Currently, there are over 100,000 species of known fungus on the planet and another 1.5-2.5 million that are expected to exist. Of these, the most well known fungus that exists on and within humans is the Candida Albicans species. Of this particular species there are over 1000 different strains that have been identified in various studies.
Candida Albicans, is normally a benign member of the normal flora of the human digestive tract, but it is capable of causing life-threatening illnesses in patients whose immune system is compromised. It is a dimorphic organism, meaning that it exists in 2 different forms, as a yeast or a fungus.
The yeast form is considered to be the benign or harmless state, while the fungal, mycelial form is the harmful, invasive state. Some research suggests that the yeast form may also be harmful under certain conditions, or at least play a greater role in the ability of the fungal form to invade the body and avoid immune system responses. The form that Candida will assume is dependent on various environmental factors – temperature, pH, nutrient availability, immune response, micro-organism competition, etc. It continually demonstrates an amazing ability to adapt to changes in its environment at lightening-like speeds.
Candida albicans is the most frequent opportunistic fungal infection in man. In hospital stays, it is the most commonly acquired (nosocomial) infection due to antibiotic use.
Antibiotics have a growth inducing effect on Candida Albicans. This can be accomplished in several ways. Antibiotics destroy the natural bacterial flora that helps to keep candida in check. Some resources state that the normal ratio of good bacteria to candida is a million to one. Eliminating large bacterial colonies eliminates the competition and enables the candida to have a bigger share of the pie, so to speak.
As bacteria are destroyed by antibiotics, they break down and release substances from within their cells that promote inflammation and tissue break down. One of these inflammatory substances, peptidoglycan (PGN) has been found to directly stimulate candida to change from its yeast to fungal form.
Antibiotics can also suppress immune system responses and function, which enable the fungal candida to evade immune cells and grow unchecked throughout the body.
When antibiotics indiscriminately destroy the good and bad bacteria of the intestinal tract, they affect the normal pH of these tissues. The bacteria help to keep the pH of the intestinal tract in an acidic range through secretions of acids and enzymes. Without these acids, the pH becomes more alkaline. This creates an environment that further stimulates and promotes active fungal growth.
As expressed earlier in this article, candida displays amazing adaptability to its environment. One common misconception is that candida grows only in a nutrient rich environment. Research shows that a deficiency of nutrients can also stimulate the yeast-to-fungal change, as the candida will go in search of nutrients elsewhere in the body’s tissues. The fact that candida grows on the nutrient barren plains of our body’s skin surface is a good example of how well it can survive under different conditions.
Once the fungal form of candida has been allowed to flourish, it can affect every organ, tissue, and cell of our bodies. Candida excretes a long list of toxins into the body. These toxins can produce many symptoms and lead to the overall deterioration of health that is a hallmark of candida infections. When our immune systems are depleted, stressed, or imbalanced in any way, this will allow the candida to become a systemic infection. This type of infection can last an entire lifetime, causing rapid aging and a host of illnesses.
To restore health and vitality in the body, the candida needs to be eliminated and reduced to its yeast form once again. Additionally, the body needs to detoxified of the accumulated wastes, and the beneficial bacterial flora needs to be re-implanted into the body’s tissues. The intestinal tract is considered to be the densest ecosystem of bacteria on the planet. There are an estimated 100 trillion cells that reside within it. Restoring and maintaining the balance of this system will have a tremendous impact on our health and how we age. We have enough information to enable us to activate the life force within us and make the right choices for leading a healthy vibrant life.
Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is a 3rd generation Doctor of Chiropractic, author of the book: LifeForce, and developer of the Life Force Plan. His 25 years of ongoing research and practice emphasizes addressing the nutritional, environmental, emotional, structural, and biochemical aspects of acute and chronic health conditions in his patients.
A quick look at 44 species of Candida: Candida albicans, Candida ascalaphidarum, Candida amphixiae, Candida antarctica, Candida atlantica, Candida atmosphaerica, Candida blattae, Candida carpophila, Candida cerambycidarum, Candida chauliodes, Candida corydali, Candida dosseyi, Candida dubliniensis, Candida ergatensis, Candida fructus, Candida glabrata, Candida fermentati, Candida guilliermondii, Candida haemulonii, Candida insectamens, Candida insectorum, Candida intermedia, Candida jeffresii, Candida kefyr, Candida krusei, Candida lusitaniae, Candida lyxosophila, Candida maltosa, Candida membranifaciens, Candida milleri, Candida oleophila, Candida oregonensis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida quercitrusa, Candida sake, Candida shehatea, Candida temnochilae, Candida tenuis, Candida tropicalis, Candida tsuchiyae, Candida sinolaborantium, Candida sojae, Candida viswanathii, Candida utilis.
Further research reveals another 29 species of Candida:
Candida abiesophila, Candida amphixiae, Candida blattariae, Candida bracarensis, Candida buinensis, Candida cerambycidaru, Candida endomychidarum, Candida floridaensis, Candida friedrichii, Candida ghanaensis, Candida gorgasii, Candida grinbergsii, Candida lessepsii, Candida lignicola, Candida lignohabitans, Candida marionensis, Candida marylandica, Candida membranifaciens, Candida michaelii, Candida newmexicoensis, Candida nivariensis, Candida northcarolinaensis, Candida ontarioensis, Candida peoriaensis, Candida pinicola, Candida ponderosae, Candida sinolaborantium, Candida temnochilae, Candida Thailandia.
It is likely that there are hundreds of candida species, and tens of thousands of strains. We are only just beginning to understand the world that exists within us.