The Candida Expert

Archive for the ‘LifeForce Plan’ Category

Does Candida Know When To Attack

There is always a wealth of information coming forth that helps to provide greater clarity on how candida becomes problematic in the body. This recent study, as reported in Science Daily, provides some good information and some confusing information. I’ll add some editorial throughout the article – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724153651.htm

The opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans inconspicuously lives in our bodies until it senses that we are weak when it quickly adapts to go on the offensive. The fungus, known for causing yeast and other minor infections, also causes a sometimes-fatal infection known as candidemia in immunocompromised patients An in vivo study, published in mBio, demonstrates how C. albicanscan distinguish between a healthy and an unhealthy host and alter its physiology to attack. [There are several factors that cause the conversion of the normal yeast form of candida to its pathogenic, problematic fungal form – pH, temperature, antibiotics, bacterial cell wall components, etc., The phrase, “senses we are weak” isn’t something that I have ever seen in scientific studies, but it may be another way to state immunsuppression. Even so, I have yet to see that listed as a trigger for yeast-to-fungal conversion. Immunosuppression can play a role in the spread of candida, but some studies indicate that it isn’t a pre-requisite for this to happen. Candidemia is another term for fungal sepsis, or blood-borne fungal infection. Sepsis is one of the top 10 or 11 leading causes of death in the United States, depending on year of reference, and fungal candida causes over 50% of that].

“The ability of the fungus to sense the immune status of its host may be key to its ability to colonize harmlessly in some people but become a deadly pathogen in others,” said Jessica V. Pierce, BA, PhD student in the molecular microbiology program at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts. [This is an interesting quote from an author in the study. It can be taken a couple of different ways. It might be interpreted that she is stating that it spreads throughout the body in its fungal form in the presence of an intact immune system, but doesn’t create any imbalances. That would be ignoring a lot of other research that demonstrates how the fungal form of candida creates many imbalances within the body. It has been shown to spread through the body without the immune system being compromised. A second interpretation and the one that I believe she is stating is that as a fungus, it colonizes the digestive tract harmlessly or pathogenically depending on the host immune status. That would ignore the fact that candida colonizes the intestinal tract in its yeast form. It may not be much of a differentiation, but it can be misleading as the fungal form is problematic and the yeast form isn’t.]

“Effective detection and treatment of disease in immunocompromised patients could potentially work by targeting the levels of a protein, Efg1p, that we found influenced the growth of Candida albicans inside the host,” she continued. [As stated before, there are several factors that cause the conversion of yeast-to-fungus. Efg1 has been identified previously as part of the internal mechanism that regulates the yeast-to-hyphal conversion and back again. It’s not the only part and its presence may not be a good indicator of fungal infections, as it can exist in the yeast form also.]

The researchers knew from previous research that Efg1p influences the expression of genes that regulate how harmful a fungal cell can become. Surprisingly, the investigators found that lower Efg1p levels allow the fungal cells to grow to high levels inside a host. Higher levels of the protein result in less growth. [Would the high levels be associated with it’s yeast form and the low levels with its fungal form. That can be a good reason for differentiating between yeast and fungus and not referring to both forms as though they were fungal.]

To examine how the immune status could affect the growth of C. albicans within a host, the researchers fed both healthy and immunocompromised mice equal amounts of two fungal strains containing two different levels of the Efg1p protein.

Fecal pellets from the mice were tested to determine which strain of fungi thrived. In a healthy host, the fungal cells with higher levels of the protein predominated.

In immunocompromised mice, the fungal cells with lower levels of the protein flourished. The researchers noted that lack of interactions with immune cells in the intestinal tract most likely caused the necessary environmental conditions favoring fungal cells that express lower levels of the protein, resulting in fungal overgrowth and setting the stage for systemic infection.

“By having a mixed population with some high Efg1p cells and some low Efg1p cells, the fungus can adjust its physiology to remain benign or become harmful when it colonizes hosts with varying immune statuses. These findings are important because they provide the first steps toward developing more effective methods for detecting and treating serious and stubborn infections caused by Candida albicans, such as candidemia,” said Carol A. Kumamoto, PhD, professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine and member of the molecular microbiology and genetics program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences.

The immune system and “good bacteria” within the body act to regulate the size of C. albicans fungal populations in healthy individuals. When the immune system is compromised, the fungus can spread throughout the body. Candidemia, i.e. blood-borne Candida, is the fourth most common blood infection among hospitalized patients in the United States and is found in immunocompromised patients such as babies, those with catheters, and the critically ill. [Here we see the authors state that it is the immune system and the “good bacteria” that help to regulate the candida populations. This would be a very strong statement against the use of antibiotics, as antibiotics destroy the “good bacteria” and suppress the immune system. With Sepsis being one of the top causes of death in the United States and over 50% of that being due to fungal candida, much of that can be prevented by not using antibiotics. That would eliminate sepsis as a leading cause of death and fungal candida as the 4th leading cause of hospital infections. Throughout this article I didn’t see any differentiation between the yeast and fungal forms of candida and I didn’t find it mentioned in the original abstract either. Many studies seem to be limited in the breadth of understanding of candida and the vast amount of past research. Through other studies, it has already been established that immunosuppression is not necessary for the spread of candida. For more research on this, view the Candida Facts Sheet article.  Tests can only serve as indicators, not absolute measures of function in the body. Targeting something like Efg1 doesn’t seem to be a promising advancement in the understanding or treatment of candida. If the purpose is to create another target for antifungal medications, it must be remembered that all medications contain far more harmful effects than beneficial effects. One common effect of antifungal medications  is immunosuppression.

More on Bacillus subtilis

Here’s a list of antibiotics that Bacillus subtilis is used with. It’s effects are against aerobic and non-aerobic bacteria. There is no differentiating between good and bad bacteria, as some people are lead to believe. That differentiation is something put out by the pharmaceuitical companies and MDs. The warrior model of destroying this and that as used in medicine, is antiquated and has been so many decades. The “holistic” approach used by many people is just a variation on the medical warriot model, whereby medications are substituted with something else to bring about destruction. The approach to destroying anything in the body, fails to consider that in doing so, we are destroying ourselves in the process. It’s okay if you want to support those groups, it’s just that the information is misleading.

All bacteria in a balanced system benefit the system. Create the balance and you also create the safeguards against anything that shouldn’t be there. Destroy that balance and you’ll see health start to slip away as the ecosystem starts to collapse into chaos.

As you’ll see below, Bacillus subtilis has been associated with food poisoning, disease conditions, and has been tested for biological applications as a biolgical agent.

Bacillus subtilis is the basis for many antibiotics due to its strong antibacterial function. This antibacterial function will create imbalance within the body by destroying bacteria. It also has a strong antifungal effect and is the basis for antifungal medications, but these, as we know, create other imbalances.

You’ll see below this list of B. subtilis-based antibiotics some more information on B. subtilis. It’s not a risk-free choice. Whatever your decision, make it an informed choice.


B. subtilis
does produce an extracellular toxin known as subtilisin. Although subtilisin has very low toxigenic properties (Gill, 1982), this proteinaceous compound is capable of causing allergic reactions in individuals who are repeatedly exposed to it (Edberg, 1991). Sensitization of workers to subtilisin may be a problem in fermentation facilities where exposure to high concentration of this compound may occur. Exposure limits to subtilisin are regulated by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (29 CFR 1900, et seq.)Biotechnology Program Under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Bacillus subtilis Final Risk Assessment

III. HAZARD ASSESSMENT

A. Human Health Hazards

1. Colonization

B. subtilis is widely distributed throughout the environment, particularly in soil, air, and decomposing plant residue. It has shown a capacity to grow over a wide range of temperatures including that of the human body (Claus and Berkeley, 1986). However, B. subtilis does not appear to have any specialized attachment mechanisms typically found in organisms capable of colonizing humans (Edberg, 1991). Given its ubiquity in nature and the environmental conditions under which it is capable of surviving, B. subtilis could be expected to temporarily inhabit the skin and gastrointestinal tract of humans, but it is doubtful that this organism would colonize other sites in the human body (Edberg, 1991).

2. Gene Transfer

The transfer of gene sequences between strains of B. subtilis has been demonstrated when the strains were grown together in soil (Graham and Istock, 1979). In addition, Klier et al. (1983) demonstrated the ability of B. subtilis and B. thuringiensis to exchange high frequency transfer plasmids. Other studies have shown that B. subtilis has the ability to express and secrete toxins or components of the toxins that were acquired from other microorganisms through such transfers of genetic material. B. subtilis expressed subunits of toxins from Bordatella pertussis (Saris et al., 1990a, 1990b), as well as subunits of diphtheria toxin (Hemila et al., 1989) and pneumolysin A pneumococcal toxin (Taira et al., 1989). Although B. subtilis does not appear to possess indigenous virulence factor genes, it is theoretically possible that it may acquire such genes from other bacteria, particularly from closely related bacteria within the genus.

3. Toxin Production

A review of the literature by Edberg (1991) failed to reveal the production of toxins by B. subtilis. Although it has been associated with outbreaks of food poisoning (Gilbert et al., 1981 and Kramer et al., 1982 as cited by Logan, 1988), the exact nature of its involvement has not been established. B. subtilis, like other closely related species in the genus, B. licheniformis, B. pumulis, and B. megaterium, have been shown to be capable of producing lecithinase, an enzyme which disrupts membranes of mammalian cells. However, there has not been any correlation between lecithinase production and human disease in B. subtilis.

4. Measure of the Degree of Virulence

B. subtilis appears to have a low degree of virulence to humans. It does not produce significant quantities of extracellular enzymes or possess other virulence factors that would predispose it to cause infection (Edberg, 1991). There are a number of reports where B. subtilis has been isolated from human infections. Earlier literature contains references to infections caused by B. subtilis. However, as previously stated,the term B. subtilis was synonymous for any aerobic sporeforming bacilli, and quite possibly, many of these infections were associated with B. cereus. In a recent British review article, Logan (1988) cites more recent cases of B. subtilis infections in which identification of the bacterium appeared reliable. Infections include a case of endocarditis in a drug abuse patient; fatal pneumonia and bacteremia in three leukemic patients; septicemia in a patient with breast cancer; and infection of a necrotic axillary tumor in another breast cancer patient. Isolation of B. subtilis was also made from surgical wound-drainage sites, from a subphrenic abscess from a breast prosthesis, and from two ventriculo-atrial shunt infections (as cited by Logan, 1988).

Reviews of Bacillus infections from several major hospitals suggest that B. subtilis is an organism with low virulence. Idhe and Armstrong (1973) reported that Bacillus infections were encountered only twelve times over a 6-1/2 year period. Species identification of these Bacillus infections was not made. In another hospital study over a 6-yr. period, only two of the 24 cases of bacteremia caused by Bacillus (of a total of 1,038 cases) were due to B. subtilis (as cited by Edberg, 1991). Many of these patients were immunocompromised or had long term indwelling foreign bodies such as a Hickman catheter.

B. subtilis has also been implicated in several cases of food poisoning (Gilbert et al., 1981 and Kramer et al., 1982 as cited by Logan, 1988).

As previously mentioned, B. subtilis produces a number of enzymes, including subtilisin, for use in laundry detergent products. There have been a number of cases of allergic or hypersensitivity reactions, including dermatitis and respiratory distress after the use of these laundry products (Norris et al., 1981).

5. Conclusions

B. subtilis is not a human pathogen, nor is it toxigenic like some other members of the genus. The virulence characteristics of the microorganism are low. According to Edberg (1991) either the number of microorganisms challenging the individual must be very high or the immune status of the individual very low in order for infection with B. subtilis to occur.

B. Environmental Hazards

3. Hazards to Other Microorganisms

B. subtilis has been shown to produce a wide variety of antibacterial and antifungal compounds (Katz and Demain, 1977; Korzybski et al., 1978). It produces novel antibiotics such as difficidin and oxydifficidin that have activity against a wide spectrum of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria (Zimmerman et al., 1987) as well as more common antibiotics such as bacitracin, bacillin, and bacillomycin B (Parry et al., 1983). The use of B. subtilis as a biocontrol agent of fungal plant pathogens is being investigated because of the effects of antifungal compounds on Monilinia fructicola (McKeen et al., 1986), Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus (Kimura and Hirano, 1988), and Rhizoctonia (Loeffler et al., 1986).

Although B. subtilis produces a variety of antibiotic compounds in culture media, the importance of antibiotic production in the environment is unknown (Alexander, 1977).

B. subtilisis not a frank human pathogen, but has on several occasions been isolated from human infections. Infections attributed to B. subtilis include bacteremia, endocarditis, pneumonia, and septicemia. However, these infections were found in patients in compromised immune states. There must be immunosuppression of the host followed by inoculation in high numbers before infection with B. subtilis canoccur. There also have been several reported cases of food poisoning attributed to large numbers of B. subtilis contaminated food. B. subtilis does not produce significant quantities of extracellular enzymes or other factors that would predispose it to cause infection. Unlike several other species in the genus, B. subtilis is not consider toxigenic. B. subtilis does produce the extracellular enzyme subtilisin that has been reported to cause allergic or hypersensitivity reactions in individuals repeatedly exposed to it.

In conclusion, the use of B. subtilis in fermentation facilities for the production of enzymes or specialty chemicals has low risk. Although not completely innocuous, the industrial use of B. subtilis presents low risk of adverse effects to human health or the environment.

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

Antibiotics and Candida

I often get asked about antibiotics and systemic candida. Antibiotics are definitely the best way to create systemic fungal infections and lifelong intestinal flora imbalances in the body, as well as an unlimited number of other problems. Although the medical profession doesn’t even acknowledge this, scientists and researchers state this obvious fact over and over again.

 

Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria. Killing these bacteria causes a massive hemorrhaging of the internal components of all bacteria. This is particularly problematic because our bodies respond to these internal components by producing acute and eventually chronic long-term inflammation that can affect all tissues and cells throughout the body. This massive inflammatory cascade can breakdown tissues and interfere with cellular function. One of these internal substances, Lipopolysaccaharide (LPS) is common in gram-negative bacteria and is a substance that most researchers use in laboratory testing due to the overwhelming reliable strong immune response that it causes.

 

Some of these intracellular bacterial components, like Peptidoglycans (PGN) also act directly on the cellular membrane of the yeast Candida Albicans causing it to transform into its pathogenic fungal form. This is in addition to antibiotics eliminating millions of beneficial bacteria that help to keep the Candida Albicans yeast within ratios that benefit the overall health of the intestinal tract and therefore the rest of the body.

 

Antibiotics can also suppress the immune system response. This primarily affects the macrophages which go around cleaning up pathogenic organisms that would otherwise harm us. By suppressing macrophages, antibiotics can reduce the pro-inflammatory cascade which macrophages play a big role in initiating. While this may seem beneficial, it actually aids in the spread of the pathogenic fungal form of C. Albicans. First, with antibiotic-induced suppression of the immune system, the fungal candida now can spread more rapidly without macrophages to inhibit it. Secondly, by suppressing the macrophages and the inflammatory response, the liver does not release positive acute-phase proteins which are necessary for preventing the spread of pathogenic organisms throughout the body. Three of these acute-phase proteins (Ferritin, Ceruloplasmin, & Haptoglobin) function by binding iron and making it unavailable to pathogenic fungal candida. Without these 3 proteins, fungal candida can now attach itself to our blood cells and feed on an unlimited source of iron in the form of hemoglobin to help it spread throughout the body. This also goes for other pathogenic microbes that will be spreading as a result of the effect of antibiotics in the body. 

 

By killing off the beneficial bacteria that inhabit and help to regulate the normal healthy intestinal flora, we lose the beneficial enzymes and acids that these organisms produce. This causes the pH of the intestinal tract to become more alkaline. An alkaline intestinal pH also promotes the conversion of C. Albicans into its pathogenic fungal form. When the intestinal pH is acidic, candida remains in its normal yeast form. 

 

The above examples are just some of the ways that antibiotics promote and maintain the ongoing growth and spread of fungal candida throughout the body.

 

Killing off the beneficial bacteria also leads to decreased absorption of nutrients that our cells and tissues need to function in a healthy state. Certain strains of acidophilus help to synthesize B vitamins. A deficiency of these alone would create innumerable problems within the body.

 

There are an estimated 100 trillion micro-organisms within the intestinal tract. For many years, researchers were able to identify some 300-500 species of micro-organisms that were responsible for making up the 100 trillion cells. Recent advances in the use of technology have now identified close to 6,000 species in the large intestine alone. Most of what these organisms do and how they interact is unknown. As long as there is a sufficient amount of beneficial bacteria to keep everything in balance, then we have a better chance at staying healthy. Research now tells us that some these species are permanently eliminated from the body by the use of antibiotics – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081118121941.htm.

 

Apart from the use of antibiotics being responsible for thousands of deaths and over 144,000 visits to emergency rooms each year in the U.S. alone, the incidence of antibiotic resistance continues to escalate worldwide to the point that we are rapidly approaching a new era where antibiotics won’t be useful for most people – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128183925.htm.

As this continues to happen, we will see an increase in the use of natural methods that help restore balance without creating additional problems. This is the goal of the McCombs Plan for Health, Vitality, and Transformation – http://mccombsplan.com/.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Hybrid

 

Somewhere along the primordial way, a bunch of micro-organisms became enclosed by, fewer in number, but larger “tissue” cells and the evolutionary race was on. This co-operative, bi-partisan effort allowed both types of cells to emerge from the primordial goo and the foundation for the human race was set. Through time, dinosaurs, and an ice age or two, this Human/Bacterial (HumBac) hybrid was able to go a lot farther than either party could have gone on their own.

 

Today’s hybrid, you and I, are now more bacterial than human. It’s estimated that there are approximately 10 trillion human cells wrapped around a digestive system containing 100 trillion cells composed of bacteria, virus, fungi, mold, parasites, and others who have come along for the ride. Of course the human cells have evolved to send emails, text, watch TV, and many other “human” things. The bacterial guys, well they’ve evolved into a cohesive force that involves themselves in the more mundane issues of life and death.

 

Dr. Bernard Jensen once said that, “Death begins in the colon.” If that’s true, then life begins in the small intestine, or maybe even the stomach. The foods that we eat bring with them the nutrients that we need to survive and function on a daily basis. They also bring with them, other organisms who ride along on their meal tickets trying to crash the party. It’s up to the 100 trillion cells living in our guts to weed out the bad guys, and process the nutrients for us to function normally.

 

The digestive tract is an intricate ballet of organisms, pH, enzymes, nutrients, peptides, and hormones in a dance with its human interface of cells, nerves, blood, lymph, and other fluids. Centuries of evolution have created a delicate synergism that we tend to take for granted. The Ecosystem of the digestive tract is a harmonious balance of craziness. Disturb this balance, and one fruitcake can terrorize the entire HumBac world, causing it to live in fear for its life.

 

A good example of how this happens is when we take antibiotics. “Anti” means against, and “biotic” means life. For those paying attention, this should be a big clue. Today’s powerful antibiotics have been likened to a terrorist opening fire in a crowded market. The good and the bad both perish. The killing is indiscriminate. In the intestinal world of bacteria et al, this creates chaos, and in the midst of the chaos, a lunatic can take control. The one “lunatic” that commonly follows this scenario is fungal candida. In its normal form in a balanced digestive system, it is a yeast that contributes to the overall health of the system. In its Dr. Jekyll-to-Mr. Hyde transformation, it becomes an invasive fungal organism which further destroys more bacteria and crosses over into the human cells creating havoc and chaos. This seems only fitting, in a way, since a fungal toxin was the first antibiotic and many antibiotics are potentized derivatives of fungal toxins.

 

Antibiotics have been justly credited for saving lives, but they have also needlessly taken lives. Many people die each year from reactions to antibiotics. Well over 140,000 people report to hospitals each year from adverse reactions to antibiotics. Some people experience permanent disability. Everyone who has taken antibiotics will have altered the delicate balance of the digestive tract and the role it plays in our health for years to come.

 

When antibiotics were first used, it was a common practice to be prescribed probiotics (“pro” meaning for) to be taken along with the antibiotics. This wise practice fell along the way for some reason. It needs to be reinstated. Probiotics can help to minimize some of the negative effects of antibiotics. Protecting our natural resources is something that is important to all of us.

 

A digestive tract that is in a state of imbalance can lead to: digestive diseases; inflammation throughout the body; depression; arthritis; hormonal imbalances; headaches; skin conditions; rapid aging; fatigue; brain fog; and a host of other problems that involves every human cell, tissue, and organ. For those who have taken antibiotics, this imbalance needs to be reversed.

 

We need to pay more attention to the 100 trillion fellow passengers that accompany us on our journey through life.  We need to be mindful of what goes into the body via liquids, foods, and the air we breathe. Our fellow passengers require nutrient-dense foods and periodic detoxification to assist them with the vital roles they play for us.

 

John Knowles, the former President of the Rockefeller put it well when he said, “The next major advance in the health of the American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself.”

 

So whether we’re God’s hybrid or Darwin’s HumBac, we need to exhibit a conscious mastery of managing this intricate interrelationship of life, or its back to the goo, or worse, to the doctor.

 

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 reached at www.mccombsplan.com, 888.236.7780.

A Healthy Transformation

The World Health Organization (WHO), since 1948, has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This was later expanded to include intellectual, environmental, and spiritual health. This is a very remarkable statement, considering that it was originally created in 1948. You’ll notice in this WHO statement that health has nothing to do with symptoms or the lack of them.

 

 

I take this a little further and define health as a constantly evolving state towards greater and greater degrees of optimal well-being, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, environmentally, and spiritually, marked by personal responsibility and the irresistible, persistent impulse towards making positive life-enhancing, life-affirming choices for a richer, rewarding life.

 

 

In this definition, personal responsibility is the driving force, and purpose defines destiny. If a state of ongoing health is our choice, our purpose, then it is up to us to create this destiny for ourselves. The dictionary defines Destiny as a predetermined course of events. In terms of health then, we can define our own destiny by determining how we create health on a daily basis.

 

 

Life is a gift, health is not. We are given life. What we do with that life is up to us. The degree of health that we hold can be seen as a marker for how well we’ve taken care of this wonderful gift of life.

 

 

Your body is constantly in a state of change and adaptation. You are constantly changing and adapting to your internal and external environments. This ongoing process of change takes place from the moment of inception up until our last moment on this planet. Every moment is embedded with the opportunity for creating the life you wish to lead. Every moment brings with it the power to manifest a new life, a new you. In each moment, we have the ability to direct ourselves towards our goals and our dreams. You have that power of choice in each moment.

 

 

All of us are constantly involved in a process of transformation. We should understand that transformation is an ongoing process, not a once in a lifetime event. We participate daily in this transformational process, whether we know it or not. Our body is involved in this process at all times and we should be, too. How we participate in this process determines whether we are transforming our bodies toward health or towards sickness. It is a constant process. It is ongoing.

 

 

How then does one stay on purpose? How does one transform themself toward an ever increasing state of health?

 

If we use the definition of health that I put forward previously, then staying on purpose means that we must live a mindful, conscious life aware of the choices we are making and the impact that those choices have on us. Furthermore, this is not a one-time occurrence, but an ongoing process.

 

 

Staying on purpose then requires changing the view from a narrow focus to a broad, expansive focus that allows us to see the ongoing nature of transformation. We must be ready to drop that which doesn’t work for us and pick up that which does. These type of choices will present themselves over and over throughout each day. They are the opportunity for transformation that occur in each moment. They are the building blocks and foundation for the life we want to live.

 

 

We need to take time to detoxify the stressful effects of the world around us, and the world within us, through diet, detoxification, meditation and prayer, exercise and play. We need to choose nutrient-dense foods that quicken and fuel the life force within each of us. Given the right conditions, the body is remarkable in its ability to restore, revitalize, and renew itself.

 

 

This life is a journey of transformation. Discover the potential that resides with you and enjoy the ride!

 

 

Dr. McCombs is the author of LifeForce: A Dynamic Plan for Health, Vitality, and Weight Loss, and developer of the McCombs Plan – www.mccombsplan.com. He can be reached by email at Dr.Jeff@mccombsplan.com.

Tag Cloud