by Michael Biamonte, C.C.N.
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 doctor’s 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. Don’t go by symptoms alone!
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 patient’s 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 patient’s 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.
A new test that shows great promise, as it has none of the previously mentioned drawbacks, is the Candisphere Enzyme Immuno Assay. (NOTE, SINCE THE TIME OF THIS WRITING IN 1990, THE CANDISPHERE TEST HAS BEEN REPLACED BY MORE ADVANCED TESTING. PLEASE SEE THE PAGES ABOUT OUR TREATMENT) 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 body’s 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.
- 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
Michael Biamonte holds a Doctorate of Nutripathy, and is a New York State certified Clinical Nutritionist. He is a professional member of the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists,The American College of Nutrition and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. He is listed in “The Directory of Distinguished Americans” for his research in Nutrition and Physiology.