Candida auris is a new resistant Superfungus. I will tell you about this Superfungus and how to protect yourself from Candida auris.
Recently the New York Times highlighted a superfungus, which is a new type of bug, called called Candida auris. This superfungus is a type of yeast, which is the first clue to how to protect yourself.
What is a “fungus” and how is it related to Candida (yeast)?
If you read this website and my other writing, you will know that a fungus is a type of organism which can live in your body. Your body has a lot of organisms. Mostly we know about bacteria, some are good and some are bad. However, a fungus different. Yeast is in the same general category as fungus. It is called an “imperfect fungus” for technical biological reasons that are not really critical to understand here. The name of this new superfungus, Candida auris, is similar to the yeast Candida albicans which I discuss throughout the website. Candida is the same scientific genus, meaning they are scientifically related.
What is the problem with this new Superfungus?
So what’s the problem? The Superfungus is a type of Candida, which is killing people around the world because it is resistant to anti-fungal drugs. It is invading hospital intensive care units.Candida auris can be deadly to patients who have compromised immune systems (“immunocompromised”) and to the elderly in nursing homes. It is resistant to major anti-fungal drugs. That means that the doctors can’t just kill it with the usual medications.
No one is sure where Candida auris came from. Hospitals are reluctant to disclose that they have been affected, because they fear that patients may stop coming. They don’t want their reputations to be damaged. People who are carriers do not want to disclose this information for fear health care professionals will not go near them. The general public is only recently learning about this fearsome fungus.
If Candida auris has affected someone in your family, you may justifiably be fearful. The medical community has no answer.
Candida auris and Candida albicans–they are similar
What should you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? Let me offer at least a partial helpful answer. My answer is based on some medical principals of treating fungus and other infections microorganisms in general.
Candida auris is not the first fungus to cause problems. There are other Candida fungal species which are also major problems
Candida albicans is the main fungus that affects humans. Candida albicans lives inside the intestinal tract of many people. This is a very common fungus, which I discuss throughout the website. Candida albicans comes in after antibiotics have been given and have killed the “good” bacteria. Killing the good bacteria makes room for the Candida albicans. Candida albicans also kills many people each year who may have compromised immune systems due to cancer treatment or other anti-immune drugs.
Candida albicans has been studied enough to know a few basic things that it does and why it is dangerous. In people with intact immune systems, they can keep the Candida albicans in the gut where it at least does not invade and kill people. But in immunocompromised people, Candida can invade the bloodstream and this invasion can be fatal.
However, even Candida albicans in the gut can cause problems, both directly and by its influence on the whole gut biome. Back in the 1950’s, researchers put Candida albicans together with tuberculosis in the lab and asked the question, “Do they grow better together?” The answer is that they grow better together. Candida albicans helps tuberculosis grow. Candida albicans provides growth factors for tuberculosis. Candida albicans has been tested with other bugs (microorganisms) to see if Candida helps other “bad” bugs (such as Hemophilus which causes ear infections) grow better. Indeed Candida helps other “bad” bugs (or microorganisms) grow better.
In fact, one can say that the “bad” bugs are as bad as they are because they grow better with Candida albicans. The general principle is that Candida albicans aids the bad bugs.
The new superfungus, Candida auris, also is a Candida species. It is not far fetched to say that if someone already has a lot of Candida albicans in their gut, the Candida albicans will most likely help this new super fungus. This has not been proven, but one at least needs to think about it. This “aid” that Candida albicans provides other bad bugs has been demonstrated a number of times with other disease causing microorganisms.
Why is this important to know? Because Candida albicans in the gut can be treated. Then Candida albicans will not be there to help the new superfungus.
Treating Candida albicans may help stop Candida auris
The old adage, “two are stronger than one” is very relevant here. If Candida is there to help Candida auris grow, the Candida auris will be stronger and more likely to cause disease.
What is the treatment for Candida albicans? The short version is that you need to follow a special anti-yeast diet, the Feast Without Yeast diet, combined with the anti-fungal drug nystatin which kills Candida in the gut. Nystatin is not absorbed, kills Candida albicans in the intestine but causes no side effects. As I have explained on this page [link], the problem with nystatin is that it only works with a special diet. Why? There are many anti-bacterial chemicals in food which kill bacteria, which makes room for the fungus Candida albicans.
Nystatin can kill the Candida albicans but it will grow back if food chemicals kill the “good” bacteria. Certain foods need to be removed from the diet for nystatin to work. These foods are vinegar, malt, alcoholic beverages, aged sauces and aged cheese. Recipes and dietary instructions for this diet are given in our book Feast Without Yeast. The combination of this diet and nystatin works very well for Candida albicans in the gut.
Certainly I’m not claiming that this is a cure for Candida auris. However, if I had a loved one exposed to Candida auris, which is untreatable, I certainly would look at treating any possible contributor to the problem. Treating Candida albicans may help.