Blake Graham is a clinical nutritionist specializing in nutritional and environmental treatments for patients with CFS, FM, and other chronic conditions. He is an associate of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine in Perth, Western Australia (AACNEM) and Committee Member of ME/CFS Australia (WA). This article is reproduced with permission from his Nutritional Healing Newsletter at http://www.Nutritional-Healing.com.au
A small amount of yeast micro-organisms are normal inhabitants of our intestinal eco system. Disturbance of intestinal microbiology and immune function, which are closely linked, predisposes to excessive levels of intestinal yeast. Antibiotics are the most common cause of yeast overgrowth, although any factor which impairs gastrointestinal and immune integrity can potentially precipitate a yeast issue.
In excessive levels yeast unfortunately can cause or exacerbate a large array of health problems. Dr. William Shaw* has documented the mechanism of yeasts’ toxicity as being related to their metabolic by-products. Yeast metabolites such as tartaric acid impair various aspects of our normal biochemistry.
What are possible signs and symptoms of yeast?
n Have you had genital thrush in the past 6 months?
n Have you had oral thrush in the past 3 months?
n Do you have a white coating on your tongue or inner cheeks?
n Have you had vaginal itching, vaginal discharge or prostatitis in the past 3 months?
n Have you taken prolonged or repeated courses of antibiotics? And...Have you ever noticed a decline in your health following antibiotics? Or...Appearance or exacerbation of allergic symptom(s) (e.g. hives, asthma, etc.) or thrush following the use of antibiotics?
n Have you had fungus infections of the skin (e.g. athlete's foot) or nails in the past 3 months?
n Redness and swelling of the skin between the fingernails and the first knuckle?
n Inflammation of the margin of the eye lids?
n Do you get mouth sores frequently?
n Do you have chronic dandruff?
n ‘Yeasty’ odor to body?
n Sugar/carbohydrate cravings?
n Does eating refined sugar make you feel unwell?
n Do you have a sensitivity to certain dietary yeasts/molds (e.g., vinegar, mushrooms, fermented foods, brewers yeast, bakers yeast, aged cheeses, vegemite, beer, etc.)?
n An increasing fondness for yeasty foods (e.g. vinegar, fermented foods, brewers yeast, bakers yeast, aged cheeses, vegemite, beer, etc.)?
n Chemical sensitivities (e.g., car exhaust, cigarette smoked, etc.)?
n Do you have food sensitivities which you did not have previously?
n Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, nausea or abdominal pain?
n Red ring immediately around the anus or rectal itch?
n Are you bothered by attention, memory or concentration problems?
n Do you sometimes feel ‘spaced out’ or foggy headed?
n Silliness or silly inappropriate (drunken) laughter?
n Have you taken prolonged courses of steroids (e.g., prednisone) orally, by injection or inhalation?
Which medical conditions are commonly associated with yeast?
n Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) / ADD / ADHD
n Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) / Fibromyalgia
n Dermatological conditions (e.g., eczema, psoriasis, hives)
n Food allergies/chemical sensitivities
n Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
n Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
n Multiple sclerosis
n Psychiatric illness
n Rett's & Tourette's syndrome
1. Anti-fungals (medications, herbs, foods, etc.)
2. Dietary changes
3. Address predisposing factors.
Lab tests are notoriously unreliable in determining the presence of yeast. A variety of lab tests exist for yeast including urine, blood, stool and saliva tests. A urine organic acid test is the ideal test, although is still not infallible and is very expensive. It measures yeast metabolic acids in the urine. Elevated levels indicate likely yeast infection.
Yeast expert Dr. Sidney M. Baker, MD,** writes that:
n The gold standard for yeast diagnosis is sequential 20-day diagnostic trials of effective anti-fungals, irrespective of stool or other test results.
n No one antifungal treatment works for every individual due to strain resistance.
n Different anti-yeast treatments, two or more, should be used.
n A die-off reaction and/or a symptom improvement indicated the likely involvement of yeast.
Articles on Yeast
"What is the 'Yeast Problem?'" by Dr. Sidney M. Baker, MD. [This article also includes an interesting explanation of how “yeasts damage the body’s defenses.”]
"Yeast Overgrowth" by Dr. William Shaw. [Outlines, for example how tartaric acid produced by yeast may interfere with the Krebs Cycle of energy generation in our cells, and his observation that supplemental malic acid appears to benefit a large percentage of Fibromyalgia patients with elevated “tartaric acid and/or other yeast byproducts” in the urine.]
* Dr. William Shaw’s Kansas-based Great Plains Laboratory specializes in testing services such as those for “urinary metabolites of microorganisms.”
** Sidney M. Baker, MD, is "a practicing physician with an interest in nutritional, biochemical and environmental aspects of chronic illness in adults and children." He is associate editor of the journal Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal.
Note: This material has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is for general information purposes and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.