Our Candida Diets series looks at the many elements of candida diets. The process of choosing the correct candida diet to follow can be a confusing one, which is reflective of this much misunderstood condition. The purpose of this series of articles will be to present the science behind an effective dietary approach, and eliminate a multitude of erroneous choices that can prolong suffering and increase the time and costs involved in correcting what is essentially an easily correctable imbalance.
The majority of medical doctors have not been trained in the science of systemic fungal candida and therefore fail to recognize its importance in managing and correcting many conditions and diseases. This leaves the average person scrambling for solutions and information that they can reliably follow to achieve the desired results and return their body to a state of optimal health.
This does not have to be the case however, as there are over 62,000 studies on candida that have been published since the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s. Reliable research exists and an average of 6 new papers on the science of candida are published each day. In addition to this, much of what we know about the body and how it functions has advanced greatly over the past 25+ years.
A good place to start is in getting to know more about candida and the human body. Candida is a broader term for a type of fungus that includes over 150 different types of species. The most common one of these as it relates to human health, is Candida albicans. Candida albicans normally exists in the body in a yeast form. A yeast is simply another variety of a fungus. It is normally found in various tissues throughout the body with the most common locations being the intestinal tract, mouth, and genitourinary tract. In its yeast state, candida lives in peaceful co-existence in our body with over 100 trillion bacteria and other organisms.
Due to the effect of antibiotics, this once peaceful resident, becomes a very problematic and pathogenic organism that has been linked to a multitude of conditions ranging from skin problems, asthma, allergies and diabetes, to cancers and neurological diseases. One hospital study showed that the majority of hospitalized patients with candida had no symptoms of a candida infection. In fact, the damage that it can create may not show up in life, and only upon autopsy after death.
Once antibiotics have eliminated the bacterial competition and impaired the body’s immune response, the yeast form of candida will easily convert to its fungal form and spread throughout the body potentially producing a vast array of symptoms and a complex medical picture. The complexity of this diagnostic picture eventually causes patients to leave their perplexed and doubting doctors behind, setting out on a journey of discovery and learning, and hopefully healing.
By the time most people read this article, they will have already invested a great deal of time and frustration into the process of regaining their health. It is my hope that this series of articles will help save you further time and money, and speed your process of recovering an optimal state of health.
The Candida Diet
Most candida diets owe their origins to Dr Orian Truss, MD, who is credited with creating the first candida diet approach in the 1950s. His dietary protocol is, by and large, what all other candida diets since then are based upon, despite decades of new research and understanding. Dr. Truss used medications along with diet to address systemic candida. Given that Dr. Truss originated the candida diet, let’s first look at the use of medications with diet.
The use of medications against candida quickly developed after the introduction of antibiotics. There was a strong need for them due to the sudden development of many conditions and diseases in people, where there previously had been none. In 1953, Dr. Truss reported on the case of a previously healthy man who became severely ill and hospitalized 4 months after using antibiotics. Dr. Truss developed a diet for candida to be used with the medication, Nystatin.
Dr. Truss found good results using this combination of diet and drugs. With systemic fungal candida, results were less successful. Nystatin is a drug that doesn’t work systemically in the body, and therefore has limited results. A common experience in people using this approach is that symptoms initially improve, but then return. People report never being able to go off the candida diet, as the symptoms return as soon as they do. This is a good sign that the problem was never corrected and only kept at bay. As with all drugs, initial success was replaced with failure as candida adapted to the drugs.
The adaptation of all micro-organisms stems from a primary drive to sustain life at all costs. Most of the micro-organisms that we know of today have been around for millions of years and have developed very rapid and complex abilities to adapt almost instantly. The use of antifungal drugs creates antifungal resistant strains that these drugs are no longer effective against. The longer these drugs stay in use, the weaker their effect. In the end, the micro-organisms become resistant to all medications, resulting in what the World Health Organization (WHO) now calls one of the top three threats to human health on the planet.
With the limited effectiveness of Nystatin and the increasing incidence of fungal conditions, other antifungal drugs were developed. Drugs such as Amphotericin B and the azole drugs (Diflucan, Fluconazole, and Ketoconazole) gained initial success, but quickly started to produce the same results of failure. Amphotericin has demonstrated ”significant toxicity.” The azole drugs have commonly been associated “liver damage.”
Unfortunately, as with most drugs, the incidence of side effects for each of these medications can themselves produce toxicity to organs and tissues, along with death. Another effect common to all medications is the Paradoxal Effect, whereby the medication itself can produce the same condition that it is being used to treat.
Antifungal drugs are commonly known to cause suppression of a person’s immune system. This suppression increases susceptibility to other infectious agents, such as E. coli and Staph aureus, that are present after antibiotic use. Rebound fungal infections are extremely common with anti fungal drugs, and combined with immunosuppression, they create a greater opportunity for developing more fungal infections, not less.
As the pharmaceutical industry struggles to find answers to the paradox of candida, new therapies and medications are continually being sought. In the end, after many medication failures, most patients realize this and head for the door to discover a solution for themselves.
For a sound approach to correcting fungal candida imbalances, visit Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.
Part VIII: Candida and Fatty Acids