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Candida—Eliminating Yeast/Fungal Overgrowth

© Dr Jacob Teitelbaum MD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled From Fatigued to Fantastic by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum MD. View all columns in series

For those who would like more detail on the Candida issue, it is discussed at length in my book "From Fatigued to Fantastic!" (Avery/Penguin Oct 2007). Part of the section from the book is in the article below.

An Overview of Yeast/Candida Infections

I will use the terms yeast, fungi, and Candida interchangeably for this discussion. Fungal overgrowth may suppress the body's immune system. It is suspected that this occurs in part because the bowel yeast infections cause what is called "leaky gut syndrome." This means that food proteins get absorbed into the blood system before they are fully digested. Because of this, your immune system has to complete the digestion process, which often overtaxes it. Many physicians feel that yeast overgrowth causes a generalized suppression of the immune system. In other words, once the yeast gets the upper hand, it sets up a cycle that further suppresses the body's defenses.7

Yeast are normal members of the body's "zoo." They live in balance with bacteria—some of which are helpful and healthy, and some of which are detrimental and unhealthy. The problems begin when this harmonious balance shifts and the yeast begins to overgrow.

Many things can prompt yeast to overgrow. One of the most common causes is frequent antibiotic use. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in the bowel along with the bad bacteria. When this happens, the yeast no longer have competition and begin to overgrow. The body is often able to rebalance itself after one or several courses of antibiotics, but after repeated or long term courses—and especially if the body has an underlying immune dysfunction—the yeast can get the upper hand.

Other factors are also important. Studies have shown that animals that are sleep-deprived and/or have increased sugar intake develop immune suppression and bowel yeast overgrowth. Many physicians feel that eating sugar stimulates yeast overgrowth in people as well. So as you prepare your meals, remember—sugar is food for yeast.

Diagnosing Yeast Overgrowth

There are no definitive tests for yeast overgrowth that will distinguish yeast overgrowth from normal yeast growth in the body. In my experience, using Dr. William Crook's yeast questionnaire is still the most reliable way to tell if a person is at risk of yeast overgrowth. A simplified version is part of our free web program which will analyze your symptoms to determine the cause(s) of your CFS/FMS, fatigue or pain and tailor a treatment protocol to your case.

In addition, anyone with ANY of the following criteria should be treated with antifungals:

1. anyone with CFS or Fibromyalgia, OR
2. who has chronic nasal congestion or sinusitis, OR
3. has spastic colon (gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation), OR
4. has been on recurrent or long term antibiotics (especially tetracycline for acne), OR
5. who intermittently has painful sores in the mouth (not cold sores on the outer lips) that last for about ten days at a time.

Treating Yeast Overgrowth

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About The Author
Jacob Teitelbaum MD is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z" and author of the best-selling book From Fatigued to Fantastic! (3rd revised edition, Avery/Penguin Group) and Pain Free 1-2-3-A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now (McGraw- Hill). His newest book is Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! (Fairwinds Press; March 2010). Dr. Teitelbaum does frequent......more
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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.