CHRONIC YEAST INFECTIONS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© September 2021, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Who Suffers Most From Yeast Problems?
Skin And Other Fungal Infections
The Die-Off Problem
Definition. Yeasts are a group of about 1500 different species of fungi. They are one-celled organisms that are widely distributed in the environment. Common uses of yeasts are to make bread rise and to ferment sugary liquids to make alcohol and other fermented products.
This article concerns a very common health problem – the pathological or abnormal overgrowth of a few species of yeast in the human body. The most common of these is candida albicans.
Names given to this condition include chronic yeast syndrome, yeast overgrowth, and chronic candida albicans infection.
WHO SUFFERS FROM CHRONIC YEAST OVERGROWTH?
1. Women. Women have more problems with chronic yeast than men. The reasons are:
- More copper imbalance. Keeping copper in balance in the body is necessary to keep yeast in check. This is explained in detail later in this article.
- Women’s bodies are all somewhat more yin than those of men. This predisposes them to more yeast problems.
- Some women use birth control pills and copper IUDs, which aggravate yeast problems.
- Women tend to have a slower oxidation rate than men, which can contribute to yeast problems.
2. Vegetarians. This is because:
- Vegetarian diets are all low in zinc, which helps prevent yeast problems.
- Vegetarian diets are much more yin than diets with meat.
- Other reasons. Vegetarian diets, in our experience, are deficient in other nutrients needed to maintain health.
3. Babies. Some babies have yeast problems because they are fed sweets, mainly. Milk has some sugar in it, but this alone is not usually the cause.
Some unhealthy newborns get ‘thrush’, ‘cotton mouth’ or ‘cradle cap’. These are yeast infections that are often due to feeding children or babies fruit juices, for example, or pasteurized milk rather than mother’s milk. Chocolate milk is also a horrible product for babies.
4. Anyone who eats fruit, fruit juice, or anything sweet of any kind. Sugar, in any form, feeds yeast. The less of it you have in your diet, the less your chance of yeast infections.
5. Those with copper imbalance. Unfortunately, this includes most people today. If the copper imbalance is severe, the problem is much worse and often will not go away until copper metabolism is corrected with a development program.
The solution is not just a matter of “lowering copper”, as many doctors believe. It is more complex and involves correcting the copper compounds in the body, as well as the body’s ability to utilize copper.
In fact, copper is one of the body’s natural yeast fighters. Copper compounds are used to combat yeasts on food crops such as copper sulfate, and in swimming pools and hot tubs, at times, to control yeast and fungal growth.
YEASTS ARE EVERYWHERE
Yeast organisms are very common. Some are commonly found on food, eating utensils, plates used for eating, and even in the air we breathe. Therefore, we cannot avoid contact with yeasts.
However, our bodies have millions of years of experience dealing with yeasts and a healthy body will resist them easily. If body chemistry is unbalanced, however, then they take hold and grow easily on the skin and inside the body. This is the situation with most people today. They are literally somewhat moldy.
The symptoms of yeast overgrowth are many. Among the most common are chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, headaches, skin rashes, bloating, gas, and pain or tightness in and between the shoulder blade area. Yeast overgrowth can also brain fog, dementia, mood swings, memory loss, itching, joint pain, indigestion, ulcers, most sinus conditions and definitely cancer, as well.
Learning and behavior disorders are often due in part to chronic yeast infection, especially in children who eat a lot of sugar. Chronic yeast infection can also contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, food intolerances, heartburn and gastric acid reflux disease or GERD.
Rarely, yeast infection is very serous. The yeast burrows into body organs and can be life-threatening.
Since yeasts produce toxins such as alcohol and acetaldehyde, they may also contribute to many other subtle dysfunctions, including general toxicity, liver dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies and more.
Often, cravings for sugar and carbohydrate can be your yeast organisms calling for dinner. This may sound odd, but it is true.
When ‘deprived’ of sugars or even other carbohydrates, which all break down to sugar, the yeasts in the intestines and elsewhere begin to die, releasing toxic substances. These cause unpleasant ‘die off symptoms’ that can include nausea, anxiety, fatigue and many others.
Eating sugars or even some starches ends these unpleasant symptoms, often quickly. Thus, “feeding the problem” has a temporary satisfying effect, causing an addictive behavior regarding sugars in the diet. This is a very common situation that most people do not understand at all.
Common foods that feed your yeast include sugar, honey, candy, cookies, rice, bread and potatoes. Others include milk, fruit, juices, most processed food if it is sweetened at all, sweetened drinks like Gatorade and bottled teas, sodas, peanut butter, juices, etc.
ALCOHOL ADDICTION AND YEAST INFECTION
All alcoholics have yeast problems. The two conditions go together. Alcohol is very yin and upsets body chemistry.
Yeast also produces alcohol in the body, giving rise to a Dry Drunk Syndrome. That is, one can be slightly inebriated without ever touching a drop of alcohol because yeasts in the body produce some alcohol.
This is also the reason why many
alcoholics or former alcoholics are addicted to sugar. They are feeing yeast that produces a
little alcohol and this makes them feel better.
Alcohol withdrawal when one stops eating carbohydrates. This also explains why quitting or even just reducing sugar or other carbohydrates in the diet can produce withdrawal symptoms similar to alcohol withdrawal. The person often shakes and experiences extreme anxiety.
This is due to a reduction in alcohol production as the yeast die of starvation.
Sadly, this drives many people back to sugar to enhance alcohol output. Other factors can also contribute to sugar addiction. See the article on Sugar Addiction on this website for these factors.
Some practitioners blame most illness on yeasts. We would not go this far. However, mold and yeast overgrowth is very common and an important contributor to ill health.
1. Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and EMF stress. The presence of random electromagnetic fields can increase the secretion of mold and yeast toxins by up to 600 times or 6000%. For more on this, read http://agoodhealthadvocate.com/health/mold-produces-600-times-more-bio-toxins-with-emf/
2. Copper imbalance. Copper is critical for enzymes that produce energy in the electron transport system of the mitochondria. This system favors what is called aerobic or oxygen-based metabolism, which is the normal metabolism of human beings.
Yeasts and molds, by contrast, have an anerobic metabolism. This is a different type of metabolism in which the mitochondria use sugar as fuel and less oxygen.
Copper is used in the human body as a natural anti-mold and anti-yeast agent, in part because copper favors aerobic metabolism, which tends to retard yeast growth.
In fact, copper is also used in many industries to retard yeast growth. For example, farmers often spray copper sulfate on fruits and vegetables to kill yeast and molds. Water departments may add copper compounds to drinking water for the same reason. Copper may be added to swimming pools and hot tubs to control yeast.
However, copper must be in a bioavailable form in the body to be utilized properly. This is a complex topic. Bioavailability depends upon factors such as the valence of the mineral, the isotope of the mineral, the compound it is in, the ability of the body to transport the mineral, and perhaps other factors.
Why copper becomes biounavailable. Dr. Paul Eck, who taught us about copper, found that one factor that diminishes copper availability is poorly functioning adrenal glands. This may lead to low ceruloplasmin or low metallothionein. Ceruloplasmin and metallothionein are copper transport proteins.
With low adrenal activity, copper is not properly bound and may therefore become less available to the body. Indeed, we find that until adrenal activity improves, yeast overgrowth will be difficult to control. When adrenal and thyoid glandular activity become more normal, often copper imbalance and yeast problems disappear on their own without any need for specific therapy.
Medications and copper. Some medications that are known to make yeast problems worse may do so by interfering with copper metabolism:
- Birth control pills, patches and IUDs affect copper metabolism.
- Antibiotic therapy often upsets copper metabolism. Some antibiotics are copper chelators.
- Steroid hormone therapy slows the adrenal glands which makes copper less biologically available in some cases. All can cause or aggravate chronic mold and yeast infections.
Before the menstrual period, a young woman’s copper level tends to rise. In some women, the sodium/potassium ratio also decreases at this time, also making copper less bioavailable. This is a common time of the month for some women to experience yeast infections.
In summary, there is a very close connection between copper imbalance and chronic intestinal yeast problems. Click here to read more about copper imbalance.
3. A slow oxidation rate. Most people with yeast overgrowth have a slow oxidation rate. This is an exhaustion stage of stress, with underlying fatigue and the accumulation of toxic metals. Several reasons for yeast overgrowth in these individuals are:
A) While their cells are more acidic,
their intercellular spaces can become too alkaline, which favors yeast
growth. Reasons this may occur are
that slow oxidizers do not generate enough acid end products of metabolism such
as lactic acid. Also, calcium, an
alkaline-forming element, increases in their tissues in slow oxidation and may
affect the alkalinity in the spaces between the cells.
B) The pH or the intestinal tract also is often too alkaline. This may be due to low levels of bile acids, hydrochloric acid in the stomach and the overgrowth of various abnormal intestinal flora such as E. Coli and others. This is one reason that taking lactobacillus acidophilus, an acid-forming organism, sometimes helps alleviate yeast problems. Acidophilus also helps acidify the colon, impeding the growth of molds and yeasts in the large intestine.
C) Slow oxidizers generally have a copper imbalance.
4. A yin condition of the body. When the body is too yin in Macrobiotic terms, yeast tends to overgrow. We call this condition Yin Disease. Yin means expanded, cold, fragmented and movement in a centrifugal direction. It is a physics principle that is important in Oriental medicine, but not used much in Western medical thinking.
A major factor that make a body more yin is a diet that includes raw food, fruit, and other sugary food. Diets low in animal products also tend to be much more yin. Too much yin energy is one of the main problems with vegetarian and raw food diets. Eating salads, drinking smoothies and drinking any sweet beverage or eating any sweet food causes the same problem.
Other factors that make a body more yin are a slow oxidation rate, aging, fatigue, use of recreational or medical drugs, chemical additives in the diet, refined foods in the diet, drinking any alcohol at all, too much sex with fluid loss (Down Sex is fine, however), and the presence of most toxic metals and toxic chemicals in the body.
5. Antibiotic use. Taking antibiotics is an important cause for chronic yeast infection. The reasons are:
- Antibiotics often kill acidophilus and other normal intestinal bacteria that help resist yeast in the body. When this occurs, E. coli and other improper intestinal bacteria replace the friendly organisms and produce a more alkaline environment in which molds and yeasts thrives.
- Antibiotics are mainly fungal-derived and quite yin.
- Antibiotics are also toxic for the liver, and may impair its ability to produce ceruloplasmin. Many antibiotics persist in the liver and elsewhere for years. They should be used only as an absolutely last resort and never for viral infections.
Antibiotic residues are now found in most city tap water supplies around the world. This is making the chronic yeast problem much worse around the world.
Billions of pounds of antibiotics are also fed to farm animals every year. As a result, commercially grown meats, poultry, milk and eggs usually contain antibiotic residues.
To help avoid antibiotics, buy hormone-and antibiotic-free meats, poultry and dairy products. Animals raised in a healthful manner should rarely require antibiotics.
6. Other medical drugs besides antibiotics. A number of other common drugs contribute to yeast problems. They include:
Birth control pills, patches and IUDs (such as Mirena).
Steroid hormone therapy. Steroid drugs such as cortisone, prednisone, Cortef, and other products can contribute to a molds and yeasts infection. This is likely due to their effect upon the adrenal glands and perhaps their effect on copper metabolism.
Antacids. Antacids such as Tums, Maalox, Mylanta and other drugs that reduce stomach acid may worsen molds and yeasts by creating a deficiency of stomach acid. These include Prevacid, Prilosec, Protonix, Tagamet, Nexium Zantac, Pepcid, Mylanta, Malox, Gaviscon, Riopan, Rolaids, Tums and many others. To learn more about how to correct a hiatal hernia, heartburn or GERD without these drugs, read GERD on this website.
Other drugs also contribute by causing liver toxicity and damaging the delicate lining of the intestines.
7. Excessive carbohydrates in the diet, especially sugars and grains, in some people. These encourage yeast infections for several reasons:
A) The adrenal glands regulate blood sugar. Sugars in the diet weaken the adrenal glands by causing large blood sugar fluctuations. Weaker adrenal glands cause a worsening of copper imbalance, making yeast problems worse.
B) Eating refined sugars, in particular, depletes B-complex vitamins, as well as zinc, manganese, selenium and many other vital nutrients. This can worsen the body’s immune response and other defenses against yeasts and other parasitic organisms.
C) Sugar is also the food that nourishes yeast organisms. The more of it one eats, the more “fuel” that is available for the growth of yeast organisms in the intestines. Some of the sugars one eats may even nourish yeasts that live in the vagina, on the skin or elsewhere.
8. Toxic metals. Excessive mercury often accompanies copper toxicity. It interferes with thyroid activity and causes many other problems that could contribute to yeast overgrowth. For details, read Mercury.
Cadmium is a common and highly toxic metal that interferes with zinc in the body. This can contribute to a copper imbalance because copper and zinc must remain in the proper ratio in the body. For details, read Cadmium.
Lead toxicity is another possible contributor to yeast overgrowth. For details, read Lead.
Other toxic metals such as nickel, arsenic, aluminum and others can all damage the liver and other organs, making the body more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
8.Toxic chemicals. These are found everywhere today. Some of them accumulate in the liver and impair bile secretion, digestion, and may thus impair the body’s ability to protect itself against mold and yeast overgrowth.
9. Improper bowel flora. This is extremely common and often contributes to molds and yeasts infections. Important reasons for this severe problem today are:
A) Overuse of antibiotics. These often damage the normal flora of the intestines. Antibiotic residues remain in the body for decades.
B) Chemicals toxic to human intestinal flora. These are too many to name individually. They range from all the toxic metals to pharmaceutical drugs of many kinds, to fluoridation and chlorination of the water.
C) Bacterial, viral and other intestinal infections. These can range from simple cold and flu viruses that can damage the intestinal flora to intestinal parasites and others. The infections need not be in the intestines themselves.
D) Constipation. Food should pass completely through the intestines and out of the body within about 8 hours. This, however, is rare today in Westernized or developed nations. When the food remains longer, it is subject to decay. Proteins tend to putrefy, and carbohydrates ferment. Both processes produce very toxic substances that damage the intestinal flora.
Assessing Bowel Transit Time. To test your bowel transit time, eat a large portion of cooked red beets at one meal and note how long it takes for the red color to show up in the stool.
One cannot just speed up the bowel transit time at will, using laxatives or other herbal or pharmaceutical products. You may produce diarrhea, but this is not a healthy fix. Instead, begin an entire development program. As the small and large intestines heal, they can absorb more nutrients and operate correctly, and the bowel transit time will naturally decrease.
Normal bowel habits. It takes at least several years (not a misprint) on the development program for most people’s intestines to recover from years of abuse.
10. A diet high in fermented foods such as wine, beer, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, fermented vegetables, and others. We do not recommend eating much fermented food. Some health authorities think they are wonderful, but they are not. They are too yin and many contain aldehydes, which are highly toxic chemicals. For details, read Fermented Foods and Aldehyde Poisoning.
Symptoms. Symptoms are often helpful for detection. These include becoming tired or spacy after eating sweets or a high-carbohydrate meal, or skin or vaginal yeast infections. Gas or bloating that improves when one stops eating sugars or complex carbohydrates is another simple indicator of possible molds and yeasts infection.
A whitish coating on the tongue, in the mouth or in the vagina may be caused by yeast, although other causes are possible. Vaginal yeast has a particular odor and cheesy appearance. Yeast overgrowth, in general, gives the body a somewhat bitter odor.
Medication use. People who take steroid hormones such as cortisone, birth control pills, patches or IUDs, or frequent use of antibiotics are very prone to yeast overgrowth.
Use of an elimination diet for diagnosis. A simple test for yeast overgrowth is to eliminate all sugars and most starches for a full week or even for two weeks. This must include all fruit and juices, plus most concentrated starches, especially grains such as breads and rice, and all potatoes.
If, during this elimination diet, one notices significant changes in one’s symptoms, bowel habits, energy level or other health parameters, it is likely one has or had some degree of molds and yeasts infection. This is not totally definitive since such a large change in diet can cause health parameters to change in many ways. However, it is helpful for many people and can be done at home at a minimal expense.
A therapeutic trial for diagnosis. For a more definitive test, one can also take an anti-candida remedy such as caprylic acid, garlic, tannic acid or grapefruit seed extract and see if symptoms improve a lot. We do not recommend taking drugs such as Nystatin or Nizoril, although this could be done and are common drugs used by doctors for yeast infection.
Hair tissue mineral testing. Tissue mineral analysis does not specifically detect yeast infection. However, tissue mineral imbalances that are often present when yeast overgrowth occurs are:
1. A slow oxidation rate. This is associated with adrenal and thyroid weakness, copper toxicity, impaired immune response, and general fatigue.
2. A low sodium/potassium ratio. When the ratio of sodium to potassium in the tissues, not the blood, becomes less than about 2.5, it is associated with reduced bioavaiability of copper. It also indicates adrenal weakness, digestive weakness, general tendency for infections, liver toxicity and other problems.
3. A four lows pattern. This pattern is always associated with a hidden copper imbalance, very low energy production in the cells, and other problems that may contribute to yeast overgrowth.
4. Overt or hidden copper imbalance. There are about 10 indicators for a hidden copper imbalance on a hair mineral test. For details, read Copper Toxicity Syndrome.
5. A calcium level above about 100 mg%. This is one of the hidden copper imbalance indicators, and is also associated with slow oxidation.
Other tests. Serum antibody tests are sometimes used to detect molds and yeasts. Other methods include stool analysis, skin testing, muscle testing and electrodermal screening or the use of other radionic and electronic machines. The accuracy of these methods is variable.
I find that many doctors chase after molds and yeast, not realizing that the real problem is deeper - a result of mineral imbalances, glandular imbalances, toxic metal poisoning with copper or mercury, or other problems.
We assume that most people have some degree of yeast overgrowth, so we don’t do testing for it specifically.
THE DIE-OFF PROBLEM AND CARBOHYDRATE ADDICTION
The most difficult part of healing yeast overgrowth is to get past what is called the yeast die-off reaction. What occurs is that when the body has too much yeast, it can become habituated to alcohol production by yeast inside the body. One may never drink alcohol. However, one becomes a ‘dry drunk’, meaning that one is somewhat addicted to alcohol, even if one does not drink it.
When one tries to end the yeast problem by reducing dietary sugar and dietary complex carbohydrates, the yeast inside the body begins to die. As it does, one’s internal alcohol production decreases.
This can cause the exact same symptoms as alcohol withdrawal. One can experience tremors, headache, low blood sugar, anxiety, fear, depression, anxiety and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
This can feel awful! Eating sugar or complex carbohydrates quickly takes away the symptoms because alcohol production resumes. As a result, some people go back to eating sweets or a lot of carbohydrates and never heal their yeast problem.
Two ways to handle the yeast die-off reaction are:
1. Quit all sugar and excess carbohydrates at once. You may suffer with tremors, headache, anxiety and other die-off symptoms for just a few days, usually, until the body readjusts. You can plan on experiencing this and just stay home and rest for a few days.
2. Quit sugar and excess carbohydrates gradually over a period of weeks. Healing will take longer, but the symptoms will be more mild.
If you are on a development program: Whichever method above you choose, we recently found (August 2019) that it is best to modify the standard development supplement program in order to minimize the die-off reaction. The modifications are:
1.Mildly increase the amount of Megapan, zinc, TMG, EPA-DHA and Paramin.
2. Substitute Endo-dren for Thyro-Complex. Often, you will require fewer Endodren tablets than Thyro-complex tablets.
3. Add more fat to the diet.
Following a complete development program also definitely helps with the symptoms of yeast die-off.
The ketogenic diet. Incidentally, we do not recommend very low carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins or the ketogenic diet. You may lose weight and feel well on these diets.
However, they do not permit one to eat a lot of cooked vegetables with every meal. We find this absolutely necessary for excellent health and for development. Starchy vegetables include carrots, onions and rutabaga and these are essential on the development diet. For more details, read The Ketogenic Diet and The Atkins Diet.
The following suggestions will assist digestion tremendously and hasten rebuilding of the intestines:
Š Eat an extra meal, if needed, but keep the food proportions correct.
Š Do not snack all day. Eat real sit-down meals.
Š Chew thoroughly and eat slowly in a relaxed, quiet environment.
Š Do not eat too much at a time. Quit when satiated.
Rest and sleep. Lifestyle plays a critical role. Plenty of rest and sleep are important, as lack of rest stresses the adrenal glands. Go to bed by 9 PM most every night and obtain 9 or more hours of sleep daily. Stimulant use such as caffeine or heavy exercise decimates the adrenal glands.
A very good idea is to take a nap or two every day. Development requires more rest. A good time is after a meal. Lay down even if you don’t sleep for at least 15 minutes.
Breathing and posture. Deep breathing and good posture assist oxygenation of the body, which helps inhibit yeast overgrowth.
Stress reduction. Reducing all types of physical, emotional, financial, social and other stressors rests the adrenal glands and helps improve copper metabolism.
Positive emotions and thoughts. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting and more spiritually-oriented materials such as books, CDs and movies. Work on your negative attitudes and emotions, deciding they are not worth holding on to, no matter how ‘true’ they seem to be. Let go of grudges, angers and hatreds. Your attitude is your altitude.
A COMPLETE HEALING PROGRAM
Most often, chronic yeasts infection is just a symptom of deeper systemic imbalances in the body. The great advantage of a development program is it is not a symptomatic approach. It addresses many imbalances and deeper causes for yeast problems at the same time. For this reason, many people find development effective when all other methods, including other natural healing methods, have failed to bring about the desired results.
Anti-fungal, anti-yeast and specifically anti-yeast drugs or supplements are rarely needed if one follows a development program.
Natural anti-mold and anti-yeast remedies. In almost all cases, we find that with a development program, anti-molds and yeasts remedies are not needed. The molds and yeasts slowly goes away on its own.
In the rare case that this is not the case, the safest remedies are garlic, caprylic acid, probiotics, colloidal silver, and tannic acid (tanalbit). Other medium chain triglycerides and herbs such as Echinacea are also safe. Somewhat less safe and more toxic are other herbal remedies, olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and oregano oil.
Drugs for molds and yeasts. These are much less safe than the natural remedies, much more toxic and should be used only when all the natural remedies and development are not enough. We have never needed them. They include Nystatin, Diflucan and Nizoril.
HOW LONG UNTIL I AM HEALTHY?
A better diet alone often leads to improvement in molds and yeasts symptoms within a few days to a week. Anti-yeast medications also often work quickly. However, permanently improving copper balance, eliminating toxic metals and enhancing the oxidation rate take longer, up to several years.
If one has taken antibiotics recently or in the past, more time is often required to remove residues stored in the liver and other organs. Do not be discouraged if results take longer.
Sauna therapy can significantly speed up the improvement in molds and yeasts infection. Molds and yeast are “cold” infections and the sauna heats the body several degrees. This helps make the body more yang and seems to help reduce molds and yeasts in the body.
It also assists the elimination of toxic metals, toxic chemicals and other poisons that may accumulate within the body. It also inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, improves circulation and oxygenation and directly disables molds and yeasts organisms to some degree. Sauna therapy is thus one of the finest method of eliminating molds and yeasts overgrowth.
Atkins, R., Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution.
Crook, W. MD, The Yeast Connection.
Trowbridge, J., The Yeast Syndrome.
Truss, O., The Missing Diagnosis.
These books offer in-depth information about candida albicans symptoms, diagnostic criteria, various treatments and more. However, none of them recommend a development program, so they are not useful in terms of the best therapy, in our view.