Systemic Candidiasis - The Cause of Too Many Ignored & Unresolved Health Problems
A healthy immune system is number one in any healing process. [A] yeast infection known as Candida . . . [is] key to an imbalanced immune system, severely complicating all healing, and dramatically contributing to many of the complaints doctors hear in their offices. Without addressing CRC [Candida-related complex], physicians have few remedies to correct the reported maladies. ~ Warren M. Levin, MD & Fran Gare, ND, Beyond the Yeast Connection (2013)
Do you suffer from chronic fatigue, sinusitis/headaches, immune deficiency, PMS, rashes, hypoglycemia/excess hunger, brain fog, depression, irritability, anxiety, severe chronic muscle tension and spasms, or digestive problems? If so, you may have systemic candidiasis, also known as Candida-related complex (CRC) .
CRC is an overgrowth of the parasitic, yeast-like fungus Candida albicans, which is normally present in the body. According to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, “most doctors have a near-religious belief that Candida overgrowth does not even exist, unless it is so severe that it is about to kill the patient.” He surmises that the unavailability of a lab test to distinguish candidiasis from ordinary yeast levels may explain this widespread doubt.
Enlightened holistic practitioners are aware of CRC, especially from the writings of C. Orian Truss, MD (Truss) (The Missing Diagnosis) and William G. Crook, MD (Crook) (The Yeast Connection). They recognize that addressing CRC can enable them to heal or greatly improve many disease states, including IBS/IBD, diabetes, obesity, numerous autoimmune diseases (including MS, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis), and cancer.
Why Candidiasis Is So Damaging
Understanding the damage from CRC requires some knowledge of the importance of protective bacteria in the digestive system. Given that the intestinal walls protect against every pathogenic substance that enters the gut, including harmful yeast organisms, 70-80% of the immune system is located in the intestinal tract in the form of trillions of protective bacteria (flora), of which each person requires a different mix.
In Beyond the Yeast Connection, Warren M. Levin, MD (Levin) explains that Candida destroys the balance of gut flora and the body by killing healthy bacteria, colonizing, attaching to the gut mucosa, irritating and destroying the intestinal lining, and causing inflammation throughout the intestinal tract. “Leaky gut syndrome”, the inflammation and weakening of the intestinal walls, has been considered a cause of many health problems, including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and food sensitivities and allergies (including Celiac disease).
Candida’s production of toxic acetaldehyde in the gut, which affects all cells of the body, is a principal cause of the metabolic disturbances accompanying CRC. Candida produces high, damaging levels of this probably cancerous chemical and alcohol when it metabolizes sugars. The body normally breaks down acetaldehyde from any source into acetic acid, a harmless substance that is generally broken down into carbon dioxide and water. In a healthy body, the acetaldehyde stays in the system only briefly and does not circulate through the body before it is catabolized. A CRC patient, on the other hand, cannot metabolize or purge the Candida-produced acetaldehyde or its accompanying alcohol, and thus can suffer various hangover-like symptoms.
Since the CRC regimen is strict, most want to be certain that candidiasis is the right diagnosis before plunging in. Key clues derive from: (1) medical history that discloses a collection of related symptoms; (2) current signs and symptoms; and (3) generally unreliable diagnostic tests [e.g., Urine Organic Acid Test (OAT), Comprehensive Stool Analysis, Skin, Tissue & Secretion Cultures, Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing (PCR)] Although the symptoms alone can suggest other diagnoses, the presence of numerous yeast-related signs and symptoms that indicate suppression of the immune system and other organ systems, with linking medical history factors, strongly suggests that yeast is causing a patient’s poor health. According to Truss, “the diagnosis must be suspected from the clinical picture and confirmed by the response to treatment.” Continuous professional guidance and support are thus critical to adhering to the Candida diet and controlling CRC.
The presence of these factors, even over the course of a 20-year period, are especially telling: (1) prolonged/repeated antibiotic use; (2) persistent vaginitis or other problems with reproductive organs; (3) birth control use; (4) pregnancy; (5) use (2 weeks or more) of prednisone, cortisone, or other steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs; (6) chronic fungus infections of the skin/nails; (7) exacerbated symptoms on damp days, or when exposed to mold, perfumes, tobacco smoke, or other chemicals; (8) sugar/alcohol/carbohydrates cravings; (9) acidic pH below 7.4 of blood, saliva, and/or urine; (9) chronic stress; (10) digestive ailments; (11) aches and pains; (12) energy or respiratory challenges; (13) emotional problems; and/or (14) brain dysfunction.
Holistic Treatment of CRC
The treatment of CRC involves three equally critical simultaneous steps: (1) starve the overgrown yeast with a Candida diet; (2) kill the overgrown yeast with nutritional supplements; and (3) replace the good bacteria that has been destroyed or crowded out. Treatment success (i.e., controlling the candidiasis so it does not interfere with daily function) depends on the extremity of the condition and patient compliance. The time required to overcome the most crippling aspects of the condition can range from 8-18 months, especially because an experienced practitioner will generally alter an individualized regimen over time based on a patient’s capacity to cope with treatment.
Some experts believe that building the immune system to enable it to fight CRC first requires removal of the toxins in the patient’s body that come from what she has eaten, drunk, and breathed. However, a patient’s susceptibility to, and inability to cope with, die-off (see below) can limit the usefulness of detoxification.
The prohibited foods of the Candida diet (e.g., sugars/carbohydrates, fermented/aged foods, gluten, dairy, saturated fat) feed the yeast and/or directly compromise the immune system. The permitted foods (e.g., high-density, low-fat protein, most vegetables, berries, and legumes) either (1) kill yeast, (2) inhibit the growth of yeast, or (3) heal the damage caused by CRC. All foods consumed should be (1) organic, (2) non-GMO, (3) unprocessed, and (4) refrigerated and consumed/frozen within 24 hours from preparation time.
Other factors that impact recovery include whether the causes of CRC are still present in a patient’s life, and the risk and tolerance of die-off or Herxheimer’s reaction. Although patients experience die-off in varying degrees and time periods, it occurs as the CRC regimen kills, crowds out, and stirs up the yeast. In reaction to being threatened, these live organisms can exacerbate symptoms, and can even create new ones, before a patient begins to feel better.
The treatment of CRC requires a complex combination of nutritional supplements. Success depends on these supplements factors: (1) quality; (2) dosage; (3) how they are combined; (4) frequency and timing of their use; and (5) period of time used. Effective supplements include: (1) yeast fighters (e.g., grapefruit seed extract, caprylic acid, aloe juice/gel, garlic, pau d’arco, oregano extract); (2) digestive track supporters (e..g, probiotics, S. boulardii, L--glutamine, EFAs); (3) immunity enhancers (e.g., thymus extract, astragalus, whey/other protein); and (4) adrenal and liver supporters.
Since managing CRC requires boosting the immune system and managing stress, yoga, tai chi/qigong, meditation/prayer, acupuncture, aerobic exercise, chiropractic care, and maintaining healthy relationships, can be quite helpful.
Whether you can control your CRC and live a full, healthy life depends on your desire to change your lifestyle and adhere long-term to a strict Candida diet that incorporates nutritional supplements.
PUBLISHED IN NATURAL NUTMEG MAGAZINE. Excerpted from “Systemic Candidiasis In Women - A Practical Guide to Controlling It,” J. Erika Dworkin, published in Essential Remedies for Women’s Health (2014). Erika is a Certified Lifestyle Educator, Nutrition Consultant, and owner of the Manchester Parkade Health Shoppe (860.646.8178, 378 West Middle Turnpike, Manchester).