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Connecting the dots ... Is ME/CFS a complex fungal intolerance? (part 2)

This blog series is an attempt to share my ongoing Candida studies, and to share a small case study, trying out a 'proof-of-concept' treatment that I believe uniquely addresses a specific ME/CFS vulnerability to candida. I apologize if my writing is a bit disorganized, there is an overwhelming amount of information available about Candida. Too much for one person to sort through.

By focusing just on recent findings I believe it is possible to connect the dots between genetic tryptophan problems in ME/CFS patients, and the conditions where Candida can produce specific ANS-disrupting mycotoxins. There may be other ways Candida is involved in ME/CFS as well, and I believe that the combination of all the ways Candida can interact with ME/CFS preconditions sets the stage for a complex fungal intolerance.

First a note of caution. If ME/CFS involves a complex fungal intolerance, much of the online information and advice about Candida may be wrong for ME/CFS patients. Therefore I believe it is essential to understand exactly how Candida could create ME/CFS, before attempting to find solutions. The treatment needs to fit the pathology. That is what I have tried to accomplish with the simple test treatment I will share in a future blog.

Most Candida treatments may be for the wrong type of Candida pathology and could easily overwhelm the fragile detox and immune functions of ME/CFS patients. Also, many of us have connective tissue problems, leaky gut, and other situations that would further complicate candida treatment. So I believe it is important to target just the right areas of the body, where the pathology likely exists, and use just the right treatments, along with proper support to the organ systems that will be strained by the candida die-off. This may require working with a very skilled practitioner, unless you are a very advanced self-treating patient.

While I am sharing here, I am not giving medical advice, and I don't even know who to recommend for a consultation on this topic. Maybe that will emerge over time. For now I am considering this a 'proceed at your own risk' topic. I will post the chain of research articles that support the following information in a future blog. Some readers may enjoy finding the studies themselves, it is not difficult. But for now, I want to get through the gist of this theory.

So what is new about Candida? Most people think of Candida as a yeast. That is not really true, Candida is a shape-changing and metabolism-adjusting fungus that can take at least three forms. The yeast form is most familiar but the more pathogenic fungal form is like a mold, with the ability to colonize and build biofilms for protection. It then shoots out spores to build further colonies. In the mold form, candida can form projections (hyphae) that can invade host cells to steal resources. Candida can even live inside host cells in the yeast form and control them, including living in mast cells. Candida can also create enzymes to dissolve host cell walls to gain access to nutrients.

There are probably many ways Candida can create ME/CFS pathologies. But one in particular caught my attention. Due to recent research, Candida is now known to have a sophisticated metabolism, including its own tryptophan processing mechanism, with its own kynurenine pathway. This is used under certain circumstances to produce alcohols that can be used in signaling, a feature called quorum sensing.

Quorum sensing is a mechanism used by microorganisms to limit populations and avoid overgrowth. In the case of tryptophan processing, Candida can create a quorum sensing alcohol named tryptophol. This particular alcohol has multiple uses beyond quorum sensing, but one trait in particular caught my attention. The ability to sedate a host due to its chemical similarity to melatonin. Tryptophol is an endocrine system disruptor, able to interrupt normal hypothalamus function, and possibly overheating the limbic system.

Tryptophol has been around for a long time, in fact under some conditions it can even be produced by our own mitochondria. But only a few microorganisms are able to produce it. Candida, a few yeasts, and most interestingly, the trypanosoma parasite that causes African Sleeping Sickness. The metabolic parallels between ME/CFS and African Sleeping Sickness have been noted by researchers.

And that is where this story gets really interesting. Even though nearly every human carries Candida, most will not experience much tryptophol production, because under normal circumstances, human conditions are not right for Candida to produce it. This is because even though Candida is a highly adaptive organism, as I mentioned in my first blog, and can exist anywhere in the body, at any pH level, in aerobic or anaerobic conditions, and even though Candida can produce up to 69 known mycotoxins, these mycotoxins are only produced under certain conditions.

In the case of tryptophol, a recent study has identified that candida produces the most tryptophol under alkaline conditions, in an anaerobic environment, with a supply of tryptophan and plenty of fuel (usually glucose or simple carbs). There is one place in the body where Candida can be present and those conditions are all met, but it is a location that is supposed to be mostly sterile from fungus and bacteria colonization, and that is, the small intestine.

now on to Part 3 ...

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