The Candida Expert

Archive for the ‘Drugs’ Category

The Adventures of a Preterm Daddy: Part I

As we sat with my family at Thanksgiving last year, my wife announced that we were going try to get pregnant. This was happy news for my mother who has been waiting for her 50 year old son to contribute to the family line like my two sisters and brother have done previously some 20-30 years earlier. Little did we know that as we sat there, she was already 1-2 weeks along in her pregnancy. Three store-bought, do-it-yourself pregnancy tests later in the first half of December, and we find out that she’s pregnant. This celebrated news was followed up a couple of weeks later with new information that we were having twins, courtesy of a diagnostic ultrasound scan due to some concerns of her doctor at that time. 

A diagnostic ultrasound in our family is not a choice taken lightly. I’m a 3rd generation Doctor of Chiropractic, never vaccinated as a child, grew up on vitamins with each meal and weekly if not daily adjustments. Ultrasound is a type of radiation that can be used therapeutically or diagnostically. My educational and clinical experience with ultrasound has been as a therapy. Ultrasound produces sound waves (a type of radiation) that pass through the tissues. The tissue’s resistance to and absorption of these waves causes heating of the tissues and some other metabolic effects that can be desirable in promoting healing. Therapeutic ultrasound is not recommended during pregnancy, over tissues such as the eyes, heart, spinal column, growing bones, testes, epiphyseal plates, carotid sinuses, cervical stellate ganglion, and vagus nerve. Although you may not be familiar with these anatomical tissues, they are all found in developing babies and everyone else. Given my clinical experience, I naturally questioned its use as a diagnostic tool. This philosophy of questioning comes from a statement found in the Hippocratic Oath that I took upon graduation from school that states, “First do no harm.” It’s the responsibility of a doctor to always assess the methods being used to determine that there is no harm being done to the patient as a result of medications or procedures.  

Diagnostic ultrasound uses a similar frequency range, much like sonar on a submarine, to produce images. It is used to screen for abnormalities of the developing fetus. For more information on the benefits and risks of ultrasound, visit – http://www.ob-ultrasound.net/. Like therapeutic ultrasound, the resistance to and absorption of the sound waves, plays a role in the creation of the images. To me, this indicates some degree of heating of the tissues in a developing baby. Is this enough to create some type of damage to the baby? Currently, the risks are not considered to be relevant but the US National Institute of Health recommends against its use in routine scanning of the fetus and developing embryo and ‘although its use doesn’t appear to be associated with any known hazards, investigators should continue to evaluate risks.’ Hmmm.  

Additionally, some research points to correlations between diagnostic ultrasound and the Autism/Aspergers spectrum of developmental disorders. The bottom line on ultrasound is that it should be used based on a ‘benefit vs. risk’ assessment, a term that I’ll talk more about later. Most doctors and sonogram technicians oppose its use by moms who want to have periodic pictures to show everyone. To me, its use is a big question mark that may or may not have complications years later. 

Okay, well we had one ultrasound that seemed to be necessary, but we decide that we probably won’t elect to have any others unless absolutely necessary. There is a saying that goes something like this, “Man plans, God laughs.” During the course of our journey through this pregnancy, we will seem to keep God amused.

 

My wife’s 1st obstetrics doctor recommended a list of questionable procedures (amniocentesis, CVS, Rhogam vaccine) and handed us a couple of boxes of prenatal vitamins. Medical doctors get about 5 hours of training in nutrition during medical school. This was very apparent by the box of vitamins that we were handed. The prenatal vitamin’s list of nutrients and additional ingredients consisting of synthetic dyes, synthetic nutrients, chemical fillers, and toxic fats were quickly donated to the trash can in his waiting room on our way out of his office. It was time to ask around for references and interview a few OB doctors.  

Obstetrics (OB) is surgical specialty dealing with the care of women and their children during pregnancy. Although our intention is to have a natural home birth attended by a midwife, we will still need an OB doctor and a hospital as a back-up. This is common practice in California for parents who choose homebirths. Unfortunately, twin homebirths in California is against the law and a midwife who attends one can end up in jail. This was interesting since other states allow this practice which dates back to the beginning of man. Concerns about the possible complications associated with mothers carrying multiple babies however, means that this is left to the hospitals and obstetrics doctors in California. I’m not sure if this is a policy based on previous experience or a philosophy of better safe than sorry. 

We consider traveling out of state to Tennessee where the midwife of midwives, Ina May Gaskin, holds court when she’s not teaching midwives and doctors across the country. They inform us that they like to have couples come 6 weeks before the due date and if our babies don’t make it to 34 weeks gestation and decide to come out early, we would end up going to a hospital in Tennessee. Since twins seem to have a habit of coming early, this option doesn’t sound too inviting. Given the logistics and hassles of travel and the possibility of an early delivery, we opt for a natural delivery at an LA hospital attended by an OB doctor, a midwife, and 2 or 3 other people. It’s not home, but we want to make it as intimate as possible. I thought I heard God laughing? 

We selected our OB doctor, Jessica Schneider, MD and our midwife was Elizabeth Bachner. Dr. Schneider wants an ultrasound every month once we hit 20 weeks, but we decide on one detailed anatomical ultrasound at 20 weeks and then one just before birth to determine positioning of the babies. This approach was also recommended by an assistant to Ina May Gaskins and it sounds good to us. The ultrasound comes back normal and we begin to make all of the necessary arrangements. 

We have a doctor and a midwife, and my wife has become a walking encyclopedia on pregnancy, twins, and birth. She’s exercising every day, eating well, taking her vitamins, and spending quiet time with herself and the babies. Her due date is mid-August and so in late April we settle into what we expect to be a nice long pregnancy…and God giggles.

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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.

Healthcare Abducted

Mainstream healthcare in America has been abducted by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. As profits have moved to the center stage, patient care has become secondary.

 

We need to make healthcare more affordable for Americans once more. We can start by creating a law that drugs in the U.S. be sold at world market prices. This would eliminate the excessive profits that allow Pharmaceutical Giants to support the biggest lobby and drug marketing programs the world has seen. Drug sales in the U. S. accounts for almost half of the $643 billion world pharmaceutical market.

 

Year after year drug companies enjoy higher profits than any other industry in the United States. In 2002, the top 10 drug companies in the United States had a median profit margin of 17%, compared with only 3.1% for all the other industries on the Fortune 500 list. The pharmaceutical companies state that drug price increases are necessary to fund their Research & Development of new drugs. Why do Americans have to fund this R&D for the rest of the world, when the rest of the world pays significantly less for their drugs? As it is, we already play a major role in funding R&D through tax-payer funded and government research. If anything, we should be buying drugs discounted below the world market price average. The higher drug prices in the US also mean that we are paying for the marketing of these drugs to us. In some cases, Big Pharma spends twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration as they do on R&D. This is yet another reason for us to be paying less, not more. The cost of marketing and research should not be a burden that is born by Americans, especially when those that bear this burden are the ones least able to afford it, the sick and elderly.

 

If the recent bailout of the banking industry has shown us anything, it is that compensation packages to executives tend to be outrageous. This is no less the case with Big Pharma where compensation packages reach into the tens of millions. This doesn’t make sense when senior citizens throughout America are forced to make the choice between paying the high cost of prescription drugs or buying food. As the economy faces a depression and unemployment climbs, the number of people who are in this predicament will also increase.

 

Another way to increase the quality of healthcare in America is to take back control of patient care away from insurance companies. Insurance companies do not heal or treat anyone, physicians and health practitioners do. Insurance companies have stepped into the role of determining what happens with patient care as opposed to the healthcare practitioner. Insurance companies sell a promise and then figure out every way that they can not to deliver on that promise. Patient care needs to be solely in the hands those who have been trained to address it.

 

Unless the next President and Congress make reforms that favor the interests of its citizens over that of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, healthcare as we know it will continue on, business as usual. Some single payer plans call for lifestyle changes and patients assuming a greater degree of responsibility for their own health. These include the areas of diet, weight loss, cessation of smoking, and exercise. Although, I’m not convinced of the suitability of the single payer plans to fill our needs, they do show some merit.

 

The bottom line is that we as Americans need to take greater personal responsibility for our own health. The choice always has been and always will be ours. It is not up to others to make this right for ourselves, it is up to us.

 

Jack LaLane, an American icon, once said, “Exercise is King and Nutrition is Queen. Put them together and you have a kingdom.” Perhaps, the time has come for us to claim that kingdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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