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Someone asked about Candida? (m)

 


Posted by ManxyGal on March 25, 2000 at 07:59:06:
_____
From "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine" by Murray & Pizzorno, pages 300 ñ 312

CANDIDIASIS, CHRONIC
*Positive demonstration of yeast overgrowth on stool culture
*Higher than normal levels of candida antibodies or antigens in the blood

An overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of the usually benign yeast (or fungus) "Candida albicans" is now becoming recognized as a complex medical syndrome called "chronic candidiasis" or the "yeast syndrome.î Specifically, the overgrowth of candida is believed to cause a wide variety of symptoms in virtually every system of the body, with the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, nervous and immune systems being the most susceptible.

Although chronic candidiasis has been clinically defined for a long time, it was not until Orion Truss published "The Missing Diagnosis" and William Crook published "The Yeast Connection" that the public and many physicians became aware of the magnitude of this problem.

Normally, Candida lives harmoniously in the inner warm creases and crevices of the digestive tract and in the vaginal tract in women. However, when this yeast overgrows, or when the immune system mechanisms are depleted, or when the normal lining of the intestinal tract is damaged, the body can absorb yeast cells, particles of yeast cells and various toxins. As a result, there may be significant disruption of body processes resulting in the development of the yeast syndrome.

This syndrome is characterized by patients saying they "feel sick all over.î Fatigue, allergies, immune system malfunction, depression, chemical sensitivities and digestive disturbances are just some of the symptoms patients with the yeast syndrome may experience.

The typical patient with the yeast syndrome is female; women are eight times more likely to experience the yeast syndrome than men, due to the effects of estrogen, birth control pills, and the higher number of prescriptions for antibiotics.

TYPICAL CHRONIC CANDIDIASIS PATIENT PROFILE
*Sex: Female
*Age: 15 - 50
*General Symptoms - chronic fatigue; loss of energy; general malaise; decreased libido
*Gastrointestinal Symptoms - thrush; gas & bloating; intestinal cramps; rectal itching; altered bowel function
*Genitourinary System Complaints - vaginal yeast infections; frequent bladder infections
*Nervous System Complaints - depression; irritability; inability to concentrate
*Immune System Complaints - allergies; chemical sensitivities; low immune function
*Past History - chronic vaginal yeast infections; chronic antibiotic use for infections or acne; oral birth control usage; oral steroid hormone usage
*Associated Conditions - premenstrual syndrome; sensitivity to foods, chemicals & other allergens; endocrine disturbances; eczema; psoriasis; irritable bowel syndrome
*Other - cravings for foods rich in carbohydrates or yeast

CAUSES
Chronic candidiasis is a classic example of a "multifactorial" condition, as indicated by the following list. Therefore, the most effective treatment involves addressing and correcting the factors that predispose an individual to candida overgrowth; there is much more to it than killing the yeast with antifungal agents, whether synthetic or natural.

PREDISPOSING FACTORS TO CANDIDA OVERGROWTH
*Altered bowel flora
*Decreased digestive secretions
*Dietary factors
*Drugs (particularly antibiotics)
*Impaired immunity
*Impaired liver function
*Nutrient deficiencies
*Prolonged antibiotic use
*Underlying disease states

Prolonged antibiotic use is believed to be the most important factor in the development of chronic candidiasis. Antibiotics suppress the immune system and the normal intestinal bacteria that prevent yeast overgrowth, strongly promoting the proliferation of candida. There is little argument that when used appropriately antibiotics save lives. However, there is also little argument that antibiotics are seriously overused. While appropriate use of antibiotics makes good medical sense, using them for conditions such as acne, recurrent bladder infections, chronic ear infections, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis and nonbacterial sore throats does not. The antibiotics rarely provide benefit, and these conditions can effectively be treated with natural measures ... Inappropriate use of antibiotics greatly increases the risk of developing complications, such as the overgrowth of Candida and other such organisms, as well as the risk of developing a bacterial infection that is resistant to antibiotics. In addition, it may be several decades before it is truly known what the role of widespread use of antibiotics plays in many health conditions. For example, antibiotic exposure is now being linked to Crohn's disease.

SYNDROMES RELATED TO YEAST SYNDROME
Eventually, "yeast syndrome" will probably be replaced by a more comprehensive term that includes small intestine bacterial overgrowth and the "leaky gut syndrome". Both of these conditions are often associated with Candida overgrowth and may produce symptoms identical to those of yeast syndrome.

THERAPEUTIC CONSIDERATIONS
In treating chronic candidiasis, a comprehensive approach is more effective than trying to kill candida with a drug or a natural anticandida agent. Drugs such as nystatin, ketoconazol and diflucan, as well as various natural anticandida agents, rarely produce significant long-term results because they fail to address the underlying factors that promote candida overgrowth. It is kind of like trying to wee your garden by simply cutting the weeds instead of pulling them out by the roots.

Nonetheless, in many cases it is useful to try to eradicate Candida from the system, preferably with the help of natural anticandida therapies such as time-release caprylic acid preparations, enteric-coated volatile oil preparations, or fresh garlic preparations... In addition to using natural agents to eradicate Candida, it is important to address predisposing factors, follow a candida-control diet, and support various body systems according to individual needs.

*DIET - number of dietary factors appear to promote the overgrowth of candida. The most important factors are high intakes of sugar, milk and other dairy products, foods with a high content of yeast or mold, and food allergens.

-Sugar - Sugar is the chief nutrient for Candida albicans. It is well accepted that the restriction of sugar intake is an absolute necessity in the treatment of chronic candidiasis.

-Milk and Dairy Products - There are several reasons to restrict or eliminate the intake of milk in chronic candidiasis: (1) milk's high lactose content promotes the overgrowth of candida; (2) milk is one of the most common food allergens; and (3) milk may contain trace levels of antibiotics, which can further disrupt the gastrointestinal bacterial flora and promote candida overgrowth.

-Mold- and Yeast-Containing Foods - It is generally recommended by many experts that individuals with chronic candidiasis avoid foods with a high content of yeast or mold, including alcoholic beverages, cheeses, dried fruits and peanuts. Even though many patients with chronic candidiasis may be able to tolerate these foods, it is still a good idea to eliminate them from the diet. At the very least they should be avoided until the situation is under control.

-Food Allergens - Food allergies are another common finding in patients with the yeast syndrome. ELISA tests, which determine IgE- and IgG-mediated food allergies, are often helpful in identifying food allergies.

*INCREASING DIGESTIVE SECRETIONS - In many cases, an important step in treating chronic candidiasis is improving digestive secretions. Gastric hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile all inhibit the overgrowth of candida and prevent its penetration into the absorptive surfaces of the small intestine - Patients on anti-ulcer drugs such as Tagamet and Zantac actually develop candida overgrowth in the stomach. This occurrence highlights the importance of hydrochloric acid in the prevention of candida overgrowth. Restoring proper levels of gastric acid by supplemental hydrochloric acid is often quite useful in chronic candidiasis.

*ENHANCING IMMUNITY - Recurrent or chronic infections, including chronic candidiasis, are characterized by a depressed immune system. A repetitive cycle makes it difficult to overcome chronic candidiasis: a compromised immune system leads to infection, and infection leads to damage to the immune system, further weakening resistance. The importance of a healthy immune function to protect against candida overgrowth is well known by any physician who has seen a patient suffering from AIDS or taking drugs that suppress the immune system. In either case, severe overgrowth of Candida is a hallmark feature. The occurrence of candida overgrowth in these conditions provides considerable evidence that attaining better immune function is essential for the patient with chronic candidiasis. In addition, patients with chronic candidiasis often suffer from other chronic infections, presumably due to a depressed immune system. Typically this depression of immune function is related to decreased thymus function, which manifests as depressed cell-mediated immunity. Although expensive laboratory tests can document this depression, it is better to rely on the history of repeated viral infections, outbreaks of cold sores or herpes, and prostatic or vaginal infections.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSED IMMUNE FUNCTION IN CANDIDIASIS
The patient with chronic candidiasis is typically stuck in a vicious cycle. In regard to the immune system, a triggering event such as antibiotic use or a nutrient deficiency can lead to immune suppression, allowing Candida to overgrow and become more firmly entrenched in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Once the organism attaches to the intestinal cells, it competes with the cells and ultimately the entire body for nutrition, potentially robbing the body of nutrients. In addition, Candida secretes a large number of toxins and antigens (compounds that the body recognizes as foreign and develops antibodies to). Candida is referred to as a "polyantigenic" organism because over 79 different antigens have been identified. As a result of this tremendous number of antigens, an overgrowth of Candida greatly taxes the immune system.

GOALS OF THERAPY
Restoring proper immune function is one of the key goals in the treatment of chronic candidiasis. There isn't any single magic bullet that can immediately restore immune function... Instead, a comprehensive approach involving lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, nutritional supplementation... is used.

*Probiotics - Intestinal flora play a major role in a person's health and nutritional status. The intestinal flora affect the immune system function, cholesterol metabolism, carcinogenesis and aging. Due to the importance of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bactobacillus bifidum to human health, supplements containing these organisms can be used to promote overall good health. The dosage of a commercial probiotic supplement is based upon the number of live organisms it contains. The ingestion of ten billion viable L. acidophilus or B. bifidum cells daily is a sufficient dose for most people. Amounts exceeding this may induce mild gastrointestinal disturbances, while smaller amounts may not be able to colonize the gastrointestinal tract.

*Natural Antiyeast Compounds - There are a number of natural agents with proven activity against Candida. Rather than relying on these agents as primary therapy, however, it is important to address the factors that predispose a person to chronic candidiasis - The four natural agents recommended to treat Candida are: caprylic acid, berberine-containing plants, garlic and enteric-coated volatile oil preparations

-Caprylic Acid - a naturally occurring fatty acid, [Caprylic acid] has been reported to be an effective antifungal compound in the treatment of candidiasis. Since caprylic acid is readily absorbed in the intestines, it is necessary to take time-release or enteric-coated formulas to allow for gradual release throughout the entire intestinal tract. The standard dosage for these delayed-release preparations is 1,000 to 2,000 mg with meals.

-Berberine-Containing Plants - include goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape and goldthread. Berberine, an alkaloid, has been extensively studied in both experimental and clinical settings for its antibiotic activity. Berberine exhibits a broad-spectrum of antibiotic activity, including activity against bacteria, protozoa and fungi, particularly Candida - Diarrhea is a common symptom in patients with chronic candidiasis. Berberine has shown remarkable antidiarrheal activity in even the most severe cases - The dosage of any berberine-containing plant should be based on berberine content. As there is a wide range of quality in preparations, standardized extracts are preferred.
Three times a day, solid (powdered dry) extract (4:1 or 8-12% alkaloid content): 250 ñ 500 mg
Berberine and berberine-containing plants are generally nontoxic at the recommended dosages; however, berberine-containing plants are not recommended for use during pregnancy, and higher dosages may interfere with B-vitamin metabolism.

-Garlic - has demonstrated significant antifungal activit. In fact, its inhibition of Candida in both animal and test tube studies has shown it to be more potent than nystatin, genital violet and six other reputed antifungal agents. The active component is allicin -the pungent and odorous principle of garlic. Treatment of chronic candidiasis requires a daily dose of at lease 10 mg of allicin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 mcg. This amount is equal to approximately one clove of fresh garlic. Going beyond this dosage - usually results in the odor of garlic being detectable.

-Enteric-Coated Volatile Oils - The most recent "new wave" natural anticandida formulas are enteric-coated volatile oil preparations. Volatile oils from oregano, thyme, peppermint and rosemary are all effective antifungal agents. A recent study compared the anticandida effect of oregano oil to that of caprylic acid. The results indicated that oregano oil is 100 times more potent than caprylic acid against Candida. Since the volatile oils are quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, enteric-coating is recommended to ensure delivery to the small and large intestine. An effective dosage for an enteric-coated volatile oil preparation is 0.2 to 0.4 ml twice daily between meals.

Most patients (but not all) can achieve benefits from the natural agents described here rather than the drug approach. Use of any effective antiyeast therapy alone will probably result in the Herxheimer ("die off") reaction due to the rapid killing of the organism and subsequent absorption of large quantities of yeast toxins, cell particles and antigens. The Herxheimer reaction refers to the worsening of symptoms as a result of this die-off. This reaction can be minimized by following the dietary recommendations for a minimum of two weeks before taking any antiyeast agent - [and by] starting any of the above-described antiyeast medications in low doses and gradually increasing dosage over one month to achieve full therapeutic dosage.


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