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Candida: Cause of Chronic Illness

by Ralph J. Luciani D.O., M.S., PhD., M.D.(H)

Controversy in the medical community continues to surround the existence of a yeast syndrome also known as Candidiasis. The illness has symptoms of fatigue, depression, foggy thinking, sleep disturbance, irritable bowel, intestinal gas and bloating, constipation and muscle and joint pain causing fibromyalgia. The complaints are so multidimensional that physicians often mistake the problem for chronic depression, prescribing anti-depressants as the answer. And physicians in general fail to recognize any organic cause because general lab data fails to reveal organ disease. When confronted with the idea that a yeast might be the cause, most physicians again believe such an idea is absurd and impossible. The most common comment made by physicians is

" If you had yeast in your system, you'd be extremely ill and near death."

A study done at a hospital in New England several years ago showed that the majority of Candida infections acquired while in the hospital originated in the intestinal tracts of the infected patients. (Yeast overgrowth in the gut). It was determined that I.V. antibiotics contributed to the problem. Candida infection in one form or another has risen in prevalence over the past decade as one of the most frequent hospital acquired infections.

Candida albicans is a common yeast found in our environment and is the cause of several illnesses including candida vaginitis, candida dermatitis and candida septicemia which is a severe life threatening infection in the blood, usually found in immune weakened individuals. Candida is an opportunistic organism which can infect humans if the right conditions prevail. As with all yeasts, candida thrives on refined carbohydrates and sugars, fermenting them into alcohols and aldehydes, both of which are toxic to the body. These toxins saturate and damage cell membranes preventing the absorption of cell nutrients and hormones, including thyroid hormones. The problem most physicians have in accepting the existence of Candida Syndrome is that they have a misconception that it is supposedly an infection in the blood. In fact, the syndrome is caused by candida overgrowth in the intestinal tract. This overgrowth not only causes fermentation in the gut which gives irritable bowel symptoms, bloating and gas, but also causes Leaky Gut Syndrome, resulting in multiple allergies, asthma, eczema, and a host of auto-immune problems. The mere presence of excessive yeast in the system causes hypoglycemia symptoms of headaches, hunger and personality changes.

There are several possible causes of yeast overgrowth. Certainly the frequent use of potent antibiotics kills healthy bacteria in the gut which prevent yeast from growing, therefore causing yeast to grown unchecked. Other causes are female hormones and diet. Candidiasis is more prevalent in females because of the presence of cyclical Progesterone during a women's cycle. Progesterone enhances yeast growth. Along with the Standard American Diet (SAD diet) of sugars and high glycemic carbohydrates, yeast gets a green light to grow rampantly. But mainstream medicine still fails to admit the possibility of this problem.

Interestingly, when infants are given antibiotics they often develop thrush (yeast in the mouth) and a diaper rash due to yeast around the rectum. Pediatricians recognize this condition as a candida overgrowth from taking antibiotics and prescribe anti yeast medication and creams to clear up the condition. How much more often do adults take antibiotics which are more and more potent? And yet physicians tend to ignore the fact that yeast overgrowth could be a problem.

An examination of the live blood under the phase contrast microscope can often reveal cell wall deficient yeast organisms which may enter the bloodstream through a leaky gut. Being cell wall deficient, these organisms do not produce a septic response and are cleared by the immune system as bacteria are often cleared. But their presence does indicate a breach of the integrity of the intestinal tract.

The patients I see with this altered bowel ecology problem are usually quite ill with fatigue, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel and have not been able to get much help from other physicians. Proper treatment must address all the problems arising from the leaky gut, including food sensitivities, as well as anti-fungal medication, anti-yeast diet for several months and supplements for support.Adrenal exhaustion from long term illness is often also a problem which requires treatment. Subclinical hypothyroidism must also be treated, if indicated by basal metabolism temperature tests, to help cellular metabolism and detoxification. I strongly believe in educating my patients and produced a Candida Education video entitled "Candida: Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness," which is available from our office.

Candidiasis causing Altered Bowel Ecology Syndrome is real. Our comprehensive treatment program gives remarkable results for most patients.