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

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