THE CANDIDA-ASTHMA CONNECTIONDespite the dietary advice given in the last chapter, many of my patients protest that because some alcohol beverages are low in yeast content they should be allowed to drink a little.They should not. For many reasons, alcohol almost invariably makes the problems worse and much more difficult to treat. Strangely enough, it may be alcohol, or rather one of its metabolites, which is responsible for some of the mental and emotional problems experienced by people who suffer with yeast infections, even if they don’t touch a drop of alcohol. This is because some people who harbour excessive Candida in their digestive systems make their own alcohol from ingested carbohydrates.The Acetaldehyde ConnectionYeast organisms have the ability to convert sugars, especially fruit sugars (fructose), to a chemical called pyruvate. This can lead to a number of seemingly unrelated problems. An increase in pyruvate will often lead to an increase in lactate at the expense of blood sugar (glucose). As a result, some individuals will experience the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and, at the same time, may suffer varying degrees of anxiety. This is a well-known effect of excessive lactate because this natural chemical is ‘panicogenic’, meaning that it can cause panic feelings, and even anxiety or panic attacks, in susceptible individuals. Some of the pyruvate is converted to acetaldehyde and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide is probably the main culprit in the bloating and gas which many Candida sufferers note. Alcohol (ethanol) quickly becomes acetaldehyde, once ingested, and current scientific opinion holds that most, if not all, the deleterious effects of alcohol are in fact due to the potential toxicity of acetaldehyde.The scientific literature shows that there have been cases where Candida albicans has produced enough ethanol to induce an increase in blood alcohol levels sufficient to make a person drunk, even though not a drop of alcohol has been ingested. Try to explain that to the police next time you are stopped by a booze bus!The first reported case (Time, 20 July 1969) occurred in Japan. A 46-year-old man, Kozo Ohishi, kept getting ‘drunk’ over a 25-year period, in spite of the fact that he was a teetotaller. When placed on a low carbohydrate diet because he wanted to lose some weight, his episodes of drunkenness decreased. After an investigation at Hokkaido University Hospital, he was found to have an enormous colony of Candida albicans yeast fungi in his digestive system. These produced enough alcohol to make him drunk. Once treated with anti Candida medication, he stayed sober! Since then at least thirty more cases have been reported in Japan, in patients ranging in age from 3 to 74 years. The condition is called Meitei sho in Japanese, which literally means ‘drunk disease’. On Sunday 25 September 1983, the Los Angeles Times reported the case of Duffy Mayo, a five year old who had been diagnosed as autistic. He would stagger around and giggle and laugh, very much like a drunk, and his breath smelled of alcohol! After treatment with anti-yeast medications and special diets, little Duffy improved.According to Dr Bernard Rimland, an authority on children’s behavioural problems and autism:There is a very strong likelihood that there are many of them out there somewhere. The trick is to find them.He was referring, of course, to autistic children who may be suffering from systemic yeast infections. Dr Rimland is the author of the first and most influential textbook on infantile autism, published in 1964, the director of the Institute for Child Behaviour Research in San Diego and the winner of a Century Psychology Series Award. In a personal communication, he speculated that many cases of abnormal behaviour, learning disabilities and mental retardation may be caused or aggravated by yeast infection. But let us get back to acetaldehyde.Once blood levels of acetaldehyde begin to rise the liver starts to suffer. The number of microtubules decreases, protein retention occurs and lipids may start to accumulate. It also depresses liver d glutathione levels, allowing the number of free radicals to increase.According to Dr Orion Truss, author of The Missing Diagnosis, the first book about Candida, acetaldehyde also increases the ratio of a compound known as NADH (Nicotine Amide Dinucleocide Hydrogenase) to another called NAD (Nicotine Amide Dinucleocide). The doctors claim this can lead to several biochemical abnormalities and disturbances. The levels of lactate rise and tolerance to galactose decreases. Some food intolerances are more likely to develop because of this. One of the most controversial and spectacular hypotheses advanced by Dr Truss and Charles Lieber is that an increased NADH to NAD ratio can alter the metabolism of several brain amines which act as neurotransmitters, thus slowing down the degradation of serotonin (5HT) to its metabolite Hydroxy indole aceto acid (5HIAA). Excessive amounts of serotonin in the brain may be one of the results and this can cause severe behavioural disturbances in some people.An interesting example is our observation, at the Institute for Orthomolecular Research in Sydney, that alcoholics, heavy drinkers and some patients with a previous history of psychosis can react paradoxically to heavy supplementation with tryptophan, an amino acid frequently prescribed to improve sleep and ameliorate some types of depression. Tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin and, if administered correctly, can cause a sudden elevation in brain levels of serotonin. As too much serotonin can be just as bad as too little, alcoholics given this supplement often remain totally unable to sleep for days. A truly paradoxical effect.Even some ‘normal’ patients who are obviously highly susceptible to brain levels of that neurotransmitter have reported feeling ‘spaced out’ after taking oral tryptophan.Acetaldehyde may have other powerful effects on the brain. It has been suggested that it is primarily responsible for the development of alcohol addiction. Some of the amines which act as brain neurotransmitters are inactivated by monoamino oxidase (enzymes) and eventually converted to other chemicals by a mechanism which shares an enzyme used in the metabolism of acetaldehyde. Leiber suggests that acetaldehyde in the brain may compete for that enzyme so that unmetabolised products can combine with neurotransmitters and form compounds similar to opiates, which are notorious for their ability to create dependence and addiction. Some of these combinations may produce pseudo neurotransmitters which could have profound effects on human moods, behaviour and mental function.In July 1982 at Dallas, Texas, and in Birmingham, Alabama in 1983, two international symposia were held — the Candida albicans conference and the symposium on the yeast-human interaction. Much of the information presented here is taken from those meetings, as well as from several articles presented in the Journal of Orthomolecular Psychiatry, interwoven with my own clinical experience over a decade of treating these conditions. Dr Truss and other scientists have advanced the hypothesis that yeast infections may play a role in several autoimmune diseases, including lupus (a degenerative disease of connective tissue throughout the body) and Crohn’s disease (a severe inflammatory disease of the digestive system), by interfering with those cells which normally prevent ‘killer’ cells from attacking organs and tissues. Dr Truss also found marked abnormalities in the urine of Candida sufferers, suggesting that the infection may produce dangerously low levels of an important neurotransmitter called ‘GABA’ (Gamma amino butyric acid).*52\145\2*
YOU CAN STOP CHILDHOOD ASTHMAFor the first time ever we are now confident enough to claim that asthma in children can be prevented and stopped. Most babies with parents suffering from allergies are likely to develop allergic problems. The most common are eczema and asthma. There is little question that allergies are the primary trigger of asthma. In babies and small children we now understand that exposure to allergens increases the probability that they will develop asthma later on. Exposure to smoke, lack of breastfeeding, early consumption of wheat, milk and citrus fruit are known to increase the chances of developing a respiratory allergy. Studies have confirmed that early exposure to dust mites, too, is a prelude to asthma and other respiratory allergic conditions.An important study reported in The Lancet (20 June, 1992) was a confirmation of what scientists like myself have been saying for years. It also shows that your child does not have to suffer, if you take the proper precautions. In the study, blood from the umbilical cord was checked for its IgE levels because this is an indicator of possible allergies. Those with an elevated IgE were then divided into two groups.The parents of one group were told to avoid feeding the babies any cow’s milk, fish, nuts, soya products, eggs, wheat or citrus fruits for the first twelve months. Breast-feeding mothers also followed the same diet. Those that had to be bottle fed were given a special allergens-free formula.The babies spent the first year of their lives in an environment (the bedroom and home) that was as free of chemicals, plastics, fresh paint, dust, mould and as many other potentially harmful factors as possible.The second group had no restrictions of any kind. Mothers and babies ate whatever they liked and their living environments were clean, comfortable and normal.The results were nothing short of spectacular. The incidence of allergic disorders such as asthma and eczema in the second group was 300 per cent higher than in the first group.The director of the Allergy Research Foundation in the USA, Dr Gary Rachelefsky, made the following comments (reported in Prevention, June 93):This is the first decent study that tried to see if asthma or eczema could be prevented from developing by using both food and environmental controls.Other studies focussed just on foods and, unlike this study, none showed any effects on asthma. Viral illness has always been considered the most important triggering factor of infant asthma. This study showed something different. Avoidance of the allergens also resulted in fewer viral-induced episodes of asthma.Parents need to know that if the development of sensitization (the underlying process by which one becomes allergic) can be delayed for the first twelve months of life, the child’s immature immune system will have time to mature and to be able to defend the child’s body against any potential allergen. This must greatly reduce the chances of developing asthma in later life.Allergic disorders like asthma are much more difficult to manage in small babies because of the minute size of their airways. It makes good sense, therefore, to prevent rather than treat the problem. All parents of children at risk should consider using the preventive measures discussed in this study as well as those described elsewhere in this book.PreventionAsthmatic children don’t have to live in a ‘bubble’, but keeping allergens and irritants from them can become a natural process which will not only help conquer the illness but also provide other health benefits. Remember the most important factors:Avoid suspect foods.Eliminate perfumes, scents and tobacco smoke.Eliminate indoor sources of mould, fungi and house dust.Remove all carpets from the bedroom and the rest of the house, if possible.Use a peak flow monitor regularly. Often it is the only warning you will get that something is amiss.Keep animals out of the house.*38\145\2*
Synthetic chemicals are found throughout the environment, but especially in home janitorial supplies. To rid the house of unnecessary air pollutants, start by looking under the sink. One can usually find there an accumulation of chemical products of all kinds: paints, solvents, laundry and dishwashing detergents, waxes and polishes, insect sprays, turpentine, shoe polish, and so forth. Whatever is not absolutely necessary should be dispensed with. Essential items, such as detergents, should be transferred to glass bottles with tight-fitting caps. One should save bottles for such a purpose. All questionable items should be stored outside, in places such as a garage or storeroom.
The same rule applies, naturally, to any other area in which toxic products accumulate. Conduct a careful house search, cleaning out drawers, broom closets, hobby areas, and medicine chests. It is amazing how much dangerous junk piles up in a house over the years, silently polluting the environment. One should be careful, however, not to allow any of these items to spill as they are being disposed of, or this may precipitate an acute attack of symptoms in susceptible people.
The human nose is an extraordinary instrument. Ecology patients tend to be either acutely sensitive to smells, or, conversely, lacking in the sense of smell altogether (in advanced cases). If you have a good-to-excellent sense of smell, you can identify noxious smells in the house by going out for a brisk walk in an area with fairly clean air and then returning to your house to perform a quick “sniff” test. If something has an offensive odor, get rid of it. Do not wait a day, or even a minute, since the nose will quickly adapt to the ill-smelling item. After being exposed for a short while, one can no longer fully smell the offending odor. Many patients report a cleaner feeling in the air after they have rid their homes of these hidden pollutants.
Several engineers and otherwise qualified experts now make “house calls” to inspect the homes of patients for chemical contaminants. They bring not only their expertise, but exceptional ability in “sniffing out” danger spots for patients, based on their own chemical-susceptibility problems. (The organizations listed in Appendix C can provide names of such experts.)
Joseph Robinson was a businessman in his forties, whose position in his company was threatened by increasing ill health. He traced the onset of his sickness to a tonsillectomy. Soon after this operation, persistent nasal stuffiness and a postnasal drip developed, which did not respond to any medication.
A busy person, Robinson paid little attention to these symptoms. A few years later, he began to get headaches in the front of his forehead. These usually came on an hour or two after the evening meal and persisted for the evening. They were often accompanied by bouts of fatigue, “laziness,” and mental exhaustion, which kept him pinned to the living-room couch, unable to move.
At first these problems were restricted to the evening hours and were easily attributed to the difficulty and tension of Robinson’s job. Soon, however, the fatigue and mental exhaustion began to creep into his daytime hours as well. He would start to go home early, or rest his head on the desk when he was supposed to be working. His job was in jeopardy when he was first examined for ecologic illness.
A variety of the foods which he ate most commonly, including wheat, milk, eggs, coffee, citrus fruit, legumes, chocolates, various meats, and nuts were eliminated for a week or so. To his amazement, he felt much better, experiencing far less fatigue and no headaches. One by one, these foods were returned to his diet. All of them were tolerated with no return of symptoms except for beef and milk (which are closely related). On the third day of eating beef products, he developed a severe headache which lasted ten hours. He developed a headache half an hour after eating his fourth milk-containing meal. Chocolate also made him feel tired.
With the complete avoidance of beef, milk, and chocolate, all of his symptoms of fatigue, headache, and brain-fag disappeared. As a final test, one month later, he treated himself to a glass of milk. A sharp headache rapidly developed. After about six months, however, he regained tolerance for milk, beef, and their by-products. He was then able to reintroduce them into his diet, provided that he did not have any of them more often than once every four days. He had successfully solved the problem that was ruining his career. In fact, his position in the company improved, and he gained a promotion.
Kelly Johnson was a nine-year-old schoolgirl when she developed arthritis of the right ankle in the spring of 1970. This was followed by migration of the arthritis to both knees and ankles. Aspirin was the only treatment given until an operation (called a synovectomy) was performed on the right knee, in order to allow it to move more freely.
Four months later, the partially crippled child was hospitalized for food and chemical testing. Examination revealed swelling and limitation of motion in both knees, as well as a scar from the previous operation. Upon beginning the period of fasting, Kelly experienced nausea and headache as withdrawal effects. Progressive improvement occurred, however, so that after four days of fasting her joints were more mobile and less painful than they had been in many months.
Severe recurrences of arthritic pain, swelling, and other symptoms was associated with the ingestion of the following chemically less contaminated (organic) foods:
Rice: 2 hours, stomachache; 9 hours, itching
Chicken: 21/2 hours, pains in elbows and hands
Pork: 3 hours, stomachache; 14 hours, joint stiffness
Beef: 3 hours, chest pain and residual stiffness
Potato: 3 hours, right-shoulder pain
Wheat: 31/2 hours, itching
Corn: 5 hours, itching; 10 hours, swollen extremities
Milk: 91/2 hours, mild itching of skin only
Beet: 14 hours, swollen, stiff hands and feet
In contrast to some of the earlier cases, Kelly’s symptoms generally came on hours after the food ingestion test. Since another meal may have intervened between the ingestion of corn, milk, or beet and the development of symptoms, it was often necessary to repeat tests in order to make sure that a given food resulted in a given symptom. This is the kind of test which is extremely difficult to do outside a specialized hospital setting.
Other commonly eaten foods were all test-negative. Kelly went home in good condition and remained well on the diet we devised for her until the gas-fired furnace was turned on that fall. This was followed by a flare-up in her arthritis. She was therefore moved to an all-electric house. Since then, Kelly has remained symptom-free, adhering well to her dietary program. Other than some physiotherapy for pain in the operated knee, she needs no therapy— not even aspirin—at the present time.