Candida and arthritis have been linked together for decades and have become an increasingly common occurrence. Reports date back to 1960, but more recent science indicates that candida-induced arthritis has existed as long as candida and antibiotics have been around. Technology and medicine are only now beginning to catch up to this realization.

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints of the body that leads to degeneration and breakdown of the affected joint and surrounding tissues. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and Candida albicans is linked to several, if not all, of them. Candida albicans has been shown to increase inflammation in the body through several mechanisms, as inflammation promotes the growth of candida and furthers its ability to spread to other organs and tissues.

Candida produces several enzymes which help it to promote inflammation and break down tissues to acquire nutrients. One of these enzymes is Phospholipase A. Phospholipase A activity has a strong correlation with disease activity in the body, especially autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Phospholipases are not the only candida metabolite found to affect inflammation and joints. Researchers in Japan found that cell wall beta-glucans derived from candida “have the capacity to induce and exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as RA.” Beta-glucans can create a very strong immune response that increases pro-inflammatory immune responses.

Candida also increases joint inflammation by promoting the production of pro-inflammatory cyclo-oxygenase 2 and prostaglandin E2 that affect the resident cells of the joints called synovial fibroblasts.

Quantity does not appear to be a prerequisite either. The presence of even small amounts of candida in the body has been found to increase arthritis. Researchers in the Netherlands found that, “minute amounts of fungal components, like C. albicans, are very potent in interfering with the local cytokine environment in an arthritic joint, thereby polarizing arthritis towards a more destructive phenotype…leading to enhanced Th17 expansion and resulting in a more destructive arthritis.” Researcher Dr. Christina Zielinski found a strong correlation between Candida causing increased levels of Th17 and autoimmune arthritis. Researchers from France also found the same effect on joints from Th17 cells.

The presence of fungal candida in the body is primarily a result of antibiotic exposure. Antibiotics disrupt the normal bacterial flora, or microbiota, leading first to gut colonization by Candida. Researchers in Japan found that Candida increased levels of joint inflammation leading them to state that, ” C. albicans gut colonization in mice aggravates inflammation in allergic and autoimmune diseases, not only in the gut but also in the extra-gut tissues and underscores the necessity of investigating the pathogenic role of C. albicans gut colonization in immune diseases in humans.”

The destruction of bacteria in the gut by antibiotics can create increased sensitivity of tissues and organs to inflammation by flooding the body with bacterial metabolites such as Lipopolysccharides (LPS). Subsequent growth and spreading of candida can then activate this further.

Given what we know about candida and its effects on the body today, it’s easy to see where the effects of candida and antibiotics need to be accounted for and addressed. While we know that candida can affect many tissues and organs, much of that may go unnoticed for years or decades due to the body’s ability to adapt and compensate. Feedback signs and symptoms may be temporary leaving one with the impression that the underlying issue has been resolved. Most tissue damage can go unnoticed  for years until large quantities of it have been destroyed.

Science tells us that antibiotics create systemic fungal infections. Other contributing, but not necessary, factors can include stress, diet, steroids and other medications. Candida and arthritis will continue to appear together so long as antibiotics are used as they currently are.

Get started on a healthier body today with Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.

You might also be interested in our Candida Diet Series:

Part I: Candida and Medications

Part II: Candida and Hydrogen Peroxide

Part III: Candida and Bacillus subtilis

Part IV: Candida and Sugars

Part V: Candida and The Quick Fix

Part VI: Candida and Herbs

Part VII: Candida and Probiotics

Part VIII: Candida and Fatty Acids


Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is founder of the McCombs Center for Health, the Candida Plan, the Candida Library, and author of Lifeforce and The Everything Candida Diet Book.