Who gets Candida?
There is little doubt that the single most widespread cause of candidiasis is the indiscriminate administration of broad spectrum antibiotics. Incidental to their main beneficial effect, these kill off resident bacteria in the gut. This "flora" is needed for optimum health and proper gut performance. When they are gone, other pathogens can move in and candida albicans is one of the commonest of these. But a number of factors are known to predispose infection with candida.
Cancer patients, especially those who have had chemotherapy or irradiation of the tumour, will probably get it. Any long term debilitating illness may be accompanied by "opportunistic infections", such as ME and AIDS.
Steroid therapy is known to predispose to Candidiasis. Asthma patients and arthritics who have taken these drugs are especially prone. Most people don't realize that the birth control pill is a kind of steroid (even doctors often seem to overlook this point), perhaps one reason that the syndrome is more common in women.
Some candida patients fit into none of the neat categories above yet definitely seem to suffer from the problem. Perhaps our modern manufactured junk diets are to blame.
[Or maybe the candida generation is the first that wasn't breastfed and the first to be subjected to mass vaccination, practices that have left a generation with weakened immunity. editor]
Candida is able to ferment and release alcohols from sugars in food. To many people these are quite allergenic. There have been several celebrated cases in which individuals who were accused of driving under the influence of alcohol were able to show they had not been drinking but were victims of severe candida infections .
It is worth remembering that candida is a yeast, related to moulds. These organisms are often quite toxic and may be highly allergenic in their own right. But the trouble is far worse than this. Candida also appears able to generate food and chemical sensitivities. It is difficult to work out why this should happen, other than the fact that the yeast increases the toxic load the body is coping with. Nevertheless, the association has cropped up so consistently in my clinic that bad chemical allergics almost automatically get an anti mould programme.
Increase in food intolerance has been blamed on damage to the gut wall. Like many yeasts and fungi, candida has a vegetative form, which grows out small threads of hyphae into the surrounding cells. It has been hypothesized that these hyphae may provide channels through which the products of digestion escape prematurely into the blood stream. This means that food substances have not been broken down fully and are thus still biochemically "wheat", "pork" etc. This is referred to as the "leaky gut" syndrome.
If this were so, we would certainly expect trouble from allergies, so the supposition fits with the observed facts. But please remember, it is only another theory. It sounds good but we may be totally wrong. I personally believe that candida doesn't really "cause" allergies, but that the source of the problem is a generally weakened immune system, which then leads to both candida overgrowth and allergies.
The mouldy patient
Although I refer to this syndrome as "candidiasis" in order to be understood, I prefer to refer to my patients who suffer from the syndrome as "mouldy". Whatever the nature of this illness, those suffering from it are definitely sensitized by biological products from yeasts, fungi and moulds.