Is Intestinal Candida Overgrowth a Real Condition?

by Sep 17, 2014Health & Vaccines49 comments

Candida albicans (GrahamColm/Wikimedia Commons)

Is there such a thing as intestinal candida overgrowth? Not according to Tamara Duker Freuman, writing in the health section of US News & World Report.

Is there such a thing as intestinal candida overgrowth?

Not according to Tamara Duker Freuman, writing in the health section of US News & World Report. According to Freuman, candida overgrowth is “health misinformation couched in pseudoscience”, “One of the more common online health fictions”, “a mythical condition”.

If you’re not familiar with candida (Candida albicans), it is a species of yeast that lives in your gut, which is also home to bacteria, with which we have a symbiotic relationship. You probably already know that eating yogurt or fermented vegetables can help populate your gut with “good” bacteria, which play an important role in gut health and immune function.

Candida overgrowth is when the normal balance of intestinal flora becomes upset and the yeast takes over.

In my own research into this subject, I have noticed a tendency in the mainstream to dismiss candida overgrowth. One doctor I know described it as “fringe” medicine when I brought it up in conversation. My own primary care physician likewise dismissed it when I mentioned it to him. I’ve encountered abundant articles online doing likewise, including Freuman’s, which kept popping up in Google search results. According to her,

Candida does not infect the small intestine nor does it overgrow in the colon. In fact, searching the term “Candida overgrowth” in PubMed, the national database of over 22 million published biomedical research studies maintained by the National Institutes of Health, turns up nothing. Unless every medical researcher who studies Candida, digestive health, infectious disease or immunology is in on a conspiracy to hide the truth, it’s pretty safe to say that “Candida overgrowth” is not an actual phenomenon.”[1]

This is extraordinary ignorance.

Going back as far as 1985, a study of hamsters showed that antiobiotic treatment killed off beneficial bacteria in the animals’ guts, which “predisposed hamsters to gastrointestinal overgrowth and subsequent systemic dissemination by C. albicans in 86% of the animals.” They suggested that “the indigenous intestinal microflora suppress C. albicans colonization and dissemination from the gut by inhibiting Candida-mucosal association and reducing C. albicans population levels in the gut.”[2]

A follow-up study two years later showed that treating mice with antibiotics “allowed C. albicans to proliferate in the gut and, subsequently, disseminate from the GI tract to visceral organs.” They again suggested that the gut bacteria “are responsible for the inhibition of C. albicans adhesion, colonization and dissemination from the GI tract.”[3]

Another follow-up study in 1987 compared mice treated with antibiotics to untreated mice, showing that “Candida cells only penetrated into the mucosa of animals in which the ecology of the intestinal microflora had been disrupted.”[4]

A 1999 study noted that while candida is found in the GI tract of healthy people, in people with a compromised immune system, “local gastrointestinal candidiasis and disseminated invasive infection are through to arise from gastrointestinal colonization and overgrowth of C. albicans.” Candida overgrowth has been “associated with a variety of clinical symptoms,” including diarrhea, psoriasis, and dermatitis. The study stated that “Infections due to Candida albicans occur readily in situations in which ample glucose is available. In mice, dietary refined carbohydrate supplementation leads to higher rates of Candida growth in the gastrointestinal tract and favors mucosal invasion.” It concluded that a high-sugar diet did not result in candida overgrowth in healthy individuals and noted the role that bacteria play, stating that the gut bacteria “are known to modulate candida growth”.[5]

In sum, there is a balance of flora in the gut and if this balance is disrupted (dysbiosis), such as through the use of antibiotics, which kill off beneficial gut bacteria, an overgrowth of candida can occur.

Furthermore, a 2000 study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology noted that, “Despite the association between intestinal lesions and systemic disease, gastrointestinal candidiasis has not been well studied. The interactions of C. albicans with the gastrointestinal mucosa are not well defined, and the mechanisms of invasion and systemic dissemination have not been identified.” Newborn piglets were orally inoculated with candida, which “led to the development of extensive mucocutaneous candidiasis, intestinal lesions, and disseminated disease. The intestinal lesions likely represent a significant portal of entry for the organism into the bloodstream.” The paper notes that, “Although intestinal candidiasis is not commonly diagnosed, human cases of infection have been reported and studied…. Autopsy studies of infants and children infected with Candida demonstrate that the small intestine is one of the most common sites of infection….” The study’s results supported “the hypothesis that virulent organisms create lesions and significantly damage the GI tract, allowing them to escape the GI tract, overwhelm the host defense mechanisms, and become hematogenously disseminated.[6]

A 2001 paper in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology stated that “Increased intestinal colonization is generally accepted as a major risk factor that predisposes high-risk patients to systemic candidiasis.”[7]

A 2002 paper in the British Journal of Nutrition stated that “Overgrowth of candida in the gut is also a frequent consequence of antibiotic therapy.”[8]

A 2005 study in Gut (a journal of The BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal) “hypothesized that Candida colonization promotes food allergy, which is known to contribute to a pathogenic response in atopic dermatitis.” The results of a study in mice suggested “that gastrointestinal Candida colonisation promotes sensitisation against food antigens, at least partly due to mast cell mediated hyperpermeability in the gastrointestinal mucosa of mice.”[9]

In other words, an overgrowth of candida can result in a damaged gut lining, leading to increased intestinal permeability—commonly known as “leaky gut” (a whole other area about which there is similar institutional ignorance)—which in turn can cause food allergies.

The findings of 2011 study of mice similarly suggested “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.”[10]

A 2012 study noted that “The bacterial microbiota of the stomach is vital in promoting gastric colonization resistance against the opportunistic pathogen C. albicans.” It stated that the use of an antibiotic “can promote C. albicans overgrowth in mice and humans, suggesting that its spectrum of activity encompasses bacteria that are critical for colonization resistance against C. albicans outgrowth or invasion.” It concluded that “The role of the microbiome in regulating inflammatory responses to members of the indigenous microbiome is an area of current interest for a number of diseases. The potential ramification of understanding the process of C. albicans colonization is illustrated by research from our lab and others that has demonstrated that gastrointestinal colonization by C. albicans in mice can promote sensitization against intranasally and orally delivered antigens, such as food.”[11]

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a number of the studies I have come across in my own quest for better health. Anyone who knows how to use Google can do a search of the scientific literature on the subject[12]—a body of literature Tamara Duker Freuman claims doesn’t even exist.

So, no, it isn’t a myth. And, no, believing that it is real doesn’t mean you must also think that there is some kind of conspiracy theory to cover up its existence. There is no conspiracy. There are just a lot of ignorant professionals out there—including many and probably most doctors—who just don’t know what they are talking about because they haven’t done any kind of proper research.

Freuman provides an instructive example of this by actually telling us all the research she did before writing her article: “searching the term ‘Candida overgrowth’ in PubMed”—which would exclude results I found, for example, containing the following: “…overgrowth and subsequent systemic dissemination by C. albicans…” and “…gastrointestinal colonization and overgrowth of C. albicans…”, “Overgrowth of candida in the gut…”, and so on.

So, yes, candida overgrowth is very real and well-established in the scientific literature, including its potential role in causing leaky gut and the development of food allergies. There are people out there suffering from it. For them to be told that the cause of their symptoms doesn’t exist and for their intelligence to be insulted if they beg to differ is the height of unprofessionalism.

References

[1] Tamara Duker Freuman, “We All Have Candida (And it’s OK!)US News & World Report, December 10, 2013.

[2] M J Kennedy and P A Volz, “Ecology of Candida albicans gut colonization: inhibition of Candida adhesion, colonization, and dissemination from the gastrointestinal tract by bacterial antagonism,” Infection and Immunity, September 1985, 654-663.

[3] Michael J. Kennedy and Paul A. Volz, “Effect of various antibiotics on gastrointestinal colonization and dissemination by Candida albicans,Medical Mycology, 1985, Vol. 23, No. 4, 265-273.

[4] M. J. Kennedy, P. A. Volz, C. A. Edwards, and R. J. Yancey, “Mechanisms of association of Candida albicans with intestinal mucosa,Journal of Medical Microbiology, December 1987, Vol. 24, No. 4, 333-341.

[5] Michael Weig, Edgar Werner, Matthias Frosch, and Heinrich Kasper, “Limited effect of refined carbohycrate dietary supplementation on colonization of the gastrointestinal tract of healthy subjects by Candida albicans,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 1999, Vol. 69, No. 6, 170-1173.

[6] Karl A. Andrutis, Perry J. Riggle, Carol A. Kumamoto, and Saul Tzipori, “Intestinal Lesions Associated with Disseminated Candidiasis in an Experimental Animal Model,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology, June 2000, Vol. 38, No. 6, 2317-2323.

[7] Stephen M. Wiesner, et al, “Gastrointestinal Colonization by Candida albicans Mutant Strains in Antibiotic-Treated Mice,” Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, January 2001, Vol. 8, No. 1, 192-195.

[8] L. J. Fooks and G. R. Gibson, “Probiotics as modulators of the gut flora,” British Journal of Nutrition, September 2002, Vol. 88, Suplement S1, 39-49.

[9] N Yamaguchi, et al, “Gastrointestinal Candida colonization promotes sensitization against food antigens by affecting the mucosal barrier in mice,” Gut, January 2006, Vol. 55, Issue 7.

[10] Kei Sonoyama, et al, “Gut colonization by Candida albicans aggravates inflammation in the gut and extra-gut tissues in mice,” Medical Mycology, 2011, Vol. 39, Issue 3, 237-247.

[11] Katie L. Mason, et al, “Interplay between the Gastric Bacterial Microbiota and Candida albicans during Postantibiotic Recolonization and Gastritis,” Infection and Immunity, January 2012, Vol. 80, No. 1, 150-158.

[12] http://scholar.google.com/.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

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49 Comments

  1. Lisa Vickery

    Very Interesting. Thank you for your research and open-mindedness. Reminds me of the Cholesterol deception.

    Reply
  2. Mustard

    It’s completely real. Started in Nov’14, I was getting depression, chilling at sleep, fatigue, muscle aches. Symptoms came in very slowly and hard to notice. By Dec’14, I’ve started noticing dark circles under my eyes. By mid Jan’15 I removed something that might’ve been causing it, though still unsure if it does cause it. 2 weeks passed by and no improvement. Got anxiety and panic attack by end Jan’15. Early Feb’15 my abdomen got distended after skipping dinner — which should really never happen. No pain at all. Distended and very noisy stomach persists, along with the fatigue. Can barely awake 12 hours a day. Self diagnosed as intestinal parasite and took antiworms, but doesn’t help. Took fecal test and found fungal spore. The doctor prescribed me Diflucan for 7 days. 20 hours after the first pill, the brain fog went away. Now it’s 12 days later and everything is much better..

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Thanks for sharing your story. Glad you’re feeling better!

      Reply
      • MUSTARD

        Well 3 weeks after I’ve completed the Diflucan, I started to feel sick again. Low mood, general fatigue coming back, etc. No symptom on distended and noisy stomach, but my stomach were never as flat as before.

        Anyone that says candida overgrowth as a symptom is correct. It could be something wrong with my immune system having problem getting yeast under control. And what could cause my immune system problem despite being extremely healthy 4 months ago?

        I’ve then removed the final problem that could be the cause of all these. What an immediate relief! General fatigue was gone the same day — physical symptoms such as dark circles under my eyes and stomach discomfort might take a while to subside. My mood is constantly on the top all day, including the energy required to get angry. At first I thought this might me just a psychological, but this is 4th day and everything is constantly much much better!

        Hopefully this is the final cure, will keep an eye in some weeks, and share the full story publicly if it’s finally overcomed.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Do you mind sharing what the final problem was?

      • MUSTARD

        Hi Jeremy, due to several false elimination results in the past, I’m still a bit reluctant to tell whether this is the real cause or not. However, since then, I can say that now 6-7 hours of sleep is enough, as always, before all this happened.

        But as now my mood has skyrocketed, I want you to guess.

        See, previously my mind was in, “I’m sick. I need rest. I need to preserve energy for the day”. Now I’m like, “Hmm, what should I do now? What will be fun to do?”

        I’ll give you a hint, but will try not to make it too easy: This is a defect in human design. Well, at least it can probably done better. Maybe.

      • Fighter

        What was the final problem? I’ve been having similar and worse symptoms for over a year, and I’m willing to try anything at this point. I’ll guess that you had some sort of functional disorder, or maybe something metabolic. It’s too hard to narrow it down with such little information. Were you lactose intolerant?

      • MUSTARD

        Hey Fighter, somehow I’ve accidentally replied to my own post instead of yours. Take a look at the post after mine.

        Definitely check for chronic inflammation on any of your teeth. Who knows it could help. Even I didn’t believed it at first, but I just have to try because there’s nothing else changes since I felt very healthy last time — those teeth had bad cavities anyway, and I don’t want to deal with fillings etc later in my life.

        I’ll prepare a blog post describing all this including the symptoms. If you think this isn’t crazy enough, somehow I had daily notes of the symptoms :)

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Yes, please share the link here when you post it!

      • whatsuser

        Hi Jeremy, I’ve prepared it at dentalcfs.wordpress.com.

        The recovery went pretty well, and I had a feeling that I will soon forget about this illness, thus I need to complete the blog as soon as possible. It’s still halfway written, though. Writing down the full story seems to be a mentally hard work. Seems that psychologically, in contrary of retelling the tale, my brain tells me to forget them all. Very weird.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        Thanks for the update. Your link is not working, though.

      • whatsuser

        That’s funny. Are you using internet connection with proxy that is blocking access to wordpress? Can you try opening it with public proxies such as kproxy.com?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        It’s working now. Probably just an issue with my internet connection here.

      • whatsuser

        Fascinating, isn’t it? I cannot be alone in this world, my search reveals exactly the same case on a user in patient.co.uk, in which I suggest extraction, and a pregnant woman having wisdom tooth infection in 2007.

        It’s a nerve disturbance/illness, very important nerve which causes lots of secondary symptoms including impaired NK cells activities — hence intestinal mucosal candida.

      • MUSTARD

        Tooth pulpitis -> CFS (without the headache), trouble maintaining sleep insomnia, body aches, right elbow aches and muscle weaknesses, dark circle under eyes with puffiness -> Candida overgrowth, digestion problems, lactose intolerant, and maybe neutropenia???

        I was never been a lactose intolerant, though never drink milk regularly. But guess what, last I week I was passing gas like crazy after 3 glass of UHT milk.

        Turns out that my tooth problems was causing all this!!! It all goes back to October 2014 in which I got my teeth scaled after 8 years. The scaling uncovered 4 cavities, 3 out of my wisdom teeth, and 1 on the 1st premolar. I wasn’t mentally prepared for that as I had dental phobia, so they are left like that without treatment. They don’t hurt anyway, right. Dead wrong. They were killing me.

        A month after the scaling, one of the upper wisdom tooth was hurting like crazy. Emergency treatment by the local dentist was to kill the nerve, for later extraction. However, due to some work schedule, I can’t immediately extract them the week after. So that day the pain was gone, and the depression slowly kicked in, and all this health problems started.

        There is a very simple test to know if there is any inflammation from your tooth, may it be tooth with cavities or root canaled tooth. Take a clean metal spoon, tap each of your tooth with the back of the spoon several times, lightly. Voila, if any of them hurts or doesn’t feel the same as the rest, then there is some degree of inflammation there. Chronic inflammation is what causes all this. And this is even worse with someone who have hypersensitive immune like I do.

        I can never understand how people can get tooth abscess. I would probably die before my tooth get abscessed.

        Finally I’ve been able to extract all 5 of the problematic tooth (+1 lower wisdom tooth which partially erupted to prevent further problem). And guess what, 6 hours after the last tooth being extracted, all my muscles were relaxing, my deep voice that I lost since months ago was back!

        And here I’m, 100% healthy. I’m now BACK TO THE HEALTHY 34 YEARS OLD MALE I KNEW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. D- Lish

    Mystery chronic diarrhea, until immunology specialty blood tests (performed at hospital for sick children in Toronto) revealed partial T-cell disorder: my immune system had extremely weak RESPONSE to CANDIDA antigen. Result? Overgrowth in gut. These uninformed writers, I wonder, does the woman writer want relief when she gets an overgrowth of candida in her vagina? Of course she does! = pain, irritation, etc. WHY do they cluelessly opine that the Intestine is any less sensitive? Would the pharmacy tell her: Sorry, but candida is supposed to be in your vagina, lady. Ah yes — until it reaches levels that are PATHOGENIC to HER.
    p.s. all the candida diets did NOTHING for me = again, T-cell dysfunction. The T-cells do not recognize candida AS A PATHOGEN, at all, in my case. Not fun.

    Reply
  4. Wendy

    As a person who suffers with chronic gastritis, GERD, Acid Reflux, AND a Gastric (non-Cancerous) Ulcer….reading your takedown of that particular article was satisfying. I just read it myself and was irritated and aghast at a “Dietician” referring to it as a “Mythical” Illness while then saying:

    “Candida can also rarely cause serious systemic infection, but this is mostly restricted to those with compromised immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or with advanced AIDS.”

    Which confirms that Systemic Candida infections ARE real, NOT “mythical”….but are just rare in healthy people. Which is something most of us already know.

    For the record, I am also in Surgical Medicine, so I am not someone who “hates and distrusts modern medicine” nor am I a person who completely distrusts alternative treatments. A rational person has to examine the Medical evidence and not trust the opinion of ONE Medical Doctor who is biased or old school….I mean….I’ve worked with enough surgeons to be terrified by their lack of knowledge or willingness to learn in OTHER medical areas. People need to remember that Medical Doctors AND Holistic Doctors all have a bias. They’re just people. Their intentions may be good…but they are humans and bias exists either because of where/how they received their education, limitations in their practice on what they can do/diagnose, or even just common burn-out (like that woman that wrote that article and only bothered to “google PUBMED” to decide a whole illness is imaginary.

    I was a very healthy, very active, perfect-weight 28 year old woman when suddenly after a lifetime of having zero stomach issues (not even mild ones)….I suddenly incurred a chain-reaction of serious and debilitating problems. To keep a long story full of illness and Doctors and testing short…I went to all the best specialists and GI Doctors and did everything they wanted me to do. I endured an Endoscopy to rule out Cancer and other causes of sudden onset of Gastric Ulcer with gastritis, GERD, and Reflux so severe that I could no longer eat ANYTHING. Literally….anything. I was living on completely Organic Protein/Vitamin Shakes and small amounts of green,leafy vegetables to live. I was SO thin and weak that I couldn’t do my job. And all of the doctors I went to talked about how the GI System is the “second brain” of the body and how food allergies and sensitivities leading to “leaky gut” and other disorders CAN show up “overnight” with no other history of GI Problems.

    To avoid digressing more into personal issues….it seems like the author of the article you *destroyed* with facts was speaking more to the larger group of people who instantly want to diagnose themselves with things that ARE rare (like Systemic Candida) without a history of things like leaky gut (or for myself I also have the *rare* Sjogren’s Disease which both my mother and grandmother have…and I’ve already tested positive for and affects all of the mucous membranes in my body). I don’t think a lot of Doctors realize we DO exist. People with temperamental immune systems ALSO exist. And people with chronic GI problems ARE more likely to eventually develop these “rare” diseases. It’s easy to call a disease “rare” when you refuse to test for it or acknowledge it (thus reducing clinical studies) at all.

    All of that being said, anyone who has NOT seen a Medical Doctor for basic problems FIRST like an Ulcer, GERD, or even Fatigue should not assume they have Systemic Candida. Holistic Doctors DO prey on patients as much as Medical Doctors do. And they are just as likely to be bias whether they mean to be bias or not. And that’s important to remember.

    My personal and professional advice mushed together to others out there is: Exhaust REAL testing like Endoscopy and Blood Work to make sure you are Cancer free and helicopter bacteria-free before you decide to go on a crash Candida Diet with Holistic Treatment. BUT….I would avoid Proton Pump Inhibitors at all costs (and sadly, that is likely the first line of “treatment” Medical Doctors will offer and they only made me much, much worse). I do not take them. It’s better to take a Zantac 75 or 150 “as needed” than to completely stop Acid Production to your stomach if you have multiple issues happening and/or if you’ve seen specialists/doctors and they are not really answering your questions.

    If you *suspect* Systemic Candida, it’s better to try the basic (but effective) treatments/maintenance just “in case” than to go full force Candida Diet with 20 different herbs and supplements. Start small. Stick with it. Monitor non-GI symptoms and treat “as needed” without crash diets AT FIRST. Try to eat healthier. Start with a really excellent prebiotic and probiotic that will improve health whether you have Systemic Candida or not (but is formulated FOR Candida specifically) like Arthur Andrew Medical’s “Syntol AMD”. It is costly. But it was a miracle in that it didn’t cure my GI problems. Nor my other symptoms that doctors want to ignore. BUT it’s a very high quality pro-biotic that works like no other and it worked better than anything GI Doctors OR other Holistic products and supplements could do. They’re “new” to some people, but I used them when they first came out. And I *at that time* was taking over 35 supplements per day to try to deal with pain, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, bloating, reflux, swelling of hands/feet, weight gain/loss, and tons of other symptoms. It improved them all. And 7 years later in 2016….it’s still the product I’d recommend whether you have Systemic Candida or not. Because it WILL improve your other symptoms and certainly your GI Health either way. It’s really quite an excellent product. I don’t want to link it because I don’t want to be mistaken as working for them/an affiliate. I do NOT have any connection whatsoever to Arthur Andrew Medical other than that I was lucky enough to find Syntol AMD and give it a shot. Seriously…..I take the suffering of people like me seriously. I know it sucks. It won’t cure you. But you’ll feel a lot better and do so safely. And I think that’s what most sufferers want and need whether we ever admit Systemic Candida is more prevalent than admitted or not!

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing your story. Coconut oil is a good antifungal. You can cook with it or just eat it. I recently used it to heal athlete’s foot in 24 hours.

      Reply
      • Sarai Flores

        Athlete’s foot? Really?? Wow TFS

    • Laura Cordova-James

      You think like I do. I’m a healthy skeptic. Yes, a doctor is to be trusted but not so much that they know everything. You have to do a lot of research, because nobody cares enough about your own health as you do.

      Reply
      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        That’s exactly right. My own experience with doctors has been enlightening. The level of ignorance I’ve encountered — and the accompanying arrogance — has been absolutely astounding.

  5. Shelley Jones Beek

    Is there any evidence that the presence of Candida overgrowth causes any adverse symptoms? Is it possible that it is just an indicator of an underlying condition (virus, bacteria) that is causing the symptoms? If so and all the focus is on the Candida, you are doing people a disservice. Especially limiting fruit which is full of anti-oxidants and phytonutrients, which would be important for fighting an infection. For all anyone knows, Candida growth could actually be serving an important function – one of the body’s ways of fighting an infection, like inflammation. That could explain its proliferation after antibiotics if a virus was the true cause of the original ptoblem. Are there any studies looking for Candida overgrowth in asymptomatic people? To determine that Candida is actually the cause of symptoms?

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Shelly, did you not read the article? Examples of the harm it causes are provided, such as damage to the gut.

      Reply
  6. Hellas88

    Thank you very much for this article. I am a medical doctor and I’m suffering from this awful disease and I have its worse form. I was living in a house full of mold for six years, when I was in medical school. I was also treated with multible rounds of antibiotics while I was in the house cause my immune system was in a constant fight with the airborne fungus spores and I was getting secondary infections, mainly of the respiratory tract. I was having symptoms, physical and mental, through the years but I never thought there was something wrong. I just blamed intense studying and work. Then it started. I developed a severe case of prostatitis and my urology professor at school, prescribed strong antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) for 28 days. When I took the first pill, I had a panic attack. I’ve never had a panic attack in my life. This was the case for every pill I took. My body was warning me and my adrenal glands crashed from the infection. That what was causing the panic attacks. At first I didn’t make the connection. My prostate was getting worse so my professor gave me a different antibiotic. I wanted to die. I went to another doctor and they looked at me like I was crazy. I WAS A FREAKING SENIOR MEDICAL STUDENT BUT NO ONE LISTENED. I changed 10 doctors and the all gave me different courses of antibiotics and NSAIDs (worse than antibiotics for candida) and I was near death. I started to develop fever but they told me that it was from the prostatitis. I lost 30 kg in 3 months. My parents didn’t know what to do. Finally one doctor decided to give me some strong vitamis. He gave them as a placebo but I think that they saved my life. I took them for a week or so and then I sat down, burning in fever, and wrote every possible microorganism that can infect the prostate. Then I wrote the antibiotics I took and erased the microbes they kill. The only one left on my list was fungus. I went to lab and did a sperm analysis and cultures. I specifically asked cultures for candida. It was positive. I went to my IM professor and told him the whole story. He didn’t believe it at first but when he did some blood tests and my WBC was very high, he did blood cultures for candida and ordered a CT. He was shocked. I had fungal infection in the lungs, ans blood cultures were positive. I was really dieing. If I took another week of antibiotics I would be dead. He put me on IV amphotericin B amd he saved my life. I took pills for six months but I wasn’t better. My lung and prostate infection went away and the cultures were negative but I still had depression, panic attacs, food allergies, couldn’t gain weight, extreme brain fog, social withdrawl, fatigue, asthma I was a mess. I started studying my self about candida and I found candida overgrowth. I didn’t believe it at first, even after all these things I’ ve been through cause in medical school NO ONE EVER TOLD US THERE IS SUCH A THING. Our teachers and our books said that only immunosuppressed people can be infected with candida and even then no one mentioned the real mental and physical symptoms of this disease. But I was immunosuppressed. My intestinal flora that plays a huge role in my guts immune response, was diminished from antibiotics. In addition to that, the fungal spores I was inhaling cause immunosuppression with various mechanisms. Then I started to read medical reports and studies that showed a connection between chronic candida infection and mental illness (schizophrenia, paranoia, autism and many more ), chron’s disease, celiac disease, thyroid disease. Then I got in forums with these so called candida sufferers and I found many people with symptoms resembling mine. We even had the same nostalgic, semi paranoid thoughts, social phobia and anxiety, panic attacks, unexplained anger or sadness etc. We also had similar physical symptoms. I studied hours and hours. I found excellent articles and studies. I came to the conclusion that I have to do five things: 1)Get to an environment without mold. Not just change house. Leave the damn city. Humidity and bad structures are the worse combination. I had two last exams to pass to graduate. I don’t know how I did it but I passed them. My brain was not functioning but I managed to do it. Then I went back to my home town and stayed with my parents for two years focusing on getting my self healed.
    2) Antifungals and Antifungal enemas: I took systemic antifungals and nystatin oral and with enemas. It is very important to expel dead candida cause the toxins released and reabsorbed and mostly the mananoligosacharide found on candidas cell wall cause immunosuppression and give the remaining infection the chance to grow. Some people can get well with natural antifungals but not in my case. My gut was a mess I expelled thick and enormous colonies. You can’t even imagine. I have pictures and videos of them which I show to every colleague who tries to tell me that there is no such thing.
    3) Strengthen my immume system. This is the most important part. Vitamins ( especially C and D from sun and supplemental ), Zinc, Glutamine, echinacea, astaxanthin, curcumin, and most importantly cimetidine, an antacid ( H2 receptor antagonist ) which has shown to increase th1 immunity, to fight candida. Exercise EVERY DAY. Aerobic exercise was basically one of the most important things that got me better. 40 minutes every day of aerobic exercise. It helped me sweat the toxins, Strengthen my immune system and increased circulation. Saunas, massage and mostly throw away everything that causes stress. The worse thing for an immune system is stress. Also AVOID COLD. VERY IMPORTANT. STAY WARM AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
    4) Take probiotics. I took every possible form of them. Large quantities of home made kefir, saccharomyces boulardii, HSO probiotics (I won’t write the brand), and large large quantities of acidophilus and bifidobacteria combined with lactulose. Lactulose is a synthetic sugar that is not metabolised by our cells, it is not absorbable, and it has shown to increase bifido and acidophilus counts. Candida albigans can not metabolise it.
    5) I did the classic candida diet with no carbohydrates except oat bran without gluten. Avoid gluten too. It can cause an immune hypereaction cause its molecule resebles an antigen on Candida albigans wall. This is the mechanism by which candida infection causes celiac desease.

    The most important thing is to have patience and do e. It is the most difficult thing you will do in your life. Herxheimer’s reaction when candida cells die can be very intense both physically and mentally. There will be times that you will think you are getting worse, that there is no hope, you will cry, you will be desperate, you will lose friends ( only the ones who deserve it will stick around ), toxins will make you angry, paranoic and sad BUT YOU WILL GET YOUR LIFE BACK. It is a big fight especially when no one believes you but it deserves the pain. I am not healed yet but I’m getting there. The progress is slow but I am a different person from who I was 6 months ago and especially 2 years ago. I’m getting there and I had one of the worst cases around. Good luck and excuse my English.

    Reply
    • Joseph Enckler

      Hi, did you go to medical school in the United States? I’m renting a house right now and the former tenant was a med student. I think the house may have mold problems. Thanks

      Reply
      • Hellas88

        No that was not me :). I went to medical school in Greece.

    • Sarthak Khanna

      Hi! It is great to read your account and I haven’t felt this relieved in a thousand years! From a ‘medical’ family, I have ALWAYS had these symptoms. Two months ago I moved out of m house because I could feel that things became better when i stepped out. Two months in, there has been tremendous progress. I was ‘sick’ since birth and had my tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy when I was 9. Following that I have ALWAYS been a slave of Sinusitis, and of course as both m parents are doctors, antibiotics was like candy. I would love to share my whole story with you, but the thing I really want to know about is: Is there a way to remove the mould!? See it is in my house and I do like visiting them… I’ve been staying alone but every week go there twice for an hour or so. After home is home…

      If you would like to get in touch with me, let me know.

      Thanks.

      Reply
      • Hellas88

        Hi Sarthak

        I’m glad you are getting better. Unfortunately I don’t think you can get rid of mold if you have a “sick” house. If you have some mold on a specific place in the house because of increased humidity (sink, bouthroom, broken pipes etc) then you can call an expert that will fix your problem. But as I understand, you have a case of a “sick” house in your hands, where mold resides in the walls and there is nothing you can do about it. Unfortunately you have to sray away from that house as much as you can, or atleast until you get better. Mold exposure is one of the worst case scenarios for a candida sufferer. Cities that have high himidity is most likely to have many sick houses. I left the city entirely and went back to my home town to get better. I’m fortunate cause my home town has a sunny weather {40°C in the summer) with not too much humidity. Such sun exposure helps maintain a mold free house. If you live in a sunny place try get your self some sun exposure for 20 minutes everyday, with sunscreen only on your face and on your moles. It will help tremendously. How would you like to get in touch?

      • Sarthak Khanna

        Hi! Great to see your reply!

        Well I am from Delhi and it has the worst extreme weather changes all year around. Also, it was branded as one of the most polluted cities in the world, if that’s relevant.

        You can join me on Facebook:

        https://m.facebook.com/Sarthakhanna

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        If you have mold in your home, you need to contact professionals to remove it.

    • Sarthak Khanna

      You can also mail me at skhannametal at gmail dot com

      Reply
    • Sarai Flores

      Your English is fine….I understood everything….thanks so much for sharing your story!!!

      Reply
    • Thankful

      Wow all of this brings me full circle. I am a mother to an 18 yr old son who has been ill for a few years. It started with mold and then digestive. We moved out of the mold and I knew at the time he needed to heal his gut. But he was an angry and moody teenager that would not listen. Years went by. He was sick and GI diagnosed him with gastritis and Eosinophilic Esophagus. Conventional medicine said take Priolsec and swallow steroids the rest of your life, or eliminate basically all food and be tube fed.

      He has gotten sicker over the years and self eliminates many foods. Panic attacks, terrible anxiety and sick of going to Doctors. I have finally convinced him to see Functional Medicine doctor and we are doing testing for stool, candida, leaky gut, etc. I know that is the issue yet he will not listen to me, so is finally at the point of so much pain will listen to a doctor. I know it will be a long slow road to recovery, but i have always felt that it could be turned around.

      I, on the other hand, have a developed a deep dislike for conventional medicine, as we have been brushed aside from countless doctors who are supposedly there to help us. We have figured it out on our own. I feel like someone should SUE the medical industry for not listening when people are actually curing themselves or going to “alternative” doctors, who don’t take insurance, and finding their answers.

      God Bless

      Reply
  7. Niesz

    Hey! Thank you for the article. Do you have any recommendations for treatment of candida overgrowth?

    Reply
    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      I would look into avoiding sugar in your diet as it feeds on that and otherwise managing what you eat to maintain a health gut microbiome populated with beneficial bacteria. You should be able to find good information about this kind of holistic approach if you Google more about it.

      Reply
      • sab1053

        Dr. Perlmutter is a Neurologist and practicing fu ctional medicine doctor. He has written several books about our gut or intestinal biome.

    • Will

      Enzymedica Candidase (NOT the extra strength version), available on Amazon. Cured my prostatitis, which I had suffered from for five years plus. A dead give away was that antibiotics made it way worse. Anyway, two capsules three times a day for two weeks. Now I do a maintenance dose of two capsules at night. I feel 100 percent better. Nothing else worked.

      Reply
      • Will

        Oh! And I used to have heartburn all the time (especially at night) and terrible pain under and along my right shoulder blade and hip. All gone.

      • Niesz

        Wow! That’s really awesome that you’re feeling better. Good for you! :)

        I just very recently started taking some digestive enzymes and they seemed to help a bit with my symptoms. I noticed that Candidase has a higher dose of enzymes per serving, so I’m willing to give it a shot! Fingers crossed.

        Thank you for the recommendation.

      • Will

        Let us know how it works for you! Follow the instructions for “acute symptoms,” which I mentioned in my earlier reply. It’s on the bottle. The effects on reducing heartburn were immediate. Dealing with the prostatitis took longer. What seemed to drive it home was when I started taking NAC (N-acetyl L-cysteine) for anxiety and dermatillomania. It is a very potent antioxidant that aids with inflammation based psychological issues. Absolutely incredible. No more “brain fog,” which also might have been related to c. albicans superinfection. My mood is so much better. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good, and no more finger biting and all that embarrassing nonsense for an adult. My doctor is at a loss. He seems convinced its a placebo effect, but with all the crap I’ve tried–prescription and otherwise–there were plenty of chances for that over the years. Nothing really worked. The combo of Enzymedica Candidase and NAC is especially working wonders for me. No more systemic inflammation. No more debilitating prostatitis. No more cravings for garbage food, especially sweets. No more bags under my eyes. I now know what it means to feel healthy. Truly a new lease on life. FYI, I also take citrus bioflavonoids for tinnitus (which helps some) and fish oil. Been doing that for years. I dumped probiotics. Tried that briefly. Did nothing for me. Good luck!!

      • Sarai Flores

        Thanks so much for sharing this info….will look into it!

    • sarah

      Nystatin. It’s a prescription.

      Reply
  8. CS CO

    Wow!

    Reply
  9. Barzini

    A big cause is acne treatment – typically long term antibiotic or accutane use

    The contraceptive pill also causes havoc with gut bacteria

    We truly live in a dark age

    Reply
  10. Misty Flowers

    I’m no doctor but For years I had candida overgrowth with many health issues directly related. With a focused diet and supplements, my body is way more on balance and I have the pictures to prove it!

    Reply
  11. sab1053

    Functional Medicine Doctors will agree with you, Jeremy. Candida overgrowth is real. A great video is on y tube. “Cancer is a Fungus ” by Dr. Simoncini. He is an Italian Oncologist that has been curing .ca get a with sodium bicarbonate. Our friends daughter had her colon removed becsuse of cancerous looking polyps. Polyps can be caused by Candida. I suggested thst my friend go to a functional medicine doctor and get tested for Candida. As it turned out, a year after the colon removal, more polyps returned. She finally took her daughter to a functional medicine doctor and it was a Candida over growth. He treated her and the Candida was gone and so we’re the polyps. She lost weight and gained her energy back. And all the carb cravings were gone as well.

    Reply

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