The Candida Expert

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10 Candida Myths

NASA does research on candida because astronauts come down with it while in space. Are astronauts immunosuppressed people by the medical definition? Absolutely not!

Myth #1 – Only women get candida infections

Candida Albicans is commonly considered to be a yeast infection that only women get. It is in fact a fungal infection caused by antibiotic use that affects both men and women. Research states that over 90% of the population might have systemic candida.

Myth #2 – Candida is a yeast infection

Candida Albicans in its normal yeast form is a commensal organism that has co-evolved with over 5,600 other micro-organisms taking up residence in the intestinal tract and other tissues.

Only in its fungal (hyphal/mycelial) form is it an infectious agent that uses its cell wall, adhesion, phenotypic switching, and enzymes to spread and destroy tissues throughout the body. Many people commonly refer to Candida Albicans as a yeast infection when it is actually a fungal infection.

Myth #3 – Candida needs sugars to become pathogenic and spread

The primary drive all living organisms is survial. If you remove food sources from the yeast form of Candida, it will convert to its fungal form and search for food in the body. If someone took all of the food out of your house, you’d go shopping too.

Sugars will fuel Candida very effectively, but it’s not an absolute that by excluding sugars and simple carbs from your diet, you’ll starve it to death. People who don’t spend the time researching Candida put out this information to the detriment of others. You’ll need to use non-toxic approaches that revert it back to its yeast form and then remove the excess yeast by empowering the immune system.

Myth #4 – Only immunosuppressed people get candida infections

The medical viewpoint is that only immunosuppressed people (AIDS, Immunosuppressive therapy, chemotherapy) get systemic candida. They state this as though that is the official position. Official position or not, for whatever reason, it is false, misleading, and demonstrates a complete lack of knowledge about candida, microbiology, and physiology. Additionally, it is exactly the opposite of what all the research has continually demonstrated since the 1940s when antibiotics were first introduced.

NASA does research on candida because astronauts come down with it while in space. Are astronauts immunosuppressed people by the medical definition? Absolutely not!

Research has repeatedly shown that the immune system does not need to be suppressed in order for candida to convert to its fungal form and invade the body. On the other hand, a depressed immune system or slightly suppressed immune system will contribute to the spread of fungal candida. What can depress or suppress the immune system? Worries, stress, food coloring, sugar, and among many other things, candida itself. As was correctly pointed out above, slight neutropenia would contribute to the spread of candida. So although a weakened immune system does help, it is not needed, but almost always present to some degree or another.

Myth #5 – Pathogenic Candida requires an acid pH environment to grow

This is another common myth put out by people who think everything is supposed to be alkaline in the body. The digestive tract is supposed to be acid and doesn’t even approach alkalinity until the rectum. The vaginal tissue is also supposed to be acidic.

The lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid to help maintain an acid pH. The stomach is very acidic, and the acidity of juices leaving the stomach helps to stimulate pancreatic function, as well as maintain the proper acid pH of the intestinal tract. Bile acids also contribute to maintaining the acid pH. In an acid environment, candida exists in its yeast form, but once that starts to shift to a more alakline environment, the alkaline pH stimulates the conversion to the pathogenic, fungal form. The same is true for E. Coli. In an acid environment, it plays a role in the production of vitamin K for the body. In an alkaline environment it becomes the pathogenic form that causes so many problems for people. Fungal Candida does extremely well in an akaline environment such as the blood stream.

Myth #6 – Mercury feeds Candida

I’m not sure where this information came from, as I have yet to find any studies that mention this. This mainly seems to be put out by people who think that mercury determines everything in the body. The only possible explanation that I can come up with is that mercury would have a suppressive effect on the immune system, which would possibly allow fungal candida to spread unimpeded. I have yet to find anyone who had this problem. The amount of mercury needed to have a suppressive effect systemically within the body would be greater than most people deal with. Either way, I have never seen any research that states that mercury feeds candida.

People who usually support the idea that mercury feeds candida claim that some doctors have pointed out that most people who have candida infections also have mercury toxicity. If that were true just by association, then it would also apply for parasites, and other heavy metals and chemicals. The average American has a large load of chemicals in the tissues. This doesn’t mean that these chemicals also feed candida. It’s an erroneous assumption to make just because 2 or more issues exist in the body at the same time.

A deficiency of iron would slow down the spread of fungal candida, as it would many other micro-organisms. Dr. Sharon Moalem’s book, “Survival of the Sickest” points out how some people survived the plague simply by being anemic and not having enough iron stores in their bodies to allow the bacteria to thrive. Fungal Candida however, will steal iron from red blood cells in order to survive. This is another one of its many suvival and virulence mechanisms.

Myth #7 – Oxygen kills Candida

Another erroneous myth. Candida Albicans is facultative anaerobe, which means it can exist in oxygen-rich (mouth, skin) and oxygen-depleted (intestinal tract, body tissues) environments. Some studies indicate that is harder to eliminate in an oxygen-rich environment. That seems to be more true of thrush, but not as true for skin infections.

Candida has the ability to evade reactive oxygen species that are produced by macrophages to destroy foreign substances in the body.

Myth #8 – Only drugs can eliminate candida

Most people will be familiar with this myth. If anything drugs increase the resistance of candida. Candida is very adaptive to drugs that try to kill it off. Most research being done today is to find new drugs for fighting candida, because candida has developed resistance to all other antifungals. Antifungal drugs come with many side effects, which include destruction of liver tissue.

The better choice is to use natural antifungals that aren’t toxic to the body. Most every plant on the earth has developed some form of antifungal mechanism in order to avoid being destroyed by some 1.5-2.5 million fungus that inhabit the Earth. There is plenty of research that shows the antifungal quality of many natural substances found in nature.

Myth #9 – Use of antifungals needs to be rotated to eliminate Candida

I usually see this claim on holistic websites and not in the research. Fungal candida can and has developed resistance and immunity to anti-fungal drugs. I find claims about needing to rotate antifungals on sites where the approach they are using, or the substances that they choose to use, or some combination of the two, aren’t effective for eliminating systemic candida. They claim that candida is adapting to whatever their using, so you need to rotate antifungals. I find that they’re just not using an effective product or approach, and they subsequently rationalize its ineffectiveness as the candida adapting.

I’ve never found this to be the case with the McCombs Plan where we use a simple fatty acid to revert candida back into its normal yeast state.

Most natural products are fungistatic (inhibit) and not fungicidal (kill). Its better to be fungistatic, as fungicidal products (drugs) create resistant strains of candida. Nature is filled with thousands of antifungal products that plants make and each one is effective as a fungistatic agent.

Myth #10 – Medical Doctors are familiar with Candida infections

Most MDs won’t even be familiar with anything about Candida Albicans and will dismiss it rather than take the time to find out more about it. There is a large body of research on Candida Albicans that has been around since the introduction of antibiotics in the late 1940s. Research in the late 1940s, 50s, and 60s was driven by the fact that so many people developed systemic candida infections just by the use of a new drug, penicillin.

Some MDs will state that it’s only a concern in Immunosuppressed patients (AIDS, HIV) and patients receiving chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medications. It’s not. Research from the 1990s shows that even the slightest modification of the intestinal flora can create systemic candida infections. More recent research shows that antibiotics will cause candida and that these changes can lead to acute problems ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening colitis to chronic changes such as obesity, cancers, and many other diseases. Other research shows that the protease enzymes that candida uses can be responsible for diabetes, hypertension, and immune system suppression.

For better health, go to Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.

Adventures of a Preterm Daddy: Part IV – The NICU at Cedars-Sinai

Immediately following the birth of our 25 week-old twins, I was whisked away to the 4th floor of Cedars, while my wife was wheeled to a 3rd floor recovery room following her c-section. In a somewhat numbed state, I entered the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Like Alice, or perhaps more appropriately Alex in Wonderland, I had fallen down a rabbit hole into a very strange world of giraffes, jets, and isolettes. Cedars’ NICU has a capacity for 45 babies spread out over 6 bays and a couple of extra rooms for isolation purposes. Although its NICU is continually unranked in national polls, it is nonetheless an impressive display of the best that technology has to offer. It is equipped with the latest in climate controlled incubators called Giraffes and their smaller cousins, the isolettes. Surrounding each Giraffe, you’ll find monitors, ventilators, screens, and an assortment of tubes and wires leading to each of its inhabitants. Bays 1 through 4 are for more intensive care, while bays 5 and 6 are for those babies preparing to graduate and begin their lives amongst the rest of us. As fate would have it, we wound up in Bay 4, nicknamed “The crazy bay.” Two weeks prior to our arrival, business was so slow that two of the NICU bays had been shut down. The weekend of our arrival must have been High Holy days for preemies and other assorted special needs babies as the house was full. Amidst the flurry of activity and a chorus of various alarm bells and flashing lights, I was given forms to read and sign and instructions on what to do and expect. Through a haze of adrenaline, worry, and concern, I was introduced to Joan, the nurse charged with watching over our little girl. Joan’s presence was calming and reassuring, something gained from 28 years as a NICU nurse.

Cedars-Sinai’s NICU has a battalion of some 130 nurses that rotate on 12 hour shifts. As our midwife had pointed out to us, NICU nurses don’t work in the NICU just because they need a job. These are very special individuals filling a very special need. Some of the nurses, whom we liked to call our Super-nurses, filled that need extremely well. Our super-nurses were Joan, Gilda, Debra, Dalys, Vanji, Tysson, Pam, Kathy, Wendy, Yvonne, Anne, Monica, Macy, Lorna, Adrienne, Judy, Meera, and others. The nurses are the workhorses of patient care in every hospital and no less so at Cedars. Styles vary tremendously and while some embrace the parents in their rightful role as the primary caregivers, others treat them as the enemies. Many of the nurses that I spoke with talked of having dreams about the alarms going off. In this world, babies come and go, and live and die frequently. According to Cedars-Sinai, 27% of the NICU babies don’t make it. Nationwide, the average is much higher at 45% (http://www.csmc.edu/8921.html). For caring hearts, being a NICU nurse can be a very stressful way of life.

My wife’s entrance into the NICU wasn’t until the next day. Following surgery, mothers are first required to have a bowel movement prior to leaving their rooms. By the next day, she had two of them (sorry honey, but its part of the story). This became the hot topic amongst the maternity floor nurses. Nurse after nurse came into her room to inquire how this miracle of God had took place, as most mothers take several days to a week to accomplish this task. Like most medical centers, Cedars has very little knowledge about functional nutrition. Functional nutrients are proven to be more readily absorbed, transported, and utilized than most synthetic and inorganic nutrients. Cedars-Sinai relies heavily on synthetic nutrients to address the real-life needs of their patients. In the case of post-partum mothers, they use ferrous sulfate as an iron supplement to compensate for any blood loss during birth. Ferrous sulfate is a form of iron that causes constipation, bloating, and other symptoms. To compensate for the constipation, patients are given laxatives that work by irritating the bowel wall. Neither product works very well, leaving the mothers feeling miserable and longing to see their newborn babies. We used a natural food and herb-based product called Floradix to address her iron needs and trace minerals to assist with moving the bowels without causing irritation. In less than 24 hours, a mother and her babies were together once again.

To its credit, Cedars-Sinai has a unique philosophy toward the parent’s involvement in the NICU. Their philosophy states that the parent is the most essential and constant member of the infant’s health care team and promotes parents as active and equal participants in order to instill confidence and empower them in their role as the primary caregivers. Well, at least that’s what it says on the plaque on the wall outside the NICU. Inside the doors of the NICU however, it’s doctor’s egos, nurse’s preferences, hospital policies, standards of care, and defensive medicine that take precedence over the care, comfort, and individual needs of each child. If there’s room left over, then the parents might have a voice. This “voice” was something that my wife likened to hostage negotiations. Although they may be willing to listen to what you have to say, they proceed with their own agenda.

As the week began to creep along, my wife was discharged from the hospital and we began our daily treks back and forth between home and the hospital. Everyone told us that our lives would change once we had our babies, but this wasn’t the change we had been expecting. Both doctors and nurses told us to plan on bringing our babies home around their original delivery date, August 16th, some 100+ days later. With cell phones permanently on in case the hospital needed to call us for an emergency, our previous lives faded away and we waited nervously for what was yet to come.

The Adventures of a Preterm Daddy: Part III

As the second day of our stay at Cedars rolled around, my wife’s symptoms had slowly subsided. Our substitute OB doctor, Dr. M, made another appearance early on and brought along another colleague, Dr. X, whom he introduced as a specialist in ultrasounds and neonatal care. Yet another ultrasound later, our specialist had determined that the cervix had once again shortened overnight. At this stage, Dr. M recommended a round of steroids. Steroids are typically given during pregnancy to help a babies lungs develop at an accelerated pace when there is a risk of a premature birth. A baby’s lungs aren’t designed to begin the work of breathing until 36-40 weeks, depending on the new math versus the old math approach to what is considered a full term baby. Steroids can speed up the maturation of the lungs and give a preterm baby a better chance of survival with fewer complications. When I asked about the effect of steroids suppressing the immune system, Dr. M denied it, while Dr. X stated that it was true. We had observed that Dr. M was so quick to deny that medications ever had any side-effects, that he was now denying the opinion of his proclaimed specialist and colleague. They went back and forth briefly with Dr. X citing several studies and winning out. When I asked which steroid would be used, Dr M mentioned that it would be dexamethasone or betamethasone. When I asked about studies where dexamethasone had been implicated in brain damage and developmental delays, Dr. M once again stated that it never happens, while Dr. X stated that it was a possibility. Dr. X pointed out however that previous studies had been done with multiple doses of dexamethasone and he would only advocate one dose, which he believed to be much safer. After listening to the facts and the fiction, we decided to hold off on the steroids until our regular doctors were back and I could do a little more research. A note to Dr. M: Don’t challenge your proclaimed expert. Either way, you lose. You either demonstrate that they’re not an expert, or you demonstrate your ignorance by challenging and losing to the person that you’ve just introduced as an expert. Both results don’t instill any confidence in your patients.

By Tuesday, both of my wife’s doctors were back in town and made their appearances at Cedars. Her sonogram doctor, Dr. S, appeared and told us that he expected to be sending us home after the ultrasound. He mentioned that it was better not to stay at the hospital because they tend to look for things to treat. This resonated with the words of a nurse whom I had spoken to earlier that day. She had been at the hospital for its 33 years of existence and stated that she avoids doctors at all costs and would rather do anything than end up at the hospital. Such words coming from a nurse seemed to speak of the mismanagement that she had seen over the years. The message that I took away from both conversations was, “time to go home.” Unfortunately, the ultrasound didn’t bring us the good news that would signal a rapid retreat. Instead, the cervix length had shortened instead of stabilizing. What had been 3.5cm on Friday was now 1.6cm. This meant that it was time for the steroids, as we didn’t want to run the risk of preterm babies with the added burden of more lung complications. We opted for the betamethasone which has been demonstrated to be safer. Dr. S told us to rest and hold tight and he’d be back for a follow-up ultrasound on Sunday and hopefully send us home.

The rest of the week was very much like the beginning of any roller-coaster ride, where you go through a few minor ups and downs until you reach that gradual climb that leads to a final jaw-dropping descent. My wife’s cramping and bleeding episodes would come and go, and for the most part seemed to be on their way out. It was starting to feel more like a car trip through a hilly countryside than a roller-coaster ride at Six Flags. We ventured out a little bit more in our take-out habits and discovered Jerry’s Deli around the corner from Cedars.

By Saturday, we were looking forward to Dr. S’s return on Sunday and an ultrasound result that gave us our return ticket home. The baby’s heart monitors strapped to my wife’s belly gave us the reassuring sounds of two hearts peacefully enjoying their time in the womb. As Saturday night rolled around, the winds changed and we found ourselves once again riding the ups and downs of cramping and spotting. Although I managed a couple of hours of sleep, half hoping that these symptoms would fade away as the others before them had, my wife was unable to sleep. The cramping intensified and mild muscle relaxants and pain killers were having no effect. By morning, with the symptoms increasing, we anxiously awaited Dr. S’s return. He was called in earlier than planned and the ultrasound revealed that the cervix was now .5cm, and my wife was dilated 3.5cm. Now 3.5cm is not very large for a full term baby, but for a 25 week old baby, it was an open barn door. Dr. S made the call and preparations were under way for a C-Section delivery. The tension became magnified as a flurry of nurses went into action. Within 45 minutes, we found ourselves in the operating room.

Our initial hopes for an intimate home water birth had now been officially replaced by a 20-person production in a hospital operating room complete with surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and assorted neonatal assistants. Sitting next to my wife’s head, I watched the entire surgery via an overhead mirror above and behind us on the ceiling. It was only two weeks earlier that I had been watching the same surgical procedure on the Discovery channel, unaware of what was to come. On Sunday, May 3rd, my wife delivered a baby boy, Ethan Kai at 1 pound, 10 ounces and a baby girl, Ana Sophia at 1 pound, 9 ounces. With these twin miracles, our ticket was punched for admission to the Cedar-Sinai’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, hereafter know as the NICU.

The Adventures of a Preterm Daddy: Part II

There’s an old spiritual saying that goes something like, “God will never give you more than you can handle,” to which Mother Teresa was quoted responding, “I just wish that he didn’t trust me so much.” These statements will soon become a core part of our life during this pregnancy.  

As the last week of April approached, all of our plans for a long pregnancy seemed to be in place. I left town for a neurology seminar and my wife attended a birthday party for another set of twins while I was gone. An April heat wave left her feeling faint, dehydrated, and thirsty at the party. After cooling off a bit she left the party early and went home to rest and relax. By the time that I returned home that Sunday night she was experiencing some cramping which gradually increased over the next 2 days. We made a quick trip to her OB doctor to check things out. Yet another ultrasound (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jeffrey-mccombs/the-adventures-of-a-prete_b_215874.html) revealed the possibility of a slight detachment of the placental sac that keeps the babies safe and nourished in the womb during pregnancy. She recommended rest and no exercise and informed us that she’d be out of town that coming weekend but there would be another doctor covering for her while she’s gone, if needed. She also recommended going to the Sonogram Doctor for a more detailed ultrasound if things didn’t improve, and noted that he would also be out of town with another doctor covering for him. That weekend also happened to be the weekend that our midwife was going to be out of town. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember an old marine saying about rats leaving a sinking ship, so as the last weekend of April approached, we had the setting for a perfect storm. 

Friday morning came with more cramping and spotting. We quickly made our way to the sonogram doctor’s office where we were greeted by an admittedly neurotic doctor. As can be expected, neurotic doctors and worried expectant mothers don’t make a good combination. Another more detailed ultrasound revealed the same results of a possible slight placenta detachment. The sonogram also indicated that the length of the cervix was long. The length of the cervix is one of the deciding factors as to when the delivery process will commence. A long cervix indicates that there is a ways to go before it’s time to deliver, and in our case this was a very good sign. Fetal heart monitors showed that the twins were doing fine, seemingly oblivious to the events shaping the world around them. We were given a reprieve and sent home with instructions for complete bed rest and if the symptoms didn’t stop, we were to go to the hospital. 

That Friday night, the symptoms continued to worsen and by Saturday morning we had called the substitute OB doctor (Dr. M) and we were on our way to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Cedars-Sinai was founded at its current location in 1976. With some 10,000 employees and over 75,000+ patients being served each year, Cedars ranks as one of the top hospitals in the country. Its proximity to Beverly Hills is underscored by the names of celebrities found adorning the many rooms, centers, and buildings, as well as the streets surrounding the hospital. We were quickly ushered to one of the Labor-Delivery rooms on the 3rd floor, where yet two more ultrasounds and some IV fluids later, my wife was stabilized. The ultrasounds revealed that the cervix had shortened overnight, so we were wheeled down the hall and admitted to the Maternal-Fetal Care Unit. The nurses and doctors told us that our stay there would last until the cervix had stabilized and the other symptoms had diminished or disappeared. As a side note, one of the nurses mentioned that the previous occupant of the room had been there 7 weeks under similar circumstances, but had gone home stabilized and pregnant. We kept our hopes high and our fingers crossed, as I became familiar with the art of shallow breathing 

Over the course of the day, we were subjected to an ongoing parade of doctors, interns, and residents who were pushing for my wife to take the Rhogam vaccine. Rhogam is a human blood-derived vaccine that is typically given to Rh- mothers (my wife) who give birth to Rh+ babies. Since I’m Rh+, this was a possibility, but not necessarily likely. When Rh incompatibility occurs, the mother could become sensitized and in subsequent pregnancies, the baby could develop a serious blood disease. There are approximately 400,000 pregnancies in Rh- women every year. Of these, some 10,000 deaths in babies used to occur due to Rh incompatibility before the vaccine was developed. With the vaccine, these deaths have been averted by giving the vaccine to babies who are Rh incompatible within 72 hours after birth. This allows time for simple blood tests to be performed to determine if there is any incompatibility in the first place. When use of the vaccine is not necessary, it avoids other risks, such as blood-borne diseases, that are minimal but inherent in the vaccine. It has now become a practice in the US to give the vaccine at 28 weeks of pregnancy and then again at birth. The vaccine at 28 weeks is more of a prophylactic choice by physicians, which translates to preventative and usually unnecessary. Through some online research, I was able to find a non-invasive test to determine Rh compatibility that has been done for years on pregnant women in England, but not here in the US. After some email correspondence with the National Blood Bank of England, I was directed to a lab here in the US that has recently started doing this testing – www.lenetix.com. Lenetix Labs also has some other unique genetic tests that can avoid the use of routine invasive diagnostic tests like amniocentesis and CVS sampling that are frequently done during pregnancy and are known to cause miscarriages.  

With the parade over and some carry out food from my new favorite restaurant, Barefoot, to sustain us, we settled into our new Beverly Hills digs. Exhausted from the day’s events, my wife managed to get some sleep and I crawled into a hospital cot which folded up around me like a human taco. And as dreams of going home danced in our heads,…

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.

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.

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.

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