and the Allergy Connection
Good bugs versus bad bugs. Is dysbiosis slowly killing you?
An old naturopathic
principle that health and disease starts in the digestive tract is more relevant today than it has ever been.
The Digestive system
comprises the digestive tract from the Mouth through to the anus. It is the means by which ingested food is broken down in the
alimentary canal into a form that can be absorbed and assimilated by the tissues of the body and by way of the
colon the by-products of digestion are eliminated.
The organs of the
digestive system are the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach and the small and large intestine. The liver,
pancreas and gallbladder are vital accessory digestive organs.
function of digestion and absorption will be compromised if the digestive system is overgrown with the wrong
kind of microorganisms. Parasites and harmful, detrimental microorganism, like viruses, bacteria, yeast/fungi
and protozoa (a group of parasitical microorganisms) become harmful when allowed to proliferate.
antibiotics, nutrient depleted diets and unhealthy lifestyle practices all lead to an alteration of our healthy
gut flora. This overgrowth of unhealthy microorganisms can become life-threatening when immunity is low.
An imbalance in the
ratio between beneficial microorganisms and detrimental microorganisms in the body is known as
We live in a virtual sea of microorganisms.
If we could see them with the naked eye it probably would look like a battle field. However, with the
advancements of modern technology we are now able to observe the interesting life of this microbial underworld.
Microscopes with resolutions as high as 40000x allows us to witness the interchanging life cycles of microbial
life forms http://www.health-science-spirit.com/pleomorphics.htm
Thanks goodness we
have our police force, the immune system, at hand to protect us against these invaders. Gastric acid in the
stomach is another safeguard. If potential detrimental microbes enter our body via contaminated food, gastric
acid is our shield against microbial colonisation of our stomach. Then again, long-standing dysbiosis in the
intestines can lead to a lack of gastric acid and this opens the floodgates to unwanted harmful microorganisms.
The associated inflammation will cause pain and along the way can lead to ulcers.
Another, and very
serious, problem with microbial overgrowths is the by-products of these creatures. These are toxic and add to
the burden, often doing more damage to our health than the actual microbe. They can cause inflammation not only
in the intestines and stomach, but inflammation of the liver, pancreas and gallbladder as well. Inflammation in
itself has the potential to cause many of our degenerative diseases.
Let me give you an
example. In the case of the Escherichia coli (E. coli), a species of detrimental bacteria that normally resides
in the human Intestinal Tract and becomes toxic when it over-proliferates or invades other areas of the body. It
is indicated in many intestinal infections, urinary tract infections and may also be an underlying cause of
Crohn’s disease and Prostatitis. Some of the Proteus species is another detrimental bacteria and can be a cause
for Prostatitis as well.
Pylori is known to be able to cause many digestive problems including ulcers. However, less known may be its
ability to increase the risk of Arteriosclerosis, Stroke, Ischemic Heart Disease and increased risk of Glaucoma
even Larynx and stomach cancer as well as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Helicobacter pylori is suspected of causing
Alzheimer’s, Migraines and Rosacea (eradication of Helicobacter pylori often results in a significant reduction
in Rosacea symptoms) (1).
There are various
species and different strains of detrimental bacteria, parasites and fungi, which are responsible for countless
If the flora of the
digestive tract is healthy and if the immune system is strong they can lay dormant for a long time and may not
cause any serious problems. However, many unhealthy aspect of our modern life, leads to the assumption that in
the end the bad bugs may over-power the good bugs. When this happens the associated inflammation will damage the
mucus membranes of the intestinal wall. This leads to what is called the “Leaky Gut Syndrome” characterized by
the inability of the Intestines to prevent the “leakage” of large particles (Antigens) through the intestinal
wall into the general blood circulation. Giving any opportunistic detrimental microorganism the break they need
to invade the whole body and with it inviting all kind of disease to flourish.
Whichever way you
look at it; over-population and infection with any pathogenic microorganism spells trouble.
Is Candida your worst Health destroying
There is one such
microorganism which has potential disease implication far worse than many people might know. Its name is
Candida. Candida is a genus of yeast-like detrimental fungi.
oral and vaginal thrush were described by Hippocrates over 2000 years ago. With the advent of the germ theory
many centuries later, the yeast Candida albicans was identified as the cause of many symptoms
Candida albicans is a
naturally occurring microorganism within our body since birth. Most babies are born with Candida, but from the
time of birth the immune system keeps Candida proliferation in check. In a healthy environment it coexists,
quite happily, with other bacteria. It is beneficial for the immune system and plays a role in absorbing and
removing any improper digested and putrefied food matter in our digestive system.
species are opportunistic fungal pathogens and are responsible for superficial and systemic infections in
humans. Among these species, Candida albicans is responsible for the majority of infections accounting for half
of all cases. (5)
However, in 2007 a study
by Li L, Redding S and Dongari-Bagtzoglou A, (4) found that
another species of Candida, namely Candida glabrata is emerging as an opportunistc pathogen. Formally non
pathogenic, however, Candida glabrata is now surfacing as a major player. Denture-wearing, immunosuppression,
antibiotic therapy, and aging are risk factors for oral colonization and infection of Candida glabrata. It is
believed to be responsible for approximately 15% of Urinary Tract Infections and may cause Vaginitis.
The list of
opportunistic fungi causing serious, life-threatening infection increases every year and many are becoming
resistant to triazoles and/or amphotericin B. (family of antifungal drugs).
Since the early
1980s, fungi have emerged as major causes of human disease, especially among the immunocompromised and those
hospitalized with serious underlying disease.
A recent study of the epidemiology of
sepsis (a whole-body inflammatory state called a systemic inflammatory response
syndrome or SIRS) found that the annual number of
cases of sepsis caused by fungal organisms in the United States increased by 207% between 1979 and 2000.
We can understand
that a sick and immunosupressed patient in a hospital environment has a higher risk of contracting Candida as
the immune system is too weak to fight the invader. However, even for those “healthy” people Candida can be a
threat. We have to look at the history of antibiotic and immunisation to explain the increase in Candida, as
well as medication and the contraceptive pill.
A study back in 1944 by Christie and Garrod
already found evidence of the antibiotic and candida connection (10). They (and many other studies after)
reported that numerous microorganisms have been incriminated as opportunists, including Candida albicans. In a
resent study mice were given levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, prulifloxacin (belonging to the quinolones a family
of synthetic broad-spectrum antibiotics) or normal
saline. After 10 days stool samples were
tested, it showed all fluoroquinolones tested induced substantial increases in the mice intestinal
concentration of Candida albicans.(11).
A number of theories
have been proposed as to why there was an increase after antibiotic treatment.
upsets the natural equilibrium of the healthy flora. This will overwhelm the host resistance and permitting the
more resistant species, namely the opportunistic microorganism, to take hold as their population vastly
increase. Antibiotics also directly stimulate fungal growth. We often see diarrhea with antibiotic treatment,
because there is not enough beneficial bacteria left in the gut for proper food
How does Candida
Candidiasis involves areas of the Skin and Mucous Membranes, including the toes, fingers, nail bed, groin, mouth
and vagina. It is diagnosed via clinical
Candidiasis is a serious condition and may be associated with a genetic malfunction of the body’s T-Lymphocytes
in which T-
Lymphocytes do not
respond to Candida albicans infection (1).
is a serious condition that occurs in persons with suppressed Immune Systems (for example, AIDS patients or
persons who have undergone Chemotherapy). This
form of Candidiasis can affect any body system or organ including the Lungs, Liver, Kidneys and Brain
(also known as Candida Overgrowth Syndrome or Candida Intestinal Overgrowth) involves bloating, itching and
rashes. It involves the excessive proliferation of
Candida albicans in the gastrointestinal system (1).
Foods to live
by fermenting simple sugars such as sucrose in order to produce energy.
Acetaldehyde is a
waste by-product of fungal sugar-alcohol fermentation by Candida. Acetaldehyde produces many toxic effects in the body.
Acetaldehyde readily combines with the proteins that comprise the cell membrane of red blood cells. This causes
the “stiffening” of the cell membranes of red blood cells. This process inhibits the ability of red blood cells
to enter Capillaries, subsequently reducing the ability of Capillaries to supply Oxygen to various organs of the
body. In addition, Acetaldehyde combines with hemoglobin in red blood cells which further inhibits their ability
to accept, hold and transport oxygen via the bloodstream. Furthermore acetaldehyde is toxic to the nervous
system which can lead to depression, anxiety, and impaired memory. It also interferes with cellular energy
production and is a liver toxin (1).
Besides acetaldehyde Candida produces
several other toxins Gliotoxin is a sulfur-containing mycotoxin produced by several species
of fungi it also possesses immunosuppressive properties (6). Arabitol or Arabinitol
is a sugar alcohol and is used as a marker in testing for Candida. Excess is an indication for Candida
overgrowth (9). Zymosan is a glucan with repeating glucose units. Zymosan is believed to be another
by-product of fungi like Candida. It possesses immune suppressant and inflammatory properties (7).
With the above few
examples we can see that sugar plays a significant part in Candida.
What kind of symptoms and conditions can we
expect to be caused by Candida? Well, how long is a piece of string? The list is so long it probably would fill
a few pages. As stated before, just about any organ and body system can be affected. From outside manifestation
like oral or vaginal thrush, skin problems like exzema and psoriasis to hormone imbalance, fatigue, depression,
memory retention and “brain fog” just to mention a few. Autoimmune diseases have also long been linked to
Candida and other microbial overgrowth (8). We now have the visible proof that pleomorphic microbes are the
underlying cause of many disease including cancer and autoimmune diseases http://www.health-science-spirit.com/pleomorphics.htm
Do you think you might have Candida? There
is a questionnaire you might like to check out http://www.health-science-spirit.com/candidatest.html
(you need to print it out). Have you
done the “Spit test”? You find it in Walter Last’s “Ultimate Cleanse article http://www.health-science-spirit.com/ultimatecleanse.html or see http://www.strideintohealth.com/spittest.html
Which comes first the
egg or the chicken?
Allergies or Candida? What is the connection between Candida and allergies?I read in
an article by Dr Hoffman( Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York City) in which he
It is worth noting
that over 90% of a healthy population is "allergic" to Candida. How can that be if it normally resides in the
body? The delayed hypersensitivity (Type 4 allergy) response by the immune system is what helps the body control
yeast overgrowth. This is a normal and protective response to yeast but sometimes it gets out of hand. I believe
this is due to an over-proliferation of Candida. Candida can also cause an immediate hypersensitivity response
(Type 1 allergy), which is found in approximately 10 percent of the population, and is capable of causing hives,
asthma, eczema, chronic vaginitis, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.
New evidence shows
that Candida contains a protein (HWP-1).This protein structure is similar to gluten. This connection can trigger
celiac disease in some genetically-susceptible people. Therefore celiac disease could be an allergic reaction to
gluten and Candida (2)
First of all let’s
define the word “Allergy”. There is a lot of confusion about the difference between these terms - allergy,
intolerances and sensitivity.
An Allergy Reaction
involves the immune system. In the true meaning or the words - Allergy, Atopy and Anaphylaxis - all three terms
apply to type 1(immediate, IgE) hypersensitivity.
Food Intolerance and
food sensitivities Food Intolerance is an adverse reaction to Food that does not involve the Immune System, not
usually anyway. It has been speculated that food intolerances involve a missing enzyme.
The biochemistry of
any of those reactions is very complicated, but it always involves the excessive release of inflammatory
mediators into the blood stream like histamine, leukotrienes and bradykinins.
Here we have the word
inflammation once again. Dysbiosis, Candida and now allergies all seem to have one thing in common; they
generate and activate inflammation pathways.
Inflammation involves various biochemical reactions that are the body's response to injury, irritation or
either be helpful or harmful.
Is a first and essential response of injury to tissues. Histamine, Serotonin, Bradykinin, Prostaglandins and
Leukotrienes are generated. This is very important for the healing process (1).
Immune Response: Here
cells of the Immune System are activated in response to Antigens liberated during either the Acute or Chronic
stages of Inflammation. engulfing and digesting potential harmful invaders. Phagocytes are a collective term for Cells of the
Immune System that can engulf and digest Bacteria, Protozoa, Cells and Cell debris (1).
Involves the release of Interleukins 1,2 and 3;
Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF); Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha; Interferons and Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
response is a beneficial reaction, but can be detrimental if it leads to chronic inflammation if the underlying
cause of the inflammation is not rectified. Chronic inflammation can generate a host of
The part we play in
health and disease
So the conclusion is
rather simple. Dysbiosis, candida and other microorganisms cause an unbalance of our internal microflora of the
gastro intestinal tract, inviting inflammation and erosion of our mucus membranes. Without an intact and healthy mucus membrane the secretion of
needed mucus (for protection), hormones and digestive enzymes are impeded. Digestion and absorption as well as
protection against infectious and non-infectious diseases are all compromised.
Leaky membranes are
also the origin of allergic reactions as larger particles, which are not meant to, enter the blood stream.
Remember what was
said in the beginning of this article. Health and disease starts in the digestive tract
and diet, stress, antibiotic overuse, root canals and mercury fillings in teeth all add up in over-burding the
immune system and compromise our health. When it comes to maintaining good health the immune system is our most
precious asset. It protects our body against many of the world’s most widespread and deadliest diseases.
Over the last decades
the changes in food technology has been huge. The advent of genetic engineering, the addition of an ever
increasing number of chemical additives, irradiation, processing, and soil depletion, have modified foods so
much that they have lost a lot of their original therapeutic benefits. We are often overfed and undernourished.
lifestyle, diet and the problem of the prolifiration of detrimental microorganisms is like taking the devil by
the horns and sending him off to the dungeon where he belongs. It is within your power to lead a life free of
dysbiosis, Candida and allergies.
See Walter Last’s
website www.health-science-spirit.com for great and well researched
information and start any health and wellness program with the “Ultimate Cleanse”
2008 (from Hyperhealth Pro CD-ROM)
Dr Hoffman http://www.drhoffman.com/page.cfm/14