If you’re new to Doug Kaufmann’s message of linking fungus to disease, welcome aboard. For those of us who have been with him awhile, I can tell you that his philosophy has a way of hitting you in waves rather than all at once.
|I remember the first time I spent time with Doug was when I was interviewing him on my radio show in Oklahoma City. He was in the studio with me, and we were doing the show just before he was speaking to a crowd of a couple thousand people later that morning. I was so nervous that I couldn’t really remember my own name, the name of the show, or what I should talk to him about. I looked down at a rare set of questions that I just happened to write up the night before. The answer to the question I asked him represents one of the waves of understanding that has hit me.||
I asked Doug, “About how many anti-fungals are at the health food store where you’ll be speaking?” I expected him to say that there were a dozen or so.
Doug looked up, paused for a moment and said, “Oh…hundreds…THOUSANDS!”
I had no idea what he was talking about and asked him to elaborate. He began sharing how most vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, herbs, spices, essential fats, and probiotics contain at least mild anti-fungal activity.
I sat in stunned silence for a moment, forgetting that I was the host, not an audience member. I stammered a bit and went to a commercial.
During the break, I asked him if I understood him correctly – that it’s not just things like oregano oil, caprylic acid, curcumin, and olive leaf that are anti-fungal, but LOADS of nutrients that are. “You bet!”
Suddenly, things that I had heard him talk about on TV began falling into place.
Is Fungus The Real Reason Tobacco Is Harmful?
Just as there are many, many nutrients that you may not realize have antifungal activity, there are also many, many ways to which we’re exposed to fungus and their poisons.
For example, everyone knows that smoking cigarettes may not be the best idea for our long-term health. The American Lung Association reports that there are over 600 ingredients in cigarettes, and when lit, those transform into over 4000 chemicals. They say that at least 50 of these are cancer-causing. A few of them include acetone (nail polish remover), lead, tar, and formaldehyde, (embalming fluid).
But what isn’t reported as widely is the processing of cigarette tobacco, which invites fungal overgrowth. Tobacco is commonly dipped into sugar and allowed to dry. Cigarette paper, itself, is often coated with sugar, purportedly to prevent bitterness. Any fungus that is growing on that tobacco will certainly find a ready food source with all of this sugar.
|And where there is a fungus, you can bet that there will be mycotoxins, (fungal poisons), which are resistant to heat and cold.But does tobacco contain fungus? According to the journal, Tobacco Induced Diseases, the answer is yes. Such fungi have left behind such mycotoxins as muramic acid and ergosterol. The Journal reports that when finished cigarettes are stored in a humid environment, the elevated levels of fungi that grow on the tobacco also leads to higher concentrations of mycotoxins.||
A sister journal reports that these mycotoxins are definitely found in the smoke of cigarettes, affecting both the smoker, as well as those around cigarette smoke. The disease-causing effects of ergosterol have been documented as far back as 1930 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, while studies on muramic acid have shown an association between this poison and meningitis. One study even found that aflatoxin, (one of the most notorious cancer-causing mycotoxins ever identified), was detected in the filters of cigarettes!
So, while there is a multitude of good reasons to avoid smoking, you may never have heard of the fungal link to smoking dangers.
Alcohol, Itself, Is a Fungal Poison
What about alcohol? Is it considered safer, especially in light of the recommendations to enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage for health? Well… maybe not. Just as many antibiotics are actual fungal poisons, (mycotoxins), so also is alcohol a mycotoxin. Every time alcohol is created, fungus/yeast has a role to play in the fermentation of the sugars in grains and fruits.
Simply put, consuming alcohol is quite literally drinking a glass of mycotoxins – mycotoxins which are known to cause cell damage, (cell poisoning), in the body.
To understand the first damaging effect of alcohol in the body, one must have a sense of how alcohol is formed. As Doug Haney puts it, “All alcohol products are created as a result of the war waged between molds, yeasts, and bacteria.” As these microbes begin competing for food, the molds and yeasts are induced to excrete their bio-weapon: Alcohol. The alcohol helps eliminate bacteria, allowing the fungi freer access to the food sources.
The same thing is happening in the body when alcohol is consumed. According to Dr. John Heritage, Senior Microbiology Lecturer at the University of Leeds, human beings are only about 10% human; the rest are microbial. What he means is that we have more germ critters in and around our bodies than we have actual human cells! (Yuck!)
Some of these microbes are helpful, and others aren’t. We need a HUGE number of good-guy microbes, (what we call “probiotics”), to help with digestion, immunity, the manufacturing of vitamins, and a number of other crucial processes.
Under normal, healthy conditions, there is a proper balance of good-guy germs populating our bodies. But if conditions change, the population can favor harmful forms of microbes. This is the beginning of getting into health trouble.
When alcohol is consumed, the mycotoxin goes about killing off bacteria in the body.
(This can be helpful. For example, think of the centuries of warfare injuries that were treated with a good, strong pouring of alcohol on wounds. Some people even like using strong spirits in their spray bottles at home for surface cleaning.) But when we constantly consume alcohol, what happens to our good-guy bacteria in the gut? They’re vulnerable to the anti-bacterial effects of the alcohol and can be killed off if the concentration of the alcohol is high enough, and if it is consumed often enough.
When the good bacteria are eliminated, disease-causing yeast has an opportunity to overgrow.
And this is only Step One to the kind of damage that alcohol and saddle us with. One of the first metabolites created after consuming alcohol is another mycotoxin called acetaldehyde. According to Dr. AV Costantini, it’s poison to human cells. It’s broken down by an enzyme in the liver, but if the liver is undernourished or underperforming and isn’t producing enough of this enzyme, the acetaldehyde can become toxic, especially to the liver.
In a 1992 article, Dr. Garro lists some consequences from the body constantly being called upon to metabolize this mycotoxin. Among them are:
- Damage to cells, and damage to the process of cell division.
- Decreased ability to detoxify poisonous chemicals in the body.
- Inability to repair damaged DNA.
- Suppressing the immune response.
These are just a few of the effects that come about as a result of simply requiring the body to constantly metabolize alcohol. (And every time you say alcohol, think “fungal poison”.)
The liver is a constant target for alcohol’s damaging effects. We all know about alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver. Dr. Anna M. Diehl says this about alcohol and the liver: “The liver is the only vital organ able to regenerate after damage. Alcohol not only causes liver damage, but it also appears to impair liver regeneration.Therefore, people with alcohol-related liver damage who continue to drink decrease their chances of recovery.”
These are just a few of the effects that the most oft-consumed fungal poison in the world can cause. We haven’t even scratched the surface, especially when we consider the obvious brain-altering effects of alcohol, including its neural cell paralyzing effects.
Chlorinated Tap Water, Birth-Control Pills, Diet
So, imagine a person who drinking chlorinated tap water. The chlorine can kill bad AND good bacteria.
Maybe this person takes birth control pills or anti-inflammatory steroids, such as a prednisone derivative. More good-guy bacterial killing. They wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap. More good-guy bacterial killing. Perhaps the doctor prescribed (and prescribed, and prescribed, and prescribed…) antibiotics (mycotoxins) for mild infections. HUGE good-guy bacterial killing.
And on top of all of this probiotic slaughter, this person ends each evening with a couple of glasses of alcohol, (suggested by the same doctor that overly prescribed the antibiotics earlier).
What do you think the sum total of all those anti-bacterial forces could be? Possible disaster? It’s certainly possible, especially if the person is eating a Standard American Diet, never consuming any probiotic-rich foods or supplements, and continuing a chronic exposure to anti-bacterials, including alcohol.
If this does happen, the stripping of our good bacteria removes one of our first lines of defense against serious fungal overgrowth, as well as our source of many of our crucial nutrients.
Don’t Be Scared; Just Know The Cause
I don’t say this to scare you off every drop of alcohol forever and ever. I say it to re-establish in our minds how often our lives are potentially touched by fungus and fungal toxins. I want us to be reminded both of the plethora of fungal-borne health complications that science has identified, as well the myriad of anti-fungal nutritional defenses you have against them.
The best thing I can tell you is that the effects of fungus are additive. Each fungal assault you can systematically, gradually remove helps. Each anti-fungal, nutritive weapon you add helps. With a real sense of the assaults and weapons you have available, you can easily recognize your areas of vulnerabilities and strengths.
Minimize your weakness, maximize your strengths, and watch what happens!