By now many are aware that yeasts are parasites of humans. There are a variety of ways that yeasts can gain access to (and infect) us, but many practitioners familiar with the fungus link to disease theory believe that if you have a fungal or yeast problem anywhere on the body, it is likely that you have a yeast problem in the gut, as well. This is called dysbiosis, or when yeasts colonize in the gut, edging out more beneficial organisms.
But how can this happen?
Naturally, you have an entire biome of microorganisms living in the gut––we are born with these cultures in our digestive tract. Many of these are beneficial bacteria that perform a wide array of tasks, ranging from energy production, manufacturing of nutrients, and immunity. These cultures, however, can be damaged by a number of factors, including poor diet, exposure to environmental toxins, smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking antibiotics. We believe that mycotoxins (fungal poisons) inherent in the foods that many people eat on a regular basis may also play a role in the destruction of beneficial bacterial cultures in the gut.
In addition to losing the benefits of beneficial bacteria, problems may arise when the destruction of these cultures provides the opportunity for opportunistic yeasts to colonize in the gut. From here, they can cause symptoms and proliferate throughout the body.
This is where the role of probiotics comes in. Probiotics are simply beneficial bacteria. They are found in a variety of “cultured” foods, such as yogurt and other fermented foods. Despite most other dairy products being excluded on the Phase One Diet (which is our anti-fungal program), yogurt is included; this is because of the probiotic bacteria inherent in plain yogurt. We consider beneficial bacteria that important to the anti-fungal program.
Also filling this role are probiotic supplements, which provide concentrated doses of probiotic bacteria. These can be used in tandem with, or in lieu of, cultured foods such as yogurt.
Consuming these foods and/or supplements will assist in recolonizing and maintaining the beneficial cultures in the gut. When those cultures are restored and maintained, pathogenic fungi may have a much more difficult time colonizing and proliferating throughout the gut and, from there, throughout the body.
Eating or supplementing with probiotics is a key part of the anti-fungal program; the balance of power between competing organisms in the gut may have a profound impact on one’s health. The stronger the bacterial colonies in the gut, the less likely it may be that yeast can gain a stronghold. Maintaining healthy flora in the gut is a good way to prevent pathogenic fungi from gaining access to your body to begin with.