Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Candida, Parasites, Evidence?

In researching candida, I encountered plenty of articles claiming that parasites cause the initial imbalance which allows candida to overwhelm good bacteria. Therefore, the articles claim, you have to zap the old parasites along with the candida. Vivid descriptions of human parasite infestations, and the passing thereof, will be burned in my mind forever. One other observation was the large number of products and purges and cleanses galore. There are many testimonials, but testimonials sell products and you can't trust everything you read on the Internet. Alternative medicine is now a lucrative industry. I mistrust industries due to the temptation of profit over truth.

Something else nagged at me. Where is the scientific research? The Mayo clinic says, "Unfortunately, there isn't much evidence to support the diagnosis of yeast syndrome". They speculate that people feel better on a candida diet due to avoidance of sugar and artificial chemical processing. However, they do not cite trials that disprove candida syndrome, or state how prevalent parasites might be in our society. The only reference  to the candida/parasite syndrome on that Mayo clinic website was a doctor's answer to a FAQ. A single doctor's opinion is not evidence.

Regardless of a lack of evidence either way, I found websites that concluded the candida/parasite syndrome has no scientific basis and is likely a scam. Similar opinions are presented about the 2000 to 5000 year old medicine known as acupuncture. Those skeptical articles do not acknowledge studies the now exist showing scientific evidence that acupuncture works. The studies are possible due to new tools and better trial designs, but skeptics ignore them. The NIH backs acupuncture and the US military uses it because evidence supports its effectiveness. The previous lack of evidence on the mechanics of acupuncture did not change the fact that it works. Could the same be true for the candida/parasite syndrome?

Consider this:
  • There are plenty traditional treatments for parasite infestations.  I was trained in Chinese herbs which has a category devoted to anti-parasitic formulas. 
  • Quite a few people suffer from symptoms that confound Western medicine. I've been fortunate  to have helped a number of those type of patients through acupuncture. This makes sense if doctors never consider conditions that might be caused by parasites and candida.
  • I don't have a medical degree, but I have a Master's degree in a health field and have been focused on health issues for over a decade. When I read the mechanics of systemic parasite/candida infestations, it makes sense. I'm not an expert by any means, thereby ensuring further research. 
Therefore, I've decided to continue the candida treatment program and investigate the parasite angle. I have incorporated a couple anti-parasitic herbs: Wormwood, Black Walnut, and Cloves. So far, my stomach objected a little, but nothing significant. Slight breakout on my chin and puffy eyes. Today was great. Good energy, low appetite, no cravings and overall feeling of well-being. This means the parasite die off is slow enough not to cause physical distress. This was the first full day. I'm interested to see what follows.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Candida Treatment: Colon Cleanse

Over the years I've read healthcare articles that link disease with conditions that begin in the colon. A person can carry around anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds of old, dried fecal waste and mucus. Not only does this prevent the absorption of nutrients, which leads to deficiencies and problems with the immune system, it  also provides perfect conditions for an overgrowth of yeast. Therefore, cleansing the colon of yeast and its toxins is an essential part of the treatment.

To summarize the protocol used by Colet Lahoz, RN, MS, LAc, the colon cleansing program in Phase I consists of :
  • Caprylic acids and safflower oils, which make up a product called Caproyl, which kills fungus on contact.
  • Psyllium powder (both husks and seeds), which moves the caprylic acid through the intestinal track and scrape away the accumulated fecal build-up. It also reduces the toxic overload caused by the dead and dying candida.
  • Liquid bentonite is an inert mineral silicate which absorbs intestinal waste products without being absorbed into the system. It will carry toxins out of the system.
  • Beneficial bacteria must be re-implanted in the colon. Acidophilus is a good place to start. 
I expect the products to arrive tomorrow. Dosing will be twice per day. I've started the diet, and other than sighing at the lack of cheese and coffee,

Food yesterday was:

Celery and almond butter for breakfast.
Spinach salad with chicken for lunch. Used olive oil and pepper for dressing.
Dinner: A tuna casserole (tuna, green pepper, onion, slivered almonds and olive oil) and salad with tomatoes, avocado, green onion, celery and dressed with sesame seed oil )

Not bad. I feel empty, but not ravenous. Less bloated. Already noticed reduction in ankle swelling.
Tomorrow, the colon cleanse!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Candida Treatment: The Diet

By this point, I highly suspect my physical symptoms indicate a chronic candida infection. Before beginning the full treatment protocol, there is another opportunity to confirm the diagnosis. If I follow the Candida diet guidelines, and find the symptoms subside, I will conclude that an overgrowth of candida is inhibiting my body's normal functions.

I dislike 'diets'. In my experience, when a person is energetically balanced, they crave wholesome food and are repulsed by foods that are unhealthy. The cravings that indicate my own lack of balance is due to an increase in appetite, especially chips, coffee, and cheese  (Kerry Gold Dubliner, yum!).  I like sugar and bread, but the cravings are moderate. Food, however, nags at my mind even when I should not be hungry. Bad sign. A couple years ago, when I was on a raw food regiment, I never thought of food between meals, was completely satisfied by reasonable portions, and would turn down sweets because they were unappealing. So, yes, something is wrong, but it could be a Spleen Qi (acupuncture-speak), for example.

Interestingly, an overgrowth of candida causes nutritional deficiencies, including B6, magnesium, abnormal metabolism of essential fatty acids (which may be why I crave cheese), iron, vitamin A, and zinc. So, if you have a vitamin deficiency, just taking a vitamin pill may not be the best answer. You have to ask yourself, why am I not absorbing vitamins from food? Could it be......candida???

So, given this and all the other symptoms, I'm going with the yeast invasion. On to the diet.

As you may have guessed, Candida Related Complex (CRC) pretty much means the colon is polluted and the person is not absorbing nutrients very well. Since I will be taxing myself with a colon cleanse and a fungicide (more on that in the next blog entry), I will need extra nutritional support, also known as a healthy diet. I already eat well, just too much, so the diet will eliminate some options rather than add new foods. For the 3 months in Phase I, here is what I will absolutely avoid:
  • Candida loves sugar, so NO sugar, in all forms, including no very ripe fruit. I may choose to avoid all fruit for first 3 months. No artificial sweeteners, either. I never use them, but was surprised to learn that even NutraSweet feeds candida. Stevia or vegetable glycerin are okay as a sugar substitute. Oh, a squeeze of lemon is okay. Gee, thanks. I will also avoid high sugar veggies such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and beets.
  • No grains or glutinous foods. (Anything made with wheat, rye, oats or barley, e.g. white bread, rye bread, pasta. Spelt products, Corn and corn byproducts (which are full of mold!), and no
    rice. This is mostly to give my immune system a break.
  • No alcohol, or any beverage containing sugar.
  • NO CHEESE! Ack! In fact, no dairy, except ghee, butter, kefir and probiotic yogurt.
  • No cured or processed meat, and no meat that is not organic. (Stay clear of synthetic hormones and chemicals)
  • No fish or shellfish except for wild salmon and sardines. Too many heavy metals and toxins.
  • No hydrogenated fats (peanut butter, baked goods, margarine, etc). All the cooking oils have lots of mold. I can have flaxseed oil, Omega-3, fish oil, and olive oil.)
  • No food with additives and preservatives. They disrupt the friendly bacteria and allow the Candida yeast to flourish.
  • No Cashews, Peanuts, or Pistachios. They harbor a lot of mold. 
  • No mushrooms. They can cause inflammation if my body has an overgrowth of Candida. Medicinal mushrooms, Reishi and Maitake, are okay.
  • No food containing yeast, including no Brewer's and nutritional yeast. This means, in general, no baked goods.
  • No vinegar, which generally includes catchup, mustard, mayonnaise, canned sauces, most salad dressing, pickles, sauerkraut, etc. Those sauces have a lot of sugar. Vinegar is not allowed  because it is made in a yeast culture. It therefore depletes stomach  acid and can cause inflammation in the guts. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is okay because it combats Candida overgrowth.
  • NO coffee and no black tea. Ack again! Caffeine causes blood sugar to rise. Candida loves sugar.
 This was going to be a short post.In summary, I'm avoiding sugar and mold. I should have just listed what I could eat:
  • Vegetable and legumes not listed in the foods to avoid section. Lemon juice is okay.
  • Some nuts, including pecans and walnuts, but not if they are moldy. Almond butter is okay.
  • Seeds. 
  • Gluten-free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. 
  • Organic butter, olive oil
  • Organic, unprocessed meat
  • Plain, unsweetened yogurt.
Since I'm trying to strengthen the immune system, I'll probably eat my veggies lightly cooked, or raw. I'll pull out some of the raw food recipes and include some in the blog entries going forward. While I know I felt great on a squeaky clean diet, my goal for this endeavor is to eliminate the chronic conditions that I believe are due to candida invasion of organs and tissues. For that, I will need a fungicide and colon cleanse, which I'll write about in a day or two.

I'm wondering, at this point, if I'm going to get a little grumpy until I adjust to the diet. Also, I'm going out of town for a couple days. However, I'm dealing with biochemistry, so the diet will be useless unless I maintain it. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Candida Treatment: Intro to my Personal Journey

I, being a licensed acupuncturist with 10 years clinical experience, have decided to follow a protocol for a natural (non pharmaceutical) treatment of what is likely a chronic candida infection. I intend to document my self-treatment in hope that doing so will 1) contribute to my understanding of the condition and its treatment,  2) provide information for others who may be suffering from yeast-related illnesses, and 3) benefit my own acupuncture clients with similar needs.

I probably will not describe gross aspects, but, if I do, I will try to be delicate about it--unless I think it is important, in which case, I may be blunt--so consider yourself warned.

Because of my training and experience as a healthcare professional, I feel comfortable treating myself.  The standard "Don't Try This At Home" applies, so seek guidance of a healthcare provider if you suspect you are suffering from symptoms of a chronic yeast infection.

The protocol I'm following was developed by S. Colet Lahoz, RN, MS, LAc., who offers phone consultations.

The Diagnosis

My primary reference source is Conquering Yeast Infections, by S. Colet Lahoz. In it is a reference to Dr. Crook's Yeast Questionnaire. The extensive questionnaire in Lahoz's book runs about 8 pages. I haven't finished that one yet, but I found the original questionnaire online:


I scored 230 (Yeast-connected health problems are almost certainly present in women with scores more than 180 , and in men with scores more than 140 .)

I will retake both questionnaires every 3 to 6 months as a way to quantify progress.

This should be an interesting journey. In the next couple of posts, I'll describe the first steps of the protocol, including the diet and supplements I'll be using. The supplements have been ordered. Once they arrive, I'll start the treatment. Until then, I'm drinking coffee (which will be eliminated from my diet), and eating the last bit of sweets, and breads and fruits that I will not be allowed for a least the next 3 months, maybe longer. I have a feeling this isn't going to be pretty.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Acupuncture after joint replacement surgery

During the past year I've seen several patient after total joint replacement surgery. Acupuncture  helped relieve pain and assisted their progress towards regaining strength and range of motion through better performance during physical therapy sessions. There were no cases of infections and the scars healed well.

A study was conducted by Raj K. Sinha, Deidre Braun,  and Robert Murphy and published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery - British Volume, Vol 90-B, Issue SUPP_I, 184. They concluded that acupuncture indeed "reduced narcotic usage and improve physical therapy after total joint replacement."  See the complete article:


 More studies need to be done on this subject, but my experience has been so positive that I encourage those needing joint replacement to seek treatments from a licensed acupuncturist for help with pain relief and optimal healing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Diet Guidelines for Menopausal Women

Eat the following vegetables in amounts that are moderate and satisfying; that portion should then be eaten regularly, perhaps 4 to 6 times a week.

- Asparagus: Helps cleanse arteries of cholesterol and is useful for vascular health. Too much can irritate the kidneys. It improves the feminine principle.

- Beets: strengthens the heart, sedates the spirit, improves circulation, purifies the blood, benefit’s the liver.

- Cabbage: Green and purple varieties. Helps mental depression and irritability.

- Food to build yin: wheat germ and its oil, mung bean, mung bean sprouts, string bean, seaweed, spirulina, millet, black bean, tofu, kidney bean, barley, and black sesame seed.

- Use restraint with alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, excessive and poor-quality meat.

- Important supplements: Vitamin E, B-complex, C, A and mineral calcium.

- Adequate magnesium and vitamin D from sunshine are necessary cofactors in calcium metabolism.

- Vitamin E stimulates production of estrogen. Wheat germ and wheat germ oil are especially good sources. Whole wheat also calms the spirit and strengthens the kidney-adrenal function. Take approximately 300 I.U of vitamin E three times a day at meal times if menopausal difficulties persist in spite of a good diet.

- For Chinese herbs, dang gui (angelica sinensis) brings relief from all symptoms. Also can use motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca).

- Aloe vera gel can be useful for those who don’t feel too cold. Use 2 teaspoons gel stirred into 1 cup of water 2 or 3 times a day.

- Royal jelly can notify  feminine hormonal system. A normal dosage is just 100-400 milligrams daily.

Source: Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back Pain Study

Brian Berman and colleagues of the University of Maryland School of Medicine published findings of a review of acupuncture for back pain in the July issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

From Psychology Today
 + Most people (70%) have experienced serious lower back pain; indeed, lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to a physician. Low-back pain can be disabling, but usually the pain responds to treatment. Unfortunately some people (7%) develop chronic low back pain that cannot be resolved with drugs or physical therapy. Many of these people turn to alternative therapies, including acupuncture, for relief.

+ A study of 6359 patients suffering chronic lower back pain compared the results of providing these patients with acupuncture, no treatment, or treating them with mock acupuncture. The results showed that both the patients receiving real acupuncture and the ones receiving mock acupuncture experienced significant pain relief compared to people who received no treatment.