The human intestines are inhabited by billions of beneficial or "friendly" bacteria together with some candida yeast and "unfriendly" bacteria and parasites in a ratio of approximately 85 to 15.
These bacteria and yeast, which are mostly located in the colon, aid in digestion by fermenting substances that were not digested in the small intestine and by breaking down any remaining nutrients.
Candida yeast is a normal and necessary part of our digestive tract as one of its functions is to destroy harmful bacteria and parasites and keep them in check.
Intestinal dysbiosis is when the intestinal tract is repetitively exposed to toxic substances the 85 to 15 ratio of good bacteria becomes imbalanced and the yeast becomes pathogenic and overtakes the good bacteria.
Americans are the most fungally infected in the world which has now reached epidemic proportions. It is often an underlying condition in many diseases. Such overgrowth of fungi, also referred to as "systemic candida" or "candidiasis," now affects nearly 50 percent of the population and is no longer simply the cause of "female yeast infections." It now occurs in equal numbers of men and women.
Chronic fungal infections are one of the most common, and most under-diagnosed, health disorders today!
Symptoms of a Fungal Infection
The following "dirty dozen" symptoms may be a sign of a systemic fungal infection, or "candidiasis," an intestinal invasion of fungus that can result in serious health problems if left
- Skin rashes (moist red patches anywhere on the body), athlete's foot, ringworm or jock itch.
- White patches in the mouth or on the tongue.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in which abdominal pain or discomfort is associated with a change in bowel pattern.
- Chronic sinus problems.
Gluten intolerance and/or food allergies.
- Increased asthma problems.
- Increased chemical sensitivities.
- Excess gas, bloating, and/or chronic heartburn.
- Chronic fatigue, body aches, and/or general weakness.
- Decreased concentration and/or memory loss.
- Irritability and agitation.
- Excessive craving for sweets.
What causes fungal infections, and why have they become so rampant during the past decade?
Those "Gremlins" in our digestive tract!
As previously stated, yeast is a normal and necessary part of the micro-organisms that populate our
digestive tract. Probiotic flora or "friendly" bacteria keep the candida yeast in check, until you take an antibiotic which kills off the "friendlies" but not the candida because it hides in the lining of the intestinal tract. With the good bacteria wiped out, the candida takes over!
Remember the movie "Gremlins" where they were harmless, friendly little critters until you fed them after midnight - at which point they morphed
into devious, destructive creatures that caused havoc? Candida yeast behaves in a similar fashion!
Like Gremlins, when candida gets "fed" it takes over and morphs into pathogenic fungi which produce rhizoids, or tentacles, that bore into the intestinal walls causing microscopic holes. These holes compromise the immune system by allowing toxins, undigested food particles and bacteria to enter the bloodstream - a condition known as
Leaky Gut Syndrome.
And what does candida thrive on - sugar, loads of sugar! It is, after all, a sugar-fermenting organism. And the average person today consumes about 130 pounds of sugar a year19 in the form of diet drinks, dried fruits, sodas, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates such as sweet rolls, ice cream, jam and jellies, pastries, white bread and white rice.
Processed and prepared foods - so prevalent in
today's busy workday environment - promote systemic fungal infections as they contain preservatives which are themselves antibiotic and kill off friendly bacteria.
Stress also destroys the vital balance of beneficial bacteria and can seriously compromise our immune system. And most people today live stressful lives. Minimize the use of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco as these substances deplete the body's anti-stress hormones.
Likewise, anti-inflammatories, such as prednisone, as well as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin), fenoprofen (Nalfon), and related NSAIDS contribute to weakening the adrenal gland which is responsible for enhancing the immune system against fungi.
Many of the "autoimmune diseases" - a condition where the body's immune system attacks its own tissue - may be the result of "leaky gut syndrome" cause
by pathogenic fungi.
Could there be direct correlations between a systemic fungal infection and many auto-immune diseases for which medical science has no specific cause, no known prevention, and no cure? Many auto-immune diseases share the same symptoms and are ameliorated by similar remedies. Consider:
Many systemic fungal
infections go unchecked and undiagnosed. Or are they perhaps being diagnosed as RA, "allergen attacks," gluten intolerance, chronic sinus infection, or fibromyalgia?
(RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease where the body's immune system attacks its own tissue. Clinical studies show individuals with RA have increased intestinal permeability to dietary and bacterial antigens as well as alternations in bacterial flora.
Generally, RA is not found in societies that eat a more primitive diet of whole foods, vegetables, and fiber and is found at a relatively high rate in modern societies consuming a diet rich in refined
sugars and carbohydrates - the very foods preferred by fungi.
Food allergies and allergens.
Any substance, foreign to the body, will provoke an immune response. We also know that allergens are chemical compounds, commonly proteins, which cause the production of antibodies and hence and allergic reaction. We also know that a systemic fungal infection, if left unchecked, can result in compromise of the stomach lining and result in "leaky gut syndrome."
(Gluten Intolerance) is triggered by gluten proteins from wheat in susceptible people. Again, medical science has no specific cause as to its onset, no known prevention, and no cure. A recent study, however, shows that the cell walls of candida contain the same protein sequence as wheat gluten and may trigger or stimulate Celiac Disease!
is an inflammation of the nasal sinuses commonly known as a sinus infection. About 37 million Americans suffer form sinus infections each year and its prevalence is on the rise - indicating that the common treatment methods are missing the root cause of the problem.
Most cases of sinusitis are treated with antibiotics, which unfortunately, help cover up symptoms in the short-term but are a disaster when used on an ongoing basis. The reason is simple. A
sinus infection is not really an infection at all!
Researchers have found that most cases of chronic sinusitis are not caused by infection but are actually an immune disorder caused by fungus. The researchers (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Sept. 1999) discovered that fungal organisms were present in the mucus of 96 percent of patients who had surgery for chronic sinusitis.
Other studies have determined that a fungicide
was effective in decreasing inflammation and nasal swelling among participants suffering from chronic sinusitis.
means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons - the soft fibrous tissues in the body. While the severity of symptoms fluctuates from person to person, this disease resembles a post-viral state. This similarity is the reason many experts believe that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may actually be the same condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(IBS) symptoms are found in approximately 40 to 70 percent of fibromyalgia patients. Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD also occurs with the same high frequency.
A Word about Probiotics
The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The
largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus is the best known.
While probiotics are important because they restore the "friendly" bacteria to the gut, they cannot do their job until the pathogenic fungi have been destroyed and eliminated. Otherwise, the patient is merely feeding the "friendlies" to the "gremlins."
Additionally, parasitic infections are on the increase because of changes in our lifestyles that have occurred over the last few decades. Dangerous intestinal parasites, called protozoa, are ingested every day from foods purveyed by sidewalk vendors, unclean restaurant kitchens, contaminated water, and uncooked food that has not been properly washed. Imported produce and immigrants from countries where sanitation is sub-standard contribute to the spread!
Taking probiotics is not recommended while under treatment for parasitic infestations because "friendly" bacteria are also "food" for protozoal parasites. It is a safe bet if pathogenic fungi have overtaken the friendly bacteria there will also be considerable protozoal parasites in the gut as well.
Natural anti-fungal herbal based medicines, such as Factor Two:
Bactrol-C, are very useful in the treatment of fungal infection because they can enter the blood stream where probiotics cannot. This is vital if the fungus has penetrated the lining of the intestines and has traveled throughout the body. Further, Factor Two: Bactrol-C kills parasites as well as pathogenic fungi.