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Candidiasis Hypersensitivity"

William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.

Candida albicans (also called monilia) is a fungus normally present in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. Under certain conditions, it can infect the surface of the skin or mucous membranes. Such infections are usually minor, but but serious and deeper infections can occur, in patients whose resistance has been weakened by other illness. Systemic infection (candidosis) is a very serious problem that can involve endocarditis, septicemia, meningitis, and pyelonephritis. On the other hand, "Candidiasis hypersensitivity (CH)" is an unrecognized medical condition promoters have linked to real (e.g., AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome) and imagined conditions (e.g., "allergies," "hypoglycemia," amd "dental mercury poisoning"). The leading promoters of "candidiasis hypersensitivity" are C. Orian Truss, MD, of Birmingham, Alabama, and William G. Crook, MD, of Jackson, Tennessee. As their ideas became widely publicized, the health-food industry began producing "anti-Candida" products.

One company, Nature's Way, even published a "yeast test" in ads for its product Cantrol that asked readers to self-diagnose a "yeast problem." They were asked to check "yes" or "no" to these questions:

Take the Yeast Test

  1. Do you feel tired most of the time?
  2. Do you suffer from intestinal gas, abdominal bloating or discomfort?
  3. Do you crave sugar, bread, beer or other alcoholic beverages?
  4. Are you bothered by constipation, diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea?
  5. Do you suffer from mood swings or depression?
  6. Are you often irritable, easily angered, anxious or nervous?
  7. Do you have trouble thinking clearly, suffer occasional memory losses, or have difficulty concentrating?
  8. Are you ever dizzy or lightheaded?
  9. Do you have muscle aches or stiffness with normal activity?
  10. Have you had a unexpected weight gain without a change in diet?
  11. Are you bothered by itching or burning of the vagina or prostate or a lost of sexual desire?
  12. Have you ever taken antibiotics?
  13. Are you currently or have you ever used birth control pills?
  14. Have you ever taken steroid drugs, such as cortisone?

If you answered 6 or more questions with a "yes," you may have a yeast problem. Read about how Cantrol can help.

In 1990 Nature's Way signed an FTC consent agreement not to misrepresent in advertising any self-diagnostic test concerning yeast conditions or to make any unsubstantiated representation concerning any food or supplement's ability to control yeast conditions. As a penalty, the company paid $30,000 to the National Institutes of Health for research in genuine candidiasis [1].

Bogus "Candida" products are prescribed by nonmedical practitioners (e.g., chiropractors, naturopaths, "nutritionists") and maverick medical doctors who may call themselves "clinical ecologists." The latter claim that candidiasis is an underlying cause of "environmental illness" -- an unrecognized medical condition that they postulate to exist.

Promoters say that 30% of Americans are sufferers, but what passes as CH is generally indistinguishable from common psychophysiologic disorders. Somatization explains why many favor a diagnosis that permits them to blame factors outside of themselves for their unhappy lives. Society's tendency to stigmatize people with psychological problems encourages the denial of psychiatric disorders. Stewart (Stewart, 1990*) found that about 60% of sufferers are amenable to treatment, but the others refuse to relinquish their diagnoses for self-serving reasons [2]. NCAHF advises consumers to avoid practitioners who promote the notion of CH, and the purveyors anti-candida products. Misdiagnosis can delay proper care, and improper prescriptions can expose patients to unnecessary medical risks [3].

References

  1. FTC charges Nature's Way products ads for "Cantrol" were false and unsubstantiated; company to pay $30,000 for medical research, under consent agreement. FTC News Notes, Jan 29, 1990.
  2. Stewart DE. Emotional disorders misdiagnosed as: environmental illness, candidiasis, CFS. International Journal of Mental Health 19:56-68, 1990.
  3. Haas A and others. The "Yeast Connection" meets chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. New England Journal of Medicine 314:854-855, 1986.

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© 1995 National Council Against Health Fraud. With proper citation, this article may be reproduced for noncommercial purposes

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This article was posted on September 19, 2001.