Yeast and Gastrointestinal Inflammation

I have been treating problems related to allergies and mold sensitivity for over 30 years.

About 25 years ago, I helped write an article on antibody responses to Candida albicans yeast in individuals with inflammation from yeast in the gastrointestinal tract. In that article we showed that individuals with the highest antibody response (suggesting the most inflammation) had the most dramatic responses to treatment with Nystatin, an antifungal that is not absorbed out of the gastrointestinal tract. This concept was not widely accepted at that time and we could not get the study accepted in the scientific journals of that time. We published the article in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, which was sponsored by the American College of Advancement in Medicine. The article was reviewed but was not listed in Pubmed. I have a copy of the article available if anyone wants to read it. You can drop me a note at [email protected] and request “Candida article” and I will forward it to you.

It is interesting to note that more recent studies shows that a high level of Candida colonization occurs with diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI)l tract such as gastritis and colitis. It is thought that the GI tract is an important source of Candida as this organism does not have a significant environmental reservoir. Candida is almost always found associated with mammals such as humans in the GI tract (1). The Kumamoto article shows that yeast colonization in the GI tract is both caused by chronic mucosal inflammation and is a source of inflammation in the GI tract. The article concludes that high-level Candida colonization is frequently observed in ulcer and Irritable bowel diseases. The study also showed that in a mouse model of bowel inflammation that it was difficult to colonized the GI tract with Candida until a course of antibiotic was given(1). A study looking at the effects of Candida albicans in both humans and animal studies suggests that probiotic and even antifungal therapy should be considered in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (2).

In regard to Candida albicans colonization and inflammation in the GI tract, my approach is to use probiotics and nutrients that interfere with yeast metabolism like caprylic acid and garlic. caprylic acid has been shown to inhibit yeast growth (3). We can also use immunotherapy (allergy testing) and oral drops as described in the August 10, 2012 section of this blog.

Finally, if antifungal therapy is going to be considered, it seems logical to start with Nystatin an antifungal that is not absorbed out of GI tract. This is the approach that I used in the article about Candida albicans in 1988.

1. Kumamoto CA. Inflammation and gastrointestinal Candida colonization. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011;14(4):386-91. PMCID: 3163673.
2. Zwolinska-Wcislo M, Brzozowski T, Budak A, Kwiecien S, Sliwowski Z, Drozdowicz D, et al. Effect of Candida colonization on human ulcerative colitis and the healing of inflammatory changes of the colon in the experimental model of colitis ulcerosa. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009;60(1):107-18.
3. Takahashi M, Inoue S, Hayama K, Ninomiya K, Abe S. [Inhibition of Candida mycelia growth by a medium chain fatty acids, capric acid in vitoro and its therapeutic efficacy in murine oral candidiasis]. Med Mycol J. 2012;53(4):255-61.