Yeast and Auto-Immune Illnesses
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This page is based on Dr. Bruce Semon’s clinical experience and research. This page gives general explanations about how yeast can cause so-called autoimmune illnesses and chronic disease. For detailed explanations, including an extensive chapter on how the immune system is supposed to work–and how yeast prevent it from working correctly–we recommend that you read An Extraordinary Power to Heal. We also have many specific pages about specific medical conditions that you may also want to visit, including Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis., and Skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Crohn’s Disease; Fibromyalgia; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Lupus; Multiple Sclerosis, Numbness in the hands; Rheumatoid Arthritis; and Ulcerative colitis: what do these have in common? They all respond to dietary intervention and anti-yeast treatment.
Dr. Semon is available to see patients and for consultation. For more information about his medical practice, call 1-877-332-7899, or click here.
Why might chronic diseases ranging from psoriasis to ulcerative colitis to arthritis respond to dietary intervention and anti-yeast treatment? These diseases are all marked by the body appearing to attack itself. They are called “auto-immune” diseases.
I have always considered the idea of the body attacking itself as a strange idea. Why should the body do that? In 40 years of research, the biomedical research community has been unable to come up with any answer. Maybe the concept is wrong.
Maybe the body is not attacking itself primarily. Maybe the primary target is not the body but the yeast Candida albicans. To understand how such terrible diseases can occur, we need to look at the interactions of Candida albicans and the immune system.
Yeast are normal residents of the intestinal tract. After antibiotics, yeast grow to fill in the space left by dead bacteria and the yeast continue to grow at this higher level. The body still must contain the yeast so that the yeast does not invade the rest of the body. If Candida invades the body, the result is often death.
The best way to look at the immune system is to understand that the immune system has both defensive and offensive weapons. The main defensive weapon is inflammation. Inflammation is like putting up a wall, a hot wall, which makes it difficult for invading foreign microorganisms to get through. Inflammation will occur anytime the immune system contacts a foreign invader. But as you know the inflammation is painful. Along with the inflammation, should come the offensive weapons which kill the foreign invader. The problem is that Candida has many tricks to evade the offensive weapons of the body’s immune system.
Candida is a very difficult organism for the body’s immune system to clear.
Yeast have a capsule on the outside which prevents the first line (phagocytic) white blood cells of the body from engulfing the yeast and killing it. So the body must rely on the other parts of the immune system.
Candida has other tricks to evade the body’s immune system. One of these tricks is to change its outside. The immune system recognizes the outside receptors of the invading organism and then sends out signals to start an immune response. Some of the immune responders then look for cells with those receptors. Candida albicans can change the receptors which it is displaying, making it difficult for the body’s immune cells to react appropriately. In essence, Candida albicans is a moving target, which changes its form.
The most important thing to know about Candida is that Candida albicans can make factors which suppress the immune response to itself. These factors can be found in the circulation of people with significant Candidainfections. When these factors are purified and placed in cultures of immune cells, these immune cells do not develop the responses to Candida which they are supposed to develop. In other words, Candida can make factors, which prevent the body from reacting to and killing the Candida. These factors prevent the total eradication ofCandida from the body.
The Candida can suppress the offensive weapons of the body’s immune system. But the inflammation will still be generated because when the immune system detects a foreign invader, there will always be inflammation. The problem is that the foreign invader, the Candida, is not going away, because the immune system’s offensive weapons are suppressed. The inflammation will remain and inflammation is painful.
In the intestinal tract, there is Candida, which tries to invade the intestinal wall, and the immune system responds with inflammation. The problem is that the Candida suppresses the immune system’s offensive weapons, so the Candida stays and the inflammation is prolonged. This prolonged inflammation is called ulcerative colitis if it occurs in the large intestine and it is called Crohn’s disease if it occurs in the small intestine. These disorders are prolonged inflammation resulting from the immune system’s inability to clear Candida.
In ulcerative colitis, there is painful inflammation of the intestine rather than regulated containment. As the body fights the yeast in the intestine, some of the cells fighting the yeast circulate and come into contact with yeast on the skin and start an inflammation there, leading to eczema and psoriasis .
Candida causes autoimmune problems such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis in this way. Candida puts out receptors on its cell surface which are actually human receptors for connective tissue and the immune system. If the body attacks the Candida in the intestinal tract, the body’s immune system will attack anything which looks like the Candida. Because of the connective tissue receptors on Candida, the body’s immune system may attack other cells in the body which have these receptors.
Many tissues such as the joints have connective tissue and as the body attacks the Candida, the body will also attack these cells. The result is painful joints or other inflamed tissues.
Candida also has receptors which are similar to those in the brain. When these cells are attacked, the result is multiple sclerosis.
In other words, Candida acts as a long term vaccination displaying the body’s own cellular receptors to the body’s immune system. When the immune system sees such receptors for a long enough time, it will attack cells which display such receptors, which includes the cells of the body. There is research which shows that such immune system reactions occur. The yeast Candida is the primary target. If the Candida is removed the body stops attacking itself.
The way to reverse this Candida problem is to take the anti-yeast drug nystatin. This drug is not absorbed and kills the yeast living in the intestinal tract. Then the yeast is no longer a target for the body’s immune system. In An Extraordinary Power to Heal, we have a complete chapter on nystatin, including prescription and dosing information.
Second, the diet contains many foods which contain yeast compounds. To treat yeast these foods must be removed from the diet. Removal of these dietary yeast compounds enables the body to clear itself of yeast chemicals. Some of these yeast chemicals are toxic to bacteria and will clear space for the yeast to grow again. If these yeast chemicals are left in the diet, nystatin will not do much good because the yeast keeps growing back. For more help in implementing yeast free diets, please see our books. An Extraordinary Power to Heal (2003) gives you detailed instructions, day by day and week by week, about how to eliminate toxic foods from your diets. We give you the recipes and menus to do this in Extraordinary Foods for the Everyday Kitchen (2003) and Feast Without Yeast(1999).
Fortunately, because nystatin is not absorbed, nystatin causes no side effects except for a little nausea. No harmful side effects have ever been caused by the use of nystatin. Therefore there is no risk to this therapy. I have found in clinical practice that symptoms are reduced within one to two weeks of starting diet and nystatin and by six weeks of diet and nystatin therapy there are significant reductions in pain and inflammation from chronic illness.