Intestinal Fungi Contribute to Alcoholic Liver Disease

Cirrhosis of the liver is the 12th leading cause of death worldwide.  About half of all cirrhosis related deaths are due to excessive alcohol consumption.  Chronic heavy alcohol consumption can lead to can leak gut dysbiosis, a leaky gut and overgrowth of bacteria and fungi1 .

The most common species of fungi in the human intestine are Candida, Malassezia, and Saccharomyces species.  Patients with alcoholic liver disease frequentlydeveloplife threatening infections by such fungi as Candida, Aspergillus, and Cryptococcus.

Studies with mice have reported that chronic alcohol consumption significantly increases total fungal growth in the intestines, with the percentage composition of Humicola, Fusarium, and Aspergillus significantly increasing 1.  Treating mice fed alcohol chronically with the antifungal agent Amphotericin significantly reduced both intestinal fungi growth and liver damage.

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Human studies from the same research group also reported that Candida growth was dramatically increased in 28 patients with chronic alcohol consumption as compared to 14 healthy controls 
1.  Higher levels of IgG antibodies to Saccharomycescervisiae were associated with significantly higher mortality in the 28 patients with chronic alcohol consumption.  (Note Exposure to Candida can also trigger elevation of antibodies to Saccharomycescervisiae).


More research needs to be done on the toxic effects to the liver by combined alcohol consumption and Candida overgrowth.  People withCandidarelatedproblemsshould avoid or limit alcohol consumption.

References / Sources

1. Yang AM, Inamine T, Hochrath K, et al. Intestinal fungi contribute to development of alcoholic liver disease. J Clin Invest. 2017. 



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