FUNGAL OVERGROWTH IN THE INTESTINES: A COMMON PROBLEM IN TOXIC MOLD SYDROME
FUNGAL OVERGROWTH AKA CANDIDA SYNDROME: If you are experiencing symptoms from exposure to toxic mold, you may have noticed that you suddenly have a white tongue and may be reacting allergically to foods that you never used to have a problem with. Most likely you are experiencing a candida or fungalovergrowth in your entire digestive tract which includes your mouth as well as your intestines. We think this may happen as a result of the immune suppression caused by exposure to toxic mold. Could it also be the fungus you are being exposed to has set up camp in your digestive tract? I think it is a possibility because some of the toxic molds can live in the human body. Candida is a type of fungus that normally grows in your body at low levels but when it overgrows can cause toxic symptoms.
The sad thing is that even if you leave the mold exposure, the candida or fungal- overgrowth seems to stick with you. If you do not take care of it right away it can get so deeply embedded in the intestines that it will be harder to get under control.
So right about now you may be wondering, what is fungal-overgrowth or candida overgrowth syndrome AKA Candida Syndrome? For the purposes of this article I am going to refer to this syndrome interchangeably as candida syndrome or fungal-overgrowth syndrome. Keep in mind the possibility that this could also be due to other fungi specifically the ones you have been exposed to. In either case the same principles and treatment apply.
THE CANDIDA SYNDROME/FUNGAL-OVERGROWTH SYNDROME: WHAT IS IT?
The candida syndrome/fungal overgrowth syndrome is a health problem that is more widespread than thought and largely ignored by the medical profession. It is not considered by many doctors when patients come in complaining of the symptoms of this syndrome, a few of which are fatigue and just not feeling well. Many holistic physicians do recognize and treat this, but because holistic physicians are a minority, many people are missing out on being diagnosed and treated for this condition.
In my practice, all too often, I encounter patients that are ignorant of the existence of this syndrome and have been to their family physician and told there is nothing wrong with them or put on an antidepressant.
I have seen remarkable improvements in my patients that I have diagnosed with candida syndrome/fungal overgrowth syndrome after being treated with anti-fungal diets, anti-fungal supplements and sometimes anti-fungal medication.
What is this syndrome?
The candida syndrome/fungal-overgrowth syndrome is a condition that occurs in the body when there is an imbalance in the flora (microbiology community) of the intestinal tract. There are more bacteria in our intestines than there are cells in the human body. And these bacteria have more metabolic activity than all the cells of the human body. So it makes sense that imbalances can dramatically affect human health.
Ordinarily, there is a delicate balance of bacteria and yeast (fungus) called candida. There are many strains of candida. Candida albicans is the most common strain in the human body. Among candida albicans there is variation in the sensitivity of these organisms to anti-fungal drugs or herbs. In other words, sometimes candida is resistant to certain agents that would normally kill it.
The bacteria in the intestines are of 2 types, aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic bacteria require oxygen while anaerobic bacteria are perfectly fine without oxygen. The vast majority of the bacteria in the intestine are anaerobes but their significance to health remains largely unknown.
The levels of aerobic bacteria are what researchers use as an indicator of bacterial health.
The three most frequently identified aerobic organisms are lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and ecoli.. These bacteria are essential to maintaining a healthy intestinal tract.
Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria have been shown to inhibit gut pathogens, and carcinogens, lower cholesterol and synthesize vitamins and enzymes.
There are other bacteria that can inhabit the intestines that are not beneficial and actually are possible or known carcinogens. If there are not enough of the good bacteria around, these bad bacteria can set up residence. Also candida can overgrow as well, when there is a deficiency of this good bacteria. In addition to bacteria and yeast there are also parasites that can invade the intestines. They are not as common but certain ones like giardia and blastocystis hominus are more common than most people would imagine.
HOW DO WE GET IMBALANCES IN OUR INTESTINAL FLORA?
Antibiotics are the main culprit for this. Antibiotics kill bacteria but they do not kill yeast or fungal organisms like candida.. So the good bacteria die and the yeast overgrows to fill up the empty space.. Also some bad bacteria can overgrow too if it is a strain that is resistant to the antibiotic.
Other things can contribute as well to killing good bacteria, such as preservatives in food, chlorine in drinking water and antibiotics in meat and dairy.
Also, the use of steroids, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can make yeast grow and flourish and make a candida overgrowth worse.
Also the perfect recipe for fungal overgrowth after killing off all the beneficial bacteria is a diet high in refined carbohydrates like sugar, white flour products, soda pops and juice. The main fuel source for candida is sugar. You may recall when making bread, there has to be some sort of sugar in the recipe to make the bread rise. This sugar is food for the yeast, enabling it to multiply and rise. The same thing happens in your intestines. When you eat sugar and refined carbs you are feeding the yeast. This is usually not a problem in someone with balanced flora. But with imbalanced flora it can be disasterous.
In our culture there is a dangerous combination of frequent antibiotic use and excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates. It is no wonder there seems to be so many with this syndrome.
SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH TOO MUCH YEAST IN OUR INTESTINES?
As yeast live and grow they produce waste products like any living organism does. And these metabolic waste products are toxic to the human body. In normal amounts a healthy body can handle them with no problem.
But when the levels of metabolic waste increase as the number of candida organisms increase in the intestines, the body can become overwhelmed with the amount of toxins it has to get rid of.
And if the body is being exposed to other toxins like that of toxic black mold, the body's detoxification pathways can easily become overwhelmed and toxic symptoms can develop.
Couple this with the fact that some toxic mold toxins actually suppress the immune system which can lead to an overgrowth of candida, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
The toxins cause symptoms that can vary between individuals because of individual variations and variations in types of fungus and the toxins they can produce.
THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF YEAST OVERGROWTH ARE:
The most common symptoms I have observed are:
a foggy headed feeling,
Other symptoms can be
sensitivity to tobacco smoke, perfumes and chemicals
inability to tolerate alcohol
low body temperature
HOW IS YEAST OVERGROWTH DIAGNOSED?
There are several tests to determine if someone has candida.
The easiest and least expensive test is the candida questionnaire. Follow the link below to print out the questionnaire and take the candida test.
BLOOD TEST FOR CANDIDA OVERGROWTH SYNDROME
Another test for candida is a simple blood test you can have your doctor order for you.
Candida IgG (quantitative)
Candida IgA (quantitative)
Candida IgM (quantitative)
Have your doctor order these tests exactly as written above and the diagnosis is intestinal candidiasis (diagnosis code is 112.85)
To interpret this test, generally as follows:
elevated IgG levels mean past exposure
elevated IgA levels means a current intestinal overgrowth
elevated IgM levels mean the candida overgrowth has just begun recently
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CANDIDA OVERGROWTH?
STEP ONE-REMOVAL: STOP THE FUNGAL-OVERGROWTH
The following 4 supplements I think are the best combination to rid your body of excess candida.
This supplement is a combination of herbs and other natural substances that are very effective in controlling fungal overgrowth in the intestines.
Candidase™ includes two enzymes that help control Candida and other fungal overgrowth. In individuals with fungal overgrowth there is often a large amount of undigested fiber in the large intestine. Cellulase is the enzyme that breaks down fiber. It is also the only digestive enzyme our body does not make. By adding cellulase to the diet this fiber may be removed along with mucus and our body is able to achieve balance. The cell of yeast contains some fungal cellulose or a compound called chitin. Chitin is a polysaccharide, or carbohydrate, which is structurally very similar to cellulose. For the same reasons cellulase may help remove undigested fiber in the colon, it has been used in breaking down this cellulose-like chitin. The inside of the cell of yeast is mostly protein . The enzyme protease has the ability to hydrolyze (digest) protein. Protease has been used in clinics all over the world to break down this fungus and prevent its overgrowth. The addition of protease to this formula helps the body deal with excess "die-off" or common symptoms of cleansing.
This powerful probiotic will actually use candida as a food source. So, by digesting candida, it is very effective at controlling candida and other fungal overgrowth.
This supplement, combined with the above two supplements, works very well at keeping candida under control.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
THE ANTI CANDIDA DIET
This is essential to getting fungal overgrowth under control. If you constantly feed candida or other fungus with its food source, sugar and difficult to digest carbohydrates it will be really hard to get it under control.
Avoid sugar and refined white flour products, milk, soda pop, juice, candies, cookies basically anything with a lot of sugar in it.
Avoid all grains, potatoes and sweet potatoes for 6 months to a year. The carbohydrates in these foods are hard to digest and leave lots of undigested carbs in your gut for candida and other fungus to have a feast on.
Avoid all fruits for the first three weeks of the diet then add back green apples, strawberries, blueberries, and grapefruit for 2 weeks then after that you can eat any fruit you want on an empty stomach.
You also need to avoid honey, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners in the first 3 weeks. In the first 3 weeks you can have stevia only. After 3 weeks you can add back small amounts of honey only.
STEP 2 ADD BACK THE GOOD BACTERIA
Help control fungal overgrowth by adding back the good bacteria by taking good quality probiotics.
My favorite probiotics are made by a company called Natren who specializes in high quality probiotics.
The following two supplements are a great combination to start building back your good bacteria. I have been using these successfully in both myself and my patients over the years.
STEP 3 HEAL YOUR INTESTINES
Fungal overgrowth creates a phenomenon called leaky gut syndrome. This is basically tiny holes in the gut lining caused by this yeast infection. Through these tiny holes undigested food can pass into the blood stream sensitizing the body to that particular food and causing food allergies. Once you develop the food allergies they will probably stick with you for a few years because the body does not forget easily. But you can fix the leak so to speak so more food allergies are not created.
The best supplement for healing the gut lining is an amino acid called glutamine. GI revive made by Designs for Health has good levels of glutamine to heal the gut along with other substance that help heal the gut lining.
STEP 4 DISCOVER YOUR FOOD ALLERGIES
Discover what your FOOD ALLERGIES are and either eliminate those foods or rotate them every four days.
There are now blood tests through Quest labs that you can ask your doctor to do. Make sure you ask your doctor for both the IgE and IgG food allergy tests. IgG food allergies are much less severe and much more common than IgE allergies. IgE allergies to foods seem to cause severe anaphylactic like reactions whereas IgG food allergy reactions cause milder reactions like fatigue, abdominal pain etc. Foods that cause IgG allergic reactions often can be eaten every 4 days with no symptoms and that is the basis for the Four Day Rotation Diet