Every day, thousands of microscopic, decay-eating organisms find their way into our bodies in the food we eat and the air we breathe. These organisms are part of The Fungi Kingdom and include yeasts, molds, mildew, mushrooms, fungi and others. Although most fungi feed on dead and decaying organisms, a number of them also feed on living organisms. Athlete’s foot is a common fungus which feeds on a living host.
The entire class of Fungi are “opportunistic,” and the ones which feed on humans can establish themselves in a human body during a time of weakness, such as during an infection or when the immune system is suppressed with drugs. There are also many fungi that do not require a weak immune system in order to establish themselves in a host. In addition to the direct effects of the fungi, which act like parasites in a human host, many also manufacture highly toxic substances called “mycotoxins.”
Who Cares About Fungi and Mycotoxins?
Fungi produce toxins called mycotoxins (“Myco” from the Greek “Mykes”, means “fungus”). Mycotoxins cannot be destroyed by heat, are known to suppress the immune system, and have a wide range of effects in both animals and humans. A number of these mycotoxins are quite poisonous.
Aflatoxin, a common toxin found in peanuts and some grains and a result of Aspergillus flavus fungus, is one of the most potent carcinogens known to man. Because of this, peanuts and grains must be constantly “screened” for aflatoxin. Even with this government-mandated screening, a person eating according to the US Food-pyramid is eating between 0.15-0.5 grams per day. (A lethal dose is considered to be 10-20mg). But at these everyday, low-grade exposures, negative health effects can still be experienced.
Symptoms and Diseases Associated with Mycotoxins and the Fungi Kingdom
When the World Health Organization recently convened, Dr. A.V. Costantini, head of the organization, an internist who modestly claims to be a “just a country doctor,” listed fourteen diseases wherein fungal (mold & Candida Albicans) forms of microorganisms have been found include the following: atherosclerosis, cancer, AIDS, diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus , erythematosus, gout, Crohn’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, hyperactivity syndrome, Infertility, psoriasis, cirrhosis of the liver, Alzheimer’s disease, Scleroderma, Raynaud’s Disease, sarcoidosis, kidney stones, amyloidosis, vasculitis, and Cushing’s disease.
Other conditions known to be caused by fungi, yeasts and their mycotoxins include: postpartum depression, immune system weakness, bladder disease (especially non-bacterial interstitial cystitis in women and chronic non-bacterial prostatitis in men), pneumonitis and lung infections, endometriosis and weight gain.
A person suffering from yeast of fungal overgrowth may have any of these symptoms:
- In the intestinal tract: bloating, excessive feeling of fullness, diarrhea, constipation, alternating diarrhea and constipation, “rolling gas,” abdominal cramping, heartburn, indigestion, gas or belching, mucous in the stool, hemorrhoids.
- In the female genital tract: recurrent yeast vaginitis, persistent vaginal itching or burning, persistent vaginal discharge, endometriosis, PMS.
- In the male genital tract: prostatitis, impotence, loss of sexual desire.
- In the urinary tract: urgency or urinary frequency, recurrent urinary tract “infections” but bacteria are NOT found to be the cause.
- In the nervous system: numbness, burning, or tingling, spots in front of the eyes, erratic vision, impaired coordination, irritability or jitteriness, dizziness or loss of balance, failing vision, ear pain or deafness.
- In the immune system: rashes, post nasal drip, sore or dry throat, wheezing or shortness of breath, recurrent infections, burning or tearing of eyes, cough.
- In the skin and mucous membranes: recurrent skin fungal infections, nail-bed fungus, “jock itch,” thrush (yeast overgrowth in the mouth and esophagus)
- In general: fatigue, mental “cloudiness,” joint aches and pains, obesity, depression, memory loss.
There are quite probably many other medical conditions associated with fungi, yeasts and mycotoxins in the human body. Because this is a largely overlooked topic in conventional medicine, our understanding of the disease-fungi connection is weak at best.
Your conventional doctor is unlikely to be aware of or to tell you about these mycotoxin-induced problems. You can learn more about candidiasis here: http://www.drmyattswellnessclub.com/candidiasis.htm . If you believe that you may be experiencing any of these symptoms or problems a Candida stool test is a good place to start your investigation.
Mycotoxins in the food chain: human health implications. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:95-101.
Contamination of food with mycotoxins and human health. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2001 Mar;52(1):23-35.
Limits and regulations for mycotoxins in food and feed.
Toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans. Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77(9):754-66
Toxins of filamentous fungi. Food Addit Contam. 2005 Feb;22(2):150-7
Mycotoxins in infant cereal foods from the Canadian retail market. Food Addit Contam. 2003 May;20(5):494-504.
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