The Candida Expert

Archive for the ‘Probiotics’ 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 –

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


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.

Why follow a special diet for Candida?

Here’s one of my most frequently asked questions about the dietary component of my Candida Plan. If you’re considering ThreeLac or other supplements that do not have a dietary component, read on…

Q. I’ve read about plans that use Threelac and don’t require any dietary changes. Why does your plan include a food plan?

A. Dr. McCombs’ Candida Plan has been designed to revert the problematic fungal form of Candida back to its normal, healthy yeast form, detoxify the body burden, boost the appropriate immune response at the appropriate time, and help to restore normal tissue flora. Each step of Dr. McCombs’ Candida Plan is designed to support and work within the natural guidelines of a healthy ecosystem. It does not attempt to kill off or destroy anything within that system, as doing so can cause more long-term health issues and create antifungal resistance. The food guidelines with the Plan eliminates foods that can be a quick fuel source for fungal Candida or can cause allergic responses that facilitate the spread of Candida in the body.

Some companies like those that market Threelac wish to appeal to people who don’t want to invest in the time and dietary changes necessary to support successful correction of fungal Candida imbalances and establishment of health in the body. While a quick fix is appealing, it isn’t realistic. Our research has found that both feeding Candida and killing it doesn’t get anyone anywhere. It can, however, double the toxic load in the body.

It is also important to be aware of products on the market, like Threelac, that contain Bacillus subtilis. Bacillus subtilis (B subtilis) has the ability to destroy bacteria and fungus alike without any consideration for the overall health of the body. B. subtilis has been found to be highly antibacterial and is the basis for several strong antibiotics (Bacitracin, Subtilin, Neosidin, Colistin, etc). Possible side effects associated with these antibiotics include kidney failure, heart attack, anxiety, anaphylactic reactions, blurred vision, antibiotic and antifungal resistant strains, hives, rash, etc. Destroying other bacterial species in the digestive tract can create the same imbalances that create systemic fungal and bacterial infections. The overall effect of B. subtilis can create many unidentified conditions. Research is now implicating antibiotics in conditions such as life-threatening colitis, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

The problem with many products and approaches on the market today is that they follow the old outdated medical model in trying to destroy bacteria, fungus, etc., in the body without any knowledge or concern for the natural ecosystem of the digestive tract and the vitally important role of microorganisms in our body. Man is now considered to be a super-organism dependent on the health of the bacteria and other organisms of the digestive tract and tissues. These same microorganisms outnumber human cells in the body by 10 to 1. The goal of any approach should be to re-establish balance and support normal function of microorganisms and human cells alike.

We strongly recommend against the use of products on the market that contain Bacillus subtilis.

For more information on Dr. McCombs’ Candida Plan and the dietary guidelines, visit:

To learn more about how fungal Candida albicans affects the body, visit:

75+ Candida Studies: The Candida Fact Sheet


Many of the doctors who have consulted with me have asked for more information and references to better educate themselves, their patients and fellow doctors. To assist them, I gathered together a few of the references that we are including in our online Candida Library. In this article, you’ll find over 75 research references that provide information on how Candida goes from a harmless normal constituent of the gastrointestinal tract to a pathogenic systemic problem that can affect anyone and everyone.  I’m providing this information here for you to become better educated about Candida, like the many doctors with whom I’ve consulted. Pass it along to your family, friends, and doctors, if you feel that it can also assist them in learning and understanding more about a problem that affects virtually everyone. Please click here to download this Candida Fact Sheet as a PDF so you can email or print it out.

Candida Facts

The human digestive tract is said to contain some 100 trillion cells compared to about only 10 trillion human cells in the body. This particular arrangement has led to man being classified as a “super-organism,” whose health is directly related to the function of the thousands of species of micro-organisms that make up the 100 trillion cells in the intestinal tract. For years, research suggested that there were 400-500 species that made up this microbial population. Recent advances in research have now put that number at anywhere from 3,300 to 5,700 or more, (9) to upwards of 30,000 species. The intestinal tract houses what has been called “the densest ecosystem on the planet,” and is approximately 25-28 ft long. The surface area of the intestinal tract measures approximately 200 square meters, roughly the size of a tennis court.

Modern medicine states that systemic Candida exists only in immunocompromised individuals, as a result of AIDS, immunosuppressive therapy, such as in organ transplants, or chemotherapy. Science states otherwise, and extends that list to include: diabetes, premature infants, surgical patients; (7)(10)(66) hematological malignancies; (8) hospitalized patients, especially in Intensive Care Units, or having major injuries;(10) burn victims; (54) nutritional deficiencies; (22) as well as aging. (22)(35)(36)(37) alcoholism, cirrhosis, tuberculosis, cancer, corticosteroids, marrow hyperplasia;

Researchers continuously broaden the scope of those being affected. Valdimarsson et al. state that there are no common immunological denominators. (1) may appear following even a slight modification of the host. (55) Berg et al. on behalf of Biocodex Pharmaceuticals states that Candida spreads in immunocompetent individuals. (68) Senet states that the pathogenic behavior of Candida

The widespread use of antibiotics, which induce neutropenia, an abnormally low number of neutrophils (white blood cells), and immune system suppression is commonly attributed by science to be the most consistent cause of systemic Candida.(3)(9)(12)(13)(14)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(55)(56)(57)(64)(67)(68)(69)(76)(77) Corticosteroids suppress immune system function. (11)(17)(68) Intestinal homeostasis is critical for human health. (6)(7)(55)(57)(68)(71)

Candida has been shown to be capable of causing systemic immuno-suppression via its cell wall proteins, (2) TLR2-mediated IL-10 release, (30) protease cleaving of leukocyte integrin CD11/CD18, (25)(31)(34)(62)(63) and intracellular components. (72)

Candida can manipulate inflammatory responses as needed (31)(32) and inflammatory responses can have systemic effects. (44)(45)(46)(47)

Candida has the ability to destroy immune cells, (3)(23)(24)(26)(49) hide from the immune system, (4)(19) adapt to the inner environment of immune cells, (5)(38)(39) resist and suppress ROI and NO production of immune cells, (15)(16)(27)(43) destroy binding sites and receptors of immune cells, (25)(31)(33)(34) manipulate immune responses, (28)(53)(70)(74) and affect immune cell structure. (42)(73)

Stress can cause accumulation of iron at the luminal surface of intestinal cells (75) and iron overload leads to impaired neutrophil function. (14) Stress can lead to immunosuppression facilitating the spread of Candida. (55) Sanchez et al. discuss the affect of starches vs. sugars on the immune system response to Candida. (29)

Macrophages, which are widely distributed immune system cells that play an indispensable role in homeostasis and defense, and are cells that function as a first line of defense against invading microorganisms, are historically ineffective against Candida albicans. (40)(41)

While evidence suggests that intestinal Dendritic Cells are critical for regulation of immunity in the gut, (50) Dendritic Cells are poor in both intracellular killing and damaging of C. albicans hyphae, (48) and only kill as effectively as macrophages. (51) Ingestion of hyphae by Dendritic Cells inhibits Th1 immune responses. (52)

Candida Albicans’ Secreted Aspartyl Proteases (SAPs) are a highly specific family of enzymes that assists in its ability to cause disease in the body. SAPs are believed to play a role in Candida’s ability to induce inflammation, invade and breakdown tissue barriers, digest proteins for nutrients, destroy and evade immune defenses, and spread throughout the body. (25)(33)(34)(58)(59)(60)(61)(62)(63)(65) Research has shown that the destructive effects of protease enzymes are associated with diabetes, hypertension, and immune system suppression. (25)(31)(34)(62)

Additional enzymes secreted by Candida albicans include phospholipases, lipases, glucoamylases, phosphatases, and β-N-acetylglucosaminidase.


As impressive as I find the above research to be, it is just a small representation of the research on Candida albicans and its effects in humans. With over 26,000 studies on Candida albicans since the introduction of antibiotics in the late 1940s, there is much more to be analyzed and reported. What is readily apparent from this data is the fact that systemic fungal Candida infections are a common occurrence in most individuals as a result of antibiotic use and other contributing factors.

– Dr. Jeffrey McCombs, DC


1. Immunological phenomena associated with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis have recently been intensively studied by many workers (reviewed by Kirkpatrick, Rich & Bennett, 1971). The results have shown that there is no common immunological denominator in this disease. The most common finding, however, is defective cellular immunity, which may or may not be accompanied by failure of in vitro lymphocyte transformation.

Immunological Feautures in a Case of Chronic Granulomatous Candidiasis and its Treatment with Transfer Factor


2. The ability of Candida albicans to establish an infection involves multiple components of this fungal pathogen, but its ability to persist in host tissue may involve primarily the immunosuppressive property of a major cell wall glycoprotein, mannan. Mannan and oligosaccharide fragments of mannan are potent inhibitors of cell-mediated immunity and appear to reproduce the immune deficit of patients with the mucocutaneous form of candidiasis. However, neither the exact structures of these inhibitory species nor their mechanisms of action have yet been clearly defined. Different investigators have proposed that mannan or mannan catabolites act upon monocytes or suppressor T lymphocytes, but research from unrelated areas has provided still other possibilities for consideration. These include interference with cytokine activities, lymphocyte-monocyte interactions, and leukocyte homing. To stimulate further research of the immunosuppressive property of C. albicans mannan, we have reviewed (i) the relationship of mannan to other antigens and virulence factors of the fungus; (ii) the chemistry of mannan, together with methods for preparation of mannan and mannan fragments; and (iii) the historical evidence for immunosuppression by Candida mannan and the mechanisms currently proposed for this property; and (iv) we have speculated upon still other mechanisms by which mannan might influence host defense functions. It is possible that understanding the immunosuppressive effects of mannan will provide clues to novel therapies for candidiasis that will enhance the efficacy of both available and future anti-Candida agents. Immunosuppressive properties observed for isolated Candida mannan and its catabolites in vivo and in vitro provide additional evidence that fungal mannan is responsible for patient immune dysfunction.

Candida mannan: chemistry, suppression of cell-mediated immunity, and possible mechanisms of action.

R D Nelson, N Shibata, R P Podzorski, and M J Herron


Continue reading References below…


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

2. SciTrends of Biomedical Sciences

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.

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 –


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 –

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 –

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