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Fungal Dysbiosis

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Fungi or yeasts and molds have co-evolved with animals for hundreds of millions of years. Sometimes they cause adverse effects or dysbiosis. 

Molds are commonly present in many parts of the body including:

Oral Cavity:  Fungi in the oral cavity are often dominated by Candida fungi species.  Candida often overgrows in the oral cavity in patients with diabetes, HIV+, or other forms of immunosuppression.  Other fungi commonly found in the oral cavity including Fusarium, Saccharomyces, Hanseniaspora, and Pichia. 

Gastrointestinal Tract: A recent review of 36 published studies identified 267 fungal species in the GI tract.  The most common fungal genera have been Candida, Saccharomyces, Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, Malassezia, Cladosporium,Galactomycesand Trichosporon.  Significantly higher levels of Candida species such as Candida albicans,parapsilosis, andtropicalisare seen in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.Significantlyhigher growth of intestinal Candida has been noted in humans with diets rich in refined carbohydrates.


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Lung: The lungs generally havemoderateamount of fungal growth, with common fungi such as Candida, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Cladosporium predominating.  The lung fungal burden is often increased in cystic fibrosis patients, with Aspergillus and Candida overgrowth being especially common. Fungal lung overgrowth has been linked to increased disease severity in cystic fibrosis. Significantly increased fungal growth inlunghas been found in asthmatics versusnon asthmaticsand a higher lung fungal burden has been linked to worsened asthma symptoms.

Urinary and Sex Organs. Candida frequentlygrow/ infect the urinary and sexual organs. Vaginal candidiasis is especially common and has been associated with many factors such as antibiotic use, pregnancy, diabetes, and HIV infection. Use of oral and topical probiotic bacteria is often helpful in treating vaginal candidiasis.

Skin. Malassezia fungi are often the predominant skin fungi with Rhodotorula, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus, Penicilliumand Candida often being present.  Significantly poorer healing of diabetic wounds havebeen reported in wounds contaminated with Candida, Trichosporon, and Rhodotorula molds.

References / Sources

1. Iliev ID, Leonardi I. Fungal dysbiosis: immunity and interactions at mucosal barriers. Nat Rev Immunol. 2017. 



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