Gastrointestinal Candidiasis (GIC) or Candida-Related Complex (CRC)
GIC/CRC is believed to cause a wide variety of symptoms in virtually every system of the body with the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, nervous and immune systems being the most susceptible. Common symptoms include gas and bloating, runny nose, constipation, chronic infections, fatigue, mental fogginess, joint pain, headaches, and insomnia. GIC/CRC is a clinical diagnosis, often a diagnosis of exclusion, only digestive functional lab tests can definitively diagnose this condition. Normally, C. albicans lives harmlessly in every person. Factors such as chronic use of antibiotics, chronic use of corticosteroids, antacids, diet high in refined sugars, and low stomach acid can lead to an overgrowth of yeast, along with the release of yeast toxins, in the gastrointestinal tract. This overgrowth and toxin release causes many of the aforementioned symptoms.
GIC/CRC: Does Proof Exist?
Can Candida albicans become a problem to patients which are not immune system suppressed?
Antibiotic treatment decreased the total population levels of the beneficial bacterial flora in 86% of Syrian hamsters, and predisposed animals not only to GI overgrowth, but also subsequent systemic dissemination (to liver, kidneys, and spleen) by C. albicans. None of the non-antibiotic-treated control animals showed any C. albicans when visceral organs were cultured. In 10% of antibiotic-treated animals whose intestinal flora had been reestablished prior to C. albicans inoculation, C. albicans was cultured from the liver, but not from either the kidneys or spleen. Examination of the cell surfaces of the intestinal tract also indicated that animals with an intact intestinal beneficial bacteria had significantly lower numbers of C. albicans adhered to the gut walls than did antibiotic-treated animals.
In 1969, Krause et al demonstrated intact C. albicans organisms are capable of escaping the intestinal tract and reaching the blood and urine in humans. Krause, himself the subject, was examined to exclude any intestinal, pulmonary or renal disease, and had not used local or systemic antibiotics in the previous 10 years. Following an extensive evaluation to eliminate the possibility of any preexisting yeast infection, he ingested a large dose (102 organisms) of C. albicans orally. Within 2 hours he developed digestive upset, shivering, and headache. Although most of the fungal organisms probably remained in the GI tract, the organism was cultured from blood samples at 3 and 6 hours, and from urine specimens collected 2¾ and 3¼ hours after inoculation. All colonies grown were found to be identical to the strain administered.
The work of William Shaw, Ph.D:
Biochemist and researcher, William Shaw, Ph.D., has demonstrated an association between diseases and elevated microbial metabolites in the urine in a substantial number of patients through organic acid testing. Dr. Shaw had identified many mechanisms by which yeast alter human metabolism.
Gliotoxins are compounds produced by both yeast and fungi such as Aspergillus. Most strains of Candida isolated from humans have the ability to produce gliotoxins. Gliotoxins selectively fragment the DNA of immune cells like T-lymphocytes and macrophages so they are ineffective in fighting off infections. Gliotoxins inactivate sulfhydryl groups, which are vital to the functioning of a wide variety of enzymes, and may interfere with normal glutathione metabolism within the cell. Gliotoxins also generate free radicals which damage cell structure.
Arabinose is a five carbon sugar with an aldehyde function called an aldose, which is frequently elevated in a wide range of patients with Candida overgrowth of the GI tract. In some children with autism, arabinose concentrations may exceed 50 times the upper limit of normal. A closely related yeast alcohol arabitol has been used as a biochemical indicator of invasive candidiasis. Dr. Shaw and his team of researchers have never found elevated arabitol in any urine samples tested, and has not found arabinose in the culture media of multiple isolates of C. albicans isolated from stool samples. Dr. Shaw suspects that arabitol produced by the yeast in the intestinal tract is absorbed into the portal circulation and then converted to arabinose by the liver and/or GI bacteria.
- The more symptoms a patient has that suggests GIC/CRC, the more likely he/she is to have numerous colonies of C. albicans via a stool culture.
- Antibiotics can substantially increase C. albicans within the gastrointestinal tract, and may cause invasion of C. albicans to areas outside the gastrointestinal system
- C. albicans can move across the intestinal wall and spread systemically, as shown in both animal and human studies.
- C. albicans can produce exotoxins (e.g., gliotoxins), which are harmful chemicals that can impair the immune response.
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