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A Case of Candida Albicans

by June Butlin(more info)

listed in colon health, originally published in issue 44 - September 1999

Jan is a 38-year-old, junior school teacher, who lives with her husband and two children. For the past two years she has felt under par in all aspects of her physical and mental health. Physically she was tired all the time, and was predisposed to colds, infections, and pre-menstrual syndrome. She developed skin rashes and athlete's foot, became sensitive to perfumes, fabrics and chemicals, had cravings for carbohydrate and yeast foods, and started to put on weight. Mentally she suffered from poor concentration and memory, and felt anxious and depressed. Her doctor could not find any obvious explanation for her symptoms, except psychological causes, and prescribed Prozac, an antidepressant. Jan felt guilty for taking Prozac as she wanted to cope with her symptoms naturally. This stress set up a downhill cycle of ill health moving through depression, bingeing, weight increase, low self esteem to further depression and bingeing. Finally she stopped taking the Prozac and booked an appointment to see me.

Studying her questionnaire, diet diary and medical details it became clear that Jan was suffering classic symptoms of Candida albicans, a yeast infection. Jan was amazed, and tearfully relieved to find an organic cause for her ill health, and wanted to find out more.

I explained that Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus, which colonises our bodies at birth, or soon afterwards. When kept in check it is commensal, meaning that it neither harms nor benefits the human body. It is capable of surviving harmoniously in the crevices of the digestive tract by its ability to secrete protein-digesting enzymes, which the fungus uses as sources of energy. It is dimorphic in nature in that it can exist in two states. Which state it chooses will depend on the inner environment in the body, particularly the bacteria in the gut. If enough numbers of the bifidobacteria are present they will help to maintain an acid pH in the large intestine which will prevent an overgrowth of Candida albicans and will protect the mucosal walls of the gut.

Under most conditions Candida albicans grows as budding yeast, almost identical to bakers' yeast, and will settle in the intestinal tract. However, if the bacteria and pH are out of balance, the Candida will multiply and transform into an invasive fungal form. It does this by producing mycelia, root like filaments, which penetrate the lining of the digestive tract to gain access to the blood stream.

Once in the blood stream it can create problems in the body's organs – the liver, kidneys, heart, spleen, lungs and brain. It can also cause leaky gut syndrome and allergies, urinary tract and skin infections, hormonal disturbances, and aches and pains in the joints and muscles. Candida is able to release up to 79 toxins into the system, one of which is called acetaldehyde which reacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine and may cause mental and emotional disturbances such as depression, anxiety, spaced out feelings and lack of concentration. Jan could relate to all these feelings and wanted to know what had caused the Candida to manifest in her body.

There are many predisposing factors to Candida including a highly processed and sugar diet, stress, a low functioning immune system, hormonal imbalances and antibiotics which suppress the bacteria that prevent yeast overgrowth. In Jan's case we traced the cause to frequent antibiotic use and a nutrient-deficient diet which had depleted her immune system and allowed Candida albicans to change to a mycelial form.

Having understood the diagnosis, Jan was willing to take any recommendations that would lead to her goal of feeling optimally healthy, and to combat her bingeing and weight problem.

There were five stages to the healing process, all requiring self-discipline and lifestyle changes.

The first stage for Jan was to follow a good quality, wholefood diet, eliminating the foods that Candida albicans thrives on, which are those containing sugar, yeast, mould and antibiotics. Dairy was avoided because of its mucus fraction and high lactose content, which encourages Candida to grow, and its implication as the major allergen in poor skin conditions. We also reduced wheat products to increase the variety of grains, and thus nutrients into the diet, and added dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, garlic, ginger and onions to aid the immune system.

The second stage was to build up the immune system to reduce the unpleasant Herxheimer reaction or die-off effect of the Candida and toxins. Jan took aloe vera and echinacea, which both act as antioxidants and anti-fungals, and a supplement of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to give support to the immune system and skin.

The third stage was to take cleansing herbs and a powerful anti-fungal agent, undecenoic acid from castor bean oil. This supplement is easily absorbed and circulates throughout the body to kill the Candida and also promotes a healthy environment for the beneficial bacteria to thrive in the small and large intestines.

The fourth stage was to re-inoculate the bowel with the beneficial bacteria through a probiotic called Bio-acidophilus.

The fifth and final stage was to heal the leaky gut wall with butyric acid.

Menu plans and support were given at each of the stages, so that Jan knew what to expect, and thus was able to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of the treatment. Exercise and relaxation techniques were followed throughout the programme.

This process took four months, at which time Jan felt healthy and energetic, was able to think clearly, and felt emotionally stable. Her hormone, immune and digestive systems improved and the athlete's foot and skin rashes disappeared.

Jan lost her cravings for carbohydrates except in times of stress and lost 4kg in weight. She is determined to lose another 6kg and is happy to continue her regime to prevent the symptoms of Candida re-occurring and to maintain her excellent health.

In John Harrison's words this may be another case of "Loving your disease – It's keeping you healthy".


Lamberts Healthcare Bulletin.
Biological Sciences Review Volume 7 Number 3 January 1995.
Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine Michael Murray ND and Joseph Pizzorno ND Prima Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-7615-1157.
Candida albicans Yeast and your Health Gill Jacobs 1991 The Guernsey Press Co Ltd ISBN 0-356-18685-7.
Love Your Disease It's Keeping You Healthy Dr. John Harrison Angus and Robertson Publishers 1986 ISBN 0-207-153205.


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About June Butlin

June M Butlin PhD is a trained teacher, nutritionist, kinesiologist, aromatherapist, fitness trainer and sports therapist. She is a writer, health researcher and lecturer and is committed to helping people achieve their optimum level of health and runs a private practice in Wiltshire. June can be contacted on 01225 869 284;

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