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Detection of Candida Albicans by Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.

Celiac.com 05/31/2006 - Most patients, upon reporting their fear to their doctor that they may have chronic candida infection throughout the intestinal tract, are met with a sneer, a frown, and a chuckle. Most physicians scoff when the large bowel is mentioned as an infected site. However, the Merk Manual, commonly found and held in esteem in any doctors office says that Candida is "Usually transmitted sexually, the infection can also spread from the intestine. The increased incidence is partially due to indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and a large number of women taking contraceptive pills." It also includes corticosteroids (Cortisone) as a possible predisposing factor.(1) Further, a paper printed in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" in 1977 stated: "Vaginal Candidiasis does not occur naturally without infection of C. Albicans within the large bowel and that a cure is not likely as long as the vagina remains the only treatment target."(2) To make matters even more interesting, other inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract can cause a disruption of the ecology of the large bowel, allowing an overgrowth of C. Albicans.

These pathogens also produce gastrointestinal distress and allergic reactions similar to Candida. These microbes or pathogens can lead to an incorrect diagnosis of Candida Albicans, if the doctor is using questionnaires or considering symptoms alone! A partial listing of pathogens would include Aeromas and Plasiomonas, Campylobacter je juni, Citrobacter species, Clostridium difficile, Enterobacter species, Mucoid E. coli and Hemolytic E. Coli, Klebsiella, Pseudomonas and Yersinia Enterocolitica.(3) All can produce similar symptoms to that of a patient with true over-colonization of Candida Albicans. So while the research states Candida can occur both vaginally and in the large bowel, then allowing the broad-spectrum of symptoms we hear about to occur, it also needs to be clarified when another possible microbe is causing the Candida-like symptom.

You, the reader, must be careful in allowing yourself and your doctor to begin a Candida regimen before it is documented that you have C. Albicans and not some other pathogen. Any disturbance in your intestinal flora can allow the above mentioned pathogens to begin their dirty work. C. Albicans is not the only opportunist who is waiting for you to use broad spectrum antibiotics. Dont go by symptoms alone!

Diagnostic Tools

Unfortunately, most tests being used by well-meaning practitioners have drawbacks and require more interpretation than might be currently realized. Stool cultures and rectal mucus swabs have been found of no diagnostic value.(4) That is a rather strong statement bound to offend many people. However, consider these facts. "C. Albicans organisms do not distribute homogeneously throughout the G.I. tract, rather they are found on plaques in the mucosal surfaces and streak scattered throughout the fecal material."(4) In application, this datum means consistent contact with the over-colonization of C. Albicans by fecal matter is not guaranteed due to the nature of growth of C. Albicans. It does not evenly spread itself throughout the bowel. This makes it a matter of chance whether the fecal matter or rectal swab will contact an area which contains C. Albicans. It is true that C. Albicans inhabits the mucosal surface, but in plaques. It is a matter of judgement by the practitioner !
whether the fecal or rectal swab reading is indicative of over-colonization, since everyone does have some Candida Albicans in their bowel. Good practitioners knowing this will want several consecutive negative readings before pronouncing the patient clear of Candida. Also, the amount that qualifies as a true overgrowth in the stool can be a controversy. The true value of a stool culture is in determining the amounts of friendly bacteria relative to unfriendly bacteria, and to discover the presence of harmful bacteria which can weaken the friendly flora, allowing yeast to grow and live.

The practitioner who takes into account response to therapy, other biochemical tests which would reveal immune response and mineral absorption in addition to the stool or rectal swab stands a better chance of understanding the patients status. A popular test for detection of antibodies against Candida also has drawbacks. First, a decrease in the antibodies may not mean the patient is doing better, it could mean a decreased immune response. Other biochemical tests are needed to interpret this. An increase in the antibodies may indicate an increase in immune response and not a worsening of the patients health. Many times these antibodies will increase when immune status indicators improve, showing an increase in immune response. So this test also needs to be carefully interpreted.

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A new test that shows great promise, as it has none of the previously mentioned drawbacks, is the Candisphere Enzyme Immuno Assay. The main difference between this test and other blood studies for C. Albicans is that it is not influenced by the "external" antigens of C. Albicans that are harmless, produced constantly by small "normal" colonies of C. Albicans. Only large numbers of colonies producing a hidden cytoplasmic antigen are reported. This hidden antigen must make its presence known to the bodys immune defenses in order to produce many of the typical symptoms. An overgrowth cannot be missed as with stool or mucus swabs. A blind control treatment study for the FDA revealed a 92% correlation between therapeutic response and test response. The test is now available in the New York City area. I hope this data can be used to clear up some of the confusion both holistic and orthodox practitioners have on this subject.

Michael Biamonte holds a Doctorate of Nutripathy, a Degree in Natural Healing, and a Masters in Clinical Nutrition. He is affiliated with the International Academy of Clinical Nutritionists and the International Academy of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine. He is listed in "The Directory of Distinguished Americans" for his research in Nutrition and Physiology.

For more info also see: Does Candida Albicans Trigger the Onset of Celiac Disease?

References:

  • The Merk Manual, 14th Edition, pages 1625-1626.
  • Miles Mr, Olsen L. Roger A. Recurrent Vaginal Candidiasis, JAMA 238, Pages 1836-1837; 1977.
  • Great Smokies Lab Medical Lab Parasite/Pathogen Primer.
  • Progress in diagnosing. Candida related complex. David Bauman, Ph.D.

For an appointment, contact our office at:

Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.
139 Fulton St.
Suite 507
New York, NY 10038
(212) 587-2330

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2 Responses:

 
Diane Crowley
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said this on
09 Mar 2012 9:33:25 AM PDT
very interesting as I believe I have a candida overgrowth problem, also gluten intolerance or celiac. Testing shows negative for celiac. Probiotics are the only thing controlling the candida at present. No help from my GI Dr. Great article. Thanks!

 
quentin
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said this on
17 Mar 2015 2:19:21 AM PDT
I firmly believe that most depression is caused by saccharides (sugar and all fruit) and starches (potatoes and rice). I have celiac but also intestinal fungal overgrowth. I know this because every time I completely cut carbs I suffer die-off symptoms. So I eat grilled fish, chicken and pork, and steamed raw vegetables and that's it. Works for me.




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Hi Steph and welcome I'm yet another Brit, funny how the alcohol threads flush us out I don't drink now but after a big night I used to get truly savage all day hangovers, much worse than those of my friends. They could include splitting headaches, vomiting, nausea, a 'fuzziness' in my head, sweats etc. After I put the pieces together and went gluten free I had a 'big night' on cider only and the next day was a revelation. What I'd thought was a 'normal' hangover was, for me at least, anything but. With gluten out of the equation hangovers were a breeze! The difference was mind blowing and just one more example of how gluten had been messing with me over the years. So when I read your post my first thought was that there was some trace gluten contamination going on. However: Obviously you've been at the diet for some considerable time now and know the score. I know Coeliac UK are firmly of the opinion that all spirits are safe but some (note some this a contentious one :D) members here will tell you they react to gluten based grain spirits for instance which distillation should render safe. Then there's the dangers of shared lines if you're drinking say Strongbow in a pub as alluded to above. Lastly it its wine, there's the often cited but maybe apocryphal these days 'flour to seal the casks' possibility. Finally there's bar snacks, maybe a brand of nuts etc that you snack on that may have changed their production process? I'm sure you've thought of these already, but it may be useful if you post your alcoholic drink choices / bar snack of choice up here maybe someone will have some input?. The second thing which leapt out was: Would you class yourself as super sensitive to cross contamination etc? Firstly that would make the cross contamination theory more compelling. You could test that out by having a drink at home under controlled circumstances to see whether the same issue arises? That could also answer the quantity question. Does one safe drink trigger it, two, three etc? Finally, and this is one that I find difficult, knowing you have the gluten issue may lead you to assume it's that when it could be something else. I tend to attribute EVERYTHING in the world to gluten these days due to it being able to affect me in so many different ways. Crisis in Korea? Gluten. Russian tanks massing on the Ukrainian border? Check their wheat intake. Global warming? etc. So it may make sense to pursue some other ideas at the same time. Try: http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/suddenly-drinking-alcohol-makes-me-sick http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/very-abnormal-hangovers-thinking-it-could-be-allergy-to-alcohol Cheers Sorry, best of luck! Matt

Similarly, I've been vegetarian for 25+ years. A 2015 Nature study connecting emulsifiers with microbiome changes has me wondering about the processed foods that I ate in the past, and I wonder about the wisdom of eating as much seitan as I did. I mostly prefer my post-diagnosis diet since it forces me to consider every ingredient and to cook from scratch more.

LOL, that might put it into perspective if I explain it that way.

I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue. I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years. Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got. Feed dust everywhere. Total mess. Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems. Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough. His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free. I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two). At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!) But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure. And doctors state side that are worth seeing? Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?

Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease. They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD. You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal". Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today. Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free. It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac. I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis. I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows? Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South. I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not. I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!