Candida Diets – Part 2
Candida Diets, Part Two: Hydrogen Peroxide
Did you read Dr Jeff McComb’s recent blog post on choosing the right candida diet? Today, as promised, we’re bringing you part two of five in this informative series on reclaiming your health via dietary choices. Don’t forget to take a look at our blog on hydrogen peroxide, too.
Without further ado, here are Dr Jeff’s thoughts on the subject…
Once someone has had their fill of the polypharmacy approach that the medical system has slipped into, where there’s a pill for everything, including the side effects, they set out on a journey to reclaim their health. As with all conditions, including Candida, an educational relationship with Google begins. One of the treatment approaches that someone can encounter when searching about candida is the use of Hydrogen Peroxide (HP). Before looking at HP, let’s establish some minimal background on the human digestive/intestinal tract.
The human digestive tract
The human digestive tract has been called the densest ecosystem on the planet. As with all ecosystems, the greater the variety of the inhabitants of that system, the greater its health. The Human body is made up of 10 trillion cells, but the intestinal ecosystem contains over 100 trillion bacteria, not counting yeast, fungi, parasites, molds, viruses, etc. Estimates vary on the number of species that exists there, but range from 500 to over 40,000 different species. These inhabitants or micro-organisms, digest our food, build our immune system, synthesize essential vitamins, reduce toxins and radiation, regulate blood sugar and lipid levels, maintain a woman’s pregnancy, defend us against invaders, regulate how organs function, and a host of other functions that are being revealed in ongoing research daily. These friendly insiders have co-evolved with us over millions of years and more than likely are a major reason for man’s ability to adapt to his ever changing environment. They are, as scientists continually state, “essential” “vital” “necessary” “important” and “critical” to our health. Humans are being called a “super-organism” that relies on this interconnected web between them and us. In other words, we wouldn’t be here very long without them. It is for this reason that we must not use a “test tube” approach to treating candida. We must not treat it as though it were the only organism present. We must consider the body as a whole and seek to do no harm to this vital relationship of man and his internal ecosystem.
The main residents of this ecosystem are the bacteria, but each and every species plays a vital role. The intestinal tract is one long tube, approximately 25 + feet in length. In this tube, fermentation rules, as it is an anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) environment, as opposed to an aerobic (oxygen-rich) environment such as the skin or mouth. The largest majority of these bacteria (95-99%) can only live here in an anaerobic, oxygen-deprived environment. They are obligated to this low oxygen environment and are appropriately named, “Obligate Anaerobes.” A small minority of them, like Candida, are “Facultative Anaerobes” and have the faculty or ability, to live in either and oxygen-rich, or an oxygen-deprived” environment. This facultative ability is one of the many reasons that Candida can survive in almost any environment.
This brings us to the use of Hydrogen Peroxide in treating fungal candida issues. Although there is some evidence of Hydrogen Peroxide’s ability to kill bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and spores, its effectiveness is limited as an internal therapeutic approach against fungi, as it can do more harm than good.
Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) consists of two hydrogen atoms bound to two oxygen atoms. In essence, it has a structure similar to water, but with an extra oxygen atom. Hydrogen Peroxide is a strong oxidizing compound. Oxidizing agents can do a lot of damage to healthy human cells and tissues, leading to inflammation, degeneration, and cell death. Think of your body rusting from the inside-out.
A few sites recommend taking HP internally, which has several risks associated with it. If large amounts are swallowed, someone can develop hydrogen peroxide poisoning and experience abdominal pain, vomiting, stomach swelling, and burns of the tissues of the mouth and throat. Fortunately, most sites that recommend HP, only recommend consuming small quantities of 35% Food Grade HP at first and trying to work your way up. While topical application to the skin may be beneficial, internal use remains risky and reasons for this use are flawed for several reasons.
Candida itself produces HP. This shows us that Candida has an ability to handle and manage HP. In fact, Candida makes its own HP, because HP helps to promote the conversion of the normal yeast form of Candida to the harmful, problematic, fungal form of Candida, which is more resistant than the yeast form. This adaptive mechanism demonstrates how advanced Candida is. It uses its own ability to manufacture HP in order to survive in any environment with higher levels of HP. As Frank Sinatra used to say, “I bring my own crank” meaning that Candida makes sure that things go the way it wants it to.
Candida also produces enzymes which degrade HP into its basic components, water and oxygen. It does this through the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase, and other enzymes. Candida does this to survive the various internal environments found inside our white blood cells and other tissues of the body. When white blood cells consume micro-organisms like candida and bacteria, they release high amounts of HP, which can kill these micro-organisms. Candida has adapted to this process through the production of these enzymes.
There are two videos that show this very clearly. In video #1, you’ll see a white blood cell consume a bacterial cell and within a second or two, that cell disappears because of this oxidative burst of HP. In video #2, you’ll see a white blood cell consume candida, but nothing happens. It continues to accumulate candida cells, but can’t destroy them. Eventually, these yeast cell forms of candida will convert to their fungal form and rupture the white blood cell, killing it. This conversion can be seen in this video.
Keep in mind that inside the white blood cells, HP is contained in a small sac. When bacteria or another organism is ingested by white blood cells, the bacteria is surrounded by another sac. These two sacs join in such a way that the HP can only affect the bacteria and doesn’t escape inside the white blood cell. If it did, the HP would destroy the white blood cell, as well. Taking an internal dose of HP could do the same. Adding an external source of HP to the environment around white blood cells has been shown to decrease their function.
If HP was really effective against Candida, then the trillions of bacteria in the intestinal tract that produce HP would have resolved the Candida issue long ago.
The intestinal tract
Another consideration is that the introduction of oxygen products like HP into the intestinal tract would destroy the Obligate Anaerobic organisms present there. This is another reason why the use of HP is not recommended. Take the species of Bacteroides bacteria for example. They are Obligate Anaerobes that make up 30% of the bacteria found in the large intestine. They form an “integral component’ of the intestinal flora. They benefit the human body by “aiding in digestion of complex carbohydrates, in the biotransformation of bile acids, vitamin synthesis, and development of the immune system.” HP would destroy these bacteria and their beneficial functions.
By destroying these anaerobic bacteria, we would also lose the competitive inhibition against Candida and other pathogens that they provide the body with.
As you can see from the above, the effects of taking HP internally are similar to the effects produced by taking antibiotics, and this is definitely an undesirable result, especially in regard to Candida.
Its use should be for topical applications, although I have yet to see it be used effectively for fungal skin and oral thrush applications.
In the end, Hydrogen Peroxide is a poorly thought out choice for addressing systemic fungal candida problems. While it may account for some shifts in the intestinal flora that at first appear to be beneficial via a change in someone’s symptoms, it is undeniably ineffective when it comes to Candida and can be dangerous to the overall intestinal flora and health of the body.
Coming soon: Candida Diets: Part III: Bacillus subtilis
Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC is your Candida Expert.
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