Those of us who have chosen to explore the Body Ecology Diet know from first-hand experience the effects of systemic candida, immune sensitivity, and whole-body inflammatory response.
Let's face it, the more you know about your own body, the more empowered you are.
Becoming aware of how the food you eat impacts your health can strengthen your immune system and prevent such issues as fatigue, autoimmune conditions, systemic inflammation, and even a nutritional deficiency!
As a consumer of food, pharmaceutical or botanical medications, treatment therapy, and dietary supplements, you have some choices to make. When making those choices, it is useful to have a basic understanding of what is happening in your own body.
There are many primary healthcare providers who do not yet understand how central diet is to health. You may even need to introduce the diet that you are on to your doctor, explaining the differences that you feel in your own body while on the Body Ecology Diet. Whether you have an autoimmune condition, frequent colds, general lethargy and brain fog, joint pain, or a skin condition, something led you to explore the connection between food and your body.
- In his book, Biological Treatment for Autism and PDD, Dr. William Shaw explains how systemic yeast infection actually produces a toxin called gliotoxins. (1)
- Gliotoxins poison the immune system by fragmenting the DNA of macrophages and T-lymphocytes. These white blood cells are very important elements involved in immune response.
- Gliotoxins inactivate the sulfhydryl (thiol) group of proteins, which are necessary to support a wide variety of enzymes.
- Gliotoxins generate free radicals.
Glutathione (GSH) is the main intracellular thiol antioxidant.
Therefore, it protects sulfhydryl group proteins and also protects the body against free radical damage. Not only that, glutathione also has been implicated in the TH1/TH2 cytokine response pattern. (2)(3) This means that pro-GSH molecules represent new therapeutic agents that support immune modulation.
- Glutathione plays many protective roles in the body:
- Alleviates some of the effects of gliotoxin poisoning.
- Is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body.
- Modulates immune system (TH1 / TH2) and inflammatory response (involves TH17).
- Assists in detoxifying the body of heavy metals, especially mercury.
- Recently suggested to play a role in strengthening the gut barrier and preventing intestinal inflammation. (4)
- Here are a few more important points to remember:
- L-Glutamine is important for the generation of glutathione. Once transported into the cell, it is converted to glutamate and available for intracellular glutathione synthesis. (5)
- Body Ecology Vitality Greens offers a covalently-bonded glutamine, Glutimmune. Covalently-bonded glutamine is incredibly stable and offers 10 times more glutamine than L-glutamine!
- The Chinese herb, cordyceps, has been recently found to activate glutathione synthesis in the body. Research has shown that this herb, traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to build yang energetic force in the body, also protects cells by engaging the glutathione enzyme cycle!
- Gliotoxins are not the only harmful byproduct of systemic yeast infection. In the 1970s, Dr. Orian Truss suggested that candida living in the intestinal tract produces toxins that affect the entire body. According to Dr. Truss, acetaldehyde is one of the most important toxic byproducts of candida.
Acetaldehyde comes from ethanol and is responsible for the feeling of a hangover after drinking.
It also is found in exhaust fumes from cars and in cigarette smoke. It is normally present in the body at small levels and easily converted to acetate to be used in cellular energy production. If there is too much acetaldehyde (for example, from candida overgrowth or die-off) and/or a nutritional deficiency, toxicity develops.
If you have adequate amounts of glutamine, selenium, B3 (niacin), folic acid, B6, B12, iron, and the trace element molybdenum, acetaldehydes continue to be metabolized into acetate, which can be excreted or converted further into acetyl coenzyme A. If these nutrients are in poor supply, acetaldehydes begin collecting in the body's tissues.
- An excess of acetaldehyde in the body eventually creates a deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine). Thiamine is often called the "nerve vitamin" because of its role in proper brain and nerve function. A lack of thiamine can lead to acetylcholine deficiency. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter related to our memory, and severe deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer's disease.
- Not only that, but excess acetaldehyde affects the structure of red blood cells, making them less flexible, as well as the integrity of the dendrites of the brain cells.
- Acetaldehyde also promotes addiction. Acetaldehyde has the tendency to link up with serotonin and dopamine and produce beta-carboline and salsolinol, respectively. These compounds are interrelated and inter-convertible; they are as addictive as opiates! These opiate-like biochemicals explain why sugar is so addictive to those who have systemic candida.
Sometimes the body's immune system gets confused.
The immune system will produce antibodies, or immunoglobulins, to identify or neutralize a pathogen. The pathogen, which can be a virus, bacteria, fungus, or foreign body, is the antigen that prompts the immune response. The antigen has something on it called an epitope, which is like a nametag that the immune system uses to produce antibodies. Sometimes two different antigens will have similar epitopes, or in some cases, two different antigens will share an epitope. In either case, this leads to a partial binding between an antibody and antigen, stimulating an inappropriate immune response.
Both the wheat protein, alpha gliadin, and the protein present in candida can bind to the same antibody.
This means that the immune system confuses wheat for candida - which could explain sensitivity to gluten.
This confusion, or cross-reaction, happens with other common foods like dairy, coffee, and chocolate. (6)
Partial binding of antigenic epitopes to an antibody can also happen with the protein casein found in milk and, strangely enough, has been found to occur with coffee and chocolate as well. That means that although these foods contain no gluten, they will still create the same immune response as if you were eating a doughy piece of wheat bread.
WHAT TO REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
The immune system is complex and sensitive. Proper nutrients are essential to maintaining the gut mucosal barrier and ensuring the smooth release of toxins from the body. Candida waste byproducts, such as gliotoxins and acetaldehyde, are implicated in a wide range of disorders like nutritional deficiency, depression and anxiety, brain fog and fatigue, autoimmune conditions, systemic inflammation, and weakened immune response.
If you have systemic candida, then sugar really is like a drug. Consistently making sure that your body has enough functional enzymes in the gut in order to break food down, as well as plenty of beneficial microflora, are two important steps that you can take to support your body. These steps are both preventative and therapeutic.
- Shaw, William. Biological Treatments for Autism and PDD. Np. Nd. http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/book/bk7sect1.html.
- "Glutathione Peroxidase 1 Deficiency Attenuates Allergen-Induced Airway Inflammation by Suppressing TH2 and TH17 Cell Development." Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 June 6.
- "Antiviral and immunomodulatory of new pro-glutathione (GSH) molecules." Current Medical Chem. 2006;13(15):1749-55.
- "Intestinal Barrier Function in Response to Abundant or Depleted Mucosal Glutathione in Salmonella-Infected Rats." BMC Physiology. 2009 April 17;9:6.
- Kharrazian, Datis. "AutoImmune Regulation by the Nitric Oxide and Glutathione Systems, Part 2." Neuroendocrine Immunology Series Lecture. Irvine: Apex Energetics, 2010.
- Kharrazian, Datis. "Understanding the Complexity of Gluten Sensitivity, Part 3." Neuroendocrine Immunology Series Lecture. Irvine: Apex Energetics, 2010.