The Candida Expert

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Gut Microbes Benefit Pregnancy

More and more science points out how critical and essential the intestinal flora (microbiome) is for health in the body. We are “Super-organisms.” The current point of view is that we consist of host cells (human cells) and support cells (bacteria, parasites, viruses, yeasts, fungi, etc.). Over thousands of years, we have co-evolved into a cohesive and co-dependent unit, where the presence and health of all the parts (human and non-human alike) constitutes the health of the whole. This recent research article demonstrates how the intestinal flora, or gut microbiota, play a regulatory role in creating a healthy pregnancy.

The composition of microbes in the gut –http://candidaplan.com/blog/?p=336

 

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Hydrochloric Acid and Health

Hydrcochloric acid (HCL) is produced in the stomach to aid in activating digestion of foods and protection of the intestinal flora. Excess stomach acid (HCL) has traditionally been treated as a result of low HCL levels that creates cycles of over- and under-production. With the advent of direct-to-consumer marketing by pharmaceutical companies, the public was entrained to believe that this was purely an excess HCL problem that needed to be suppressed with antacids, leaving behind the science, physiology, and wisdom of the body.

Continue reading at –  http://candidaplan.com/blog/699/hydrochloric-acid-and-health/

Get started on greater health with Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.

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Can You Eat Too Many Healthy Fruits and Veggies?

Is it possible to overeat healthy foods? I guess that would depend on the context. The point of the article below is that it is possible to consume too many calories and gain weight, regardless of whether the food is healthy or not. Contrary to this type of logic however, when doing Dr. McCombs Candida Plan – http://candidaplan.com/, we find that eating plenty actually helps to increase weight loss. This is due to the fact that detoxifying the body takes lots of energy and you need to fuel this process. Many people comment that they “haven’t eaten this much in years and they’re still losing weight,” which brings us back to context. Here’s the short article anyway – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724144423.htm

It may make you scratch your head, but in fact it is possible to overeat healthy foods, according to Loyola University Health System registered dietitian Brooke Schantz.

“While fruits are nutritious, too much of even a healthy food can lead to weight gain,” Schantz said. “The key is to remember to control the portion sizes of the foods you consume.”

Schantz reported that overeating healthy foods is easy to do, but the same rules apply to healthy food as junk food. Weight fluctuates based on a basic concept — energy in versus energy out. If your total caloric intake is higher than the energy you burn off in a day, you will gain weight. If it is lower, you will lose weight.

“I have had many patients tell me that they don’t know why they are not losing weight,” Schantz said. “Then they report that they eat fruit all day long. They are almost always shocked when I advise them to watch the quantity of food they eat even if it is healthy.”

Schantz said that one exception applies. Nonstarchy vegetables are difficult to overeat unless they are accompanied by unnecessary calories from sauces, cheeses and butter. This is due to the high water and fiber content of these vegetables coupled with the stretching capacity of the stomach. The vegetables she suggested limiting are those that are high in starch, such as peas, corn and potatoes. Foods that are labeled as fat-free or low-fat are another area of concern.

“People tend to give themselves the freedom to overeat ‘healthy’ foods,” Schantz said. “While the label might say that a food or beverage is low-fat or fat-free, watch the quantity you consume and refrain from eating an excessive amount. Foods that carry these health claims may be high in sugar and calories.”

Context, context, context!

Candida and Inflammation in the Athlete

There’s a certain sense of loss in realizing that the best of each us is being eroded away, or lies wasting away, as hidden potential within the cells of our bodies. The gradual erosion of potential is often found in cases where there is an underlying imbalance in the body that creates chronic inflammation and the inability to absorb nutrients for normal function and repair. When chronic inflammation and nutritional imbalances are combined, degeneration of tissues advances at a far faster rate than it normally would. I have found this to repeatedly be the case in people who have been exposed to antibiotics and as a result suffer from the system-wide imbalances that are created from their usage.

In many people, this may look like a normal aging process. In the athlete, it usually is associated with excessive wear and tear on joints and failure of the muscles and the body to respond and perform as they once did. Athletic careers and pursuits can end prematurely, and the hopes and dreams of what could have been, remain forever as hopes and dreams.

Under these types of constant inflammatory conditions, the serious athlete or weekend warrior who pushes the limits of his body’s ability in pursuit of personal records and goals, will end up driving the inflammatory machinery that will eventually rob them of their potential for excellence. Exercise produces pro-inflammatory immune system responses and oxidative stress that play a role in repair and remodeling of muscle tissues. Intense exercise carries this response further, and over the long-run can produce immune system suppression and autoimmune-type responses. The following excerpt from Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition helps to explain a little more on this topic:

“DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) typically occurs after unaccustomed or high-intensity exercise, most commonly anaerobic. Soreness is usually noted at 24 hours post-exercise and can last as long as 5 to 7 days post-exercise. Although several models of DOMS have been suggested, researchers generally agree that muscle damage initiates a cascade of events leading to DOMS. The muscle damage and oxidative stress response following anaerobic exercise have been deemed necessary to promote skeletal muscle remodeling to gain benefit from the exercise, but enhanced recovery may be advantageous for more rapidly promoting an anabolic environment.

Exercise elicits mechanical and hormonal reactions from the body. The resulting muscle damage from these reactions elicits inflammatory and oxidative responses that may exacerbate muscle injury and prolong the time to regeneration. The hormonal contributor to muscle damage during exercise is derived through basic neuroendocrine responses to exercise demands. High intensity exercise triggers the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis leading to the release of cortisol and other catabolic hormones. These hormones function to meet increased energy needs by recruiting substrates for gluconeogenesis via the breakdown of lipids and proteins. Through their catabolic nature, these hormones also indirectly lead to muscle cell damage.

Inflammation following anaerobic exercise functions to clear debris in preparation for muscle regeneration. The magnitude of the increase in inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-6) varies proportionately to the intensity and duration of the exercise. However, a prolonged inflammatory response can increase muscle damage and delay recovery by exacerbating oxidative stress and increasing production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The increased ROS production seen with high intensity training can lead to oxidative stress such as lipid peroxidation (1).”

While intense exercise is usually associated with greater degrees of DOMS, inflammation, immune system suppression, and oxidative stress, mild-to-moderate exercise is typically associated with boosting the immune system and supporting greater health in the body. If however, there is an underlying state of chronic inflammation due to an infectious agent, then even mild-to-moderate exercise may result in many of the symptoms commonly found with intense exercise, as fuel is added to an already burning fire. Over a period of months and years, this can lead to shortened productivity and limited excellence in today’s athletes. In one sense, it is the equivalent of driving with the brakes on.

The most frequent infectious agent that fits this model is Candida albicans. C. albicans commonly exists as a yeast organism in the human body and is considered a normal part of healthy tissue flora. Due primarily to the effect of antibiotics, this yeast organism transforms into a pathogenic, problematic fungal form that has been associated with a multitude of conditions and diseases in the body.

Since the introduction of antibiotics in the late 1940s following WWII, there has been a remarkable increase in the research of candida-related conditions and diseases (2) with over 24,000 research articles being published since 1949. On average, that is enough for one research article per day in the last 51 years, with enough left over to fill another 6 years of daily research publications. With a one-to-one association between antibiotic use and the development of systemic fungal infections, implications exist for society as whole being afflicted with a post-antibiotic syndrome of fungal candida and immune system dysregulation.

In systemic fungal candida infections, ongoing pro-inflammatory reactions from both systemic and localized immune system responses combine with the virulence mechanisms of fungal candida to create a constant state of oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory hormonal imbalances, chronic tissue inflammation, and tissue degeneration. This type of smoldering, nonresolving inflammation becomes a constant component of the microenvironment within and is implicated in many diseases and conditions.

Joint restriction, pain, swelling and inflammation, weight gain, fatigue, blood sugar imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, slower post-exercise recovery periods and other symptoms are commonly associated with this underlying condition in today’s athletes and others.

In response to patients who had these problems, I developed a well laid out plan to counteract this post-antibiotic syndrome and subsequent systemic imbalances. Athletes who have followed the McCombs Plan have seen a decrease in the degree and amount of inflammation experienced during exercise, as well as pre- and post-exercise inflammatory responses with faster recovery times. Many of the conditions associated with fungal candida that impact human performance have been diminished and resolved. Marathon runners and Tri-atheletes found themselves competing without “hitting the wall.” Wrestlers, weight lifters and others found that their joint pains and restrictions decreased and disappeared. Increased energy and vitality that is sustained throughout the day has been a common response.

If we are to achieve the best that we can be, we must rid ourselves of these types of physiological limitations, or settle for less and be happy with what could have been.

1. The effects of theaflavin-enriched black tea extract on muscle soreness, oxidative stress, inflammation, and endocrine responses to acute anaerobic interval training: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study

Shawn M Arent, Meghan Senso, Devon L Golem and Kenneth H McKeever

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:11doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-11

http://www.jissn.com/content/7/1/11

2. SciTrends of Biomedical Sciences

http://rzhetskylab.cu-genome.org/cgi-bin/trendshow?MeSHID=1191

A “S.A.D.” Lifestyle

As our country deals with the effects of past deregulation and the current financial crisis, I am struck by how America has also become deregulated in the area of its dietary choices and the resultant health crisis that is developing as a result. Sound dietary practices have been dismantled and replaced by eating whenever, whatever, and however it suits us in the moment. Common sense management of our food choices has been neglected in favor of fad diet fixes and Flintstone vitamins.

The wisdom of the body as a temple that needs to be cherished and cared for has been replaced by the philosophy of the body as an amusement park and I’ve got a season pass.

It’s no mistake that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is S.A.D. When America exports the dietary principles of S.A.D. to another country, a decline in the health of its people quickly follows. It also holds true for foreigners who immigrate here, as they quickly find out that their health declines and their weight increases when eating as the natives do. In all fairness, America should have signs at its entry borders that warn of the risks that go with adopting our S.A.D. lifestyle.

Using the government’s Body Mass Index (BMI) standard, a calculation based on height and weight, over 66% of Americans are overweight and 34% are obese. If current trends continue, by 2015, it’s estimated that 75% of American adults will be overweight or obese. By 2030, that estimate increases to more than 86 percent of adults, and by 2048, well let’s just say that finding a normal weight person will be like finding a needle in a haystack. The BMI standard isn’t without just criticism, as other body measurements are not considered. When considering the overall trend, however, it’s obvious that Americans are getting fatter and the associated illnesses and healthcare costs that accompany this trend are also on the rise.

Being overweight increases our risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, liver and gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, infertility, and various other related diseases and conditions. All of these are signs of lifestyle mismanagement, not medication deficiencies.

I imagine that a pharmaceutical company’s Board of Directors looks upon America’s sedentary lifestyle and standard diet much in the same way that a cannibal looks upon a newly caught fat missionary prior to feasting. Our gains become their gains.

The pharmaceutical industry continues to propagate the philosophy of there’s nothing wrong with us. It’s not our fault. It’s just genetics, hormones, and other uncontrollable dysfunctions in our bodies that they will soon have a drug for. So, don’t worry, keep eating. For heaven’s sake, there’s no need to deprive your self of anything. Eat! You’ve earned it. Eat! You deserve it. Eat! It’s the holidays. Eat, eat, eat!

President-Elect Barack Obama keeps reminding us that we need to prepare ourselves for making sacrifices in order to correct the excesses of the past. This applies as much to our diet and lifestyle choices as much as it does to the economy. If sacrifices are to be made, then we can choose to sacrifice stupidity for wisdom. We can live up to our potential and leave behind the excuses and reasons for not taking care of ourselves.

Over half of Americans lead a sedentary lifestyle. The current government recommendation calls for 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. I have always thought that the government usually gets it half-right. Exercising 60 minutes 5 days a week is probably even better. Start where you are and go from there. Leave the “have to do it/be it/have it now” attitude behind. Evolve your desires to allow for gradual progress to have its impact.

In his book “What May Be” Piero Ferrucci states, “You must not follow your feelings. Your feelings must follow you.” We must begin to exhibit an emotional intelligence that directs our food choices. We must eat with a conscious awareness of how we wish to transform our bodies, for our bodies are transforming from moment-to-moment whether we like it or not. How it transforms can be up to us.

So as Thanksgiving approaches, I believe that it’s time to be thankful for the abundance and opportunities that we have as Americans. It’s time to invest in ourselves and our future. We can create something remarkable with our lives and share our life stories with others. We can be a nation of everyday heroes, ordinary people living extra-ordinary lives.

As an old adage states, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs is a 3rd generation Doctor of Chiropractic, author of the book “LifeForce,” and developer of the McCombs Plan. His 25 years of ongoing research and practice emphasizes addressing the nutritional, biochemical, structural, emotional, and environmental aspects of acute and chronic health conditions in his patients.

He can be reached at www.mccombsplan.com or 888-236-7780.

The Candida Challenge

Currently, there are over 100,000 species of known fungus on the planet and another 1.5-2.5 million that are expected to exist. Of these, the most well known fungus that exists on and within humans is the Candida Albicans species. Of this particular species there are over 1000 different strains that have been identified in various studies.

Candida Albicans, is normally a benign member of the normal flora of the human digestive tract, but it is capable of causing life-threatening illnesses in patients whose immune system is compromised. It is a dimorphic organism, meaning that it exists in 2 different forms, as a yeast or a fungus.

The yeast form is considered to be the benign or harmless state, while the fungal, mycelial form is the harmful, invasive state. Some research suggests that the yeast form may also be harmful under certain conditions, or at least play a greater role in the ability of the fungal form to invade the body and avoid immune system responses. The form that Candida will assume is dependent on various environmental factors – temperature, pH, nutrient availability, immune response, micro-organism competition, etc. It continually demonstrates an amazing ability to adapt to changes in its environment at lightening-like speeds.

Candida albicans is the most frequent opportunistic fungal infection in man. In hospital stays, it is the most commonly acquired (nosocomial) infection due to antibiotic use.

Antibiotics have a growth inducing effect on Candida Albicans. This can be accomplished in several ways. Antibiotics destroy the natural bacterial flora that helps to keep candida in check. Some resources state that the normal ratio of good bacteria to candida is a million to one. Eliminating large bacterial colonies eliminates the competition and enables the candida to have a bigger share of the pie, so to speak.

As bacteria are destroyed by antibiotics, they break down and release substances from within their cells that promote inflammation and tissue break down. One of these inflammatory substances, peptidoglycan (PGN) has been found to directly stimulate candida to change from its yeast to fungal form.

Antibiotics can also suppress immune system responses and function, which enable the fungal candida to evade immune cells and grow unchecked throughout the body.

When antibiotics indiscriminately destroy the good and bad bacteria of the intestinal tract, they affect the normal pH of these tissues. The bacteria help to keep the pH of the intestinal tract in an acidic range through secretions of acids and enzymes. Without these acids, the pH becomes more alkaline. This creates an environment that further stimulates and promotes active fungal growth.

As expressed earlier in this article, candida displays amazing adaptability to its environment. One common misconception is that candida grows only in a nutrient rich environment. Research shows that a deficiency of nutrients can also stimulate the yeast-to-fungal change, as the candida will go in search of nutrients elsewhere in the body’s tissues. The fact that candida grows on the nutrient barren plains of our body’s skin surface is a good example of how well it can survive under different conditions.

Once the fungal form of candida has been allowed to flourish, it can affect every organ, tissue, and cell of our bodies. Candida excretes a long list of toxins into the body. These toxins can produce many symptoms and lead to the overall deterioration of health that is a hallmark of candida infections. When our immune systems are depleted, stressed, or imbalanced in any way, this will allow the candida to become a systemic infection. This type of infection can last an entire lifetime, causing rapid aging and a host of illnesses.

To restore health and vitality in the body, the candida needs to be eliminated and reduced to its yeast form once again. Additionally, the body needs to detoxified of the accumulated wastes, and the beneficial bacterial flora needs to be re-implanted into the body’s tissues. The intestinal tract is considered to be the densest ecosystem of bacteria on the planet. There are an estimated 100 trillion cells that reside within it. Restoring and maintaining the balance of this system will have a tremendous impact on our health and how we age. We have enough information to enable us to activate the life force within us and make the right choices for leading a healthy vibrant life.

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is a 3rd generation Doctor of Chiropractic, author of the book: LifeForce, and developer of the Life Force Plan. His 25 years of ongoing research and practice emphasizes addressing the nutritional, environmental, emotional, structural, and biochemical aspects of acute and chronic health conditions in his patients.

He can be contacted at www.mccombsplan.com, 888.236.7780.

 

 

A quick look at the genus Candida on Wikipedia lists 44 species of Candida: Candida albicans, Candida ascalaphidarum, Candida amphixiae, Candida antarctica, Candida atlantica, Candida atmosphaerica, Candida blattae, Candida carpophila, Candida cerambycidarum, Candida chauliodes, Candida corydali, Candida dosseyi, Candida dubliniensis, Candida ergatensis, Candida fructus, Candida glabrata, Candida fermentati, Candida guilliermondii, Candida haemulonii, Candida insectamens, Candida insectorum, Candida intermedia, Candida jeffresii, Candida kefyr, Candida krusei, Candida lusitaniae, Candida lyxosophila, Candida maltosa, Candida membranifaciens, Candida milleri, Candida oleophila, Candida oregonensis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida quercitrusa, Candida sake, Candida shehatea, Candida temnochilae, Candida tenuis, Candida tropicalis, Candida tsuchiyae, Candida sinolaborantium, Candida sojae, Candida viswanathii, Candida utilis.

Further research reveals another 29 species of Candida:

Candida abiesophila, Candida amphixiae, Candida blattariae, Candida bracarensis, Candida buinensis, Candida cerambycidaru, Candida endomychidarum, Candida floridaensis, Candida friedrichii, Candida ghanaensis, Candida gorgasii, Candida grinbergsii, Candida lessepsii, Candida lignicola, Candida lignohabitans, Candida marionensis, Candida marylandica, Candida membranifaciens, Candida michaelii, Candida newmexicoensis, Candida nivariensis, Candida northcarolinaensis, Candida ontarioensis, Candida peoriaensis, Candida pinicola, Candida ponderosae, Candida sinolaborantium, Candida temnochilae, Candida Thailandia.

 

It is likely that there are hundreds of candida species, and tens of thousands of strains. We are only just beginning to understand the world that exists within us.

A Toxic World?

 

Some people think that detoxification is a “new age” idea. For me it isn’t, but I decided to at least look and see what shows up. First stop, PubMed, an Internet site put out by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health. Entering detoxification into their site search brings up 15,823 citations of studies done on detoxification. Pretty impressive. Next stop, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. A quick look brings up 981 citations of studies involving detoxification. Not as impressive, but still noteworthy. Last stop, the World Health Organization’s website. A quick search here brings up 1250 citations. All-in-all, detoxification seems to be a worldwide concern.

 

So, is detoxification an issue? If detoxification were not an issue, then we could eat all of the mercury laden fish that we wanted to. We could breathe polluted air without consideration. We could smoke 10 packs of cigarettes each day for a life time and not suffer as a result. We could dump all the waste that we wanted to into the oceans, rivers, and streams. We could do away with water filtration plants, waste recycling, and all the controls surrounding pollution. We wouldn’t need life-saving antioxidants in hospital and clinical settings. I think that it is self-evident that detoxification is an issue. It is a primary function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body and all other living organisms, as well as the planet itself.

 

Detoxification is a necessity for life on the planet to go on existing. Without detoxification, we would suffer and die in our own wastes. The largest organ in the body is a detoxification organ, the skin. The next largest organs – the liver, lungs, large intestine, and kidneys – also deal heavily with detoxification. Detoxification sites and pathways are everywhere in our body’s tissues. As an organism, we come armed for detoxification.

 

Some people think that the body is adequately equipped for detoxification, but if it were, we wouldn’t have words like carcinogen, teratogens, reproductive toxicants, and endocrine disruptors. These are chemicals that create disease and dysfunction in the body because the body isn’t able to remove them. The human body was not made to handle the toxic load that it has to handle in today’s environment, and the environment wasn’t made to handle the toxic load that humans have dumped upon it. Of the 100,000+ chemicals in use worldwide, some 5000 of them are produced in high volumes in excess of 1 million pounds per year. Only a small percentage of these have been tested for environmental and human impact.

 

The human body is like a sponge that soaks up hundreds, perhaps thousands of chemicals. In testing done on babies, the number of toxins present at birth has been shown to be around 200-300. Scientists estimate that everyone alive today has a toxic load of at least 700 contaminants. Chemicals that have been outlawed years ago can still show up in the body’s tissues decades later. What goes in, doesn’t necessarily come out.

 

How we manage the toxic load of the body can have a great impact on our health and the health of our children. Reducing exposure to toxins is a great place to start. The home should be a safe place for us to retreat to and renew ourselves. We should eliminate, or greatly reduce, our exposure to chemicals through the foods we eat, the beverages we drink, and the air we breathe. Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, detergents, and household cleaners should be organic or biodegradable. Our water and air should be filtered whenever possible. Food should be our medicine. Routine sweating via saunas and hot baths is an established practice in many cultures that makes use of the skin and its detoxification abilities.

 

One can work with healthcare practitioners to investigate ways to assist the body in reducing its toxic burden. Nutrients can be useful in boosting the body’s resources for antioxidants. A supplement like N-acetyl-cysteine helps to replenish the stores of one of the body’s most abundant antioxidants, glutathione. Glutathione help to decrease the oxidative stress created by the toxic load we carry and expose ourselves to continuously.

 

So, perhaps detoxification is a “new age” concept, but more importantly, I believe that it should be a part of a new age of personal responsibility for our health and how our choices play a role in determining the quality of the life we live.

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