Antibiotics & candida. The two go hand-in-hand. Nothing else is guaranteed to create a systemic candida fungal infection in the body as fast, or as effectively as antibiotics. Nothing else but antibiotics cause systemic fungal candida infections on a routine basis for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

In spite of government concerns and warnings about the end of the antibiotic era due to the development of antibiotic resistant strains, antibiotic use was found to have increased 36% worldwide from 2000 to 2010. The development of antibiotic resistant bacteria is now estimated to kill 300 million people by 2050. The word “anti-biotic” means “against life” and only now are we beginning to see how true that is.

As dim as that outlook is, there is another, more pervasive effect from the use of antibiotics that typically goes unrecognized, the development of systemic fungal candida infections. Antibiotics & candida. The use of one creates the emergence of the other.

The emergence of fungal candida as a growing health problem dates back to the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s. This is clearly outlined on PubMed, the free search engine of the United States National Library of Medicine that references over 23 million scientific articles and abstracts. A search for candida will reveal over 56,ooo research papers on this organism. On the right-hand corner of the page, a quick look at the “Results by Year” shows that research on candida as an infectious agent had zero studies in 1944, the year before antibiotics began to be introduced as an emerging medical therapy.

From zero studies in 1940 to 2568 studies in 2014, over 56,ooo studies on candida have been cited on PubMed. As the use of antibiotics continues to increase, so will the number of studies. Antibiotics & candida, an inseparable pair.

In spite of the 56,000 studies on candida and ongoing research approaching 3000 studies a year, the medical field remains woefully uninformed about the magnitude and prevalence of candida in society. Critics cite an unwillingness of medical doctors to look at anything that might be deemed as a side effect of prescription medications, along with a general lack of knowledge regarding antibiotic pharmokinetics and human physiology.

As one pharmaceutical salesman told me, “Doctors don’t know anything about drugs unless we tell them, and we don’t tell them everything.”

This gap between science and medicine leaves patients to fend for themselves, which can produce beneficial results, but it may also leave them wandering without concrete answers while candida creates and contributes to more than 125+ diseases and imbalances within the body.

For those looking for the links between antibiotics & candida, there are over 10 different ways that antibiotics cause candida.

ANTIBIOTICS & CANDIDA

In 5 to 7 days, antibiotics can wipe out all the bacteria in the body. It then takes candida as little as 5 to 52 hours to spread systemically. No other drugs, with exception of chemotherapy, enable candida to multiply and spread so rapidly. Although several articles state that steroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and birth control pills will create candida, immunosuppression alone has not been found to create fungal candida. Only antibiotics via the mechanisms mentioned below will reliably create systemic fungal candida time and time again. Once that imbalance is established, it becomes permanent until it is reversed.

1) Antibiotics cause the loss of bacterial inhibition. Without 100 trillion bacteria present to crowd out and inhibit it, fungal candida grows unchecked.  This one of the most powerful inducers of fungal growth. (3) One of the main types of bacteria that inhibit candida are the Lactobacillus species. Once they are eliminated by antibiotics, fungal candida grows and spreads, and will then inhibit the the Lactobacillus species from recolonizing the intestinal tract later on.

2) Antibiotics cause a loss of nutrient competition (4). Without 100 trillion bacteria present, the competition for nutrients ceases to exist and fungal candida has more than enough food resources to fuel its growth.

3) Antibiotics alter intestinal pH. Fungal candida requires an alkaline pH for its growth. Many of the bacteria in the intestinal tract release acids to maintain a healthy pH in the acidic range. Antibiotics eliminate these acid-forming bacteria and this leads to pH changes that stimulate the conversion of candida from yeast to fungus. It is well established that a pH around neutrality (pH ~6·5) favours hyphal development (5) of C. albicans in vitro, while a low pH (pH <6·5) blocks hyphal formation and stimulates growth of the yeast form.

4) Antibiotics destroy bacteria that produce antifungal compounds (6) that help to inhibit and regulate fungal growth. Elimination of the Lactobacillus bacteria eliminates production of long and short-chain fatty acids that inhibit candida’s fungal conversion.(7)

5) Antibiotics disrupt the mucosal barrier of the intestinal tract. Mucins are proteins found in mucus that suppress the fungal invasion of candida. Antibiotics degrade mucins (9) leaving people vulnerable to the growth and spread of candida throughout the body.

6) Antibiotics directly stimulate yeast to fungus conversion. The tetracycline antibiotics have been associated with direct stimulation of fungal candida growth. (10)

7) Antibiotics suppress immune system responses which then enables fungal candida to evade the immune system and grow unchecked throughout the body. Suppression of immune cells is a frequent, if not constant, effect of antibiotic use, especially of those cells (neutrophils) that are most effective against candida. Erythromycin (11) and other antibiotics (12) suppress neutrophils and macrophages, the two most effective immune cells against fungal candida.

8) Antibiotics induce a shift in immune system responses that favor the growth of fungal candida. A Th1 immune is most effective against fungal candida, as well as viruses, parasites, and many bacterial pathogens. Antibiotics create a shift towards a Th2 immune response (13) that allows for the spread of fungal and other infectious agents.

9) Antibiotics eliminate bacteria that regulate immune responses. The microbiome helps to maintain and regulate immune responses (14) throughout the body.

10) Antibiotics suppress immune system responses. By suppressing the macrophages and the inflammatory response, the liver does not release acute-phase proteins which are necessary for preventing the spread of pathogenic organisms throughout the body. Three of these acute-phase proteins (Ferritin, Ceruloplasmin, & Haptoglobin) function by binding iron and making it unavailable for the growth pathogenic fungal candida. Without these proteins, candida has access to all of the iron that it needs to spread and grow. There are at least 3 separate iron uptake pathways in the pathogenic fungal form of candida.(15)

11) By killing off over 100 trillion bacteria, antibiotics cause the breakdown of the bacterial cells and a massive release intracellular bacterial components, like Peptidoglycans (PGN) that act directly on the cellular membrane of the yeast Candida Albicans (16) causing it to transform its normal yeast to its pathogenic fungal form.

Given that the effects of antibiotic use can persist for years and the development of fungal candida causes or contributes to a very long list of diseases and conditions, one must be prepared to reverse the effects of antibiotic use and reduce any negative side effects.

Taking probiotics while taking antibiotics has been shown to reduce some of the side effects and long-term consequences of antibiotic use. This approach was originally used over 60 years ago when antibiotics were first being used, but subsequently ceased to be recommended.

For anyone who has taken antibiotics, re-establishing a balanced gut and converting fungal candida back to its normal yeast form is a necessity. The Candida Plan is designed to accomplish this naturally without the use of drugs that create further imbalances and destroy immune cells. Reverse the effects of antibiotics & candida and live a healthy life.

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is founder of the McCombs Center for Health, the Candida Plan, the Candida Library, and author of Lifeforce, The Everything Candida Diet Book, and The Everything Guide to Autoimmune Diets. Check out our podcast, “The Candida Chronicles” on iTunes and SoundCloud.

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1. Global antibiotic consumption 2000 to 2010: an analysis of national pharmaceutical sales data. Van Boeckel, Thomas P et al.  The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 14, Issue 8, 742 – 750.

3. Germ tube induction in Candida albicans. Shepherd, MG et al. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 1980, Volume 26, 21-26

4. Control of Pathogens and Pathobionts by the Gut Microbiota. Hamada N et al. Nature immunology. 2013;14(7):685-690. doi:10.1038/ni.2608.

5. A characterization of pH-regulated dimorphism in Candida albicans. Buffo, Jeremy et al. Mycopathologia. 1984, Volume 85, Issue 1-2, pp 21-30

6. Antifungal activity of lactic acid bacteria: Factors affecting production and stability of antifungal compounds of Lactobacillus plantarum, and effects of the antifungal compounds on growth and aflatoxin production by Aspergillus spp. Bianchini, Andreia.(January 1, 2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Paper AAI3398388.

7. Regulation of Candida albicans Morphogenesis by Fatty Acid Metabolites. Noverr MC, Huffnagle GB. Journal of Infection and Immunity.2004 Nov; 72(11): 6206–6210.

8. Mucins Suppress Virulence Traits of Candida albicans. Kavanaugh NL et al. mBio. Nov. 2014, Volume 5, No. 6,e01911-14

9. Influence of antibiotics on intestinal mucin in healthy subjects. Carlstedt-Duke B. et al. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology.1986 Dec;5(6):634-8.

10. Characteristics of Yeasts Isolated from Processed Poultry and the Influence of Tetracyclines on Their Growth. Feb. 1959. Walker HW, Ayres JC.

11.Experimental Study of Antibiotic-Induced Immunosuppression in Mice. II. Th, Ts and NC Cell Involvement. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 1983;6(4):301-12.

12. The influence of antibiotics on phagocytic and bacteriocidal activity of rabbit peritoneal macrophages stimulated by filtrates of cultured t-lymphocytes. Sacha PT et al. Medycyna Doswiadczalna Mikrobiologia.1999;51(3-4):399-412.

13. An oral introduction of intestinal bacteria prevents the development of a long-term Th2-skewed immunological memory induced by neonatal antibiotic treatment in mice. Sudo N et al. Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology.2002 Jul;32(7):1112-6.

14. The gut microbiome shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Round JL, Mazmanian SK. Nature Reviews Immunology. May, 2009, 9, 313-323

15. Haemin uptake and use as an iron source by Candida albicans: role of CaHMX1-encoded haem oxygenase. Santos, Renata et al. Microbiology, Volume 149, No. 3, 579-588.

16. Bacterial peptidoglycan-derived molecules activate Candida albicans hyphal growth. Wang Y, Xu X-L. Communicative & Integrative Biology 1.2 (2008): 137–139