Fibromyalgia and Yeast Over Growth

Fibromyalgia and Yeast Over Growth An overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of the usually benign yeast or fungus Candida Albicans is now becoming recognized as a complex medical syndrome called chronic Candidiasis or the yeast overgrowth syndrome. Specifically the overgrowth of Candida is believed to cause a wide variety of symptoms in virtually every system of the body with the gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems being the most susceptible. Could the some of the diffuse symptoms of fibromyalgia be in part due to yeast over growth?

Defined Candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus that can be found living in the intestinal tracts of most individuals. Yeasts cohabitate along with over 400 hundred healthy bacteria in a cohesive symbiotic relationship. The healthy bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract help with digestion and absorption of certain nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Normally, yeasts are kept in check by the good bacteria.

However, over use of certain medications, including antibiotics, birth control pills, and corticosteroids can kill the good as well as the bad bacteria. Chronic or overwhelming stress, a strong component of fibromyalgia, also contributes to yeast over growth.

Causes Prolonged antibiotic use is believed to be the most important factor in the development of chronic Candidiasis. Antibiotics suppress the immune system and the normal intestinal bacteria that prevent yeast overgrowth. There is little argument that when used appropriately antibiotics save lives. However, there is also little argument that antibiotics are seriously overused.

Long-term use of cortisone also contributes to yeast overgrowth. As the good bacteria population shrinks, the yeast, left unchecked begins to grow. A minor increase in intestinal yeast is usually not a problem. The body’s immune defenses are strong enough to keep the yeast from over growing the intestinal tract. Mild proliferation of yeast may result in this sugar-fermenting organism infecting the mouth (thrush) or vaginal lining (vaginitis).

However, if left unchallenged and yeast over growth occurs, other more sinister symptoms may appear. You see, yeast can change into an invasive mycellial fungus with rhizoids (tentacle- like projections) that penetrate the lining of the intestinal tract. These projections can cause intestinal permeability and leak toxins across the cellular membranes. Penetration by these rhizoids and the resultant intestinal permeability, cause the disruption in the absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids. This in turn causes further nutritional deficiencies. A vicious cycle has now begun.

Deficient nutrients, so common in those with fibromyalgia, leads to reduced immunity and further weakening of the body’s defense system. Fatigue, allergies, decreased immunity, chemical sensitivities, depression, and poor memory, along with the obvious digestive complaints are some of the symptoms associated with this illness.

Like most opportunistic infections, Candida and other yeast organisms may increase their numbers and affect during times of stress. The yeast over growth can leak toxins into the bloodstream or other tissues. This allows antigens (foreign invaders) to travel to and set up residence in various bodily tissues. Antigens then trigger immune complex allergic reactions. This may explain why most individuals with have chronic yeast overgrowth develop food, inhalant and environmental allergies. Again a common complaint for those with fibromyalgia.

Allergic reactions and the inflammation they create can manifest in a variety of typical symptoms associated with fibromyalgia; fatigue, brain fog, depression, joint or muscle pain, digestive disorders, headaches, rashes, and breathing problems.

Signs and Symptoms Candidiasis commonly infects the ears, nose, and urinary and intestinal tract. The symptoms may include constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel, abdominal pains, bloating, gas, indigestion, rashes, bladder spasms or infections, ear and sinus infections. Yeast overgrowth is similar to allergies in that symptoms can be wide and varied. This is the curse of yeast overgrowth. Most doctors are skeptical as they are about other illnesses, like FMS/CFS, that have so many symptoms associated with them. *It’s not uncommon for yeast overgrowth to cause or contribute to such varied and complex conditions as depression, asthma, fatigue, mental confusion, weakened immunity, allergies, chemical sensitivities, hyperactivity, chronic ear and sinus infections, and adrenal fatigue.

Treatment Yeast overgrowth requires a comprehensive multi-dimensional approach. needed. Used alone, prescription drugs like Nystatin, Nizoral (Ketoconazol) and Diflucan, as well as various natural anti-yeast supplements rarely produce significant long-term results.

1. An important first step in treating chronic Candidiasis is improved digestion. Gastric hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes help to keep Candida from overgrowing in the small intestine. Patients should use pancreatic enzymes 1-2 with each meal on a daily basis. (yeast can’t live in an acidic environment).

2. Probiotics including lactobacillus and bifidobacter should be replaced. These are the good bacteria that help keep yeast and unwanted bacteria from overpopulating the intestinal tract. Probiotics should be taken for 2-3 months.

3. The prescription medications typically used are Nizoral, Nystatin and Diflucan. Nystatin is the safest of the three and should be used when there is a choice between the three. Chronic yeast overgrowth can be a major health problem. Those who have been battling yeast overgrowth must way the benefits of taking or not taking prescription medications. Some individuals are so infected with yeast that treating with anything other than prescription medications is futile. 4. Natural herbal medications should be used in combination (or alone) with prescription medications. Some of the most common herbal anti-fungal supplements are listed below: a. Caprylic acid – is a natural occurring fatty acid that has been shown to be a potent anti- fungal medicine. Caprylic acid should be taken as an enteric-coated timed-release capsule. The usual dosage is 500-1,000mg 3 times a day with food. b. Berberine or Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) – has a wide range of antimicrobial properties. It is a proven herbal medicine that can be used successfully to treat fungal, bacterial and parasitic infections. Dosage is standardized extract is 4:1 at 250-500mg. 3 times a day with food. c. Garlic – has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for Candida albicans and other yeast. It has shown to be more potent than Nystatin for Candida albicans. Dosage – standardized garlic (1.3% alliin) 600-900mg 2-3 times day taken with food. d. Golden seal (Hydrastis Canadensis) – is another Berberine containing plant. It should be take as a standardized 4:1 extract at 250-500mg. 3 times a day on an empty stomach. e. Citrus seed extract – is a broad spectrum antimicrobial. It has been used natural oriented physicians and herbalist to successfully treat parasites, yeast and bacterial. Dosage is100-200mg twice a day after meals.

Patients who elect to take an over the counter anti-fungal medications without taking a prescription medication should use Caprylic Acid, Berberine, Golden seal, Garlic, Citrus seed extract or one of our combination formulas for the next 3 months. Difficult cases of yeast overgrowth will require even longer treatment, 6 months or more.

Diet A number of dietary factors appear to promote the overgrowth of Candida. Sugar – Sugar is the chief nutrient for Candida Albicans. It is well accepted that restriction of sugar intake is an absolute necessity in the treatment of chronic Candidiasis. Most people will do well by simply avoiding refined sugar; honey, maple syrup and fruit juice, and other simple (sugary) carbohydrates including milk, white potatoes, corn, processed or bleached, enriched wheat products, flour, bakery goods, muffins, cereals and anything containing sugar. Ice cream, cake, cookies, and all sweets should be avoided for a period of 3 months.

Fruits All fruits should also be avoided along with fruit juice for the first two weeks. After two weeks you can challenge fruit by introducing apples and pears to see if you have any reactions. Reactions may be fatigue, depression, aches and pain, rectal itching, itching of the ears rectum, or nose, and digestive disturbances. Alcohol should be avoided as should any and all malted milk drinks or malted products. If there are no symptoms from reintroducing apples and pears, then try challenging berries; strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. If you don’t have any reactions then berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are permitted in moderate amounts.

Mold and Yeast Containing Foods It is generally recommended that you avoid yeast or mold foods including peanuts, alcoholic beverages, dried fruits, vinegar and other foods that may have high vinegar or yeast content. Every person is different. Alcohol is a sugar and should be avoided! Some are able to be more liberal with their diet and you can investigate this by trying dairy products and seeing if you have any problems. Most people do not have problems with dairy products with the exception of milk. Milk should be avoided (milk is a simple carbohydrate). Some patients with have trouble with vinegar and other yeast containing or moldy type foods including dried fruits and peanuts. Those probably should be avoided, especially dried fruits. For the next two weeks you should avoid all the foods above as well as fruits or fruit juice. After two weeks you can challenge with apples and pears. If you have no problems, then you can add that back into your diet along with berries. No other fruits should be used.

Some individuals will have problems with the following and it is best if the foods listed below are avoided for at least 2-3 months. Vinegar and vinegar containing foods such as pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, relishes, green olives and salad dressings all contain yeast and should not be used. Malt products contain yeast as does catsup, mayonnaise, pickles, condiments and most salad dressings. The citrus fruit juices either frozen or canned usually contain yeast and only home squeezed fruit juices are yeast free. All dried fruits such as prunes, raisins and dates contain yeast, as well as all antibiotics. Important:

Yeast is the basis for most vitamin and mineral preparations. Nearly all vitamin preparations purchased at a drug store are contaminated with yeast. Look for products that say, -contain no yeast- or yeast free-. Unfortunately even some of these vitamins contain yeast; they may not have added yeast but the B vitamins are derived from yeast fermenting processes. The diet should be adhered to as strictly as possible for a minimum of six weeks with 3 months being ideal. Removing yeast-feeding foods (simple carbohydrates and mold contaminated foods) is a must if you want to get rid of yeast overgrowth. There is no shortcut to getting yeast overgrowth under control. Proper diet, yeast medications and probiotics must be used together as outlined above.

About Dr. Murphree

Dr. Murphree is a board certified nutritional specialist and chiropractic physician who has been in private practice since 1990. He is the founder and past clinic director for a large integrated medical practice located on the campus of Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham Alabama. The clinic was staffed with medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and massage therapists. The clinic combined prescription and natural medicines for acute and chronic illnesses. He is the author of 5 books for patients and doctors, including “Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” “Heart Disease What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You,- and “Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression with Orthomolecular Medicine.”

In 2002 Dr. Murphree sold his medical practice and now maintains a busy solo practice specializing in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, mood disorders, and other chronic illnesses. He can be reached toll free 1-888-884-9577 or at 205-879-2383 His website is at www.treatingandbeating.com For more on fibromyalgia-