Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Candida and Acetaldehyde Connection

Hello to All,

Lately, I’ve been doing some research on candida infection. As I’ve mentioned before, I suspect that candida is one of my more virulent infections. Unfortunately, testing is not reliable and many doctors don’t take it seriously. Most naturopaths understand it and will treat it. But treatment is often inadequate and recurrences are common. And when you do manage to kill it off, the die-off reaction can be miserable.

I came across practitioner and patient websites that tout molybdenum as an effective tool for minimizing candida die-off reactions due to its ability to neutralize acetaldehyde, a toxic by-product of both alcohol and candida. Those of you who read my blog know that I detox poorly. Every time I take a medication that effectively kills one of my infections (even certain enzymes do this) I wind up terribly ill. When I found out my ADH gene (controls alcohol metabolism) was affected, I began to make the connection.

For those of you unfamiliar with the problem, candida albicans is a yeast that is a normal part of our diverse assortment of flora. When diet is poor, or the immune system is compromised, candida can grow to disproportionate levels and cause illness. People who suffer from HIV or diabetes know this problem well, as do those of us with Lyme Disease.

Like other infectious and toxic agents, such as borrelia and molds, candida produces toxins that can remain in the body, even after treatment. According to the article, Xylitol inhibits carcinogenic acetaldehyde production by Candida species, in the International Journal of Cancer, “acetaldehyde is a highly toxic and mutagenic product of alcohol fermentation and metabolism which has been classified as a Class I carcinogen for humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO). Many Candida species representing oral microbiota have been shown to be capable of marked acetaldehyde production” (Uittamo J., et al. 2011).

This may be the reason why killing off candida is so unpleasant. Antifungals and enzymes dissolve the candida cell wall, releasing its toxins. Acetaldehyde toxicity is effectively a bad hangover. For those of you who have suffered candida die-off, think of the similarities: headache, dizziness, nausea, achiness, fatigue, etc.

Normally, the body converts acetaldehyde into the harmless acetic acid using the enzymes ADH and ALDH. But in people lacking these enzymes, (and other nutrients like glutamine, selenium, niacin, folic acid, B6, B12, and iron), or whose candida levels overwhelm the body’s detox ability, this can be inadequate.

Molybdenum may be a useful tool in this war because it converts toxic sulfites and aldehydes into harmless substances. Unfortunately, there is scant research on it with regards to candida. A researcher by the name of Dr. Stephen Cooter did a study on molybdenum to discover its usefulness in dealing with candida. Approximately 2/3 of the participants found the mineral to be helpful. For an excerpt from his book, please visit http://www.mall-net.com/cooter/moly.html. Here is a link to an article in the ever helpful Environmental Illness Resource site: http://www.ei-resource.org/articles/candida-and-gut-dysbiosis-articles/the-candida%10aldehyde-detox-pathway-and-the-molybdenum-connection/. Another nutrient mentioned in the above articles is pantethine (vitamin B5). Pantethine is touted as helpful for those with chemical sensitivities and candida when taken at doses of 600 – 1200 mg per day.

Here’s another interesting fact: aldehydes are best known as synthetic fragrances used by the perfume industry. Candida infection is linked to multiple chemical sensitivity. Fragrances are a major trigger for MCS. I, for one, get an instantaneous headache from many commercial products containing fragrances such as perfume, hairspray, laundry detergent, and household cleaners. Is this a coincidence? I doubt it.

I decided molybdenum was worth trying. I gradually added 750mcg of molybdenum to my daily regimen about 4 weeks ago. I did not notice any side effects. Interestingly, I started feeling very well in July. I’ve actually stopped many of my supplements and take only the bare necessities. My mood is good, food sensitivities are minimal, energy is good, exercise tolerance is up, and my brain feels pretty clear. I’m not sure why I feel so well, I’m just thankful. I’ll wait a while before I draw any conclusions, but perhaps molybdenum is a factor.

–        Laura

Lyme Disease and Genetic Testing Results

Hello to All,

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had genetic testing done in the spring. My doctor had me do the Gene SNP test which costs about $275.00. I’ll share the pertinent results with you.

Genes with impact:

  1. B Vitamin Metabolism: MTHFR, MTR, MTRR
  2. Phase 1 Detoxification: CYP 1A2*1F (deletion)
  3. Phase 2 Detoxification: GSTM1, GSTT1 (deletion)
  4. Antioxidant Function: PON 1, SOD 2
  5. Bone Density: VDR
  6. Glucose Balance: ACE, IL6, LIPC, PON1, PPARg, PPARGC1A, VDR, ADRB2
  7. Inflammatory Response: IL6
  8. Salt Sensitivity: AGT
  9. Alcohol Metabolism: ADH1C

I feel that this is an important test for me. It confirms what I already knew were some problem areas, alerts me to potential problems, and guides my lifestyle and Lyme Disease treatment.

In terms of nutrition: I need to take methylated B vitamins for the rest of my life, such as folate, P5P, and B12. I need extra vitamin D and plenty of antioxidants. Luckily, I eat loads of fresh vegetables.

In terms of avoidance, I need to watch my salt and sugar (which I already do). And no more drunken shenanigans! ADH1C controls alcohol dehydrogenase. Darn. And interestingly enough, there is a connection between candida toxins and alcohol toxins – a waste product called acetaldehyde. This may be a key to candida treatment for me. I’ll report more on that later.

I have IL-6 problems. Interleukin 6 acts as both a pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine (immunoregulatory protein that affects inflammation). In patients with Lyme neuroborreliosis, inflammation and symptoms of fatigue and malaise occur out of proportion to the relatively low number of spirochetes present. Previous studies have identified interleukin-6 (IL-6) as a candidate molecule for amplification of CNS inflammation in this disease (http://www.neurology.org/content/49/1/147.abstract). This means I need to find safe substances that control this particular inflammatory pathway.

And here’s the biggie: I completely lack the genes for Phase 1 and 2 detoxification. I possess neither. Nada. Pas de tout. Geen (Dutch). This is a big problem. In fact, this is probably the underlying reason some people get chronic Lyme Disease, and other people have numerous tick bites with no symptoms, or have a brief illness. I’m one of those unfortunate people who can’t get rid of infectious agents and toxins. My liver cannot make enough glutathione (a major antioxidant and detox agent). I will have to manually detox for the rest of my life to become and remain healthy.

This confirms my theory that my illness is like a perfect storm: exposure to bacteria and viruses, lowered immune response, exposure to mold, elevated stress, inadequate (American processed food) diet + genetic predispositions = chronic, debilitating illness.

So, detox, detox, and more detox. This will be the crux of successful treatment for me. Finding substances to kill the infections of borrelia, babesia, bartonella, and candida is not hard. Getting good nutrition is not hard (for me). But helping my body to dispose of the waste is proving to be a great challenge. I already use saunas, epsom salt baths, coffee enemas, activated charcoal, homeopathic and herbal drainage remedies, curcumin, etc… And that’s not enough, for heaven’s sake!

Whew! That was a lot of information to process. But I feel an even deeper understanding of my problems that ever. I meet with my doctor again in July and we will formulate my next plan of attack.

-Laura

Lyme Disease Recovery and Rehabilitation

Hello to All,

I haven’t written in a while. Honestly, I’ve been lazy and unmotivated. I’m also in a treatment slump. I’m backing off treatment for a while to enjoy summer. It’s nice not to feel awful from the herx reactions, but I’m also not making much progress, either. I’m just back to feeling intermittently crummy and decent in daily/weekly cycles.

I’ve been thinking lately about what this disease has done to my life. I stopped working full time almost three years ago. I’ve done intermittent contract work, but even that was quite challenging. My problems are mainly neurological: chronic headaches, dizziness/vertigo, balance problems, insomnia, cognitive problems, depression, and anxiety. I’m one of those people who doesn’t look sick. This is a double edged sword. It’s nice to look good, but most people don’t see that I’m ill, so they don’t take it seriously. I’ve only begun to take my condition seriously since my diagnosis in October of 2011.

Neuro problems make it hard to work on a computer for any length of time. It’s difficult to focus on anything, for that matter. I exist in a fog; conscious, but disconnected from the world. My days consist mainly of puttering around the house alone with minimal productivity.  Even on days with low pain levels, I have little energy or motivation.  My brain feels gummed up. I have memory problems, and my skills have gotten rusty. I simply cannot function at the high level I used to 7 – 10 years ago.

When I started feeling better last year I tried doing some of the things I used to do, both personally and professionally. I tried making some art. I soon realized that my muscle memory had faded along with my technical skills. I struggled with project management, technical writing, and editing. This was very upsetting to me. I now realize that I can’t just pick up where I left off. I need rehabilitation and remediation to rebuild my skills on many levels. I need to take classes or find mentorship to accomplish this. Unfortunately, I have little money for these things now, so I’m not sure how to go about it. I feel stuck. But at least I now accept the reality of my situation.

Some of you are probably familiar with the Stages of Change Model developed by Prochaska & DiClemente in 1983. The stages discussed in their change theory are:

  1. Precontempation (not yet realizing the need for change)
  2. Contemplation (acceptance but not ready yet)
  3. Preparation (develop a plan of action)
  4. Action
  5. Maintenance

Whenever I feel stuck, I find this model useful to get me moving. I’m in the Contemplation stage for this particular issue. I know what I need to do, but have not yet figured out how to go about it. I also have a ways to go for medical treatment, so I don’t want to be too hard on myself. The fact is, I have a sludge of infection and toxicity affecting my brain. But I’m growing impatient! I’m tired of existing in an unmotivated, unproductive fog. I have a good brain and I want to use it to its fullest capacity.

To tease the problem apart further, my treatment is stuck because of poor detoxification ability (confirmed by genetic testing). If I can figure out how to process out the toxins released by dying microbes, I can progress further. This is my next plan of attack.

One of the things I love about writing is how it helps me to solve problems. I may feel lost when I start writing, but I usually end up with a plan!

Laura