Posted on January 13, 2011, under Women's Health.
THE CANDIDA-ASTHMA CONNECTION: ALLERGIC AND PATHOGENIC POTENTIAL OF CANDIDAAlthough clinical descriptions of chronic fungal infections go back to the beginning of history, when Hippocrates first described the signs and manifestations of oral thrush, it has only been since original work by Dr Orian Truss, first published in 1978, that research in to the link between this organism and allergies really began. We have known for many years, however, that Candida albicans has the potential to invade many types of human tissue and to cause a multiplicity of health disorders. On the other hand, many (if not most) general practitioners considered the Candida organism to be responsible for only a limited number of conditions, notably vaginal, oral or nail thrush. They seem to have ignored the possibility that Candida albicans may sensitise a patient, quite separately from its ability to invade the body and cause localised infections.There are over eighty species of Candida and at least six of these are known pathogens. The majority of Candida infections, however, are caused by Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis. The rates of Candida invasion are greater for hospitalised patients than for the population at large, making hospital a health hazard, at least as far as Candida is concerned.The organism usually provokes an antibody’s response because of its adherence to mucosal epithelial surfaces in the respiratory, digestive and genital tracts. Candida glycoproteins have been shown to stimulate histamine release from mast cells and thus have a strong allergenic potential. Candida albicans has been found to be a factor in cases of urticaria (hives), irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and asthma.Candida albicans is a potent bronchial antigen. In 1978 Dr Orian Truss proposed that the organism can cause sensitisation of other, distant organ systems and tissues. His work was later confirmed by other physicians and eventually expanded to show the existence of a ‘chronic candidiasis sensitivity syndrome’. That was the subject of one of my books by the same title, published in 1991, and of several papers I have given at Australian and international medical conferences.This immune dysregulation can cause an increase in colonisation and eventually yeast by-products are released into the circulation.SummaryCandida albicans can irritate, cause inflammation and disrupt intestinal mucosal surfaces (lumen) by adherence and thus cause indigestion and increase gut permeability (leaky gut).Candida albicans can cause Type 1 hypersensitivities, such as urticaria and asthma; Type III sensitivity reactions, such as bronchopulmonary candidiasis; or Type IV reactions, altered cellular immune responses to Candida antigens.The way in which an organism can be responsible for an allergy is known as its ‘sensitisation potential or capacity’.*56\145\2*