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Candida Diets – Part 6

Candida Diets: Part VI: Probiotics

Candida diets and probiotics work well together. As we have discussed earlier, systemic fungal candida results from antibiotic exposure, and the word anti-biotic means “against life.” The use of probiotics works to counter the effect of antibiotics, as pro-biotic means “for life.” While many diets recommend the use of probiotics from the very beginning of a candida diet, science shows us that the timing of their use can play an important role in ensuring that probiotics have the best effect possible.

Probiotics are microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts, viruses, parasites, etc.) that help maintain the healthy balance of the microbial “flora” of the digestive tract. There are anywhere from 400-40,000 different species of bacteria and other organisms that make-up this microbial flora, and they outnumber our human cells 10 to 1. This microbial flora has been designated as important an organ as the liver in the human body. Scientists use terms like “essential,” “critical,” necessary,” “crucial,” and “vital” when describing the role that the digestive flora plays in our daily health.  Along with a healthy immune system and the cells lining the digestive tract, probiotics help to regulate many functions in the body. A complete loss of this vital flora, in as few as 5 days of antibiotic use, is the main reason that antibiotics are associated with causing cancers, obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma, life-threatening colitis, autoimmune diseases and a host of other diseases years later. Antibiotics have the ability to cause this beneficial flora to undergo a Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation, creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs that claim millions of lives each year around the planet. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that antibiotic-resistance is now one of the top three threats to human health on the planet, along with climate change, and food shortages.

Probiotics help to develop and regulate our immune system; control infectious microbes and diseases; digest, absorb, and synthesize nutrients; control pH; neutralize toxins; and reduce inflammation. Recent research has also shown that the beneficial bacteria found in probiotic formulations help to regulate organs such as the liver, and help to ensure that pregnancies go full term. Studies reveal the ability of probiotics to treat and reverse diseases. Science continues to discover more and more about the benefits of the bacteria and yeasts that make-up probiotic formulations.

In the early days of antibiotic use, it was a common practice for doctors to prescribe probiotics any time that they prescribed antibiotics. This was done to minimize the negative effects of antibiotics. Over the years, this practice faded away as medical doctors lost the understanding of the physiology of the body and began to focus solely on medication protocols.

Knowing when to supplement with probiotics on a candida diet can be as important as any other part of a successful approach to correcting fungal candida. Starting off a candida diet with the use of probiotics may be counter-productive. When antibiotics destroy the bacterial flora, the conversion of candida from its normal yeast state to its problematic fungal state takes place rapidly. With the fungal candida in place, and the re-population of the intestinal tract still many months away, candida takes over control of the intestinal tract. As bacteria begin to find their way back into the intestinal tract, candida regulates who grows back and who doesn’t. One of the most important probiotic species needed for health are the Lactobacilli bacteria. They produce acids that help regulate pH and the growth of candida. Fungal candida makes sure that this species doesn’t grow back. Without Lactobacilli bacteria, we lose production of B vitamins that are essential to all areas of health. This sets up a lifelong cycle of disease and imbalance within the body. Lactobacilli are the main species found in most probiotic formulas. As long as fungal candida is present, these important bacteria may not be able to have the effect that they otherwise would.

A second consideration in the timing of supplementing with probiotics relates to the immune system. Our immune system has two main aspects that exert the effects at various times. The first of these is the Th1 response. This is effective against viruses, fungi, parasites, and certain bacteria. The 2nd aspect is the Th2 response. This is effective against certain bacterial infections and is more commonly associated with allergies, asthma, etc. While this is a simplistic view of immune system responses, it effectively helps to communicate the importance of probiotic timing in candida diets. In fungal candida infections, candida is able to manipulate the immune system towards a Th2 dominance. This helps to ensure its own survival. Probiotics have a tendency to support whichever immune system response is dominant. In the case of fungal candida, this is going to be the Th2 dominance, and probiotics may actually end up helping candida’s cause. As with everything else, there will be some shifting back-and-forth between Th1 and Th2, but one side will usually be more active.

Given that fungal candida can limit regrowth of the very important Lactobacilli bacteria, and probiotics could end up helping fungal candida continue spreading throughout the body, correcting the fungal candida imbalance first before supplementing with probiotics will produce the best chance for success on a candida diet. This has been one of the key differences with the Candida Plan, as opposed to all other approaches available. Once you’ve re-established balance within the intestinal ecosystem, ongoing supplementation with probiotics will help to ensure greater health.

Take back your health. Live the life you create. Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.