The Candida Yeast Theory
The possible role of yeast in causing chronic, ill-defined illness was
popularized by Dr. Crook in the "Yeast Connection" in 1984. While I
admired Dr. Crook's efforts to innovate with new solutions for old problems, the
commercial exploitation of his yeast theory went far beyond rational thinking
and supportable claims.
There is no doubt that candida can produce toxins and disease. Crook's idea
was that overgrowth of candida in the digestive tract causes chronic, systemic
symptoms. Half of the population in the US and Canada have chronic symptoms that
are not diagnosed or treated appropriately by physicians. There remains a great
need for solutions. According to yeast theory, therapy is designed to starve
colon yeast with diet changes or "kill yeast" with drugs. One big problem
is the commercial exploitation of the yeast theory led to a proliferation of
over the counter products that were supposed to inhibit or kill yeast in the
colon. None worked. Other books and magazine articles repeated the yeast theory
without modification recommending avoidance of sugars and all fungi in the diet.
Most candida diets even exclude mushrooms which have only a remote
connection with yeasts (both are fungi).
Claims that candida overgrowth in the digestive tract cause ill-defined
illnesses are difficult to substantiate. Immune compromised individuals suffer
from an overgrowth of candida and a number of other microorganisms that
are usually present as members of the normal flora. If you have AIDS, candida
becomes a life-threatening pathogen that enters the blood and is distributed
throughout the body.
Consider the main issues in understanding yeast populations in and on the body:
- There are many kinds of fungi in our food supply.
- Yeasts are specialized sub-groups that have little in common with molds and
- Each yeast species must be considered on its own merits and demerits.
- Immune responses to fungi are specific - not generalized across a broad
spectrum on fungi.
Some are harmless and some cause illness by varied and diverse mechanisms.
- Immune responses to different yeast antigens tend to different.
- Cross reactions may exist, but generally these interactions are unknown.
The presence of other kinds of yeast or other fungi in the diet has little or
no effect on the growth of candida in the colon. On a food holiday, the food
supply to the Candida and all other colon microorganisms is reduced and the
The use of an elemental nutrient formula, such as Alpha ENF with free
glucose content is associated with reduction or disappearance of candida in the
colon flora. Colon candida are fed by milk sugar and starches in the diet which
reach the colon undigested. Free sugars in food tend to be absorbed by the
stomach and upper small intestine before reaching the yeast. The advantage of an
ENF is that all nutrients are absorbed before reaching the colon so that the
food supply to microorganisms is dramatically reduced; the size of all the
microbial populations shrink.
See Food Holiday
Fungi In Food
There are many kinds of fungi in our food supply. Some are harmless and some
cause illness by varied and diverse mechanisms. Immune responses to different
fungal antigens tend to be different. Cross reactions may exist, but generally
these interactions are unknown.
The "yeast connection" theory ignores the many types of adverse reactions to
food. Many people with delayed patterns of food allergy believe that they have
candida and have a hard time adjusting their thinking to accept a more
comprehensive solution to their illness. The symptoms attributed to candida are
typical of the wide spectrum of adverse reactions to food, and should not be
interpreted as having a single cause.
People who accept the "yeast connection" theory are encouraged by product
advertisements to buy easy solutions to chronic health problems, which really
require responsible, dedicated, and persistent efforts to resolve. They are
encouraged to use prescription antibiotics such as Nystatin and Nizoral, without
appreciating the risk of side effects and toxicity. Nystatin is relatively safe
only if it is not absorbed from the intestine. The risk of significant
absorption increases as the dose of Nystatin is increased and prolonged. Nizoral
is absorbed and can cause hepatitis . The recommended use of
Nizoral is limited by this potential toxicity to serious fungal infections not
resolved by other means. Resistance to these anti-fungal antibiotics has emerged
and is an important problem for very sick hospitalized patients.
Other products are sold and advertised nationally as candida cures. All of
these products, including acidophilus, garlic, caprylic acid, herbs, animal
gland derivatives, and vitamins, are not likely to influence candida growth and
do not contribute to the proper treatment of food allergy.
We recommend that all people with recurrent vaginal yeast infection and
with nonspecific illness ---the "sick all over syndrome" --- do adequate,
complete diet revision using the
Alpha Nutrition Program as their guide.