July 1997 -- Many of you have written, asking whether or not there's a relationship between candidiasis,
or candida/yeast overgrowth, and thyroid disease. In some ways, this is a controversial question, because
some doctors dismiss candidiasis and candida allergies as a "fad" diagnosis. Other doctors, naturopaths
and herbalists are firm believers that this problem, brought to public attention by Dr. William Crook in
his 1983 book, The Yeast Connection, is at the root of many hard-to-diagnose chronic illnesses.
Last year, my doctor, an M.D. acupuncturist, suspected that I was going through what appeared to be a major outbreak of candida. Whether or not candida can cause hypothyroidism -- as Dr. Crook claims -- or whether thyroid disease can allow candida to flourish is not clear. But there are anecdotal claims of a definite relationship. (My doctor believes that the impaired immunity of autoimmune thyroid disease makes you more susceptible to all allergens, inclucing candida.)
What was happening was that my system seemed allergically out of control. My symptoms? Irritable bowel, stomach bloating/pain after I ate anything, crawly/itchy/hot skin, severe aggravation of asthma-like response to allergies so bad that I could barely breathe and went to the emergency room twice with what we thought was an asthma attack, but wasn't. It was awful. I felt like I was allergic to the world.
My doctor, Kate, suggested that I read up on candida, so I bought The Yeast Connection and the Woman, the updated version of Dr. Crook's earlier book, which is now considered one of the "bibles" for candidiasis sufferers.
The Yeast Connection and the Woman, by William G. Crook, Professional Books, May 1995
For more information, or to order from Amazon.Com, click here.
The symptoms of candidiasis are wide-ranging. In any case, according to everything I'd read, I was a textbook candida sufferer. Years of antibiotics as a teenager, frequent yeast infections, and my doctor even ordered a Great Smokies analysis, that showed the candida and overgrowth of lots of other inappropriate stomach and bowel bacteria. My whole system was out of control.
What I did was follow the candida diet (which, interestingly, is somewhat similar to the Zone diet I covered in a recent two-part series of articles -- naturally-oriented Dr. Andrew Weil which involves Quercetin and stinging nettle supplements. I took yeast-fighter supplements from GNC, and I also took acidophilus with digestive enzymes, high vitamin C, and garlic tablets, and ate yogurt with garlic at least once a day.
Over a couple of weeks, my overall system allergic response calmed down dramatically, until I was back to normal again, stomach fine, breathing fine. My doc was prepared to prescribe an anti-fungal, but we didn't need to get tot that step to get things under control.
Periodically, I'll go back to the candida diet when I feel my system becoming too allergic, and it works for me. I don't completely understand exactly why, nor do I believe that candida is a world-wide epidemic problem, but it may be something to look into as an addition to traditional approaches.