary tract of most humans and is usually considered to be a normal part of the bowel flora (the organisms that coexist with us in our lower digestive tract). It is actually a member of a broader classification of organisms known as fungi.
Traditionally fungi are considered plants, but they contain no chlorophyll and cannot make their own food. Fungi tend to inhabit cool to tropical climates and are found in the air we breathe as well as in moist and shady soil, water, manure, dead leaves, fruit, leftover food, and in a wide variety of places and circumstances.
Candida albicans prefers people. Candida enters newborn infants during or shortly after birth. Usually, the growth of the yeast is kept in check by the infant's immune system and thus produces no overt symptoms. But, should the immune response weaken, the condition known as oral thrush can occur as a result. By six months of age, 90% of all babies test positive for candida . And by adulthood, virtually all humans play host to Candida albicans and are thus engaged in a life-long relationship.
Candida coexists in our bodies with many species of bacteria in a competitive balance. Other bacteria act in part to keep candida growth in check in our body ecology . . . unless that balance is upset. When health is present, the immune system keeps candida proliferation under control; but when immune response is weakened, candida growth can proceed unhindered. It is an "opportunistic organism," one which, when given the opportunity, will attempt to colonize all bodily tissues. The uncontrolled growth of candida is known as candida overgrowth.
Unfortunately, there are many factors in our modern society that can upset the ecological balance of the body, weaken the immune system and thus allow the yeast to overgrow. Of these, the major risk factors which may predispose one to the proliferation of candida are:
Once begun, if not recognized and treated appropriately, candida overgrowth can result in a self-perpetuating, negative cycle. Large numbers of yeast germs can weaken the immune system, which normally protects the body from harmful invaders. Even though candida is part of the ecological balance in the body since birth, it is still recognized by the immune system as a foreign body that needs to be controlled. So, when overgrowth occurs, a chronic stimulation to the immune system results -- every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every month, every year -- in an attempt by the immune system to regain control. In time, it is believed that this can exhaust the immune system, predisposing one to more serious degenerative processes. Many believe chronic drains on the immune system such as candida and parasites can play a direct role in the development of cancer and AIDS. Seen in this light, candida overgrowth should not be taken lightly.
The immune system may concurrently be also adversely affected by poor nutrition, heavy exposure to molds in the air, as well as an increasing number of chemicals in our food, water and air, including petrochemicals, formaldehyde, perfumes, cleaning fluids, insecticides, tobacco and other indoor and outdoor pollutants. Over 10,000 chemicals have been added to our food supply alone that were not there just 100 years ago! We do not have the genetic recognition of these substances as foods or as useful additions to our bodies.
Resulting lowered resistance may not only cause an overall sense of ill health, but also may allow for the development of respiratory, digestive and other systemic symptoms. One may also become predisposed to developing sensitivities to foods and chemicals in the environment. Such "allergies" may in turn cause the membranes of the nose, throat, ear, bladder and intestinal tract to swell and develop infection.
Such conditions may lead the physician to prescribe a "broad spectrum" antibiotic . . . which may then further promote the overgrowth of candida and strengthen the existing negative chain of events, leading to further stress on the immune system and increased candida -related problems.
The result of heightened candida overgrowth is a list of adverse symptoms of considerable length. Basically, the characteristics of candida overgrowth fall under three categories, those affecting:
Initially the signs will show near the sights of the original yeast colonies. Most often the first signs are seen in conditions such as nasal congestion and discharge, nasal itching, blisters in the mouth, sore or dry throat, abdominal pain, belching, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, rectal burning or itching, vaginal discharge, vaginal itching or burning, increasingly worsening symptoms of PMS, prostatitis, impotence, frequent urination, burning on urination, bladder infections. But, if the immune system remains weak long enough, candida can spread to all parts of the body causing an additional plethora of problems such as fatigue, drowsiness, uncoordination, lack of concentration, mood swings, dizziness, headaches, bad breath, coughing, wheezing, joint swelling, arthritis, failing vision, spots in front of the eyes, ear pain, deafness, burning or tearing eyes, muscle aches, depression, irritability, sweet cravings, increasing food and chemical sensitivities, numbness and tingling, cold hands and feet, asthma, hay fever, multiple allergies, hives and rashes, eczema, psoriasis, chronic fungal infections like athlete's foot, ringworm and fingernail/ toenail infections.
In addition, 79 different toxic products are known to be released by candida , which in itself places a considerable burden on the immune system. These get into the bloodstream and travel to all parts of the body where they may give rise to a host of adverse symptoms.
In candida overgrowth, the yeast colonies can dig deep into intestinal walls, damaging the bowel wall in their colonization.
Candida can also attack the immune system, causing suppressor cell disease, in which the immune system produces antibodies to everything at the slightest provocation, resulting in extreme sensitivities.
Finally, candida overgrowth can be dangerous if not controlled . The persistent, constant challenge to the immune system by an ever-increasing, long-term overgrowth of candida can eventually serve to wear down the immune system and cause a seriously weakened capacity for resistance to disease.
Women are more likely to get candida overgrowth than are men . This is related to the female sex hormone progesterone which is elevated in the last half of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone increases the amount of glycogen (animal starch, easily converted to sugar) in the vaginal tissues which provides an ideal growth medium for candida . Progesterone levels also elevate during pregnancy. Men are affected less frequently but are by no means invulnerable.
Currently, diagnosis is primarily clinical. Since almost everyone has candida in their bodies, tests for its presence are useless; confirmation of overgrowth is very difficult through laboratory tests. And, since what it does is to paralyze the immune system against it, allergy tests to determine the system's reaction to it are also ineffectual.
Furthermore, the results of the yeast imbalance -- the combined effects of different hormones, poisons generated and released by the yeast into the bloodstream, and the confusion created in the immune system -- produces such a wide variety of symptoms and which are seemingly so unrelated (such as wheezing, depression and fungus infection under fingernails) that a definite diagnosis cannot be made from any specific pattern of signs and symptoms.
Currently, the best test still seems to be the therapeutic trial . A joint decision is usually made by the physician with the help of the patient after analyzing the individual's case history. (Many physicians regard vaginal yeast infections as the most reliable indicator in women of candida overgrowth, for example). A tentative diagnosis is made based on the patient's history of symptoms in relation to any known possible predisposing factors, which is then proven true or false by the way the patient responds to the therapy.
Many physicians now believe that a clinical trial for candida overgrowth is of so little risk and expense that it should be considered in any chronic illness.
One clinical trial a person may try is to avoid certain foods for five days which are known to facilitate the growth of yeast. Such foods include the following:
After avoiding these foods for 5 days, try adding them back into the diet in large quantities. By observing how one feels while off these foods, in comparison to any adverse affects experienced when going back on the foods, one may get a clue as to any possible yeast involvement as a causative factor for any adverse symptoms.
If adverse symptoms are provoked by a return to the yeast enhancing foods, your physician may feel that there is at least a possible reason to suspect candida overgrowth, which may then warrant more definitive action.
This action generally is targeted toward two objectives:
To destroy candida , or "even the odds," so to speak, a physician may choose to prescribe a drug by the name of Nystatin, or one of several available products containing nystatin. It is an antibiotic, which means that it is made by one kind of germ (such as a mold) to kill another germ (such as strep, staph, tuberculosis, etc.).
Nystatin is an antibiotic that kills yeasts, and only yeasts. It is one of the least toxic known drugs; even when large amounts are ingested, only small traces actually get into the bloodstream. The pure powdered form is generally accepted as more effective.
Although nystatin is very effective in killing candida , many people develop an allergic-type sensitivity to it with prolonged use. For this reason, many physicians are now considering alternatives for the job. Foremost among these is AMAZON A-F, an effective blend of 12 herbs from the Amazon rainforest along with caprylic acid products and a powerful garlic formulation.
Caprylic acid is a natural substance, a fatty acid, but it is totally lethal to candida . It is available over the counter and appears to be equal to nystatin in effectiveness. However, it is not known to produce the sensitivity side-effects of the nystatin drugs. Of the caprylic acid products on the market, KAPRICIDIN-A and ORITHRUSH, when used together, appear to be the most effective by virtue of their capacity to address the entire digestive tract.
Other natural aids in the fight against candida are garlic and PAU D' ARCO (or Taheebo) tea, both believed to have natural fungicidal properties. Garlic is preferably taken raw, but may be effectively utilized in capsule form in a product by the name of PHARMAX GARLIC FREEZE DRIED, available in most health food stores. QUERCITIN, an extract of grapfruit seed, has also been shown to be of particular value.
[All products are available from Ultra Life, (800) 323-3842.]
Nystatin and the caprylic acid products are deadly to candida . Depending on the severity of candida overgrowth and the amount of the agents taken, the candida can be killed off in vast numbers in a very short period of time. As they are killed, they release substances which are toxic to the body. If this process occurs more quickly than the toxins can be cleared from the bloodstream and eliminated by the body, a temporary toxic or allergic-type reaction can occur. The technical name for this experience is a Herxheimer reaction ; it is more commonly referred to as "die off."
Usually die off lasts only a few hours, though it can last several days. It can usually be controlled almost entirely by the amount of ingestion of the agent and the rate or frequency it is taken. Signs of Herxheimer reaction can be many and varied but generally involve such discomfort as aching, bloating, dizzines, nausea, and overall "goopy sick" feeling, or a worsening of original symptoms. Fortunately, die off is generally short in duration, and although uncomfortable, is at least a confirmation of the presence of candida and that something "good" is happening.
Exercise as well as insuring proper, daily bowel evacuation has been reported as being helpful in countering the adversities of die off. Maintaining a high daily intake of pure water is also important to keep the channels of elimination open.
It is a commonly recognized and accepted fact that immune system efficiency is highly dependent on the proper biochemical balance in the body . This of course, is dependent on proper and adequate nutrition to supply the body with all the required biochemical constituents (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, intrinsic factors, etc.).
As has been discussed elsewhere in other informational material provided by Healthexcel , different people require different amounts and balances of nutrients for optimum health . The criteria for the determination of these differing nutritional requirements lies within the definition of one's Metabolic Type®, i.e., the genetically determined metabolic and nutritional parameters that define each person's individuality on every level.
It is precisely because different people have different Metabolic Type®s, and therefore different needs for nutrition, that the allopathic, symptom-treatment approach in nutrition is baseless and so often ineffective. This further explains why what (nutritionally) helps make one person better, may have little or no effect on another, or even make a third person worse.
It is the strong opinion of Healthexcel that this same principle applies to problems of candida as much as it does to any other problem. Many people with candida overgrowth find it very difficult to "get off" of an anti-fungal agent such as nystatin or caprylic acid without a recurrence of the problem. In lieu of such circumstances, consider the following:
For this reason, it is Healthexcel's recommendation that the attending physician suggest that anyone with candida adhere to a diet which is correct for that person's Metabolic Type®, rather than follow any so-called anti- candida diet, which is supposedly good for everyone. Usually such diets require the considerable restriction of carbohydrates (beans, fruits, breads, grains, cereals, peas, sweet potatoes and some squashes) sometimes to as little as 60 grams a day. Although for some Metabolic Type®s this may be helpful, for others it may be responsible for worsening an already malnutritive condition. Starving the yeast is one thing, but starving the patient or imbalancing the biochemistry at the same time can only be weakening to the immune system and therefore counter-productive.
In addition to the Metabolic Type® diet, it is also recommended that one avoid foods as much as possible, which are known to stimulate candida growth until the candida are brought under control. The foods upon which candida are known to thrive and flourish include the following:
Truly yeast-free diets -- or people -- are both impossible to come by. They can only be totally avoided in the diet by eating solely fresh dairy, meat, fish and peeled fresh fruits and vegetables. From a practical standpoint, this is neither feasible nor necessary. Total elimination of yeast from the body is also neither feasible nor desirable, considering that yeast are very likely beneficial to the body when a proper balance exists. Treatment of candida overgrowth does not seek the eradication of candida from the diet or the person, but rather a restoration of the proper and balanced ecological relationship between man and yeast.
, if uncontrolled, may indeed pose
a serious threat to health and well-being. Another perspective,
however, may view
as a kind of "early warning
in a well-balanced body chemistry
is merely a part of a greater environmental whole which very likely
provides some benefit to the host with whom it coexists. It is
only when the body chemistry develops imbalance and the immune
system is compromised as a result, that overgrowth, becomes a
problem to be reckoned with. It is a signal to us that drugs,
foods or other forms of distress have significantly weakened our
defenses and undermined our good health. Viewed from this perspective,
the presence of the "early warning signals" afforded
, may actually allow for the avoidance
of future disaster!
The following educational information is provided by Healthexcel as a service to your physician. If you feel that you may have a candida overgrowth problem, then we recommend that you present your symptoms to your physician for consideration, and perhaps provide him with a copy of this document which is provided for informational and educational purposes only.
Having worked with a considerable number of people from all over the United States in relation to nutritional support programs, has afforded us at Healthexcel, a unique opportunity to make some observations as well as tally reported experiences of individuals dealing with candida overgrowth. A summary of these follows:
It is also well-known that the immune system is highly dependent on the proper biochemical balance in the body. The current overgrowth of candida in seemingly epidemic proportions (many physicians cognizant of candida report that 50-70 percent of their patients have candida overgrowth) is attributed to the general decline of vitality (specifically in relation to the immune system) in our society as a result of generations of suboptimal diets and other associated factors of drug and chemical exposures.
Traditional foods have been notably replaced by severely altered foods from a multitude of "modern" treatment methods in growing, processing and packaging. Heating, pressurizing, preserving, refining, stabilizing and even creating synthetic foods, have all resulted in the considerable alteration of nutrient intake from what had been the previous norm for thousands of years.
Radical alterations in lifestyle which have accompanied rapid modernization in the 20th century have brought unforseen and previously uncommon stresses with which the human body must cope in its efforts at adaptation. Pollution of our air, water and food; new medications and drugs, both prescription and nonprescription; alcohol; tobacco; high carbohydrate and sugar intake in our diets; the addition of over 10,000 chemicals to our food supply; chronic food and chemical allergies -- all put a considerable and chronic strain on the body's immune system.
There is a growing awareness of the link between major illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and schizophrenia to diet and environmental factors and their adverse affects on the immune system. Candida albicans , usually a benign yeast held in check by the immune system, has been found to proliferate in adversity to health, when the immune system becomes imbalanced, compromised and weakened. Current understanding recognizes the following factors as playing major roles in the manifestation of candida overgrowth:
Candida overgrowth can manifest in a multitude of seemingly unrelated patterns of symptomatology in tissues and dysfunctions of organs and systems. Most commonly these include:
Although diagnosis and supervision of treatment requires a physician, the reacquisition of health and control of candida by the immune system also depends a great deal on the joint effort of the candida patient. Generally, we have observed that successful treatment of candida necessarily involves four major considerations:
As mentioned above, of all the anti-fungal agents reported in use, CAPRYLIC ACID (90), KAPRICIDIN-A and ORITHRUSH appear to produce the most widely acclaimed results.
In addition, many people reported benefits from the use of garlic and Taheebo or Pau D'Arco tea. Garlic may be taken raw or encapsulated such as in the widely used product, GARLICIN.
All the above products are all conveniently available from local health food stores, or from Ultra Life (800) 323-3842.
In addition to the use of an anti-fungal agent, it has also been found to be useful in curtailing candida overgrowth to deprive the yeast of food on which it flourishes. Basically this includes the following:
SUGAR and CARBOHYDRATES such as found in all sweetened food including the use of honey, molasses, sorghum, maple syrup, sugar, fructose, maltose, dextrose, etc. Also, fruits and their juices are best restricted as well as soda pop
YEAST PRODUCTS such as beer, wine, natural B vitamins, brewer's yeast, dried fruits, melons, frozen and canned juices. Very yeast sensitive people may need to restrict yeast-leavened bread
FERMENTED and MOLD FOODS such as mushrooms, cheese, vinegar, mustard, catsup, relish and other condiments made with vinegar, sour cream, buttermilk, tofu, soy sauce, miso and ciders.
Research has found that the immune system is highly sensitive to and its efficient functioning is dependent upon the proper biochemical balance in the body. A growing body of nutritional research suggests that although everyone requires the same nutrients to maintain metabolic processes, different people need different amounts of nutrients to meet the optimal requirements of what is referred to as their nutritional individuality.
For these reasons, Healthexcel provides a scientific means of identifying individual nutritional requirements based on the determination of the individual's "Metabolic Type®. Once the Metabolic Type® is determined, a diet and supplementation program can be recommended to meet individual nutritional requirements, thus providing an ideal means of restoring proper biochemical balance.
In addition, the use of natural, live acidophilus culture such as that found in the product SUPER NATANT and ORIGINAL SYNBIOTIC, have been found to be helpful to aid the body in restoring the proper intestinal flora balance.
As a service to you and for your convenience as well as that of your patients, the following products are also available through:
Ultra Life / Synergistics
P.O. Box 440
Carlyle, IL 62231
Delivery is by UPS and orders are shipped within 24 hours. The products are:
8115 COENZYME Q-10
9064 GARLIC FREEZE DRIED
9097 PAU D'ARCO
1838 TRAVACID X
9628 SUPER NATANT
9407 LBF #2
For further information, the following books are recommended: