Here’s an interesting article from Mercola.com about the link between yeast overgrowth and immune system diseases like Fibromyalgia, CFS and chronic Epstein Barr or mononucleosis. I find many of my Epstein Barr patients have a problem with yeast overgrowth and Candida.
Yeast: The Missing Link?
There are numerous theories about the causes of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, ranging from viral infections like Epstein Barr, neurotransmitter imbalances, immune system failure, intestinal bacterial and yeast overgrowth.
One way of looking at chronic candidiasis, CFIDS and fibromyalgia is from an immunological point of view:
- CFIDS is defined as an immune disorder
- The symptoms of fibromyalgia indicate widespread immune involvement
- Candidia albicans releases dozens of toxic waste products that trigger immune reactions throughout the body
We also know that in the most severe immune disorder we know–acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)–100 percent of patients have candida overgrowth and candidiasis symptoms.
Here’s how the story goes beginning chronologically at birth and medically leading to candidiasis, CFIDS and fibromyalgia:
The Baby Years
- Diaper rash, caused by candida, is treated with cortisone creams that encourage the growth of more candida
- Childhood ear infections can begin at birth as yeast infections. The infant picks them up from Mom passing through her candida-overgrown birth canal. Rounds of useless antibiotics are given for undiagnosed fungal infection resulting in oral thrush (candida in the mouth)
- Ear infections become chronic and children are given multiple courses of antibiotics, leading to intestinal candida, irritable bowel and diarrhea.
- Colic develops due to antibiotics
- Inability to digest milk due to an irritated bowel leads to frequent changes of formula and further digestive disturbances
- Ear infections swell the adenoids and tonsils. Surgery is recommended. Anesthetics used in surgery add another toxin to the mix
- Symptoms still occur and more surgery is recommended to place tubes in the ears
- Gas and bloating and eczema result from a hard-to-digest soy formula
- Eczema is suppressed with cortisone creams (homeopaths say this practice leads to asthma)
- Allergies to foods especially sugar, yeast, wheat and dairy arise from leaky gut syndrome caused by Candida albicans invading intestinal tissue
- Asthma is treated with medications including cortisone inhalers
- Multiple colds and flus are treated with many courses of antibiotics and annual flu vaccines. The mercury in vaccines acts as an antibiotic in the gut and leads to more candida overgrowth. Mercury also causes widespread immune impairment and toxicity
- Craving for sweets triggered by candida overgrowth causes and aggravates hyperactive behavior in children
- Allergic reactions are treated with allergy shots, antihistamines and cortisone sprays
- Children receive toxic mercury amalgam fillings, with absorption of mercury leading to more candida overgrowth and toxicity
- In young women, birth control pills (BCPs) cause chronic vaginal yeast infections that are often treated with antibiotic creams creating more candida
- Many adolescents take long-term oral antibiotics for acne caused by hormonal imbalance and poor diet
- Many teens and young adults, especially in the malnourished, beer-drinking college years, develop Epstein Barr and mononucleosis. Up to 20 percent never feel quite as healthy again and may go on to develop CFIDS
- Bladder infections, common after intercourse, are treated with antibiotics, which cause yeast infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and high dose antibiotic treatment are common in young people because fewer men use condoms due to the BCPs
- Infertility is increasing and the treatments include powerful fertility drugs that increase candida
- After childbirth, chronic sleep deprivation and poor diet is common and is a major stress on the immune system unable to cope with over growth of candida
- Intestinal infections from traveling are usually treated with antibiotics
- Hospitalization for infections or surgery usually warrants intravenous antibiotics and a host of other drugs
- Major colds and flus can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia, which are treated with strong antibiotics
- Dysmenorrhea, irregular periods, infertility and worsening premenstrual symptoms occur due to a build-up of toxins and lack of nutrients. Long term BCPs are recommended for women with these symptoms
- Depression, anxiety, panic attacks and palpitations are treated with anti-depressants creating more drug toxicity in the body
- Infection with Epstein Barr and mononucleosis in college, the build up of infections, and thousands of chemicals in our air, food, and water accumulate in a toxic, inflammatory overload resulting in symptoms of CFIDS and fibromyalgia. They are treated symptomatically with anti-inflammatory drugs, sleeping pills, and anti-depressants, which often make the symptoms worse
- Environmental allergies develop in people with CFIDS and fibromyalgia. They experience extreme sensitivities to inhalants, especially perfumes, colognes, household products, pesticides and molds, which are treated with cortisone
Yes, it’s a nightmare scenario. It may seem extreme, but you have only to look around you, talk to a neighbor or look at your own health history to see the pattern.
If you have chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic Epstein Barr, headaches, muscle aches, memory loss, digestive disorders and other symptoms listed above, you may benefit from a comprehensive treatment program that includes the following five-step approach:
1. Diet and exercise
Eat a diet rich in meats, fish, chicken and eggs (free range and organic), seeds and nuts, vegetables and oils while avoiding sugars, grains, and fermented products like vinegars and preserved meats. This diet restricts the amount of fuel available to the yeast in your intestines.
Once you’ve started on the diet, begin to exercise, even if for only five minutes a day, especially for people with CFIDS.
Probiotics: These supplements contain friendly bacteria that help you keep a natural, healthy balance of microorganisms in your digestive tract. There are many different forms and brands of probiotics available in foods and pills and capsules. However, to be effective, they need to be able to bypass harsh stomach acid and deliver at least 1 billion live organisms to the intestines.
Digestive Enzymes: These supplements help break down foods so that incompletely digested food molecules don’t enter the intestines and become absorbed, which causes food allergies and sensitivities. Most good products contain several enzymes to promote optimal digestion.
Herbs and Nutrients: These elements inhibit the growth of candida albicans. Before resorting to prescription antifungal medications and their possible side effects, a variety of herbs and nutrients can help support a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria, reining in yeast growth. Among the nutrients that work together to stop candida overgrowth are caprylic acid, pau d’Arco, oregano oil, black walnut, grapefruit seed extract, garlic, beta carotene and biotin.
Vitamins and minerals: Taking a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement daily helps supply your body with the nutrients it needs to help you regain your health. A good calcium-magnesium-vitamin D supplement is also essential to optimal health, especially for women.
3. Avoid exposure to chemicals
Chemical sensitivities and allergic reactions are very common in people with yeast overgrowth. Avoid exposure to paints, pesticides, herbicides, household cleaners, perfumes and scents.
4. Address emotional and psychological issues
This step also profoundly impacts your ability to cope and helps balance the chemistry of your body and brain.
5. Work with a kind and caring health professional
Spend some time interviewing doctors and finding one willing to work with you. You’ll find links at our site to help you in this search.
Dr. Crook wrote, “I feel that CFIDS and fibromyalgia are often yeast-related. People with these disorders seem to develop them because their immune systems are weakened (by yeast overgrowth), viruses are activated, yeasts multiply, food and chemical allergies become activated, and nutritional deficiencies develop.”
Dr. Crook was careful to note that he didn’t think that yeast overgrowth was the primary cause of CFIDS and fibromyalgia. I fully concur, yet based on Dr. Crook’s experience and my own, following a diet free of sugar and processed and refined foods plus the correct supplementation, can be exceedingly successful in helping people suffering from these conditions.
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., is health advisor to Woman’s Health Connection at www.yeastconnection.com and is featured on the website’s “Ask A Pro” page. Her latest books are The Miracle of Magnesium and Natural Prescriptions for Common Ailments.