Like all living things, the yeast Candida albicans releases waste into its environment as it consumes food and multiplies.
Unfortunately, because Candida lives inside the body, this means that we get clean-up duty.
Systemic Candida overgrowth can release two dangerous toxins into the body. To protect your body from this toxic overload and to prevent Candida from spreading to healthy tissue, balance your inner ecosystem first with support from the Digestive Care Multi.
An accumulation of two toxins — acetaldehyde and gliotoxin — is especially common in those with systemic Candida overgrowth.
Systemic Candida Overgrowth and Leaky Gut
Candida is a yeast that naturally grows in parts of the body. More than 70 percent of healthy people naturally have the fungus Candida albicans living inside their body. The single-celled organism Candida reproduces asexually and feeds on byproducts found within the body, like dead tissue and sugar from the diet.
Healthy people have Candida living in their gastrointestinal tract, in their mouth, and in their birth canal.1 So why doesn’t everyone have systemic Candida overgrowth? As it turns out, this is not the only microbe that you will find.
When your inner ecosystem is in balance, a large number of good bacteria and yeast are thriving. They compete with Candida and other opportunistic microbes for food and space to grow. When your inner ecosystem is in balance, the mucosa of the gut wall is sealed and healthy. And Candida overgrowth is kept in check.
When your inner ecosystem is out of balance, Candida has an opportunity to rapidly grow and take over its environment. Like an aggressive weed, Candida can shoot “runners” or threads of Candida through tissue, making it especially invasive.2,3 Worse, Candida overgrowth can make the gut leaky.4
A leaky gut is a problem. This is because a sealed gut lining is meant to protect the body from outside chemicals, bacteria, parasites, and food irritants. When the gut lining is leaky, it no longer protects the body. This creates extra work for the liver and for your immune system.
Once the gut is leaky, Candida has the opportunity to spread beyond the gut. Systemic Candida overgrowth — or Candida that has moved beyond the gut wall — can affect every tissue in the body. There's more: Candida may spread easily throughout the body when the gut is leaky, and it can also be a cause of leaky gut. When the inner ecosystem is out of balance and there aren't enough good bacteria, Candida yeast can change form to become pathogenic. A once harmless yeast will grow tentacles and burrow into the mucosa lining of the gut to cause chronic inflammation. Over time, this burrowing coupled with unchecked inflammation makes a healthy gut leaky and permeable. When the gut is leaky, Candida has the chance to proliferate and move throughout the body to create systemic infection.
Signs of systemic Candida overgrowth range from digestive troubles to migraines, skin disorders like acne and eczema, stiff joints, and brain fog. Because of the vague nature of these symptoms, they are often misdiagnosed, ignored, or easily confused for other health disorders. Sometimes, Candida yeast may not be the direct cause of a major health problem, yet it is important not to rule it out as one possible cause contributing to poor health, as Dr. William Crook pointed out in his ground-breaking book The Yeast Connection and Women's Health.5
Treat your body well. Learn more in Body Ecology 101.
2 Candida Toxins That Can Poison Your Body
Part of what makes systemic Candida overgrowth so noxious is the toxins that it naturally produces during its life cycle — and dumps into your body!
1. Acetaldehyde: One of the pollutants that Candida produces is called acetaldehyde.6,7,8 In Candida, acetaldehyde is a metabolic byproduct — similar to the carbon dioxide that you exhale after inhaling oxygen. Too much acetaldehyde is the equivalent of alcohol poisoning; an accumulation of acetaldehyde is associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.9,10 There is also evidence that the toxin acetaldehyde is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.11 While modern grains have been blamed for the Alzheimer's epidemic, traced back to how gluten sensitivity affects the immune system and eventually the brain, Body Ecology grain-like seeds are the perfect alternative. Gluten-free quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and millet are supporters of immune health, best enjoyed by following the 80/20 rule — fill up no more than 20 percent of your plate with these nourishing grain-like seeds.
Studies show that a build-up of acetaldehyde can lead to oxidative stress.12,13,14
It damages DNA in the cells. It has also been found to increase the risk of alcohol-related cancers.15,16
2. Gliotoxin: Candida and other species of fungus make a poison called gliotoxin. Gliotoxin stimulates the death of cells and the destruction of tissue. In fact, we are still learning about the devastating effects of gliotoxin. Gliotoxin stimulates the destruction of cells in the liver — your number one detox organ.17 Gliotoxin also suppresses the immune system and kills cells that belong to the immune system.18 Remember, both your liver and your immune system play a pivotal role in the protection and detoxification of the body.
Another study published in April 2013 even found that gliotoxin is especially high in patients with MS (multiple sclerosis), an autoimmune disease that affects aspects of the central nervous system, like the brain.19
As Candida grows stronger and proliferates, it becomes more poisonous than ever. Studies have found that once a yeast forms biofilm — or a protective matrix around itself — the biofilm increases the production of gliotoxin.20
Gliotoxin protects Candida as it grows.
A 2010 article published in Thrombosis and Haemostasis shows that gliotoxin prevents platelets from sticking together, making Candida especially virulent.21 Platelets are found in the blood, and they help the body to form blood clots — which is especially useful after an injury. Platelets also contain high amounts of a fungicidal protein, which has been shown to kill Candida.22
Good health is within your reach. The Body Ecology Quick Start Guide will give you a complete overview of our approach to health and healing.
The Candida Cleanse: Support Your Detox Pathways
Fortunately, a few shifts in your diet can help your body to detoxify the poisons that Candida produces. In addition to following the Body Ecology Diet, attack Candida from multiple fronts with the Digestive Care Multi to support your detox pathways.
Fermented veggies and probiotic liquids also inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria. Beneficial bacteria soothe inflammation (or leakiness) and compete with Candida for nutrients. Research published in 2012 shows that lactic acid — produced by good bacteria — inhibits the growth of Candida.23 As we already mentioned, cutting sugar out of the diet is critical if you want to keep Candida contained. In a 2015 study published in Nature Communications, researchers observed that placing even a small amount of sugar on fungal Candida cells could trigger the death of healthy immune cells needed to fight off Candida.24
Good health tastes good too. Check out all of our delicious and nutritious Body Ecology recipes.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, help the body to make glutathione.25,26 Because the liver relies on a steady supply of glutathione, it also plays a critical role in the detoxification process. When levels of glutathione are low, detoxification slows down, and the liver becomes congested and toxic.
According to research, glutathione can help to detoxify acetaldehyde from tissues.27
Glutathione is your most powerful antioxidant. The Liver Power Cleanse in the Digestive Care Multi supports a healthy level of this crucial antioxidant.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Candida is a yeast naturally found in the gut. A healthy inner ecosystem teeming with friendly bacteria and yeast will compete with opportunistic Candida to keep it in check. But when your inner ecosystem is thrown out of balance, Candida can quickly spread and overtake its environment. It can even lead to leaky gut.
A leaky gut will overburden the liver and the immune system; it will also give Candida full rein to spread throughout the body. Symptoms of systemic Candida overgrowth may include acne, eczema, migraines, stiff joints, and brain fog.
Candida overgrowth produces two toxins — acetaldehyde and gliotoxin — that can wreak havoc on your body. Making simple changes by adding fermented veggies and probiotic liquids to your diet can strengthen the gut with beneficial bacteria to prevent the spread of Candida.
You can cleanse poisonous Candida byproducts with the Digestive Care Multi to support healthy detoxification. The Liver Power Cleanse in the Digestive Care Multi contains the powerful antioxidant glutathione to detoxify acetaldehyde from tissues.
- Calderone RA. Candida and Candidiasis. 2002. ASM Press, Washington DC.
- Mavor AL, et al. 2005. Systemic fungal infections caused by Candida species: epidemiology, infection process and virulence attributes. Curr. Drug Targets 6(8): 863–874.
- Vylkova S, et al. 2011. The fungal pathogen Candida albicans autoinduces hyphal morphogenesis by raising extracellular pH. mBio 2(3):e00055-11. doi:10.1128/mBio.00055-11.
- Klotz SA, et al. 2010. The Perfect Adhesive. Environmental Microbiology, Geomicrobiology, Soil Microbiology, Biocontrol 1, 838-844.
- Crook, William G. The Yeast Connection and Women's Health. Square One Publishers; Reprint edition (March 15, 2007). Print.
- J Tillonen, et al J. Role of Yeasts in the Salivary Acetaldehyde Production From Ethanol Among Risk Groups for Ethanol-Associated Oral Cavity Cancer. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 1999; 23: 1409–1411.
- PK Mukherjee, et al. Alcohol dehydrogenase restricts the ability of the pathogen Candida albicans to form a biofilm on catheter surfaces through an ethanol-based mechanism. Infect Immun. 2006 Jul;74(7):3804-16.
- M Mohd Bakri. The expression of Candida albicans acetaldehyde producing enzymes in C. albicans infected mucosal lesions: a potential role in some oral cancers. Univ of Otago. 2011.
- ML Hard, et al. The role of acetaldehyde in pregnancy outcome after prenatal alcohol exposure. Ther Drug Monit. 2001 Aug;23(4):427-34
- NL Day, et al. Prenatal alcohol exposure: a continuum of effects. Semin Perinatol. 1991 Aug;15(4):271-9.
- S Ohta, et al. Mitochondrial ALDH2 deficiency as an oxidative stress. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Apr;1011:36-44.
- M Tong, et al. Acetaldehyde-Mediated Neurotoxicity: Relevance to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2011; 2011: 13.
- PS Brocardo, et al. The role of oxidative stress in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Brain Res Rev. 2011 Jun 24;67(1-2):209-25. Epub 2011 Apr 3.
- H Joenje. Metabolism: Alcohol, DNA and Disease. 07 July 2011; 475, 45–46. Epub 2011 July 06.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group, Special Report: Policy A review of human carcinogens—Part E: tobacco, areca nut, alcohol, coal smoke, and salted fish. The Lancet 2009 10, 1033–1034.
- K Nakamura, et al. Acetaldehyde adducts in the brain of alcoholics. Archives of Toxicology. 2003; 77 (10): 591–3.
- Wright, M. C., Issa, R., Smart, D. E., Trim, N., Murray, G. I., Primrose, J. N., ... & Mann, D. A. Gliotoxin stimulates the apoptosis of human and rat hepatic stellate cells and enhances the resolution of liver fibrosis in rats. Gastroenterology, 2001; 121(3), 685-698.
- Sutton, P., Newcombe, N. R., Waring, P., & Müllbacher, A. In vivo immunosuppressive activity of gliotoxin, a metabolite produced by human pathogenic fungi. Infection and Immunity, 1994; 62(4), 1192-1198.
- de Arruda, M. S. P. Effect of c. albicans infection on experimental autoimmune encephalitis. 2013.
- Bruns, S., Seidler, M., Albrecht, D., Salvenmoser, S., Remme, N., Hertweck, C., Brakhage, A. A., Kniemeyer, O. and Müller, F.-M. C. Functional genomic profiling of Aspergillus fumigatus biofilm reveals enhanced production of the mycotoxin gliotoxin. Proteomics, 2010; 10: 3097–3107.
- Bertling, A., Niemann, S., Uekötter, A., Fegeler, W., Lass-Flörl, C., von Eiff, C., & Kehrel, B. E. Candida albicans and its metabolite gliotoxin inhibit platelet function via interaction with thiols. Thrombosis & Haemostasis, 2010; 104(2), 270.
- Yeaman MR, Ibrahim AS, Edwards JE, et al. Thrombin-induced rabbit platelet microbicidal protein is fungicidal in vitro. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1993; 37: 546–553.
- DR Tucker, et al. Protection of Vaginal Epithelial Cells with Probiotic Lactobacilli and the Effect of Estrogen against Infection by Candida albicans. Open Journal of Medical Microbiology. 2012; 2(3), 54-64.
- Teresa R. O’Meara, Amanda O. Veri, Troy Ketela, Bo Jiang, Terry Roemer, Leah E. Cowen. Global analysis of fungal morphology exposes mechanisms of host cell escape. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 6741 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7741
- LI Wang, et al. Dietary intake of Cruciferous vegetables, Glutathione S-transferase (GST) polymorphisms and lung cancer risk in a Caucasian population. Cancer Causes Control. 2004 Dec;15(10):977-85.
- TK Lam, et al. Cruciferous vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):184-95.
- H Anni, et al. Binding of acetaldehyde to a glutathione metabolite: mass spectrometric characterization of an acetaldehyde-cysteinylglycine conjugate. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2003 Oct;27(10):1613-21.
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