Yeast and Other Forms of Dysbiosis (Candida)
Dysbiosis is an overgrowth of improper microorganisms. Perhaps the best known form of dysbiosis is Candidiasis, which William Crook, MD, made famous in his book, The Yeast Connection (Vin Books, 1986). An overgrowth of yeast, which produces toxins and undermines the health of the gastrointestinal (GI) system and the immune system, is a form of dysbiosis.
Normally you have between 4 and 7 pounds of bacteria in your colon. Normal and well‐ balanced bacteria have many beneficial functions.
Beneficial bacteria do the following:
- Produce vitamins like folic acid and B12.
- Nourish the lining of the colon by feeding on vegetable fiber and producing butyric acid.Adequate butyric acid levels, reduce the chances of colon cancer.
- Inhibit harmful bacteria.
- Break down toxins.Other bacteria and yeast normally exist, but in smaller numbers. Think of the GI tract as an ecosystem, with a balance between beneficial and not‐so‐beneficial microorganisms. When the ecosystem is out of balance as it is with Candidiasis, your health can be adversely affected.
Harmful microorganisms do the following:
- Inhibit normal bacteria, creating deficiencies of nutrients and other problems.
- Produce toxins. Harmful bacteria create toxins and inhibit normal bacteria from detoxifyingthe bowel. Toxins can burden the liver and affect every function in the body.
- Hydrogenate polyunsaturated fatty acids (read about the damage done by hydrogenated oilsin the section on basic diet).
- Irritate the lining of the intestine, increasing intestinal permeability (leaky gut).Allergies, chemical sensitivities, fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression, digestive problems, skin problems, headaches, joint pain, and virtually any chronic health problem can be caused by dysbiosis. These health problems are the result of nutrient deficiencies, toxicity, GI irritation, and challenges to the immune system brought about by dysbiosis.
Dysbiosis can be caused by improper eating, exposure to toxins like chemicals and heavy metals, drug therapy, poor enzyme production, nutrient deficiency or poor immune function. Treating dysbiosis is important, but you also have to address the underlying cause.
How to Determine the Presence of Dysbiosis
Diagnosis of dysbiosis can be aided by a stool analysis. By analyzing a stool sample for enzymes, various chemical components and bacterial balance, you can have an idea of how well the GI system is functioning and whether or not dysbiosis is present. It is by no means a perfect test. Parasitic infestations are often missed (about 20% of the time), only bacteria that can live in the open air (around 10% of your normal bowel flora) are found and many of the indicators of enzyme function and nutrient absorption are approximations. Still, it can be a useful test.
Testing for yeast and parasites without testing the other components of digestion is much cheaper. Knowing the offending organism is often enough information to treat the problem.
The presence of dysbiosis can also be determined with a health history and general examination. Previous eating habits, drug therapies, and chemical exposures can indicate dysbiosis. Questions about digestion are particularly helpful. Many times successful therapy can be developed without the use of a stool test. Testing may be useful if the desired results are not obtained or if you suspect a specific parasite as the cause of your problem. Your Practitioner will work with you to determine the best approach to finding and treating your problem.